How to Stop a Dog from Marking in the House?- It is common to see dog parents frustrated with their pet when it continues to urinate in the house even after being potty-trained.
This is not the same as involuntary urination. Dogs are extremely possessive by nature and use urine marking to claim their territory.
Knowing how to stop a dog from marking in the house is a question that needs to be answered to keep your belongings and house free from the nasty smell of urine.
Marking is a natural instinctive behaviour of dogs that can get quite difficult to handle if left as is. You can prevent your dog from marking its territory in the house using steps like alteration, keeping it mentally and physically stimulated, and retraining.
Dog owners often find it difficult to train their pets to behave as per command, depending on the difficulty of the activity. Potty training is one such difficult habit to build. That's why this article is written for pet owners like you.
What is Dog Marking?
Marking refers to the voluntary urination in areas that dogs claim as their territory. This may be frustrating to dog owners and is often mistaken as simple urination and a lack of training.
However, marking is different from urination and is done in small amounts to simply mark their presence. Unaltered dogs of both genders begin to exhibit marking behaviour around the age of adolescence.
Why Do Dogs Mark?
Three main reasons make marking instinctive behaviour. To stop your dog from marking, you must first understand the reason behind its behaviour.
To Assert Dominance
Dogs are territorial animals. Since they cannot expressly communicate the extent of territories that they prefer to claim, they use urinating as a means. The urine contains pheromones which produce a unique odour that can only be associated with a single dog.
Dogs can smell the area and sense whether or not the territory has been claimed already. This is why you may notice that street dogs only pick fights with certain other dogs that happen to pass by.
These dogs are likely to have peed in their area in the past, or they may bark as a way to claim the area and prevent them from marking the territory as their own.
To Keep Paws off of Potential Mates
Only unaltered dogs display marking behaviour, and it is mostly males that do so. By claiming their territory, they can ward off any potential suitors who have come to mate with unspayed females in the same territory. This can also help unspayed females find the dominating dog to breed with.
Dogs also mark territories in response to stress. This can be caused due to the new environment and people, the introduction of a new dog, loud noises, separation anxiety, and continuous changes in its house.
If your dog is used to staying indoors where there are fewer factors to keep it stimulated, a change in the environment where multiple factors in engaging its attention are available may excite your dog, causing it to mark the territory as its own.
How to Stop a Dog from Marking in the House?
The problem can be quickly resolved if you can conclude why your dog may be marking.
Clear off Any Medical Issues
As a responsible dog parent, you must first ensure that there are no medical issues that cause marking. Visit a vet and get your dog checked for diseases in its Urinary Tract. Some common issues related to urination are listed below.
An infection in the Urinary Tract caused due to the growth of bacteria, or a parasite infestation can lead to inflammation.
This condition can cause decreased passage of urine, making it appear as a marking. An indication of such an issue is the constant licking of its genitals.
Due to old age, like humans, senior dogs may lose control over their bladder and involuntarily urinate. This is common during sleep, making it appear like marking its territory. This can even be found in young dogs with issues in their urethral sphincter or prostates.
Regular checkups can help you keep track of any abnormalities in your dog, such as abnormal functioning or formation of any of its organs related to the urinary tract.
Alter Your Dog
Spaying or neutering your dog, which refers to making them incapable of reproduction, can greatly reduce instances of marking in the house.
While it works in most cases, if you continue to see urination even after altering, it is a sign of an underlying medical or behavioural issue.
Either issue can be resolved with the help of a licensed professional, a vet for medical concerns, and a behaviourist for behavioural training.
This is the only permanent way to stop your dog from marking indoors and outdoors. It is advised to alter your pet when it ages 12 to 15 months.
Your dog may be soiling the house as a way to expend the excess energy it has stored in it due to the lack of physical stimulation or separation anxiety. In either case, taking your dog out for a minimum of 30 minutes daily can solve the issue.
The amount of exercise should increase depending on your dog's age and size. Making your dog exercise will drain it, leaving it tired and preventing it from wasting energy on frivolous acts like marking in the house.
Startle Your Dog
If the cause is simple boredom, your dog needs help to snap out of it. In such a case, startle your dog with sudden movements when you notice it marking.
A loud clap or a sudden game of chase or fetch can effectively distract it. This can help build a habit but is not a method to prevent it from marking the house.
Clean Previously Soiled Areas Well
Use enzymatic cleaners to break down the odour of its urine and clean the marked area to prevent it from marking the area again.
Resolve its Anxiety Issues
If your dog's marking is caused due to anxiety issues, it is best to introduce changes in your living environment slowly, ensuring that your dog has enough time to adjust to them.
Similarly, separation anxiety can also be treated through training it to stay apart from you slowly but gradually.
If you are unable to make the situation better, you can always avail the help of a professional. Not only will this stop your dog from barking, but it will also help keep your dog mentally healthy.
Keep Your Dog Mentally Stimulated
Being bored is also a cause for frequent marking in the house. Keep your dog's favourite chew toys to keep it engaged while you are not around. Interactive toys like stuffed kongs, puzzles with a treat, etc., are great ways to keep your dog's mind focused.
Feed Your Dog on Marked Spots
Dogs tend to urinate again on marked spots. By feeding your dog or playing with it on the spot that has been previously marked after proper cleaning, you can help disassociate the link between dominance and the spot.
If your dog cannot forget the spot and continues to urinate in it frequently, simply block its access using crates, pet gates, or any other possible barricade for a while. This is also a temporary solution to stop it from marking a certain spot in the house.
If your dog is adapted to crates, keep it confined when you cannot supervise it. This way, it stays in a familiar surrounding without any external stimulus to cause marking. Gradually allow access to greater parts of the household, but ensure that you are always around to supervise.
Prevent by Expressing Disapproval
Your dog cannot understand your frustration unless a clear signal is provided. Do not resort to punishments if your dog urinates inside the house.
Instead, keep it under your supervision most of the time, and when you notice that it may urinate, sternly express disapproval with a simple no and lead it outside to take care of business.
Regular repetition will give it a hint that urination and marking aren't acceptable in the house and will serve as a solution until it is altered.
How to Stop a Male Dog from Marking Inside the House?
While the issue is not just limited to male dogs, it is most common in males that are not neutered.
Male marking behaviour is characterized by marking upright positioned objects and any preferred location.
While all the methods mentioned above can help prevent your dog from marking the house, the most effective way is to neutering.
Around 50% of dogs stop marking after getting neutered. While it does not fully guarantee results, it is a good way to start after getting your vet’s advice on the matter. Coupled with the remaining methods, you can slowly get your dog to stop urinating in the house to mark its territory.
Dog Belly Bands
These are designed underwear for male dogs that function as bitch britches do for females in heat. While the band absorbs any small urine dribbles, you must ensure that they are regularly cleaned to prevent bacterial growth.
Employing these methods, the problem of how to stop a dog from marking in the house can be easily solved.