Is Your Puppy Urine Marking Or House Soiling – (What To Do?)

Watching your fully potty-trained dog, soiling your house again, is upsetting. If you are here, it is highly likely that you are watching your dog reverting back to the unacceptable potty habits and that’s really something that needs your action. 

There are usually 2 situations with your dog if he is urinating at home or outside without actually going to the potty. 

Either he is house soiling or urine marking. 

Let us give you a brief idea of what they are:


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What is house soiling?

House soiling is the act of dogs and puppies, urinating and defecating in the house or in the area where they are not supposed to relieve themselves.

If your dog was potty trained already but still he started to pee and poo again in the house, it can be called puppy potty training regression.

This regression is more common in potty-trained dogs under one year of age but it can also happen in older dogs sometimes.

Unfortunately, house soiling is one of the most common reasons, many dogs end up staying in shelters. 

What is urine marking?

Urine marking is the act of dogs or other animals when they urinate on something to mark their territory. Marking is a natural way of communication in dogs. 

It’s an animal way of writing their name on something to tell others that this thing belongs to this person. 

Both male and female dogs urine mark but this phenomenon is more common in male intact dogs.

Dogs may start to urine mark as early as 3-4 months old. 

Read more: Why are male dogs harder to potty train? (how to make them easy?)

Urine marking vs house soiling – How to tell the difference.

Urine MarkingHouse Soiling / Regression
The problem is only with urinating. The dog is peeing and pooping in the house. 
Most accidents are found on vertical surfaces.Most accidents are found on horizontal surfaces.
Dogs are urinating on new objects in the home. The dog is doing the deed on regular things.
The amount of urine is usually so small. The amount of urine or feces is normal. 
The dog lifts his leg to urinate.The dog follows the normal posture of urinating. That is squatting.

Reasons of Urine Marking:

There are 4 main reasons for urine marking behavior in dogs. 

  1. Territory marking
  2. Sexual arousal
  3. Stress/anxiety
  4. Medical condition

1- Territory Marking:

  • If there is a new dog or other pet in the house, your dog will try to mark his territory and show the other dog that this area belongs to him only. 
  • If there is a new person in the house, just like a new baby or your new girlfriend staying in your house. The dog will try to mark his area. 
  • If your dog sees new animals around the house or roaming into the yard, your dog might feel insecure and try to mark territory. 
  • Conflict between animals. If you have multiple animals in the house and they have a conflict.

2- Sexual Arousal:

  • If your dog is intact, he is more likely to start urine marking. 
  • If your dog sees a female dog around him. He may start to mark.  

3- Stress / Anxiety:

Stress or anxiety in dogs may cause your dog to mark his area. 

If your dog is confused about something, his primary caretaker is gone, he has lost his memory due to aging or he is afraid of anything around, he may get stressed or anxious. 

These are only a few reasons. There are a lot more. 

4- Medical Condition:

Some medical conditions like 

May cause your dog to start urine marking. 

Read More: Medical conditions that might be hindering the puppy’s potty training process.

How to stop your dog from urine marking?

First thing first, take your dog to a veterinarian to rule out if there is any medical condition that might be causing it. 

If everything is fine, you can follow these tips to stop your dog from marking urine. 

1- Neuter the dog

Spray or neuter your dog as soon as possible. 

The recommended age of dogs to neuter a male dog is around 6-10 months.

Smaller dog breeds need the process to be done earlier and large dog breeds need more time. 

Neutering will help the dog to have lesser sexual arousals and the chances of urine marking associated with sexual arousal will be decreased. 

2- Make him friends with a new pet or person at home

If there is a new pet in the house, make them friends. Play with them together. Give both of them the same toys and let them spend a good time together. 

If they play together, give both of them the same treats. Make the new relationship as positive as you can.

If there is a new person in the house, ask him to spend more time with the dog. If the new person is a baby, place treats around the baby and let your dog have that from that new little person.

3- Resolve conflict between animals

If your pets at home are having a conflict, resolve it to stop that act of marking territories. 

We can’t offer any advice on how to resolve it, it depends upon the nature of the conflict they are having.

4- Restrict access to the area they mark

If your dog marks the area to show that this is his territory, you should restrict his access to that area. Show him that urinating on something will not make the thing “his”, but he will no longer have access to that area. 

5- Restrict access to windows and doors from where he sees other animals

If the urine marking is a product of your dog seeing other animals roaming around the house, you can either restrict that animal to roam there or restrict your own dog to go to that window or door.

6- If you are taking your dog to someone’s home

If you are going to visit someone’s home, it’s better to not take your animal with you. But if it’s unavoidable and you have to take him with you, make sure to follow these tips:

  • Give him treats immediately after entering their home. 
  • Say to him, “good boy” or whatever word you have to praise him. 
  • Let him explore the area under strict supervision and if he starts to sniff something, be alert and take the required action. 
  • Give him a chewing or licking toy to keep him busy with it and enjoy his time. 

7- Look for the signs

If you see your dog sniffing a certain object or investigating something, be alert. He might be trying to mark it as “his”. Immediately interrupt him and take the required action. 

8- If your dog is marking an area on a walk

Unfortunately, you cannot completely stop or avoid the territory marking while you are on a walk. It’s best to train your dog to sit when you are stopping for some time. 

Keep an eye on his actions when you are out and if you see him doing the deed, stop him immediately.

If he really needs to pee or poop, take him to the area where he can go.

Do not let him lift his leg. 

9- If it is stress or anxiety; take him to the vet

If you think that this behavior is a product of stress or anxiety, resolve the issue that is causing this stress.

Give your dog chewing or licking toys to help him relieve that stress.

It’s better to see a vet.

Read More: How to get a dog to pee all at once (to stop urine marking)?

Reasons for House soiling:

If your dog is house soiling, not urine marking. (The table above should be helpful to check the difference.) There are 2 reasons:

How to stop your dog from house soiling (peeing and pooping in the house)

Important Tips to deal with house soiling and urine marking

Whether it is house soiling or urine marking, follow these tips:

1- Clean the mess immediately with an enzymatic cleaner

You must, we repeat, must use an enzymatic cleaner to immediately clean the mess of the dog. If they smell the urine in one place, they are more likely to go to that area again.

Even if it was a urine marking, it might become a cause of puppy potty training regression. 

Read more: How to clean puppy’s pee and poop accidents perfectly?

best enzyme cleaner
what neutralizes dog urine

2- Restrict that area

If your dog or puppy has messed up with an area, it’s important to restrict them. Do not allow them to visit that place again for a few days at least. 

3- Do not punish your animal

Never even punish your animal. If you will do, you will only scare him and make the situation even worse.

Here’s how to stay patient with your puppy.

4- Get back to the basics

It’s best to practice the basic method of potty training if your dog has really started enjoying the bad behavior. 

Even if he is not reverting back to bad habits, it’s good to practice some basic things after every 1-3 months for a few days. 

So here was everything you needed to know about urine marking and house soiling. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask in the comments. 

Read more:

The perfect way to clean a puppy’s pee and poop accident

Puppy potty training regression, everything you need to know about it

Medical conditions that might be hindering the process of potty training

UTI in dogs and puppies and how to deal with it.

how to pick up dog poop

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