Does your dog have the annoying habit of urinating on the furniture or walls of your house?
You are not alone!
Many dog parents around the world find it hard to stop their dogs from peeing on everything inside the house... and it's not their fault.
The thing is, urine marking is normal and instinctive dog behaviour. This unwanted behaviour is common in male dogs - especially unneutered male dogs, but is sometimes seen in females too.
Dogs generally mark on vertical surfaces, and it may be just a few drops. Your dog can relieve himself outside and then still come in and mark.
It’s not a house-training issue as much as a territorial one. To them, they're marking their territory... the same way you write your name or inscribe a mark on items to prove they belong to you.
But, how do you permanently stop your dog from engaging in this unwanted behaviour?
In this article, we're going to look at 11 steps to permanantly stop urine-marking behaviour in your dogs. But here are 2 things you need to keep in mind:
There are dog owners that think a dog that marks is trying to show who's in charge, but that's simply not true.
If anything, it's more like a calling card that says, “I was here”.
Marking is generally a sign of anxiety, rather than dominance. Adding another pet to your household can trigger urine marking.
So can the presence of an animal, like a neighborhood cat or fox, on your property.
Anything new can provoke urine marking – a baby, boyfriend, sofa, shopping bag, visitor’s backpack, or even the smell of other animals on your shoes.
Take your dog to the vet to rule out any medical causes.
You could be looking at urinary tract or other infections, incontinence, prostate enlargement, mental confusion, or mobility problems – especially if this is a new behavior in an older dog.
Urine Marking can also be triggered by the condition of other resident pets – a female in heat, a dog with a urinary infection, or an intact household pet.
Spaying or neutering your dog should reduce marking and may stop it altogether. This should typically be done before marking turns into a habit that’s more difficult to eliminate.
However, if your dog has been marking for a long time, a pattern may already be established.
That's because marking has become a learned behavior, spaying or neutering alone won’t solve the problem.
If your dog is getting used to a new person (baby, friend, guest…), pay lots of extra attention to your dog.
Have the newcomer feed your dog, and make sure you give your dog lots of treats or playtime - especially in the case of a new baby.
This way, their anxiety will remain under control.
Adding a new pet to your (dog's) home? Do so on neutral territory.
When that goes successfully, introduce the resident dog and the new pet outside. Then finally introduce both inside the house.
Don’t get so excited about your new pet that you neglect the others.
And if there is a problem between your pets, get help from a positive trainer or behaviorist before it escalates. Sometimes, the answer is as simple as feeding the pets in separate rooms.
Put things in a closet, cabinet, or shelf. Also keep your dog away from new furniture, until it has been around for a while.
Use an enzymatic or bacterial cleaner developed for pet urine, so that the odour doesn’t persist.
White vinegar will also eliminate urine odor if it’s used immediately - especially on carpets.
Just because you can’t smell it doesn't mean your dog can't.
A dog's sense of smell is 17 times stronger than that of humans. This means they will return to the same area to pee over and over.
If you can close a door or use baby gates, do it.
If that’s not possible, feed your dog in the area he likes to do urine marking. Dogs do not pee or poo where they sleep or eat.
By moving your dog's food to the area, he’s less likely to urinate there again.
Dogs follow a sequence before lifting their leg.
Study his sequence and interrupt it before he gets too far into it. Get him outside, and reward him for urinating there.
It may be easier to notice these signs if your dog’s leash is attached to your waist.
The best place would be his crate since he won’t mark there.
If your dog doesn’t already like his crate, gradually train him to it: feed him in his crate and have random treats appear there.
However, if your dog already hates the crate, you could try a small room where he hasn’t already marked with urine.
If your dog’s urine marking behaviour isn’t changing, talk to your vet about a short course of anti-anxiety medication.
This may calm him enough to make the methods above more effective.
Hitting your pet, yelling at him, or rubbing his nose in places he has marked doesn't work.
Your dog won’t be sure why he is being punished. Is it because he peed? Because he peed near your bed? Because he peed where you can see? Or because you're a horrible person?
Dogs do not associate punishment with something they did earlier – even a minute ago.
Your dog has done other things within the last minute and won’t be sure what he has done wrong.
Punishing your dog for urine marking can make your dog confused and possibly fearful. It will make your dog more likely to “sneak off”, or worse, make him afraid to urinate in your presence, even on walks.
And so on…
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