Adrienne is a certified dog trainer and former veterinarian assistant who partners with some of the best veterinarians worldwide.
Upon hearing your keys working their way through the keyhole, your puppy's ears prick up, and she immediately hurries to greet you. She licks and wags her tail as though you've been missing for days.
Seconds later, you notice a little yellow puddle right in front of the door. It looks like your puppy was not able to contain her excitement upon seeing you and left a lake of pee for you to clean up. So why does your dog do that? And what can you do to stop this behavior once and for all?
Why Do Dogs Pee When They Are Excited?
To answer this question, we must examine how wolves greet each other in the wild. Dogs and wolves share the same amount of chromosomes and, therefore, it makes sense to compare their behaviors with one another. Even though dogs have been domesticated for many years, some ancestral behaviors still remain in their genetic core. In wolves, active or passive submission is commonly displayed upon meeting a member of higher rank.
Domesticated puppies urinate because they are displaying either active or passive submission. Active submission occurs when a dog is excited. You will see this take place when a puppy greets his owner or other people. Passive submission, on the other hand, is more likely to appear when the canine feels intimidated, like when being scolded or being pet from above.
In active submission, the puppy greets the higher-ranking member with his ears flat against his head, his head carried low, his tail between his legs, and a lowered body stance. He may also whine and lick the mouth of the higher-ranking member. At times, the greeting is accompanied by a trickle of urine. This is a friendly display that also demonstrates respect for the leader.
In passive submission, the dog displays fear, inferiority, or helplessness. Upon interacting with the higher-ranking member, the dog will lay down belly-up with ears flat, and he may also urinate.
How to Stop a Dog From Peeing When Excited
This behavior generally goes away once your puppy develops better urethral sphincter control. However, some sensitive and excitable puppies might bring this behavior into adulthood. Here are a few dos and don'ts to help you eliminate excited peeing.
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- Don't scold your dog: Scolding a dog for urinating out of excitement makes things worse. The dog will feel intimidated and may urinate more in order to demonstrate submissive behaviors. The last thing you want to do is reinforce this behavior.
- Ignore your dog when you first get home: Instead of scolding, try to ignore your dog as much as you can when you come home. Tell your guests to do the same when they visit. After a while, your pup will eventually calm down. Once he is calm, reward him with attention.
- Don't act excited: Try not to excite your dog too much by talking to him or moving in such a way that increases his level of excitement.
- Bend when you pet: When petting your pup, bend down to his level so that you appear less threatening.
- Avoid eye contact: Avoiding eye contact may also help dogs that are timid.
- Use known commands: Giving a command, such as ''sit,'' may help calm your pet down and teach him to greet you with confident obedience rather than submissiveness.
How to Train a Dog to Stop Submissive Urination
- Ignore your dog when you first get home.
- Wait until he is completely calm before giving him attention.
- Once you do interact with him, do so calmly.
- When petting your dog, get down to his level so that you appear less threatening.
- Pet him under his chin or on his chest rather than on top of his head. Petting from above may be intimidating.
As your puppy grows, his level of confidence should also grow, and submissive urination may become a thing of the past. If you have an older dog that still pees when he gets excited, you can help him by being a confident and calm leader. The same method of ignoring the dog upon arriving home and giving attention only when he is calm also works for adult canines.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2010 Adrienne Farricelli
Joann on December 30, 2018:
My dog approx 3 yrs pees when people greet him , would like to know what to do...
bayoulady from Northern Louisiana,USA on July 26, 2010:
Good hub, and I agree.Ignoring the dog when you get home sounds harsh, but I finally had to do it,too.Had this problem with a three pound poodle I once had. She was always estatic to greet and pee to us...right at the door. I decided to be ultra casual when I came in.Since she was crate trained, I would walk right past her, and then after 3 or 4 minutes, return and say," Hi there,Musette. Want out?" and let her out AND WALK AWAY. It worked.