How To Prevent Submissive Or Excited Urination

We always get questions about owners’ dogs submissively or excitedly urinating during our puppy training classes in Northern Virginia.

What we hear all of the time is, “My puppy does this anytime my husband comes in the room, I swear he has never hit him or did anything to him.” People automatically assume that this is a fear-based response, this is simply not true.

First we will discuss why submissive urination occurs, and what you can do to start fixing or addressing this issue. This generally occurs in puppies, as you all know, dogs are pack animals (read blog on Pack Leadership), and a new puppy generally is viewed as the lowest member of the pack. So, some puppies show their submissiveness to who they view as the higher member of the pack by rolling over onto their backs or submissively urinating. So, don’t be alarmed and automatically assume that it has anything to do with your puppy being afraid of your or fearful of you.

Some of the things that can trigger submissive urination are:
-Scolding a puppy loudly
-A loud noise
-Using body language that intimidates your puppy
-Sometimes, the higher pack member simply walking into the room can trigger this, as well

Generally, this is something that your puppy will outgrow by the age of one. However, there are many things you can start doing with your puppy in order to prevent this sooner:
Confidence Building and Noise Desensitization Drills
-Obedience Training
-Socialization

When submissive urination occurs, try not to scold your puppy for this behavior, this can just increase the problem.

All of those things will help you in having a highly confident, happy, and well adjusted dog that can quickly get you over the submissive urination phase.

The next thing is excited urination, which can both be one in the same; however, a dog can show excited urination without showing submissive urination (and vice verse).

Excited urination is generally an automatic response that younger dogs will give when uncontrollable excitement occurs in the puppy.

Some of the triggers for excited urination can be:
-Owner comes home from being gone for an extended period of time

-New person comes over to the house

-When the puppy is highly excited, someone starts petting or touching them

Just like submissive urination, many of the solutions to addressing the issue are the same.
Confidence Building and Noise Desensitization Drills
-Socialization
Obedience training is important for this, what we like to do at our dog training facility in Northern Virginia is put the excited dog into a sit command and then we will pet them. If they jump up from the sit, we will immediately pull our hand away, put them back in the sit, and then praise. Generally, a dog will not urinate in a sit position, so this is a way we use obedience to control the behavior. Additionally, I would recommend not touching the dog until you have visually seen him/her calm down. If you pet them when they run up excitedly, chances are, they will urinate.

If you stick to these rules in dealing with your dog’s submissive or excited urination, you should see a drastic change in a short amount of time.

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