Ask Dr. Diane: My Dog Marks in the House!

terrier-sittingMy son and I own a mixed breed. We aren’t sure about the exact breeds, but we know he is a type of wire-haired terrier. He is about a year old and has been house trained well for some time now. However, lately he has been marking his territory inside the house. On the corner of the couch or the leg of a dining room chair. How do we get him to stop doing this. We have no other pets living in our house, and none have ever visited. Thanks so much for your time.

Has your dog been neutered? If not, I would certainly consult your vet about having this procedure take place ASAP. However, even after your dog has been “fixed”, behavioral changes may not take place immediately. It could take some months for him to change his behavior.

Also, I would have your dog thoroughly examined by your vet to determine any medical or health issues that may be responsible for your dog’s behavior. Sometimes a urinary tract infection or other health issues can prompt a change in a dog’s behavior.

Most likely, your pet is maturing and approaching adolescence. He is feeling comfortable enough in his position and environment to want to mark or claim his territory as it were, and to assert his dominance.

Verbally discourage his “bad” behaviors and reward his good behaviors. Have him obedience trained and socialized. A loud and firm ”No” when he is about to or is actually peeing on furniture should discourage him from doing so. When you sense he is sniffing and lifting his leg to pee, gently but assertively take him by the collar and escort him outside, and say, “Good pee. Good pee outside.” Pet him, make a fuss over him and speak to him in a warm, loving and approving manner.” Your dog wants to please you (no matter how it appears!). He wants your approval. With love and patience, you can change his errant ways.


Do you have a question for Dr. Diane? We’re proud to say she provides expert tips here on DogTipper so please send in your questions on our Ask Dr. Diane contact form! Dr. Pomerance is an animal behavior specialist and an expert on topics such as deciding which puppy is best for your family, how to pick out a rescue, and on healing from the loss of a pet.

For More Information on Dr. Pomerance:

From Our Store!

About Paris Permenter

Paris Permenter is the founder and co-publisher of LT Media Group LLC. Along with her husband, John Bigley, she edits,, and has authored over 30 books on pets and travel.