Dogs Marking Their Territory and How To Stop Them

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Dogs marking their territory is a natural instinctive behavior. They love to mark their belongings and areas.

Sometimes, dogs that are marking their territory occur due to stress. Dogs with anxieties often urinate a lot inside the house.

Everyday stressors include other dogs, children, guests, new smells or sounds in the house, and when left alone.

Influence in the dog’s hormones and sexual arousal increases the dog’s marking behavior, especially in un-neutered males.

Dog marking their territory is one way for him to send signals to other dogs and animals. It’s not just a simple peeing because the amount of urine they release when marking is minimal.

dog marking territory

What Is Dog Marking?

Dog markings are when your pet wants to claim an area or to a particular object.

Markings often happen in dogs in their adolescence period. It develops after their sexual maturity and started urine marking at around the age of 1.5 to 2 years.

Outdoor markings may not be a problem, but indoor markings can create an issue between the owner and the dog.

Dog Urine Marking

What Is Urine Marking?

Urine marking is not a house-soiling behavior. It is a territorial behavior.

Female dogs can do this marking, but male dogs are more common.

Any pet who does this wants to ease their anxieties or assert dominance and keep other animals away from their territories.

Understanding this type of behavior for your dog is one way of addressing the issue.

RELATED ARTICLE: Dog Behaviour Problems and How to Deal with Them

A Dog Marking His Territory

Why Are Dogs Marking Their Territory?

Dogs mark their territories with urine to communicate or leave a message to other animals. Other dogs will come along and check the mark and leave a message by marking near the original spot.

They can sense through the urine mark if the dog that passed by is a female or male and if it’s already spayed or neutered.

Also, through this urine mark, they can tell if there is a female in heat, determine its health and social status, and stress level.

7 Reasons Why Dogs Are Marking Their Territory

  • The dog Hasn’t Been Spayed or Neutered: Male dogs that have undergone neutering are less likely to be territorial than those that haven’t done it. It can also be an issue for unspayed female dogs, especially before and during mating.
  • The Dog is Excited: Exciting social interactions make your dog wants to mark everything in sight! One reason for this is there might be a nearby female dog in heat.
  • Environment Changes: Your pet’s territory can be on the route he takes when walking or homes and parks he frequently visits. If your dog can smell that another dog is in his territory, he feels the need to mark it again to assert ownership.
  • Regular Presence of a New Visitor: When a pet owner’s new partner becomes a frequent guest in the house, this can trigger the dog’s ability to mark their territory. The dog may urinate all over the place because he feels threatened and wants to show them that they are in his territory.
  • The Arrival of a New Baby: If your dog urinates on the diaper bag, it is just a reaction to new smells, noises, and insecurity coming their way due to lack of attention.
  • Not Enough Exercise: A dog that’s not given enough exercise is more likely to find ways to release its stored energy, which would result in some behavioral problems like urine marking.
  • Anxiety: Dogs tend to deposit more urine than dog markings when anxious.

Things that can trigger a dog’s anxiety are:

  1. Conflicts between dogs and people
  2. Loud noises and sounds
  3. New people in their household
  4. A person leaving the dog’s home

Any person or animal who often brings a new scent into the house and disturbs the social order can cause your dog to mark their territory.

How Dogs Mark Their Territory

How Do Dogs Urine Mark Their Territory?

Commonly, dogs mark their territory with a small amount of urine. They do this by lifting their back leg and urinating on a spot or object.

A dominant dog marks their territory in a more significant number of places. In comparison, the submissive one lifts its leg in one or two areas.

Aside from being ordinary, it’s essential to note that not all male dogs lift their leg when urine marking. Some female dogs also lift their legs to mark their territories.

In some cases, dogs may release lots of urine or defecate on something or someplace to show others that it is theirs.

Note: Female dogs never over-marked. They mark near or adjacent to the spot.

Involuntary Urine Markings

Health-Related Causes of Dog Marking

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)A dog with UTI will frequently release small urine patches. He may also lick his genitalia excessively.

Involuntary UrinationThe Dog’s bladder causes an error and involuntarily lets out urine. Dogs with this health problem may urinate while asleep and unaware.

Other Medical Problems – Some common causes of urine marking include genitalia abnormalities, where it causes incontinence that leads to frequent urination.

How To Prevent Dogs from Marking Their Territory?

Urine marking is a form of communication among dogs. They can gather lots of information by simply sniffing through the dog’s urine.

Before judging that your dog is naughty for urinating in almost anything, take him to your trusted veterinary doctor to have his health checked. And can also rule out possible medical complications for his urine-marking behavior.

If your pet is proven to be healthy, follow the recommendations below to prevent any markings in your home, outdoor areas, and other people’s place.

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What To Do?

  • Identify the Reason Why Your Dog Marks: You can help prevent markings by knowing why he marks. If you can avoid the triggers, you can most likely prevent your dog’s markings.
  • Spay or Neuter: Most pet owners think that it’s best to spay or neuter their dogs as this can help reduce urine markings by up to 50 to 60 percent. If done at an early age, this can prevent the markings.
  • Establish Routines: Create spots outside your home or during your walking routines. Train your dog to familiarize these spots and give him treats when he does.
  • Allow Your Dog to Be Acquainted with New People: Dogs often start to mark when something new has been around their home. The only way to resolve this is to have them get acquainted with this new person or animal and spend time with each other to create a bond between them.
  • Deep Clean Urine Markings: Dogs are known to repeat what they’ve done in specific locations. You can avoid this by using an enzyme-based cleaner to eliminate odors.
  • Make Yourself as the Pack Leader: You can reduce your dog’s marking behavior by making yourself the pack leader using a calm and assertive aura. Make him earn his food, water, and affection by exercise and discipline.

Preventing Dogs Marking Their Territory

How To Prevent Outdoor Dog Markings?

It’s nearly impossible to limit your dog from urine marking when taking out for walks.

When taking him out, you need to train him to walk with a leash and sit when you come to a stop.

Having a leash or a leash and head halter should do the job of keeping your dog at bay.

The leash and head halter control the muzzle and nose so that you can quickly turn away his head from the potential signs of marking like exploring, sniffing, and lifting a leg.

Once you’re confident enough that the area is permissible for your dog to go for a release, allow him to explore and sniff.

RELATED ARTICLE: Public Places Etiquette Every Dog Owners Should Know

Reducing Dog Markings in a New Place

How To Reduce Dog Markings When Visiting a Place?

Dogs that often mark when visiting places should have their leash tied around them, or until they are comfortable, settled, and have supervised exploration to the environment.

If you love to bring your dog anywhere, make sure to keep him occupied with something to prevent him from resorting to urine marking.

Have your dog sit by your side, stay on a down command, play with his toy, or give him affection and attention.

If he begins to get excited, anxious, or wander away to explore and sniff, it can be a sign of marking and can be prevented by putting on his leash.

Dog Urine Markings At Home

You need to determine the cause of the marking for you to know whether this is just temporary, an isolated case (e.g., visit of another dog, or bringing the new item inside the house), or it might be underlying anxiety.

Playing With Your Dog To Reduce Markings At Home

How To Reduce Dog Marking In The House?

Regarding the dog’s anxiety, you need to consult a veterinary doctor to help you resolve the case.

Supervise your dog when you bring new items into the house or move into a new home. Put a leash on him as he explores the new thing or place.

As the dog gets familiar with its environment, you can now allow him to roam freely.

If you have lots of time to be with your dog, you should practice playing, training, or exercising with him.

Ensure that he is busy and relaxed that there can be no room for marking.

When you cannot supervise your dog, place him in an area where his marking behavior would be less likely to occur (e.g., his bed, eating area, or crate). You can place him outdoor where marking is acceptable.

If there is urine residue from other dogs in your yard, eliminate it using an odor neutralizer.

What Not To Do When Your Dog Is Marking Their Territory

What Not to Do When Your Dog Is Marking Their Territory?

Never punish your dog when you come home to signs of dog markings.

Punishment will increase his anxiety and cause them to hide when he wants to go to the bathroom.

It will also decrease his ability to signal you when he wants to go outside to urinate.

Dogs don’t understand why their owners are punishing them for something they have done. They can be scared of you when this happens and incite inappropriate behaviors.

If you also yell at your dog, the behavior change you want for your dog might not work out. The dog will feel bad and confuse your scolding with the dog’s urine marking.

Dogs Marking Their Territory Final Thoughts

While there are ways to minimize dogs from marking their territory, this is a behavior that most fur parents experience.

It is sometimes due to a lack of training and discipline. This behavior may lead to a bigger problem if not prevented early.

If you want to reduce the number of dog markings your pet makes, be patient and carefully train with him. He will soon reward you with better walks.

READ NEXT: Dog Leaking Urine: Causes and Treatments

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