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Submissive and Excitement Urination

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Does your dog urinate at your feet when you greet him/her?

Does the dog urinate at the sight of certain people or genders?

Does your dog urinate on the floor if you yell, or reach for him/her?

 

Your dog may have a submissive urination issue if:

  • Urination occurs when s/he's being scolded.
  • Urination occurs when s/he's being greeted.
  • Urination occurs when someone approaches the dog.
  • S/he is a somewhat shy, anxious or timid dog.
  • S/he has a history of rough treatment or punishment.
  • Urination is accompanied by submissive postures such as cowering, crouching down, tucked tail, or rolling over and exposing the belly.

Submissive urination is not a housetraining issue, nor is it a dog misbehaving.This type of urination is an instinctive social behavior, also seen in wolves, demonstrating submission. The urination is actually a signal that your dog submits to your dominance. An extremely submissive dog will roll over, show the belly and urinate at the same time. Your pet is not trying to anger you. Ironically, the behavior is meant to please you by showing submission.

Submissive urination is most common in young dogs, small dogs, or dogs that have been punished too severely in the past. With time, patience and some readjustment on how you interact with your dog, it can be minimized or eliminated.

Submissive urination occurs when a dog feels threatened or fearful. It may occur when he's being punished or verbally scolded, or when he's approached by someone he perceives to be dominant to him.

It's important to remember that this response is based on the dog's perception of a threat, not the person's actual intention. Getting frustrated or upset with the dog only exasperates the problem, as the dog may submissively urinate more to try to please you.

Submissive urination often decreases as your dog gains confidence. You can help to build your pup’s confidence via obedience training and good socialization.

What to do if your dog has a submissive urination problem:

  • Take your dog to the veterinarian to rule out medical reasons for the behavior. Always check with your vet first, as a break in house training can also be a result of infection, hormonal imbalance, or illness.
  • Keep greetings low-key.
  • Encourage and reward confident body language.
  • Work with your dog on obedience and training skills
  • Expose your dog to new people and experiences, and reward these new experiences (with praise, pats, treats) to make them positive and happy.
  • Give him an alternative to behaving submissively for greetings. For example tell your dog "sit" or "shake" as you approach, and reward him for obeying.
  • Avoid direct eye contact - look at his back or tail instead. Eye contact = dominance to dogs.
  • Approach by getting down on his level by bending at the knees rather than leaning over from the waist.
  • Approach him from the side, rather than from the front, and/or present the side of your body to him, rather than your full front.
  • Pet him under the chin rather than on top of the head. Patting a dog on the head is also a show of dominance.
  • Don't punish or scold him - this will only make the problem worse.

Does your puppy urinate at your feet when you greet him at the door?
Does he seem to 'leak' urine while playing?

Your dog may have an excitement urination issue if:

  • Urination occurs when your dog is excited, for example during greetings or during playtime.
  • Your dog does not exhibit submissive body postures (cowering, crouching down, tucked tail, rolling over to show the belly) during the urination.
  • Your dog is less than one year old.


Excitement urination is fairly common in puppies. The urination occurs most often during greetings and playtime and usually occurs with dogs under one year of age. Your dog is not urinating on purpose, s/he just has poor muscle control. Excitement urination usually resolves on its own as a dog matures, as long as it's not made worse by punishment.

What to do if your dog has an excitement urination issue:

  • Take your dog to the veterinarian to rule out medical reasons for the behavior. You should always check with your vet first, as a break in house training can also be a result of infection, hormonal imbalance or illness.
  • Keep greetings low-key.
  • Don't punish or scold him.
  • To manage accidents, play outdoors or in an easy cleanup area until the problem resolves.
  • Have patience.





Fairy Dogparents
 Plymouth, Minnesota
952-484-2745