How do I get my dog to stop marking? Expert Advice

How do I reduce outdoor marking?

It is likely impractical to expect to control and limit all marking and elimination behavior when your dog is taken for walks outdoors. When taking your dog for a walk, you will need to work on training your dog to walk on a relaxed leash by your side and to sit each time you come to a stop (see Teaching Calm – Settle and Relaxation Training and Teaching Loose Leash Walks, Backing Up, and Turning Away). With a leash, or leash and head halter, it should be possible to keep your dog on task. The leash and head halter controls the muzzle and nose so that the head can be immediately turned away from the stimulus (potential target of marking) as it begins to show pre-marking behavior such as exploring, sniffing, turning into position, beginning to lift leg). Learn to predict and preempt. Once you reach the area where it is permissible for your dog to eliminate you can allow your dog to explore and sniff, and positively reinforce marking behavior.

How to Stop a Dog from Marking

Although this is a difficult behavior to break, taking the following steps can improve the situation.

For both male and female dogs you can find either belly bands (for males) or dog diapers (for females). Remember that this is not a fix for the situation but more of a band aid. If you choose to use one of these items to help with training, make sure you check them frequently for wetness. Get Your Free AKC eBook

Dogs like to place their territorial stamp on new items, especially if they come from a place where there might have been another dog. Try to remember to place new items off the floor and out of reach of your dog.

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Below are some steps you can take to help get a stop a dog from marking.

You can also take measures to help deter or block your dog from the area where they are drawn to marking. Try using baby gates or pet gates to block certain rooms, or double sided tape to keep them from certain parts of the room.

How to Stop Your Dog From Marking Indoors

A lot of pet parents have questions about how to potty train their dogs and avoid messy cleanups. One of the questions we frequently get is about intact, older male dogs who are urinating on furniture.

Pet parents often mistake pee accidents for dog marking. As you know, there is a very big difference between a puppy squatting and peeing a puddle on the floor, and an older male dog peeing on things like furniture, doorways, and clothing! The first one is a potty-training issue, the other is a dog marking issue, which can be much more stressful on you because it requires more than simply having to train your pup to potty outside.

In this article, we will look at the causes of dog marking, how to stop a male dog from marking, especially in the house, and useful tips to prevent marking in the future. We’ll also address common questions like will neutering stop dog marking and do belly bands stop dogs from marking.

“Do belly bands stop dogs from marking? Yes! If cleanups are too much for you, have your dog wear a belly band”

Have you ever walked your male dog around the neighborhood first thing in the morning? Now you KNOW your dog hasn’t peed in eight or more hours, and they must really need to go, but instead of peeing all at once and relieving their bladder like we do, they pee a little bit on this tree, then pee a little on that fire hydrant, then a little on that mailbox. Twenty minutes later they are still peeing on stuff they pass by!

The first thing you need to understand about your dog marking is they don’t think pee is gross like you do. To them, pee is much like ink. Imagine your dog as a gang member (dogs and wolf packs being like gangs), and they go around the neighborhood reading other dogs’ graffiti, then shakes their own can of spray paint and tags everything they can, claiming it as their own. It is best to understand that female dogs also mark, though males tend to do it more.

Dogs use their pee to show dominance (my gang is tougher than yours) and to mark whatever they think belongs to them (This is MY stop sign, get your own). They mark using their pee to claim their territories and communicate with other animals in the area.

So now you may be asking, “Okay, but why mark stuff in the house? It’s not like neighborhood dogs walk through our house and pee on our sofa.”

Dogs also sometimes mark when they’re feeling anxious, stressed, and insecure. If you’ve just moved into a new house, or you’ve brought a new baby or a new pet into your home, this can be a catalyst for marking. Kind of like their way of saying, “Hey, just because this new baby is here, doesnt mean you can forget about me!” According to Pets WebMD, when your dog’s environment changes, they might feel the need to mark their territory.

Though you obviously don’t like the fact your dog is marking on stuff, try and stay calm and think of the situation from your dog’s point of view. They arent like humans and they can’t express their feelings in words. They have to communicate issues in different ways. Becoming angry and yelling at your dog, or worse, punishing them is not going to help the situation. Honestly, it will probably only make things worse.

Additionally, male dogs mark when they encounter females, particularly those that are in heat. According to VCA Animal Hospital, a male dog is overwhelmed when there are female dogs in heat and they show their excitement by marking. Dog marking is a sign that your male dog can’t fully grasp the thrill of the situation they are in. Marking is also their way of gaining notice from the female dog in heat.

Marking is a strong instinct. Your dog is not intentionally doing it to upset you. They are doing it because they instinctively feel the need to. Remember that marking is a natural instinctive behavior in dogs, and you cannot just put a stop to it, but there are ways to minimize and manage it.

With that being said, dog marking is still an activity that you would like to put a stop to, especially for a male dog marking in the house. So, let’s look at how to stop a male dog from marking. Here are the top 5 things you can do to help manage your furbabys marking behavior.

Will neutering a dog stop marking? Male dogs that have been neutered are less likely to mark compared to intact male dogs. If your dog is older but still intact, consider getting them neutered. Testosterone plays a big role in dominance and marking. After neutering, it has been reported that as many as 50-60% of male dogs marked significantly less often. As suggested by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®), while the usual age for neutering your dog is six to nine months, puppies or adult dogs can undergo neutering with your vet’s approval as long as theyre healthy and are of the right weight. If you are unsure if it is too soon to neuter your dog, or too late, consult your veterinarian to get an expert opinion for your specific dog.