A dog marking his territory is not something that should surprise us. It is a perfectly normal behavior for a dog to want to claim what he perceives as his. This is not a problem unless the dog is marking inside, or if aggression is involved. If a dog is marking inside the home, then you’ve got several problems on your hand, one of which is a serious odor issue.
There can be several factors at work here, and finding out what’s motivating the dog to mark is vital to solving the problem. Most commonly, a marking dog is letting us know that he is feeling insecure about something. He might perceive that there’s an intrusion on his personal space, his family, his home or his yard. He might even be feeling anxious over a toy or area that he uses regularly. If he thinks it is his, he might mark it.
What exactly is marking anyway?
In literal terms, marking is the act of urinating on an area. In doggie terms it is all about leaving a scent so that other canines will understand that they must leave it alone. Marking is a communication tool that is quite handy in the wild…but not so much around your living room. Marking can leave horrible stains and odors all over your home, and it is not the most sanitary thing either. Dogs that mark don’t generally urinate completely, but the trace amounts can still destroy your property.
How do I stop my dog from marking in my home?
Step one is to get your pet spayed or neutered. This step is often enough to stop the behavior, but it is not foolproof. Dogs that feel threatened or insecure might continue to mark their homes. Spaying and neutering will have a great effect on their lives anyway, because they will be healthier for it. This will help regardless, so start with this if your dog is marking in your home.
Look around for stressors or new additions
Dogs that are marking are often stressed about something new. It might be a new dog in the neighborhood or a roommate that just moved in. It could be a million things and not all of them are logical to humans. If anything or anyone new has come into the picture, it’s a good idea for the person (or object, even though that may seem funny to you) to spend a good deal of time with the dog. Once the dog feels like the person or thing is part of the “family” then the marking will decrease or stop altogether. New things can cause a repeat of the behavior, so make sure you introduce your dog properly to any new additions.
Spend some time with your dog
Dogs look to you for many things once you bring them into your home. They look to you for shelter, high quality dog food like CANIDAE, love, companionship and security. That last one is tough because you are not always there to provide security for your pet. Dogs have to feel secure when you are there and when you are away. They have to know that they live within a structured environment with rules and regulations. These rules allow the dog to be a part of something and feel confident about themselves. This confidence is the key to getting them to stop marking. You have to make your pet feel completely confident that their place in the pack is secure, and that nobody is going to take their place.
Spend time with your dog on a regular basis. Long walks, lots of cuddling and a firm hand where rules are concerned will keep your dog healthy and eliminate his need to mark. If you have a dog that continues to mark after doing all these things, then take your dog to your veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions. Once that possibility is eliminated, you may want to consider a professional trainer.
Have you ever had a problem with a dog marking inside your home? If so, what did you do to correct the behavior?
Top photo by Frank Pierson
Bottom photo by carterse
Read more articles by Langley Cornwell