It’s never fun to find Fido with their leg up marking your couch or wall. Marking is a very common dog behavior, especially in male dogs that aren’t neutered. While common, it’s frustrating to constantly clean up pee spots — especially if you don’t find them until hours later!
With a little training, you can help your dog learn to only mark outside. Here are nine effective tips to prevent your dog from marking in the house.
How to stop your dog from marking in the house
1. Make sure nothing new is triggering the behavior
Did you recently move or get a new pet? Sometimes a visitor, new furniture, or a new pet can trigger urine-marking. If possible, take steps to help your dog adjust to any lifestyle changes that may have recently happened — such as exposing them to the new cat, new dog, new home, or new baby. Sometimes, your dog just needs time to adjust to the change.
2. Take your pup to the vet
Your vet can examine your dog to ensure that your dog doesn’t have a UTI (urinary tract infection) or other medical conditions that are causing them to mark. Frequent peeing and accidents can be symptoms of a UTI in dogs. In that case, medication can help.
It’s also helpful to know the difference between a dog’s urine marking and urinating. There’s a difference between a dog that isn’t house trained versus a dog that is house trained but is marking in the home. Marking isn’t an accident. It’s an intentional behavior.
3. Have your dog neutered
Marking is most common in unneutered male dogs. Among many other benefits, getting your dog neutered can help prevent marking. Your vet or a local spay and neuter clinic can perform this procedure. Recovery from neutering takes about two weeks. If your dog is young, recovery might take only 7-10 days.
4. Thoroughly clean marked spots
As you’re cleaning any marked areas, make sure you do a thorough job covering up the scent and stains, and use the right materials. According to The Humane Society, it’s best to avoid cleaning chemicals such as ammonia or vinegar because these may encourage your dog to mark the area again.
Use a high-quality pet odor neutralizer once the area is clean — something like the Nature’s Miracle Stain & Odor Remover Trigger Spray, which removes stains on contact and uses a light citrus scent to make your home smell clean.
👉 This enzymatic cleaner will reduce urine odor and help curb marking behavior.
5. Try to catch your dog in the act
While this can be challenging if you’re not watching your dog all day, this is essential in training your dog not to mark. If you see your dog marking, make a loud noise to distract them and then immediately take them outside on a leash to potty.
When you can’t watch your pup, they should be in their crate or enclosed area. Dogs are less likely to pee in the same spot where they sleep. And limiting your dog’s access to the entire house will help your carpet stay clean.
6. Focus on crate training
Crate training can help keep your dog from marking in the house. Again, dogs typically don’t mark in the spot where they sleep.
Get your dog comfortable with their crate by using their favorite blankets, toys, treats, and lots of praise. Teach your dog a verbal cue to get them into the crate, and slowly work up to more and more time inside.
7. Temporarily use belly bands
For elderly dogs or dogs learning not to mark, belly bands like these from Pet Parents can help prevent your dog from marking in your house. These bands will essentially catch the urine so it doesn’t get on the floor. Bands should be checked often and changed if they’re wet.
👉 Remember that belly bands aren’t a permanent fix for marking and should be used sparingly.
8. NEVER punish your dog
If you find marked spots in your home, never punish your dog for marking. Dogs are unable to connect something they did an hour ago with your current punishment. The best time to correct a behavior is when you catch them in the act. Even then, never yell at or physically punish your dog. Simply tell them no in a firm, stern voice and take them outside.
9. Work with a trainer
If all else fails, a dog trainer can help you try new methods to prevent your dog from marking in your home. Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation on a local trainer to work with.
Marking is a behavior that is completely possible to prevent. Pet parents just need to know the correct steps to take. By following these tips, you can help your dog learn to stop marking in your house.
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Why do dogs mark?
Marking is when dogs pee or poop as a way to send a social signal. It’s generally used as a way for dogs to claim an area as their territory or to send a message — something like, “Hey, I was here!”
It’s very common for male dogs to lift their leg to pee on objects. While marking is most common in unneutered males , female dogs (spayed and unneutered) and neutered dogs can also mark.
Some dogs are more likely to mark when they visit new households, or when new visitors are in your home. Observing when and where your dog tends to mark will give you clues you can use to help reverse the behavior.
Frequently asked questions
How do I stop my dog from peeing in the house?
You can stop your dog from peeing in the house by using crate training, firmly but gently correcting the behavior if you catch your dog in the act, and working with your veterinarian and trainer to identify potential medical causes and help with behavior modification.
Do dogs pee for attention?
Yes, dogs sometimes pee for attention. Consistent training can help stop urine marking.
Is my dog marking or do they have a UTI?
Frequent peeing and accidents could be symptoms of a UTI. With marking, dogs intentionally pee a small amount and the pee typically is on vertical surfaces instead of horizontal surfaces (because of leg lifting).