While both male and female dogs can mark, it’s usually a male dog that is lifting his leg around your house. And first things first, your dog isn’t marking because he is jealous or pissed off at you. Male dogs do mark for a variety of reasons, though: he smells a place where another dog peed, he has a medical issue, he isn’t actually housebroken, he is anxious about a new person/dog, or he is a new dog in a new situation. Let’s go through these and talk about how to remedy each one.
1. He smells a place where another dog peed.
If you have ever had a puppy or dog have an accident in your house, there may be lingering smells, which can cause the I-have-to-pee-on-everything-to-make-sure-my-scent-is-the-main-scent-here syndrome to begin. If you find that your dog is marking in one or two particular spots, go back with some serious cleaner or even deep clean the carpet to make sure you get up any residue. You might even need to replace a part of the carpet if it’s bad enough.
2. He has a medical issue.
Anytime your dog changes his behavior, a vet visit is a good idea. If your dog has a bladder infection, for example, he may not get all of the pee out when you go for a walk, or he may not be able to control his bladder as well as usual.
3. He isn’t actually housebroken.
If your dog is straight up peeing in the house (vs. little marking squirts around the house), he is not house broken. If he does it when you aren’t home, he is not housebroken. If he does it in another room when you aren’t looking, he is not housebroken. Go back to when he was a puppy – take him out regularly, praise him for going outside, and keep an eye on him when he’s in the house so he doesn’t sneak off and pee somewhere.
4. He is anxious about a new person/dog, or he is the new dog.
This is similar to #1. If a dog is insecure about a new person or dog, or is the new dog, he may try to spread his scent or mark his new territory by peeing on everything. As he gets more comfortable with the new person or his new surroundings, this will decrease. Until then, keep an eye on your dog and interrupt him if he starts to lift his leg. You don’t have to scare your dog or shake a can of pennies at him, but a simple “eh” or “hey” to distract your dog is usually enough to get him to stop. If he is super anxious, you may want to get him some calming supplements, like ProQuiet, or try a ThunderShirt. Sprays like Rescue Remedy or Merlin’s Magic can help calm both animals and people.
5. Bonus Tip: Neutering your dog can reduce this behavior because he will be less prone to feeling the need to “mark” his territory.