How to Stop Dog Marking Behavior | Make Your Doggie a Potty Champion (House Training)
How to stop dog-marking behaviors
Dogs urine mark for a variety of reasons,
namely to protect their territory, attract
mates or because they are fearful and anxious.
Leading the Pack to Control Marking
Understand your dog’s territorial nature.
Dogs are naturally territorial, and their
first priorities are to establish and protect
the pack, its belongings and its territory.
They do this largely through instinctual marking.
Within a dog’s territory exist locations
that he most particularly wants to protect,
such as favorite feeding sites and dens.
Know the other roles of marking.
Marking is also used to support the instinctual
pack hierarchy and to let other dogs know
when they’re ready to mate.
A dog pack communicates amongst itself and
with other packs in large part through their
sense of smell.
Ruling Out Other Reasons for Marking
Find out if he has a health problem.
Dogs will also mark when they have health
problems, such as a bladder or urinary infection;
in reaction to a medicine; due to incontinence
and other medical issues.
If your dog is urinating very quickly or more
frequently than normal, take him to a vet.
Address behavioral problems.
Your dog might have a submissive or excitement
problem, especially if he marks during play,
physical contact, greetings or scolding and
If this is the case, your dog will often cringe
or cower, roll over on his stomach, duck his
head, avert his eyes, or flatten his ears.
Determine if he’s not properly house trained.
His marking could also be because he isn’t
totally house trained.
If so, feed him on a consistent schedule and
remove food between meals.
Take him outside to eliminate frequently and
keep an eye on him at all times to prevent
Consider if he has separation anxiety.
He also may mark because he has separation
anxiety, which is indicated when he seems
nervous or upset right before you leave.
To help him with this, use “counter conditioning,”
in which you create a positive association
with your leaving through giving him a puzzle
toy or treat.
Taking Preventative Measures
Use positive reinforcement.
When you catch him in the act of marking,
interrupt his marking, firmly say “Eh!”
or clap your hands, take him outside and reward
him for eliminating outside.
Catching him in the act and correcting his
behavior can be extremely effective; however,
there is a risk he will associate the punishment
with you, and merely avoid toileting in that
spot in your presence.
Reduce social triggers.
Exciting social situations can trigger marking.
Try to keep a male dog away from female dogs
in heat or away from other male dogs if you
notice this increases marking.
Avoid over-stimulating social situations,
such as visiting a friend’s home where other
dogs have marked.
Limit his access to things he often marks.
Keep objects that frequently make him mark
These might be new purchases, a visitor’s
belongings, or things of yours he has negative
Also don’t let other dogs in your home or
yard if they will mark it.
This will cause yours to over mark.
Restrict your dog’s access to doors and
A dog will often mark if he can see another
If you can’t limit this access, try to keep
other animals away from your house and yard.
Use barriers to stop the marking.
Dogs won’t mark in enclosed spaces, so crating
while you’re away is an option.
You can also put a crate or your dog’s bed
over an area your dog frequently marks.
He won’t mark what he sleeps on, and it
can serve as a barrier for problem marking
Place treats near predictable marking spots
If your dog only marks certain objects like
your shoes, which can bring in other dogs’
marking scents, or in certain locations, put
treats around these objects and spaces.
Make previously marked areas unpleasant or
Try putting down double-sided tape, a vinyl
carpet runner turned upside down to expose
the rough side, or other humane “booby”
traps to keep him away from those areas.
Clean areas that your dog has marked.
This is extremely important because dogs are
attracted to spots they’ve already marked
or that have been marked by a visiting dog.
Masking the odor isn’t enough, however.
You need to do your best to neutralize the
Soak the object (if possible) or spot with
a pet urine enzymatic cleaner and let it dry.
Don’t use a cleaner with ammonia because
urine contains ammonia and will only attract
your dog more to the object or space.
Don’t prevent your dog from marking while
This will frustrate your dog and increase
Preventing Anxiety-Induced Marking
Remember that anxiety is a major cause of
A variety of things can trigger enough anxiety
to mark: new objects and people, new environments,
separation from you or other members of the
household, conflict with other pets, etc.
What’s more is that marking caused by anxiety
often results in the dog eliminating more
urine than normal.
It also causes them to mark more on non-vertical
Introduce new pets to each other strategically.
The addition of a new pet to the household
can increase your dog’s marking.
Thus, you want to introduce them in a controlled
manner, and slowly.
The way in which you introduce them depends
upon the type of animal you’re adding to
your pet family.
Introduce a new baby to the home.
Your dog may consider a new baby an intruder
just as he does a new pet.
Choose a quiet room for the introduction and
sit down with your baby in your arms.
Have someone else leash your dog and take
him into the room, talking to him in a calm
and happy voice.
If your dog’s boy language is relaxed, bring
the dog to the baby and allow him to sniff
your baby’s feet for a few seconds if he
wants, speaking softly to your dog.
Then praise your dog and command him to sit
or lie down before rewarding him with a treat.
Introduce your dog to new adults thoughtfully.
Dogs can often perceive new roommates, house
guests, and visitors as interlopers invading
They also will tend to mark that person’s
The best way for them to become friends is
to have the new person feed, groom and play
with your dog so they can bond.
Both you and the new person should use positive
reinforcement, praising and giving treats
to your dog when he is friendly.
Keep the new person’s personal items up
and out of the way so your dog can’t mark
Try a synthetic hormone diffuser, collar or
A Dog Appeasement Pheromone (DAP) device emits
synthetic “appeasing pheromones” to mimic
the ones a lactating mother dog secretes.
They are calming hormones that help the dog
A DAP diffuser should be used in a room that
your dog uses or marks most.
Simply plug it into an outlet; they work for
about one month.
DAP sprays should be sprayed 15 minutes prior
to your dog entering the area.
The effect usually lasts 1.5-2 hours.
A DAP collar wraps around your dog’s neck
and should be left in place until you change
it one about one month.
Cut off the extra collar material after you
Give your dog an anti-anxiety medicine.
This should be a last resort and can only
be obtained through your vet.
It should be used along with behavior training
as it will not eradicate your dog’s anxiety.
They also are generally only given in short
If you come home to find your dog has marked,
just clean it up.
Don’t take him to the spot or object and
yell at him or rub his nose in it.
He won’t associate that type of punishment
with his marking.
And it can make him more fearful and insecure.
If you’ve tried everything you can to stop
the marking, consult with an animal behaviorist.
Figuring out the reason for your dog’s marking
will help a great deal in reducing to eliminating
Take notes or create a chart that will help
you track what was happening when the dog
marked, how he behaved prior to the marking,
where he’s marking in relationship to these
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