Cynthia Edgerly – Bingo! Dog Training
Urine marking is a normal, instinctive dog behavior that is most frequently exhibited by males but also sometimes by females. And while humans often find this behavior upsetting, to dogs it is something of great interest. Urine marking is one way dogs communicate with each other.
Through urine marking alone dogs can establish territory, social order or advertise mating availability. There is even evidence that dogs get important health related information from this practice.
Dogs that suddenly begin to mark in the house, even if they’ve never done it before, often start due to feelings of insecurity or a perceived threat. These feelings can result from the introduction of new people, pets or objects into the home. Loud noises outside of the home like neighborhood construction projects and storms may also increase insecurity.
Some dogs never mark in their own house but tend to mark anytime you go into a friend or relative’s home. Laying down familiar scent can make dogs feel more at home.
Below are some tips to prevent or stop marking indoors
- Get a health check. Urinating in the house and other inappropriate areas can also be a sign of urinary incontinence or illness. It is always a good idea to rule out medical problems first.
- Spay or neuter your dog. Done at an early age, this will stop or decrease marking behavior in most dogs and prevent the behavior from ever becoming a bad habit. Older dogs also benefit from this procedure but there is a very good chance you will also have to go through training and management program to break the habit.
- Proper Cleanup is essential. You must thoroughly clean areas where your dog has marked in the past to discourage your dog from re-offending in the same place. Use a good enzymatic cleaner especially designed for pet stains like Petastic or Natures Miracle.
- Restrict access to doors and windows through which your dog can observe territorial intruders if this triggers marking behavior.
- Keep your dog on-leash when inside a friend or relatives home.
- Keep objects likely to cause marking behavior out of reach. Items such as guest belongings and new purchases can be placed in a closet or cabinet.
- Follow a strict management program and only allow freedom as your dogs behavior permits. Watch your dog when he is indoors. If you can tell he is about to urinate, interrupt him with a loud noise and take him outside. If he urinates outside, praise and give him a treat. When you’re unable to watch him, put your dog in a confinement area or tether him to you with a leash. A bellyband may be a good option for those times when you don’t want to confine your dog.
- Practice a ‘Earn and Learn’ program with your dog. This is a safe, non-confrontational way to establish your leadership and requires your dog to work for anything he wants from you. Have your dog obey at least one command (such as “sit”) before you pet him, give him dinner, put on his leash, or throw him a toy. Establishing yourself as a strong leader can help stabilize the hierarchy and thus diminish your dog’s insecurity.
Cynthia Edgerly, owner of Bingo! Dog Training in Watsonville, CA, is a Professional Dog Trainer & Certified Dog Behavior Consultant.
Bingo Dog Training proudly provides boarding school for dogs, private dog lessons, group training classes and dog behavior help in the following California cities: santa cruz, prunedale, aromas, freedom, corralitos, seaside, marina, pacific grove, scotts valley, watsonville, castroville, salinas, carmel, aptos, soquel, ben lomond, felton, pebble beach.