When a dog marks, he (or she) is leaving small amounts of urine around, usually to let others know that he was there. It makes sense in the animal world, but obviously it’s not something most of us want to allow in our homes or even in certain parts of the yard.
So, if you have a dog who marks or pees on things in the home, here are some tips on how to end this annoying behavior.
6 tips to stop a dog from marking in the house
1. Understand why dogs mark in the first place.
Generally, dogs mark to leave their “personal calling card of scent” to let other dogs know they were or are here, said Rachel Friedman, a dog trainer with A Better Pet LLC.
“Obviously there are places from our perspective where this is not desirable,” she said. “To the dog, all is good. Marking on a tree, check! Marking on a couch, check!”
She said it’s our job to help the dog understand we want them to mark outside, but not indoors.
2. Supervise your dog.
If you have a dog who marks in the house, Friedman said it’s important to supervise him during the training process.
She said you can do this by:
- Keeping the dog on a leash and near you or even “attached” to you
- Tethering the leash to a stationary object, but still supervising
3. If you see the dog about to mark, tell him no.
While you’re supervising your dog, if he starts to look like he’s about to mark, tell him “no” sternly and immediately take him outside, suggested Karen Krieg, a dog trainer with Beltway Dog Training.
She said it’s best to teach your dog to go to a specific spot outside, and you should take him out to that spot every time.
“Dogs do behaviors that suit them, and if marking in the house is not discouraged, they will assume that doing so is an appropriate and OK behavior,” she said.
4. Use a product called a belly band.
Friedman recommends a product called a “belly band” if you have a male dog who marks. I’ve used this product as well with some of my foster dogs and would also recommend it.
A belly band catches the urine and keeps it off of your furniture or walls while you teach your dog more appropriate places to mark, like outside!
5. Use a kennel/crate when you can’t supervise
There are obviously times when we can’t supervise our dogs, and that’s when a kennel or crate comes in handy. A kennel will help your dog earn more freedom in the future, so try not to feel sorry for him.
“Dogs are inherently clean animals and won’t mark their own spaces, usually at least!” said Krieg.
She said the crate should not be used as a punishment, and being in his crate should be a positive experience for the dog.
6. Don’t use potty pads.
Krieg said she’s had a lot of clients who use “puppy pads” in the house only to discover the dog is using rugs the same way as the puppy pads.
To prevent this type of behavior, she said it’s better not to use the pads and to teach the dog to go outside in order to establish the right behaviors.
Do any of you have dogs that tend to mark in the house? Do you have any questions or suggestions?
Also see our post on common mistakes when potty training a puppy.
Want more dog training tips? Check out these blogs.