Dogs mark territory with urine
Don't confuse urine marking with wanting to pee :
If you find large puddles of urine on the floor it is more likely that the dog had to pee and couldn't or didn't want to go out. With urine marking the dog deposits a smaller amount of urine. Marking in the house is usually done to an upright surface such as a doorway, table leg or piece of furniture. The dog will lift his hind leg and mark urine on practically any object in your house. Quite often the object is something new or different with unfamiliar smells that has come into the house but not necessarily so. He is also likely to mark items that he feels belong to him such as anything that he has become possessive about including you. He thinks you are his possession and any objects related to you are also his possessions.
Why do dogs lift their leg and mark territory with urine?
Dog urine marking is not a bathroom training issue but rather an issue concerning a whole range of instinctive behaviors. Your dog may be fully housetrained and would not dream of peeing in the house but to a dog lifting his leg to scent mark is not the same as wanting to have a pee.
We as humans tend to think of dog urine as something unpleasant but to a dog it is something of great interest. A dog leaves it's scent in urine to tell other dogs a message. This message could be about whose territory it is, about the dog's social order or advertising mating availability.
Dogs use urine marking to show their dominance or to claim something as belonging to them. Dogs with feelings of insecurity or who have separation anxiety may also mark, as territory marking builds the dog's confidence.
Do all dogs urine mark inside the house?
Most dogs that are neutered or spayed at an early age do not mark in the house. Prevention is better than cure.
Male dogs that are not castrated are more likely to mark than castrated dogs.
Although male dogs are more likely to mark urine than females it is not unknown for a female dog to scent mark too. Often a female dog coming into heat or during it will mark to advertise her availability. A dominant female will also mark.
Female dogs may also urinate over a spot where another dog has urinated.
Small breeds tend to pee (mark) in the house more than larger dogs.
Two or more dogs living together in the same house may regard each other as competition and are more prone to urine marking. Urine marking can be a dominance issue. There may be no problem with one dog but when a second dog is introduced into the house then this may be the beginning of marking problems.
Why has my dog suddenly begun marking in the house when he didn't do it before?
Usually it is because of feelings of insecurity or a perceived threat. This perceived threat, for example, can be an introduction of a new baby, a new pet, a visitor or even a new piece of furniture. The smell of other animals on your footwear or clothing can also trigger a dog to feel the need to mark his territory.
For example, a new baby in the home brings new sounds, smells, and people, as well as changes in routine. Your dog may not be getting as much attention as previously. Changes cause him to feel anxious, which may cause him to mark.
Some dogs feel the need to lift their leg and pee on all new things that enter your house, shopping bags, visitors belongings, new furniture, children's toys etc. Many of these dogs are lacking in confidence and by marking new objects it makes them feel more secure having deposited their own scent on these objects.
Some dogs will never mark in their own house but will embarrass you by marking if you visit a friend or relative's home. Your dog feels less secure there and feels the need to make it more comfortable to him by laying down a few of his own familiar scents.
Even a previously housetrained neutered male dog will urine mark under certain circumstances. This doesn’t mean it will become a regular problem. He may urine mark one or twice in a new home and then never do it again.