How to Tell If Your Dog Is Marking or Urinating

Updated: July 11, 2022

You may be confused about if your dog is marking, or just plain urinating. These ways of dog peeing may seem the same to a lot of pet parents but they are, in fact, different. 

In this article, we will help you distinguish the difference between the marking and peeing, the signs to look out for, and the things you can do to help curb these concerns.

"Dogs are naturally dominant animals, and urine marking is your furbaby’s way of marking and protecting his territory or things he thinks belong to him."

male dog peeing in house suddenly, peeing dog

Dog Marking Territory vs. Peeing

What is Dog Marking?

Dogs are naturally dominant animals, and urine marking is your furbaby’s way of marking and protecting his territory or things he thinks belong to him. Urine marking could also be a way for your dog to communicate with other dogs and with you. Is dog marking bad? Not necessarily, as long as you can control your dog's marking to avoid messes.

According to Oregon Humane Society, dogs enjoy feeling safe in a particular space or area. They sometimes let other people and animals know this by marking. But beyond these instinctive reasons for a dog peeing as urine marking, it can also mean other things:

  • Unspayed or unneutered dog. One benefit of spaying and neutering is to help curb bad behaviors in dogs, like urine marking. The Humane Society of the United States stated that spaying and neutering your dog should reduce urine-marking but not totally eliminate it. This is because it has become a learned behavior, spaying or neutering alone won't solve the problem.
  • Another animal is in their territory. Your dog’s territory doesn’t only mean your home and all their belongings, it can also mean the things that have become familiar in their daily routine - like the path you always take on walks, the park you always visit, and many others. If other dogs or animals have been to their “territory”, your furbaby will urine mark to show dominance and assert that it is theirs.
  • Trying to make new places feel (and smell) like home. Dog marking may also mean that your furbaby is trying to recreate their safe place or make a new place seem like home to feel safe.

is my dog marking or urinating? male dog marking

Common Signs of Dog Urine Marking

Is my puppy marking or peeing? When does a puppy start marking? Puppies can start marking very young as it is a part of their natural instinct. However, puppies also have small bladders and could just be peeing. To know the difference, you must first know how to identify marking. Is marking the same as peeing? Not exactly, dog peeing may be urine marking if:

  • The presence of urine is only in small amounts
  • Peeing is usually done in vertical surfaces (but can still happen on horizontal surfaces, too)
  • Your dog is potty-trained but pees when a guest or a stray animal have been to your house
  • Your dog pees on new objects at home with unfamiliar scents and appearances
  • A female or male dog is peeing in the house suddenly
  • Your dog has conflicts with other pets at home and marks to express their frustration and anxiety
  • They encounter with other animals outside your home
  • Your dog is in a new place they’ve never been to before

Dogs who urine mark might also do so in a number of situations and locations.  These include while out on walks, when in your own home, when in your own yard, while traveling, or while on visits to new places.

Urinating on the other hand...

Urinating, on the other hand, is simply your dog’s way of emptying their bladder.

If your dog is emptying his bladder where he or she is not supposed to, it is called inappropriate urination. If inappropriate dog peeing happens very often, it can be a sign of some medical problems like urinary tract infections or it might be due to a lack of consistent potty training.

The inappropriate peeing by your dog at home can be because of many reasons. It can be excitement urination, where your furbaby urinates when he gets overly excited about something. It can also be submissive urination, where your dog pees when he gets scolded, hears loud noises, experiences separation anxiety, or meets people and animals for the first time. Or simply because of poor potty training.

What You Can Do About Dog Marking

Now that we've finally distinguished the difference between the two, here is what you can do to help curb these unpleasant concerns:

How to stop a dog from marking in the house (or at least curb it)

  • Consider spaying or neutering your dog. Doing so will lessen your furbaby’s urge to mark. But take note that spaying or neutering your dog does not eliminate bad behavior. While it can help, it is not a magic fix.
  • If your dog lives with other pets at home and they oftentimes get into each others’ nerves, it is best that you resolve conflicts among them.
  • Always keep your furbaby indoors and restrict any stray animals from getting inside your lawn.
  • Clean marked areas immediately with enzymatic cleaners.
  • Provide a stress-free environment away from stressors.
  • Use Pet Parents® dog diapers or belly bands to prevent messes around your home

How to prevent a dog from making accidents at home

  • Consider pee pad training your dog. Supervise your dog while training to help minimize accidents. When you see him about to urinate, get his attention by calling his name, whistling, or clapping. Calmly interrupt him and take him where the pee pad is or outside, where he do his thing. After he’s peed, don’t forget to praise him and give him a reward.
  • Avoid giving punishment as this will only scare your dog and will continue having accidents as long as you won’t see. Positive reinforcement is key in effective potty training.

do belly bands work for dog marking?

How Can Pet Parents® Help Dog Marking?

If cleaning up after your dog marks or urinates is too much of a trouble, you can have them wear dog diapers or belly bands for dogs. Meant to keep your home clean, these reusable dog diapers and belly bands come very handy and beneficial! With these, your furbaby can mark or pee (while still learning not to) without you having to worry about the leakages and messy cleanups after.

Also, if you have decided to pee pad train your dog, you can use Pet Parents® Pawtect® Pads for that added leakage protection. These pads have triple-stitched binding that guarantees that the pads won’t be shredded to pieces by your dog. Created from a proprietary fabric blend, the pads instantly absorb and take in more liquid than other selections in the market. Pet Parents® Pawtect® Pads are also very convenient as every pack comes in two. You can use the other one while the other one is still in the wash and vice versa!

Note: Make sure to change the pads or the diapers every four hours or as deemed necessary to prevent your furbaby from developing urine burns and rashes.

What even makes these Pet Parents® products the best out there? These dog diapers, belly bands, and Pawtect® Pads are washable and reusable! You are not only able to save money, but you also help save the environment for a better place for your dog to live in!

dog diapers for male dog marking

"These dog diapers, belly bands, and Pawtect® Pads are washable and reusable! You are not only able to save money, but you also help save the environment."

Is dog marking the same as peeing? While marking is peeing, there are some differences in dogs marking territory vs. peeing. Telling whether dog peeing is marking or just emptying the bladder can be tricky, but we are here to help you lead you and your furbaby to a happier and healthier life ahead!