Why do dogs scent mark?

why do dogs scent mark

So I have two dogs, one who has always scent marked even though he was fixed early on, and my other dog that was fixed late but never scent marks. So why do some dogs scent mark and others don’t?

It is widely known that dogs scent mark as a way of communicating with other dogs, by leaving scent markings other dogs are able to decipher what other animals have been in this space. It is believed dogs can tell from another dog’s urine their sex, age, whether a female is on heat as well as other information.

Dogs also scent mark as a way of showing dominance, and claiming the territory.

Dogs that are not neutered are more likely to scent mark then neutered dogs; this is why it is highly recommended to get your dog spayed or neutered before 1 year of age, preferably around 5-6 months old. This will greatly reduce your chances of having a scent mark loving dog. You mind find of you leave the neutering/spaying for longer than that period that even after being fixed the dog may still continue to mark as it has done for most of its life.

Female dogs can scent mark too, but this is more uncommon and usually whilst an un-spayed female is on heat.

Ceaser Millian teaches that you should not allow any scent marking whilst taking your dog for any walks or trips to the dog park.

He recommends teaching your dog to go toilet 'on command’. This sounds easy, but in practice is definitely a command that needs to be worked on with your full attention.

Read more here.

Best ways to stop it dogs scent marking

  • Start Young - If you don’t want your dog scent marking, from puppy hood do not allow the behavior this will make life a lot easier as the puppy grows.
  • Spay and Neuter - Dogs that are spayed or neutered young are less likely to mark.
  • Teach a command for toilet time - Have control over when your dog urinates, so as to avoid many stops along your walk for scent marking.

Indoor Scent Marking


Indoor scent marking is obviously more of a problem to an owner than outdoor scent marking. Nobody wants their house to smell of dog urine.

You may find the occurrence of indoor scent marking elevated if you have other animals in the house, your dog may try to mark its territory and try to be 'top dog'

What is indoor scent marking?

Scent marking is not when you find a puddle of urine in your house, it is when a dog ( normally male) has hiked up his leg to spray onto an object or wall usually only small amounts of urine, as to retain some for future marking that the dog thinks is required.

How to stop it...

The easiest way to curb this behavior is to catch your dog in the act, and use loud sounds and noises to momentarily startle the dog. They will eventually associate the act of scent marking inside with the loud noise.

It is important to clean up any pet urine properly, if you don’t the dog will be attracted to urinate in that same spot over and over again like a never ending cycle.

In conclusion, dogs scent mark to communicate and mark their territory. Some dogs will scent mark, whilst some wont.


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Unique Potty Training Book giving specific house training information on as many as 59 dog breeds.

Do you have problems at home with scent marking? What techniques have you used to curb it? Let us know in the comments below.​