Why Is My Dog Marking In The Home?

When it comes to dogs, Buckeye Dog Training Columbus knows potty accidents in the home are no joke. One of the biggest priorities for a new dog owners is to make sure their dog becomes house broken, to avoid daily messes and tiresome clean ups. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new puppy or a mature dog that you rescued from the shelter, ANY dog can learn how to be potty-trained, whether that means going to the bathroom outside or using pee pads (I know the latter is preferable to some owners who live in high-rise condos and/or are not very active with going outside).

Dog Training Columbus blog on marking in the housePotty accidents are a pain, but I do get a lot of calls from people that mention that their dogs are housebroken, but the dog is intentionally “marking” in the home. Technically if the dog is still eliminating in the home, for whatever reason, then the dog is not fully housebroken. But territorial marking is a bit different comparing it to a puppy or dog that just doesn’t understand the association of going to the bathroom outdoors.

Marking is when a dog is choosing to eliminate in certain areas or on certain things as a way to “claim” it as their own. You might walk around your neighborhood and see your neighbors walking their dogs, and their dogs are constantly urinating on what seems like chosen areas, like a tree, a telephone pole, a fire hydrant, etc. All dogs mark in some way or another, but the problems form when the dog sees it as okay to mark in the home or on the owner’s belongings. Marking is a sign of the dog displaying dominance or territorial behavior, and while this is natural for dogs, there of course needs to be a limit to this, especially if it negatively involves the owner and the home.

Early on in my Columbus dog training career, I was called to help a woman who was sleeping on her couch most nights, because her dog was marking on her bed and also demonstrating some territorial aggression over the bed. This was a situation where the dog was the leader of the home, and had complete dominance and control over the owner. This is an extremely unhealthy relationship for both dog and owner. With any type of dominant and territorial behavior that is taken too far (especially if aggression is part of it), we must first get back to the basics of having the owner be a confident leader, and setting the dog up for success and to follow this leadership.

If you think your dog isn’t fully housebroken yet, then you just need to keep creating the right associations (i.e.: positive association of going to the bathroom outside), creating a consistent schedule (monitoring a regular regimen of food, water and potty breaks), and just preventing the opportunity in general (don’t let your dog sneak away to a different room to have an accident!). If you sense that your dog is intentionally marking in the home, it may be time to not only tighten the housebreaking, but remind your dog that you are the leader and in charge. Basic obedience training not only gives your dog something to do and succeed at, but it can help prevent bad opportunities and help reinforce the leadership role within you.

If you think it’s something more than this, it might be time to talk to your vet and make sure there’s nothing medically wrong with your dog. Always check out any possibilities before punishing your dog or sending them back to the shelter for potty issues!

If your dog is checked out at the vet and there’s something behavioral behind your dog’s potty accidents or marking, call Buckeye Dog Training Columbus and we’ll help you get this under control! We can be reached at 800-649-7297!