Got a Pug who’s marking here, there, and everywhere? We understand how annoying this can be…especially when your Pug starts marking inside the house!
But don’t stress, today we’re going to share everything you need to know about Pug marking behaviors and how to stop them in their tracks.
What is Pug Marking Behavior?
Marking is a typical canine behavior common to all breeds. This is their way of communicating with other dogs.
It’s quite common for dogs to leave their scent in new places (that could be by a tree, wall, bush, bench… the possibilities are endless), where they encounter a new smell, or over another dog’s urine.
This is a way of marking territory.
It’s common to find your Pug marking in the house. If your dog is marking on your sofa, carpet, or household furniture, it can be concerning and frustrating in equal measure.
It’s important to get this behavior under control as soon as possible. Household marking can be a sign of stress, anxiety, or a response to hormonal changes.
How Do You Tell If a Pug is Marking or Peeing?
Marking and peeing often get confused. Yes, it is true that marking is the act of leaving a small amount of pee on a surface. But marking is not simply peeing.
If your Pug is engaging in marking behavior, they will not empty their bladder. They will leave only a very small amount of pee on the area they wish to mark.
If you find that your Pug is full-on peeing in the house, then this is a very different problem that probably stems from lack of training, the age of your Pug (e.g. if they are still a puppy), and/or medical or behavioral complications.
Why is My Pug Marking?
So, why is your Pug marking?
As well as being a way to mark their territory and communicate with other dogs, there are many possible reasons why your Pug might be marking here, there, and everywhere.
1. Delineating territory
You Pug is probably marking in attempts to define their territory. Pugs have a bit of a Napoleon complex you see. They might only be little but boy do they think they’re all that!
2. Doggie SMS
Sometimes dogs use marking as a kind of doggie texting. In fact, that’s why oftentimes your Pug will mark on vertical items.
They will tend to mark at nose height so that other dogs can sniff them out when passing by.
Other dogs will be able to tell the sex and reproductive status of the marker just by sniffing!
Did you know?
Since Pugs are only little, they will sometimes try to mark up high by doing a little handstand!
3. Dating…Pug style
If your female Pug is in heat then marking is high up on the agenda.
When Pugs mark they release pheromones which act as a signal to potential males.
When a male Pug finds a female that sparks their fancy, it’s not all that uncommon to see them marking on her!
This is a male Pug’s way of staking claim to their Pug girlfriend (though slightly less romantic than a diamond ring).
4. Anxiety or fear
Marking isn’t always something Pugs do when they are feeling confident and territorial. The behavior can also indicate stress, anxiety, or fear.
If your Pug is experiencing stress due to a change in environment or scary event (fireworks immediately come to mind), then they might mark a nearby object.
Marking makes a scary or unfamiliar environment feel more familiar to them.
5. Excitement & overstimulation
At the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s a chance that your Pug is just super duper excited.
If your Pug is feeling over stimulated (eg. you’ve invited lots of exciting new people over to your home) then they might use marking as a displacement behavior.
I know, I know, we said that marking is all about dominance.
Well, it can be… but not always.
In fact, sometimes your Pug might start marking for the very opposite reason – to submit!
This kind of marking is also known as submissive urination. Usually, it’s young pups or nervous Pugs that will do this.
You may also notice accompanying behaviors that suggest submission, such as whining, licking, or rolling over.
Sometimes, if you scold your Pug too harshly, they may react in this way. For that reason, it’s best to avoid scolding your Pug and engage in positive reinforcement techniques instead.
Top tip: if none of the above reasons seem to account for your Pug’s marking behaviors then make sure you take a trip to the vet as it could be an indication that your Pug is unwell.
Sometimes medical conditions of the urinary tract can result in marking-like behaviors.
Do Both Male and Female Pugs Mark?
Yes, both male and female Pugs mark. Male dogs are typically marked as a way to display territory or communicate with other canines.
Female dogs also do this, and will typically engage in urine-marking behaviors when they are in heat.
How Can I Stop My Pug From Marking in The House?
Marking may be a natural behavior, but sometimes it can get a bit too much to deal with. Especially if your Pug has decided that marking inside the house is the way to go.
So, what can we do about it?
Here are some top tips to get control over your Pug’s marking behaviors once and for all.
1. Spay or Neuter Your Pug First
Getting your Pug spayed or neutered will dramatically reduce (and potentially eliminate) marking behaviors.
According to VCAhospitals, 80% of male dogs reduce marking behavior after neutering while 40% of them have stopped the behavior.
However, it’s important to note that this solution is most effective if you get the procedure done when your Pug is still young.
Once your Pug has developed a marking ‘habit’, it’ll be hard to break – even without their crown and glory.
2. Crate Train Your Pug
Your Pug needs to be crated at night when you’re sleeping and when you are not home.
3. Teach Your Pug The Place Command
You have to be disciplined with yourself about how much freedom your Pug is getting in the house. Because if your Pug has a lot of freedom, he might believe he can mark everywhere in the house.
“Oh, the couch smells like urine, that’s a place I should mark”.
If Pugs’ noses receive a signal that there’s a place to go, they are gonna begin to go there.
Eliminate all the free room that your Pug has in the house. If your eyes cannot be on your dogs, they should not be roaming around the house.
For example, if you are in the kitchen cooking dinner, your dog should not be free-roaming around your living room, bedroom, etc.
You need to teach your Pug the place command, so your Pugs will know they are not allowed to leave until they get the release word. They’re not walking around or marking around everything.
If you don’t teach your Pug place command, you really need to crate your Pug or use a harness if your eyes cannot be on them.
4. Keep an Eye on Your Pug at All Times
You really have to keep eye on your Pug at all times. If your Pug is out of sight, he might intend to mark.
Intercepting your Pug and diverting their attention to something more exciting, take him outside, and walk around until he goes to the bathroom.
Besides, if you’ve noticed your Pug is about to mark, eg: Pug sniffs around the area, circles, or scratches, etc. Keeping an eye on Pugs gives you a big opportunity to spot them in the act and stop them in their tracks.
5. Correct Your Pug in The Act of Marking
Pug marking is not acceptable behavior, but you have to be there watching your Pug, making sure to stop the marking behavior. If you don’t stop them, they’ll go on marking.
You literally only have 1.5 seconds to correct your Pug from the moment that they finish marking. You need to stop them and say no immediately when they do that.
If you wait until after the Pugs finished, even 2 seconds after the finish, your correction is not going to do anything.
You can use an e-collar re-correction or pet convincer, or you can do a prong pong, anything to stop your Pug to stop in the moment of marking, it has to be in the moment.
6. Develop a Regular Bathroom Routine
Routine in your Pug’s best friend.
Making sure that you develop a regular bathroom routine will help you keep on top of your Pug’s marking behaviors.
Ensure that your Pug has their own designated spot (preferably outside) where they can pee each day. When they pee on that spot, be sure to reinforce that behavior with a reward.
Peeing and marking aren’t one and the same, but showing your Pug where they can tinkle will no doubt help.
7. Clean The Marking Areas
Remember how we said that Pugs will sometimes mark on top of another dog’s pee or a new and exciting smell?
So, logic dictates that cleaning up these smells (wherever possible) will reduce the chance that your Pug is going to get territorial over them!
If you have other animals or dogs at home, make sure to clean up after they pee immediately.
Even if you only have one Pug, it’s still a good idea to clean up after any pee or marking behaviors to avoid repeat behaviors because dogs tend to mark over the same spot.
8. Move Objects That Trigger Behavior
If you notice that your Pug loves to mark on certain objects in particular, then remove those objects and put them in an area that your Pug cannot access.
9. Prepare for The Anxiety
If your Pug marks when you’re out of the house then it could be because they become anxious, or over excited when left alone at home.
It’s a good idea to confine your Pug to a smaller portion of the house using baby gates or crates. Creating a calm and relaxing environment to leave your Pug in whilst you’re out will reduce their anxiety, and (hopefully) their marking behaviors too.
When your Pug is home alone, it can also help to limit their view outside. Now, we’re not saying keep your Pug in complete darkness, but making sure there’s no furniture to climb on and peer out the window at passers by and animals will help keep your Pug calm.
Top-tip: try to pick a space where they have never marked before.
Keep Pug Marking Behaviors at Bay
Pug marking behavior is a completely natural canine response. But sometimes our Pugs can take things a little bit too far.
If your Pug is marking in the house excessively, there are a number of reasons why this might be.
Get yourself well prepared to keep Pug marking behaviors at bay.