Dogs are territorial by nature and marking is their way of protecting their territory, family and belongings. Although it feels like dogs mark their territory simply to get under your skin and make you want to rip your hair out, they actually do it to make their environment smell like home.
They mark objects they feel belong to them or anything else they are possessive about. It is an instinctual behavior exhibited by dogs when they reach sexual maturity. Marking is not a bad thing, but it usually ends up in spoiling your rugs, furniture or flooring and a smelly home, and causes that lovely additional stress that I am almost positive you don't need.
Although stopping dogs from marking their territory can be very difficult because it’s so instinctual, there are ways to reduce or completely eliminate the behavior, don't you worry!
You can take some preventive measures to reduce your dog’s anxiety; investigate the potential causes behind his behavior and try to address them and so on. Below we have enlisted the things you can do when your dog is marking his territory on your furniture. We hope this saves some of your hair ;-)
1. Find out the cause of his marking behavior
Marking behavior can be a result of underlying health condition like reaction to a medicine or bladder or urine infection, improper house training, separation anxiety or some other behavioral problems like submissive or excitement urination.
Getting to the root of the problem is crucial and will help you treat it more effectively and take a lot of stress of your shoulders. A Vet check can help you rule out the potential causes of your dog’s marking behavior and then treat the underlying condition accordingly.
2. Be the leader of the pack
Territorial marking can be a way for your dog to assert dominance and establish pack hierarchy. In order to prevent your dog from marking you need to establish your dominance and show him that you are the leader of the pack! As pet parents, we know this can be difficult, especially when they bring out their sad puppy dog eyes and lose all self control. But you can do it!
Establish yourself as the alpha and be consistent, firm and confident in front him to make him feel secure. Setting rules, boundaries and limitations will help you achieve this. Make your furry friend earn food, water and affection by exercise and discipline.
3. Spay or neuter your dog
Having your dog spayed or neutered at an early age can be extremely effective in reducing the incidence of territorial marking. Spaying refers to ovariohysterectomy of a female castration of male dogs. You can work with your vet to assess health conditions and determine the appropriate age for the process. The procedure will eliminate the chances of hormone-driven marking (male dogs and those hormones, I tell ya). Along with numerous other health benefits, spaying and neutering also helps prevent urine marking behavior of dogs.
4. Some preventive measures
Taking preventive measures and properly training your dog can help reduce or even eliminate his spot-marking behavior altogether. Take into consideration the following measures to limit all of that leg lifting and spot-marking.
You must catch and interrupt him while he is trying to mark his territory. Close supervision and consistently stopping his act can help your break his habit!
- Use belly bands to keep him from dribbling urine on your furniture. These babies can be a life saver!
- You must also praise and appreciate your pooch for peeing in the right place. Reassurance, praise, and giving him extra "lovin's" when he does something right, causes positive reinforcement.
- Make sure you limit his access to the spots or things where he marks his territory. You can use barriers to stop the marking. This includes putting treats or his food on his marking spot; putting him in a crate or placing his dog bed in the area where he marks.
- Try to keep other animals away from your home as seeing another animal around often triggers this behavior, because that's his way of saying "Hey you, get outta here! This is my home!" And makes it 'his home' by unfortunately covering it in his pee.
- Clean the area you dog has marked and make sure to neutralize the odor in that area.
Properly house-train your dog to pee outside the house only. If you can’t prevent your dog from marking then make sure that you provide him an acceptable place to mark. Take him outside and show him that he needs to mark in the wild and not inside the home. He can mark his spot at any tree trunk his little heart desires, as long as he stays away from your curtains!
Don’t spank or punish your dog while training but do praise and reward him for the right behavior. Using dog diapers is another alternative, which will allow you to properly home train your dog. Take clue from these tips and effectively prevent your dog’s marking behavior.