4 Essential Smells Dogs Hate To Pee On (These Work!)

dogs walk backwards

If you have ever seen your dog pee on something or somewhere you didn’t want, you know that feeling of frustration. However, there are ways to stop this from happening, and finding out what smells your dog hates to pee on can be incredibly useful when living with dogs.

The most effective smell that dogs hate to pee on is lemon juice. The acidic nature of the lemon deters dogs from going near it and can be used to stop your dog pee where you don’t want it to.

Of course, lemon juice is not the only smell that dogs hate to pee on, and in this article, we unlock some of those smells that can help stop dogs from peeing where you don’t want them to.


4 Most Effective Smells Dogs Hate To Pee On

Lemon Spray

Lemon is by far one of the best dog deterrents around. Besides being a natural ingredient it is great at repelling dogs from peeing in your garden or house. If you have ever shown your dog a whole lemon you may have witnessed what can be described as slowly backing away.

As highlighted in our other article “Understanding Your Dogs Nose” your pooch has an incredible sense of smell. The real reason your dog hates lemon so much is because of its citrus scent. Citrus is overwhelmingly pungent and you can tell this when you start squeezing lemons or peeling oranges.

In order to effectively use the scent of lemon to stop your dog from peeing in certain places, apply using a spray. You can even water down the lemon juice to see what level of odor repels your dog. If you are using lemon juice in the garden, for example on some plants or a grassy area, be sure to know what you are spraying the juice on. For example, if you spray a strong solution of lemon juice onto the soil you will most likely alter the PH of the soil. Lemon will turn the soil more acidic meaning the plant that grows in that location will have to be able to withstand more acidic soil. Leaves can also burn if pure lemon juice is sprayed onto them, dilution is the best way to minimize this, or you can test it out on a particular area before applying the juice.

Either way, wherever you use this natural dog deterrent, you will most likely find your dog stays away. This is one of my top picks if given the correct environment for applying it.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is an interesting one and a spice that I would not have thought of straight away. The use of cayenne pepper on stopping your dog from peeing in your house may be one to question. Not just because it is harder to clean up being extremely fine, but also because it cannot be applied to chair legs or table legs. Of course, there is always the option of sprinkling the cayenne pepper around the bottom of the chair leg.

During my testing in another article “8 Smells That Dogs Hate”, cayenne pepper was something that my dog was unphased with. I have heard of owners using this spice however it was one of the least effective substances I tested. However I wanted to include it in this article as I know many owners have been successful with it, the placement of the spice might be the deciding factor on how your dog reacts to it.

Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds are another strong smell that can often deter dogs from peeing and even prevent digging in your garden. Despite their popularity in keeping dogs cats and slugs away, some dogs react differently to coffee than others. My dog will often avoid it but doesn’t appear to back away from the smell, I’ve even known some dogs to lick coffee supposedly because they like the taste.

If your dog does not like the smell of coffee then old coffee granules can be a tremendous recyclable option. Always remember that new coffee is going to be stronger smelling than used coffee but it may still work on certain dogs. The best way to utilize coffee is in its raw form. You would be correct to think that coffee gives off a stronger smell when diluted, however, this is mainly because of the steam carrying the smell into the air.

Coffee is a great fertilizer so using it in the garden can both repel dogs from peeing on your plants or garden and give your plants some added nutrients. Old coffee is easily recycled this way, although diluted coffee used in the garden will likely just disappear into the ground. If you don’t fancy sprinkling coffee granules everywhere then you can always use mesh bags to contain your coffee, this way you can place them in different areas and even use them inside without making too much mess.


The last smell I wanted to include in this article is that of vinegar. Vinegar is almost on par with lemon, with lemon out in front due to my actual experience using it. It appears that a dog’s super strong sense of smell is not keen on acidic substances, vinegar being another very acidic smell. During testing highlighted in the article “8 Smells That Dogs Hate” vinegar appeared to be just as reactive as lemon juice, making it another great smell for stopping your dog from peeing on something.

It doesn’t exactly matter what type of vinegar you use, although white wine vinegar seems to be a popular choice. Be careful when sprinkling this around as it can have damaging effects on plants, meaning it may not be best used in the garden. If you do need to use this in your garden try pouring a concentrated amount into a vessel that can be smelt easily by the dog. You can then place this around plants or in particular places your dog likes to pee.

How Do You Stop A Dog From Peeing In A Certain Spot

One thing that dogs tend to do is repeat similar behaviors over and over again. So you have a dog that is peeing in your garden, but not only are they peeing in your garden they are peeing on one particular spot. Here are some quick and simple tips to deter your dog from targeting a specific spot.

  • Change the smell of the spot – Dogs have great smell receptors and a large part of their brain is purely functional for remembering smells, unsurprisingly this is called scent memory. If your dog pees on a certain spot because they want to mask a certain scent like another dog with its own smell, then your dog will pee on that spot until it can no longer smell it. Of course every time they smell that particular smell they will remember all the reasons they peed on it in the first place. Changing the smell of that area with other strong odors is the best way to stop this behavior.
  • Prevent your dog from reaching the spot – It’s quite a simple concept. If your dog is peeing in the same spot over and over again then preventing them from getting to that spot is a surefire way to stop the habit. However, there could be some issues with this idea. As an example, if your dog was peeing on a certain spot in the garden then putting a plant pot on it won’t stop them peeing, they will most likely just pee on the pot itself. You need to prevent them from accessing the area and allow them to choose other areas of the garden to pee on. If they start peeing in random places again allow them back into that area and see if the habit has broken.
  • Place an item of value on the spot – Dogs are fairly smart and can understand something that is of value to them over something that isn’t…most of the time. If you were to place a toy on this particular spot then you may find your dog leaves it alone. Of course, you may have to be vigilant as your dog will most likely carry the toy away, play with it and return to the spot later, be sure to put a toy there ready. An interesting method is to put a treat in the same spot, I know what your thinking….my dog will just eat it and then pee on it. however if you were to continuously put a treat on this spot your dog may start to associate this area with food and peeing is not something dogs will do to their food….well not usually.
  • Place there a bed in this area – A common conception is that dogs won’t urinate where they sleep and this is true most of the time. Of course for puppies, this is a harder task as they are still learning where they should and shouldn’t go to the toilet. Adult dogs should know and will most likely avoid areas where they sleep. placing your dog’s bed on top of the spot or even in close proximity may work better than your think.

Of course, if you are toilet training a puppy I would concentrate on getting the main components of toilet training before trying any tricks. If your puppy is peeing in a certain spot and it’s outside your already winning and shouldn’t deter them from this behavior. Check out this article on toilet training a puppy, the right way. Tips for toilet training a puppy.

dog bed

Why Do Dogs Pee On Trees and Fire Hydrants

Dogs pee on fire hydrants because they are marking their territory. Fire hydrants and trees are often places where multiple dogs will pee, which causes each following dog to want to pee in the same place.

Items like fire hydrants are attractive to dogs as they present an opportunity to communicate their feelings toward other dogs. If the fire hydrant or tree has been peed on by another dog then your dog will want to cover the scent with their own. This acts as a message to the previous dogs that this tree or fire hydrant is theirs.

Peeing upwards in a vertical fashion can also be observed on vertical objects such as trees and fire hydrants. Peeing upwards allows your dog to gain more area on the object, making it stand out.

Specific objects like these are most likely common targets because they are on a walking route and many dogs will pass them throughout the day.


There are a few things you can do to stop your dog from peeing in a particular area and smells dogs hate are one method that can help. Try a combination of smells as sometimes dogs just aren’t that bothered for them and then there are others that absolutely hate them. If you enjoyed this article don’t forget to check out our other article on our homepage, all about dogs and the wonderful life we live with them.

Dean Lissaman

As a child I grew up around dogs and have loved them ever since. I now have a beloved Golden Retriever who enjoys exploring the outside world. Being an outdoor enthusiast has inspired me to create the ultimate resource on relating both dogs and the outdoors. For more information on me check out my about page.

Recent Posts