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Marking is not the same as a dog relieving itself – it is leaving small amounts of urine on items (trees, bushes, couch) to leave a“calling card” and to say “this is mine.” It seems natural for dogs, but is very annoying to humans. This often starts happening in adolescence as dogs mature. Female dogs can urine mark, although it is seen as a problem most commonly in male dogs. Urine marking is different than having accidents in the house. Typically, when a dog is marking it is a small amount of urine in several places. These places may be random, or they could be in a favorite spot. Dogs can mark for many reasons; the two most common are to show ownership on what they consider their territory and anxiety.

Below are some steps you can take to help get a stop a dog from marking.

Health Check

First, it is recommended that you bring your dog to your veterinarian to make sure there is nothing medically wrong.  Urinary tract infections and other medical conditions can mimic urine marking.

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Getting Altered

If your dog is not spayed or neutered and you are not planning breeding or showing in conformation, this is something to consider.  Altering or “fixing” pet dogs that are marking helps to eliminate the issue in 50 to 60 percent of dogs.

New Stuff

Dogs like to place their territorial stamp on new items, especially if they come from a place where there might have been another dog.  Try to remember to place new items off the floor and out of reach of your dog.

Outside Visitors

You may want to investigate the outside of your home.  Sometimes there may be other dogs in the area that come near your house and cause your dog to feel the need to mark in the home.

Close Supervision

To prevent your dog from marking in the house, make sure that they are not left unsupervised.  If you are unable to watch your dog, then they should be crate trained and safely placed into their dog crate so they cannot mark.  If you do catch them in the act of marking, you should make a loud noise to startle them and then take them outside and reward the correct behavior.  If you do not catch your dog in the act and find the accident later, then it is extremely important that you do not punish your dog. Your dog can’t connect what he marked an hour ago to your punishment, so it does not deter the marking and can make your dog afraid and confused.

Block Access

You can also take measures to help deter or block your dog from the area where they are drawn to marking. Try using baby gates or pet gates to block certain rooms, or double sided tape to keep them from certain parts of the room.

Deep Clean Up

If your dog does mark in the house, make sure you are using an appropriate cleaner to take the scent out.  Even though you might not be able to smell it, they will be able to and this will continue to draw them to that area.  We recommend an enzymatic pet stain remover to completely remove the stain and the smell.

Belly Bands

For both male and female dogs you can find either belly bands (for males) or dog diapers (for females). Remember that this is not a fix for the situation but more of a band aid.  If you choose to use one of these items to help with training, make sure you check them frequently for wetness.
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