Animal Behavior Network

Positive Dog Parenting®

by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS/P

Invest just minutes daily learning how to raise the dog of your dreams and a best friend for life!

Need Help? 

Call 1-800-372-3706
to speak to a Veterinary Behavior Technician

Paws To Speak!

Member Main Menu

Elimination Training Resistant



Help is at your fingertips by library, email and phone.

Click on Library Icon
to learn more

All Pets | Topics by Age | Topics by Category | All Dogs | Media Center |    Print


After puberty, some dogs and cats begin marking territory inside the house with urine. Although both males and females mark with urine, intact (unneutered) males are more likely to do it.
It is important to differentiate marking, which is a social message, from waste voiding, which suggests a lack of elimination training or a urinary tract problem.

Characteristics of urine marking

1.   Conservation of urine - voiding small amounts at a time versus emptying the bladder all at once.

2.   Location, location...urinating on significant locations or "power spots" such as high traffic areas - near doors or windows, hallway junctions, or on tall objects.

3.   Urinating on upright objects.

4.   Urinating at times of agitation or excitement.

5.   Urinating near smells (i.e., pheromones) left by other dogs.

How to Correct Urine Marking

1.  Alter intact males and females since hormonal influences are one of the drivers for urine marking.

2.  Use a commercial enzyme-based odor neutralizer (e.g., Liquizyme, Nature's Miracle, etc.) to remove urine residue from around doors, windows, or other areas that have been marked by your dog and/or stray dogs.

NOTE:  If the urine has been marked or sprayed into carpeting, stand on a towel to "wick" out as much moisture as possible. Then use the commercial enzyme-based odor neutralizer to saturate the area thoroughly for a few moments. Remove the excess moisture by standing on a fresh towel again.

3.  Establish clear leadership using "learn to earn" and leadership exercises. Review, Leadership Through Learn to Earn and Leadership Exercises.

4.  Increase the amount of exercise for the dog and reduce the amount of times the dog is allowed to mark.

FOR EXAMPLE: only allow three or four urine markings during the walk, and continue to walk and not let the dog stop if he or she attempts to urine mark more.

5. Teach your dog to, "leave it" when sniffing for a spot to mark on a walk.

FOR EXAMPLE: when the dog sniffs a tree or another object he or she generally marks, say, "Leave it" and give the dog praise and a food treat when he or she comes away from the object.

6.  Prevent exposure to stimuli that prompts urine marking.

FOR EXAMPLE:  if the urine marking seems to be related to viewing other dogs out the window, try to avoid, eliminate, or at least reduce your dog's awareness of outdoor stressors. This can be achieved by shutting curtains, blocking windows up to a level that the dog can see out, translucent window covering to let light and shadows in but not clear vision, and animal deterrents used for the outdoors (e.g., Critter Gitter™, Scarecrow™).

7.  Avoid situations that make your dog anxious over hyper-excited.

FOR EXAMPLE:  if the urine marking is elicited when the dog is denied access to the owner by a closed door inside the home, confine the dog to an area where he or she is contented (e.g., a portable dog kennel) before going behind closed doors.

8.  Do not place new upright objects on the floor until the dog is familiar with them.

9.  If there is some doubt if it is urine marking vs. waste voiding see your veterinarian for a complete examination and urinalysis.

NOTE:  Rule out medical causes for the inappropriate elimination. This will probably involve a urinalysis but discuss the appropriate course of action with your veterinarian. If the above indicates that there is not a medical problem, restart elimination training as if the dog were a puppy

Improving Relationships between People and Pets!

MyABN         Library         Contact ABN         Privacy Policy

Copyright © 2001-Present All Rights Reserved Dr. Rolan and Susan Tripp | Animal Behavior Network & Affiliates