Submissive Urination is not a housetraining problem. A dog that “leaks” a bit when greeting is insecure. Your dog feels confronted by the new person or feels that their gestures or postures are threatening. By urinating a little bit he is saying, “You’re the big cheese! I’m totally not a threat to you… please believe me.”
You may see other signs of submission or fear: ears pressed down, groveling, head looking away, lip licking, sniffing the ground. All of these signs point to your dog being uncomfortable with the situation.
Punishing your dog for submissive urination will only reinforce the dog’s belief that people are frightening. Don’t react at all to the mess; just quietly clean it up. The next time your dog pees outside, praise and treat.
Preventing submissive urination is tied to building your dog’s confidence. Check out our page on Fearful Dogs for more information on recognizing signs of fear and helping your dog become less fearful and more confident.
Always consult with your veterinarian to be sure your dog does not have an underlying bladder condition.
Excited Urination is defined as leakage by a dog who is clearly happy to see you. The dog is not showing the signs of fear/stress like the dog who submissive urinates. Excited urination happens frequently in puppies that have not learned to control their bladders. However, some dogs continue this behavior in adulthood.
This problem can be fixed by managing the people in the dog’s life. Here are some ways you can keep your floor pee-free:
- Make your entrances as boring as possible. Ignore the dog for the first five minutes you are at home. Hang up your coat, put away your bags, go to the bathroom yourself… and once your dog has calmed down, greet him quietly.
- Teach family members and friends how to calmly greet your dog. The more low-key the greetings, the less likely your dog will get hyped-up enough to piddle.
- Greet guests in the front yard rather than in the house when possible. (Or place pee pads by the door if you’re in a condo or apartment.)
Consult with your vet if your housetrained dog is suddenly “forgetting” their housetraining. It could be a sign of an illness or infection.
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This material is not intended to be a substitute for professional help when dealing with dogs with intense or potentially dangerous behavior issues. Consider consulting a positive reinforcement trainer or animal behaviorist for situations that you feel are dangerous or that you don’t feel equipped to handle. A list of recommended trainers and behaviorists can be found on our website, www.yourdogsfriend.info.