How do I stop my dogs from marking territory indoors?
by Ontario SPCA and Humane Society | Dog Care | January 15, 2021
One of the questions we receive at our animal centres is how to stop dogs from marking territory indoors. We have some simple tips you can follow to help avoid this from happening in your home!
Why do dogs mark indoors?
If you are a dog parent, you may be familiar with the term “marking.” Marking is a very common behaviour in dogs as it is used as a way to communicate. It can also be an anxiety-based reaction. Most commonly, dogs will mark certain household objects, like beds, doors and toys to communicate their claim over them.
What to do if your pet is marking indoors
First, take your dog to the vet to confirm there is not an underlying medical issue causing the marking behaviour. You’ll also want to make sure your animal is spayed or neutered. Unneutered male dogs are more likely to mark their territory, so neutering can significantly decrease urine marking behaviours – plus it helps reduce pet overpopulation!
If your dog is confirmed to have no medical concerns, here are some techniques to help curb or lessen marking in the home:
Go back to the basics
- Whether your dog is a puppy or an adult, make sure they have plenty of time outside to relieve themselves and expend extra energy. This may mean re-establishing a housetraining system for some time where they are taken out every two hours and rewarded with a high value treat every time they eliminate outside.
- Pairing positive reinforcement with outdoor marking will help shift their urinating habits as they will notice that good things happen when they eliminate outside.
Block access points
- If there is one area or item in the home the dog is continuing to mark on, try to block access points to this item.
- If an area cannot be blocked, try changing the meaning of that area by using it as a play or training area, giving treats and a variety of distractions. Enrichment items, such as frozen Kongs or food puzzles, are helpful in keeping your dog focused on more rewarding matters.
- In the case you cannot supervise your dog, make sure to crate train or have a separate area where you leave your dog to reduce the chance of marking inside when they’re alone.
- Removing existing odours and stains is an important step in limiting indoor marking behaviours, as it will help reduce the likelihood of re-marking the spot. Using an enzymatic animal-specific cleaner for eliminating urine odor will help neutralize the commonly marked areas.
Remember to be patient with your dog. Working together, you can improve behaviours and enjoy your home together!
For more helpful training tips, visit shelterhealthpro.com
Speaking for the ones who can’t speak for themselves
Keep up the good work speaking for the ones who can’t speak for themselves. A society who cares for their animals is a better society. Thanks for your good work!