7 Ways to Keep Your Dog From Urine Marking



Urine marking is a very common

dog behavior. When a dog urine marks, they urinate only a small amount onto a surface, often with their leg raised. This can happen on walks, at the park, and even in the comfort of your own home or another personโ€™s home -- eek!ย Before we can talk about how to stop your dog from urine marking, let's talk about why they do it.

5 Reasons Why Dogsย Mark

Urine marking is a way for a dog to assert dominance and say, โ€œMine!โ€ Here are 5ย circumstances that increase a dog's desire to claim objects and territory:1. Intact MarkingDogs that are not spayed or neutered

are much more assertive and more prone to urine marking than dogs who have been fixed. Spaying or neutering your dog can greatly reduce their desire to urine mark, but it may not completely stop it.

2. In Response to the Unfamiliar

Many dogs urine mark after smelling a new dog (or a new dogโ€™s urine) in their environment, be that your yard, your home, or a street you walk down regularly. Additionally, if a new pet or person enters your home, your dog may feel the need to mark their belongings (a purse, anotherย petโ€™s bed, etc.) as a way to say, โ€œIโ€™m in charge here!โ€ This goes for new objects, too. If you get a new couch, a dog prone to marking might lift a leg upon its arrival.

3. In Response to Anxiety

The unfamiliar can cause

anxiety, as can situations that are classically stressful, such as visits to the vet


a move

, or


. Dogs who are marking as a result of anxiety often leave more urine behind than dogs who are marking for other reasons.

4. Social Marking

A dog may mark as a result of social triggers, such as excitement, over-stimulation, or arousal caused by a dog of the opposite sex. A dog may also mark in response to social conflicts with other animals in your home, whether they are permanent housemates or visitors. Marking allows your dog to assert their dominance in unstable group situations.

5. Medical Issues

If you dog is marking or urinating indoors, make sure that it isnโ€™t because of a medical issue such as a

urinary tract infection or incontinence


RELATED STORY: 12 Things You Didnโ€™t Know About Dog Psychology

7 Ways to Stopย Urine Marking

So how can you prevent or stop urine marking? First, take your dog to the veterinarian

to rule out any medical issues. If your vet says that everything is okay, use the following tips.

1. Spay or Neuter Your Dog

As mentioned above,

spaying or neutering your dog can greatly reduce their desire to mark. If you spay or neuter your dog before they learn the marking behavior, you may never have to worry about it. However if you spay or neuter your dog after theyโ€™ve already started marking, it may be more difficult to break the habit. Ask your veterinarian to recommend the best time to fix your dog.RELATED STORY: 5 Ways Dog Neutering Makes Your Pet Healthier2. Clean Soiled Areas or Make Them Undesirable For Marking

If a dog has already marked an area of your home or yard, theyโ€™ll probably do it again. Use a

cleaner specifically designed to eliminate the smell of urine

. If you canโ€™t remove the smell, remove your dogโ€™s access to the area or change your dog's association withย the area by feeding or playing with them there.

3. Keep Items Your Dog Wants to Mark Out of Reach

If you know that your dog is prone to marking your visitorsโ€™ shoes or purses, put those items out of reach in a closet or cabinet.

4. Resolve Conflicts

If your dog is urine marking, itโ€™s because they feel like they need to claim territory and assert their dominance; the feeling of needing to assert dominance is often the result of conflict. Make sure that all

animals are getting along and that your dog is getting getting along with all human housemates, too. If disputes seem impossible to solve, thenย contact a trainer

ย for help.

5. Catch Your Dog in The Act

If you catch your dog urine marking inside the house, move or carry them outside. When they urinate outside instead, reward them with a treat or toy. Donโ€™t punish your dog if you find the marking after the fact; your dog wonโ€™t understand and may become afraid.

6. Treat Your Dogโ€™s Anxiety

If your dogโ€™s urine marking seems to be related to stress or anxiety, solve that issue first, and the urine marking may subside. Common treatments for anxiety include behavior modification and



Read more about treating anxiety.7. Contact a Trainer or Animal BehavioristIn some cases, you may not be able to tackle your dogโ€™s marking issue on your own. Aย trainer or animal behaviorist

can help you find the source of the problem and come up with a plan for correcting the behavior.

Does your dog urine mark? Leave a comment and let us know about your dogโ€™s behavior. And sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.
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