This Spot is MINE: Can We Stop a Dog From Marking His Territory?

Category_Dog Training Category_Dogs Writer_Harrison_Howe

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This Spot is MINE: Can We Stop a Dog From Marking His Territory?


It’s always the same: your walks with Buster result in stop to pee quickly on telephone poles, mailboxes, lampposts, whatever.  Or, Dixie is squatting and letting out small amounts of pee every few feet, it seems. You wonder: how much can this pup pee? And why is he/she doing it?


Basically, dogs are territorial: they mark surroundings with a small bit of urine to let other dogs know that they consider the spots they’re marking THEIR territory. That bit of urine tells other dogs the owner’s sex and even reproductive status (an unspayed female in heat, for instance, will increase their urine marking).


Urine marking is also viewed as a simple means of communication. As humans, we wave and say “hello” when we see others while out for our daily walk; dogs leave urine as a way to say “hello” to fellow canines.


But as humans we might feel uncomfortable with our dogs—especially our male dogs—leaving trails of pee on car tires, mailbox posts, or fences in the neighborhood. Or worse, in spots inside the house! Since this seems like innate doggie behavior, is there a way to stop or at least curb this activity?


There just might. Read on to get some information about things you can do that might help stop this habit.


An End to Endless Peeing


First things first: peeing on everything might not be urine marking, it very well could indicate a health issue. If your dog has a urinary tract infection, for instance, he or she might be peeing more and this could mimic urine marking. Get Charlie checked out at your vet before trying out any of the following.


Perhaps the easiest thing you could do to spay or neuter your pet. This alone eliminates urine marking in up to 60 percent of dogs. It’s important to do this while the dog is young. The longer the dog participates in this behavior, the tougher it will be to break it even after spaying or neutering.


High levels of anxiety could also lead to urine marking. In extreme cases, you could try medications to reduce anxiety. Examples include Xanax, Valium, or Zoloft. Walking your dog on a short leash and thus reducing his ability to reach possible marking locations could help. And commands and treats for responding accordingly could also work to alter this outdoor behavior.


However, for most owners, marking is okay when done outside, but what about dogs that are peeing inside the house as a way to mark territory? Luckily, there’s plenty you can try to put an end to indoor urine marking.


Reclaiming YOUR Territory


If Sam wants to mark shrubs, trees, and lampposts, fine…but any owner will draw the line when it comes to couches, carpets, and chair legs. What to do if Sam has brought his outdoor territory marking indoors?


Of course spaying/neutering remains at the top of the list. But it also starts with proper house training. If you catch your pup getting set to mark a piece of furniture, immediately act to correct this behavior. It is recommended to make a loud noise for a distraction, then get them outside as quickly as you can. Never let your untrained pup roam free around the house; close supervision will be needed for up to three months even if your dog has had no accidents in the house during this time.


Immediately cleaning marked areas with a bacterial or enzymatic cleaner can help to prevent Ruff from peeing in the same area again. Neutralizing the odor is often an effective way to ensure that the same spot is not marked again.


Other things you might try include:


  • Feeding or even playing with your pet in previously marked areas; this could decrease the chances that the same area will be peed on again


  • Crating the dog at times he/she can’t be supervised is a sure way to eliminate unwanted urine marking inside the house


  • If it does not bother you to allow your dog to urine mark on walks, by all means, let him; allowing him to do so could decrease his need to display this behavior inside the house


A big Don’t is: Don’t scold or punish your dog for marking inside the house. This method is simply not effective, even when you catch him in the act.


Do you know someone who’s struggling with their dog peeing on carpets, walls, and furniture? Share this article on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and everywhere else to get this helpful information to those who can use it!


Written by Harrison Howe


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