Territorial Marking Can Be Resolved
It’s very common to see dogs “mark” areas outside. Dogs will eliminate on certain spots, usually areas where they sense a dog has been before. I’ve seen two dogs walking together with their owner and one dog will eliminate first, and after they’re done, the next dog will eliminate on that very same spot that their sibling did. This is called marking and it is a normal territorial behavior. However, this is something that is common between dogs, and it should NOT be common between a dog and their owner inside their home!
Some people aren’t sure whether or not their dog is “marking” or just simply had “an accident” in the home. A good way to tell is if the dog seems to consistently go to certain area. For example, I had a client whose dog kept urinating on the sofa in the living room, and no where else. This was definitely a sign of marking, as the dog was able to hold it and wait to eliminate outside when taken out. But with this particular client who has an extremely busy work and home life, when the dog was not getting enough attention, the dog took the opportunity to get their owner’s attention by marking the couch.
Territorial marking is normal between dogs, but a dog should not be marking in the home as a way to communicate with their owner. By doing this, the dog is trying to take control of the pack/family hierarchy, and the owner must ALWAYS remain at the top as the leader! If your dog is not housebroken yet, that you must apply crate training and work toward getting the dog fully potty trained. If the dog is just marking, then this must be addressed immediately, as your dog cannot be the leader. Your dog follows your direction as the owner because you know what’s best and you know how to build a happy, harmonious life for the two of you.
If your dog is marking in the home, this can be overcome!
One of the first things to do is to establish your role as a consistent leader. Also, do not allow the opportunity in the first place! For example, if your dog keeps going into your bedroom to eliminate in your closet, set it up where your dog does not have access to these areas! If your dog takes it to different room after closing off the original marking territory, give your dog a place (i.e.: crate or pen) where they have to stay, and make it a positive association so that the dog does not feel motivated to mark there. Sharpen your dog’s obedience both with and without distractions present, so they are reliable in any environment and situation. If your dog is still having issues, make sure your dog is fully potty trained, their food and water intake in consistent and monitored, and also double check with your vet and make sure nothing physical is causing the dog eliminate more than usual. Also, make sure that if your dog marks somewhere, you are cleaning it with a solution that kills the smell. If the smell of waste is still lingering, the association will still be present and your dog will still see it as place where marking is acceptable.
If you’re going crazy from your dog’s territorial marking in the home, no worries! We can help give you control and give you your home back with our in-home training program! Call us at 800-649-7297 and we’ll set up your initial in-home consultation!