How to Stop Your Dog From Marking Indoors

By Susan Paretts


Dogs mark their territory by releasing urine onto surfaces in the areas they live in and visit. Their urine contains pheromones derived from testosterone in males and parahydroxybenzoic acid in females. These chemicals communicate messages to other dogs, warning them away from the area or advertising their availability to mate. Needless to say, such behavior can be unpleasant when it occurs indoors. Take steps to ensure your dog marks only outdoors.

Step 1

Spay or neuter your dog. Neutering stops male dogs from urine marking in 60 percent of cases and spaying stops female dogs from marking in almost all cases, according to This procedure, performed by a veterinarian, removes the dog's reproductive organs, preventing the dog from mating and stopping related behaviors.

Step 2

Clean all previously marked areas of your home with a cleaner containing enzymes or carbon dioxide to break down and eliminate the chemicals contained in the dog's urine. Wipe down the areas with water, then soak them with the cleaner and allow it to dry naturally so that it breaks down the urine. Wash removable fabric items in your washing machine after spritzing them with an enzymatic cleaner.

Step 3

Prevent your dog from accessing the areas he has marked in the past by closing the door to that room. Place items you don't want soiled, such as guest belongings or certain home decor, in a room your dog cannot access or in a closet to prevent your dog from urinating on them.

Step 4

Keep your friends' dogs away from your home. Some dogs become excited or anxious around such temporary guests and will mark.

Step 5

Prevent your dog from looking out your windows by closing the blinds or curtains and distracting him with toys and games. The sight of dogs outdoors can cause your dog to mark territory indoors.

Step 6

Spray a dog-specific synthetic pheromone spray in areas your dog has soiled in the past. These chemicals mimic those secreted by lactating mother dogs and help reduce stress, which can induce marking behavior in dogs. These pheromones may be especially helpful in dogs that mark because of separation anxiety.

Step 7

Train your dog to get along with any new arrivals to your home such as babies and other pets. Give your dog a treat in the presence of the new arrival, play with the dog and verbally praise him to associate the new arrival with something pleasant and nonthreatening. The stress of a strange new person or animal in the home can trigger marking behavior in dogs.
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