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Is your Great Dane marking in the house!? This nasty little habit can be a major headache for family life and the cleanliness of your home. It’s time to dig in and learn about why dogs mark things, and how to stop a Great Dane from marking in your home!

how to stop a great dane from marking

Why Do Dogs Mark Things?

All dogs (male or female, spayed or neutered) can and will urine mark things. There are several reasons for leg lifting, including:

Scent marking

Dogs on a walk will often lift their leg on things as they sniff around. In doing so, they are able to leave their scent, too. This tells other dogs that they were there.

Ownership & Territorial marking

This occurs when the dog wants to mark an area they deem to be theirs. This can be a common issue when moving to a new home, or if a dog feels the need to mark a boundary (for example a couch, bed, fence line, or exterior wall of a home) to warn others (neighbor dogs, other pet dogs, or otherwise) that they live there.


Intact male dogs in particular are susceptible to hormone-induced urine marking. If a female is in heat nearby, he may become distressed and territorial, and begin to mark things that he normally would have have before.

Poor Cleanliness

Many dogs will mark (or urinate) over areas that were previously soiled by themselves or another dog. We cover how to clean up indoor urine marking stains below!

Stress & Boredom

Stressed and anxious dogs are more likely to urine mark, as it may be a form of stress relief. This is especially true if they are not receiving enough mental, physical, and emotional enrichment.

Medical Reasons

Dogs with a UTI, kidney or bladder stones, thyroid disease, diabetes, or otherwise may be likely to urinate or mark indoors.

If your dog started marking indoors and never did before, a visit with the veterinarian may be helpful to rule out medical causes.

why do dogs urine mark

How to Stop a Great Dane from Marking

After you see a veterinarian to rule out infections and other health problems that can lead to poor indoor potty habits, it’s time to buckle down on training.

Here is a quick, simple guide to follow:

Step One: Clean up the mess

We’re covering this below!

Step Two: Supervise

A dog that marks in the home is a dog that has lost the privilege of freedom. Supervise your dog at all times, even if that means using a crate or tethering the dog to you while you sort out the behavior.

With strict supervision, you can prevent the behavior and that is a key step in eliminating it.

Step Three: Address the Root Cause

If your male is marking in the house because there is an intact female nearby, it’s likely that the behavior will go away once the females heat passes. Neutering can also help with this particular cause.

If your dog is anxious, bored, or frustrated, add mental enrichment!

If the scent from marking remains in your carpet or furniture, you need to follow our diligent cleaning protocol (included below).

Step Four: Retrain

It may feel frustrating to have to do this, but go back to potty training 101.

Fill your pocket with treats, prevent mistakes, and go outside often. When your dog marks or pees outdoors, immediately praise and treat.

For a potty-trained dog older than 7-8 months (when sexual maturity begins), it’s also ok to correct a marking behavior if you witness it happen indoors. You MUST catch your dog in the act to issue an appropriate correction. I like a sharp ‘AH-AH’ followed by immediately taking the dog outside.

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Belly Bands that Fit Great Danes

Some people try to find belly bands for their Great Dane that marks in the house.

Belly bands can be a helpful tool for intact males that may be marking for hormonal reasons, however, in general, we don’t consider them a healthy tool to rely on every day of the year. Urine being held against the skin as well as rubbing from the elastic can cause irritation.

They must be changed often, and nothing replaces diligent supervision and training to eliminate the marking behavior. However, if you are looking for belly bands that fit Great Danes, there are some fantastic options on Amazon!

I prefer the reusable kind.

JoyDaog Reusable Belly Bands

Washable Male Dog Belly Band (Stylish Pattern)

Pet Parents Premium Washable Dog Belly Bands & Extenders

PRO TIP: If you want them to last longer in between washes, you can easily line them with human sanitary pads.

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How to Clean Pee From Carpet & Couches

This is a quick version of my popular and insanely effective method for cleaning up urine and marking stains from your home.

Step One: Remove Liquids

Use paper towels or microfiber to remove as much of the liquid as possible. The more you can get out, the better. On carpet, you can lay down towels and then put something heavy on top of them to help with moisture wicking.

Step Two: Rinse Rinse Rinse

Use a quality carpet shampooer and hot water to rinse the affected area as much as possible. The goal here is to remove as much of the stain as you can.

Do NOT use carpet cleaning solution, vinegar, baking soda, or any kind of soap. All this will do is minimize the effectiveness of the enzyme cleaner in the next step.

Tineco Carpet One PRO: $499 +

Hoover Power Scrub Elite Pet – $239 +

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Premium Carpet Cleaner for Pet Owners. See the Tineco PRO Here.

Step Three: Apply Enzyme Cleaner

Once the area is as clean as you can possibly get it (having used nothing more than water), you want to lightly saturate (not dripping, but not dry) the area with one of my favorite enzyme cleaners.

I have personally tested and used both of these with exceptional result. They work much better than Nature’s Miracle and similar formulas.

Enzyme cleaners work to eliminate urine stains by attacking the proteins that cause the smell. These cleaners become much less effective if a lot of soaps and shampoos were used in the previous step!

Skout’s Honor Urine Odor Remover – has a very light scent

Rocco & Roxie Professional Stain & Odor Remover – has an herbal scent

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Do Dogs Urine Mark Out of Spite?

The idea that dogs urine mark out of spite is actually incorrect.

A dog that pees in the house out of spite or anger is actually acting on insecurity.

If there is stress in your home, shouting, yelling, harsh training, stomping, or general anxiety, a dog may pee or mark in areas that they normally. This behavior is actually caused by fear.

Many people mistake this act as deliberate; however, dogs don’t actually have the mental capacity (ie, they don’t have the part of the brain necessary for this) to harbor ill-will, resentment, and spite.

They cannot draw a conclusion from point A to point B that peeing on something will make you angry and ‘get you back’ for something that you did to them.

Not only that, but dogs in general actively seek to avoid conflict. This is a basic principle of survival. It makes no sense for a dog to purposefully anger somebody when in doing so, it may put themselves in harms way.

Does your Great Dane mark in the house? Share your story below!

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 

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