Once you are through the puppy phase and your dog is completely house trained, you let your guard down and no longer expect “accidents” to occur. Suddenly, you find your dog urinating, or marking, in the house despite his training! This can be a frustrating scenario as an otherwise trained dog seemingly forgets what he has been taught. However, there are a number of reasons your dog could be marking in the house. This article will discuss these possibilities and provide a number of tips to stop this unwanted behavior.
What is Marking?
Marking, or urinating on various objects and surfaces, is your dog’s way of communicating with other animals, most likely other dogs. Your dog could be communicating a number of things, but it is never an act of jealousy or anger despite how you may feel in the moment. Marking is different from full urination as it is not a full release of the bladder. Rather, marking is usually small spurts – just enough to leave a scent. And while both male and female dogs are capable of marking, it is most frequently a behavior seen displayed from male dogs.
Why Your Dog is Marking & How to Stop It
So you’ve eliminated jealousy or anger as possibilities for your dog’s behavior, but what could be causing your dog to mark in the house? There are a number of reasons your dog is displaying this behavior, each with its own solution.
A Lingering Smell
If you have ever owned another puppy or dog, there could be a lingering smell in your house. Your new dog will pick up on this and feel the need to mark his territory over the previous dog, even if she is no longer around. This is a very likely reason if you foster dogs or have brought a second dog into a home. So, if you notice your dog is marking in one or two particular spots, go back and deep clean those areas. If the marking continues over those same spots, you may consider replacing the carpet or affected furniture.
A Medical Issue
This is especially a possibility for dogs who may be displaying other symptoms as well. If your dog has a bladder or urinary tract infection, he may be incapable of expelling all of his urine when outside or have reduced bladder control overall. Any time your dog displays a change in his usual behavior, a trip to the vet is a good idea to rule out medical causes.
If you’ve recently introduced a new person or pet into the home environment of your dog, or he is the new dog, he could be marking as a response to his canine anxiety or insecurity about the new situation. If this is the case, he will decrease his marking behavior as he adjusts and becomes more comfortable with the changes in his environment. Until then, try to keep an eye on your dog and distract him if the marking behavior is seen. Don’t scare him, but a simple “hey” should be enough to get him to stop. If, however, he appears to be especially anxious, you can talk to your vet about trying a calming supplement or thunder shirt to ease his anxiety.
Not Fully House Trained
If your dog is fully releasing his bladder, your dog is not house broken. It is possible you trusted him too fast and his training was never complete or he is reverting to his previous behavior. A few other signs your dog is not house broken include going in the house when you aren’t home or going in another room where you can’t see him. If this is the case, go back to when he was a puppy and start taking him out regularly. Praise him for going outside and keep an eye on him while in the house to help prevent accidents.
While marking is a frustrating behavior, you can work with your dog to move past it. In addition to the above, neutering your dog can reduce marking behavior as he will be less prone to feeling the need to mark his territory.