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. Part 1 Leading the Pack to Control Marking 1. 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. 2. 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. Part 2 Ruling Out Other Reasons for Marking 1. 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. 2. Address behavioral problems.Your dog might have a submissive or excitement problem, especially if he marks during play, physical contact, greetings or scolding and punishment. 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. 3. 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 accidents inside. 4. 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. Part 3 Taking Preventative Measures 1.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. 2. 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. 3. Limit his access to things he often marks. Keep objects that frequently make him mark put up. These might be new purchases, a visitor’s belongings, or things of yours he has negative associations with. Also don’t let other dogs in your home or yard if they will mark it. This will cause yours to over mark. 4. Restrict your dog’s access to doors and windows. A dog will often mark if he can see another dog outside.If you can’t limit this access, try to keep other animals away from your house and yard. 5. 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 areas. 6. Place treats near predictable marking spots and objects. 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. 7. Make previously marked areas unpleasant or inaccessible. 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. 8. 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 odor. 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. Guidance Don’t prevent your dog from marking while on walks. This will frustrate your dog and increase indoor marking. Part 4 Preventing Anxiety-Induced Marking 1. Remember that anxiety is a major cause of marking.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 surfaces. 2. 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. 3. 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. 4. Introduce your dog to new adults thoughtfully. Dogs can often perceive new roommates, house guests, and visitors as interlopers invading their territory. They also will tend to mark that person’s things. 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 them. 5. Try a synthetic hormone diffuser, collar or spray. 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 relax. 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 secure it. 6. 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 courses. Tips 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 it. 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 issues, etc. Sign Up Now Like. Share Subscribe to get the latest content from Keen Inklings. 3 2 1 .