How to Break a Male Dog From Marking in the House

Urine odor communicates many meanings to other dogs.

Urine odor communicates many meanings to other dogs.

Urine marking is like a singles matchmaking hotline for your dog. The urine tells female dogs he's in charge, he owns the property and he is available for dates. Unfortunately, his mating instincts are turning your home into a canine porta potty. Taking control now can prevent future marking patterns.

Neuter your dog. This removes your dog's natural instincts of marking his territory. However, neutering does not eliminate territorial marking that's a learned behavior. Neutering while your dog is still a puppy can prevent marking behaviors from developing. Neutered dogs still mark in response to intact animals in the home, so it's important to neuter all pets in your household, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

Use the sit command every chance available. Most dogs were bred to carry out certain jobs, but if no job is available, then peeing on everything fulfills a duty of marking his territory. It's a job he has given to himself. Have your dog sit before eating, going outside, walking through the doorway, going in his crate and anything else you can think of. This gives your dog responsibilities that do not involve lifting his leg, according to a Partnership for Animal Welfare.

Stop Sir Pees-a-Lot from sleeping on your bed or couch. This makes your dog an equal and in his eyes, pack leader. A dog who thinks he is pack leader communicates his status with the pheromones in his urine. If your dog fights to be on the bed or couch, have him sleep in his crate. He will whine, but ignore it.

Make frequently marked areas unpleasant for peeing. The ASPCA recommends double-sided tape or vinyl carpet runners turned upside-down. Put food and treats in locations he marks, so he thinks it's a food spot instead of a pee spot.

Restrict your dog's freedom in the house. Going back to house-training basics, your dog needs to be crated or enclosed in a small non-carpeted room if you're unable to supervise. If your dog is free of marking behaviors for one month, increase his freedom area by adding a room or hallway. Continue to add additional space each month he doesn't mark; however, start back at the beginning immediately if he pees in the house.

Items you will need

  • Crate
  • Dog bed
  • Treats
  • Enzymatic cleaner
  • Double-sided tape

Tips

  • If a new resident moves into your home, have them feed, groom and play with your pet. This reduces the amount of marking due to an intruder being in the home. Give treats and frequent play times in the presence of a new baby, so your dog associates the baby with positive treatment, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
  • Clean previous marking odors with an enzymatic cleaner, which is available at most pet stores.
  • Allow your dog to mark during walks. Not allowing marking outside can frustrate your dog and increase the amount of peeing he does inside, according to the ASPCA.

Warnings

  • Do not physically punish or scold your dog for urine marking. Your dog will pee more, so you're aware he is pack leader. It can also create fear, so your dog only pees if you're not around.
  • Do not clean with ammonia-based cleaners since urine contains ammonia. Ammonia can increase marking within the household.
 

About the Author

Melissa McNamara is a certified personal trainer who holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and communication studies from the University of Iowa. She writes for various health and fitness publications while working toward a Bachelor of Science in nursing.

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