One of the most frequently asked questions I receive has to do with dogs marking inside the house. Let me just say this up front so that we can get it out of the way. Dog marking has nothing to do with potty training or housebreaking your dog. Dog marking is about defining territory and warning off perceived threats.

Although female dogs have been known to mark, marking is more prevalent in male dogs , especially male dogs that have not been neutered. Simply neutering a dog can eliminate up to 90% of most marking problems.

How can you tell the difference between marking and urinating to relieve the bladder: First off, you will see much more urine with a potty accident. Marking tends to be small droplets on vertical surfaces in order to get the sent to level that is more likely for other dogs to smell it.

As stated above, scent marking is the attempt to define a dog’s territory. A warning if you will, for other dogs to stay away and keep out. When a dog marks inside the house, he either smells the scent of another dog and is trying to cover that scent with his own or he is confused with his position in the social hierarchy within the home. In other words, he is trying to exert his dominance in this area.

How to stop it.

The first step in stopping dog marking is to thoroughly clean the area. Avoid cleansers with ammonia in them. The ammonia can smell similar to urine. By thoroughly cleaning the area, you will remove your dogs scent and hopefully the scent your dog is threatened by.

If cleaning the area does not seem to change your dog’s behavior then you need to remove the threat your dog has with this area. One of the best ways to do this is to feed him on or next to this area. You could also spend some time with your dog in this area, playing or just petting him. This will re-assure your dog that he has nothing to fear in this spot.

If the steps I have motioned above don’t seem to have an effect on your dog, you can use a spray bottle full of water to spray him every time he marks.

Limiting his access to the rest of the house until you are confident he will no longer mark, is always a good idea. This also goes hand in hand with my next tip, dealing with dominance issues.

Social hierarchy is a bit more complicated but there simple things you can do to re-establish your dominance as the alpha in your relationship with your dog. First, always eat before your dog. If your dog is on a different feeding schedule than you, you can make the food and then have them wait a short time before feeding. Before you place the food, make them sit or perform another command before you feed him. When going for a walk, always make sure you go through the door first.

Although these small steps may seem insignificant to you, they mean a great deal to your dog and the social order in life. You don’t have to treat him like you are trying to tame a wild animal but you must make it clear to him who is in charge.

Like people, dogs have personalities and every dog has a different personality. Training a dog can be a challenging and frustrating experience. It doesn’t have to be. If your having trouble with potty training, chewing, digging, leash training or any number of dog behavior problems. Matt can help! The animal control facilities are full of misunderstood pets. Before you give up, please use every resource possible. Most likely he has a tip or method to help you. If he hasn’t covered your problem in one of his articles than he knows someone who has. Take a look at to get started.

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