How to Deal With Submissive Urination in Dogs

Updated on September 13, 2017
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Adrienne is a former veterinary hospital assistant, certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, and author of "Brain Training for Dogs."


What Can You Do?

Are you one of those canine owners that upon returning home from work is greeted lavishly by your puppy or dog? Are you also one of those owners that upon finishing petting the dog ends up walking into a lake of pee?

It is very likely that your dog suffers from submissive urination. No, no need to worry, the diagnosis sounds more threatening than it is. Essentially, in your puppy's or dog's eyes, you are their boss and this is a manifestation of respect for those on the top of the ladder. Do not get too excited about being considered top rank, however, as you may end up cleaning a lot of carpets if you do not initiate a change.

First of all, do not scold the puppy or dog for exhibiting submissive urination. If you do, the dog will be more likely to pee out of submission as you are basically confirming you are the boss.

On the other hand, do not praise the submissive urination as this will cause the dog to believe it is a good thing and thus, will learn to urinate on command for you.

Act Neutral

So what to do? Simply ignore the fact he is urinating. Do not scold, do not praise. Keep as neutral as possible. Try to ignore him the first few minutes you come home. The excess excitement should dissipate as he gets used to you being back home. Then, once he is calmer, command him to sit and praise him lavishly. The fact that you order him to sit will give him something more to think about and less time to think about creating a puddle in your living room.

Encourage Confidence

Puppies are the most common submissive urinators. As puppies develop more confidence and better bladder control, the submissive urination should decrease. Adult dogs that still exhibit submissive urination may have been abused, mistreated, or are of an ultra-sensitive disposition. They require confidence boosters and special training. Dog behaviorists may give great advice on how to help them overcome their insecurities.

Whether you own a puppy or a dog, try your best to encourage your dog to become more confident. Do not scold excessively for what he does wrong. Instead, offer praise for what he does right. When you pet him, crouch down to his level rather than standing over him. Let him win once in a while when you play tug of war. Tell him how proud you are when you notice he hasn't dribbled pee all over your shoes.

Simply step up for him. Soon enough, you won't have to avoid his pee puddles anymore!

Questions & Answers

    © 2008 Adrienne Janet Farricelli


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        Courtney 6 years ago

        While this may be relevant for a puppy, dealing with it in an older dog is not in the least helpful.

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        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 7 years ago from USA

        I have given other advice other than not scolding. If this is a puppy it will improve as he or she grows. Try to build confidence, enroll in agility try clicker training...there are no quick fix solutions but most take some time but are worth it..

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        Jeff 7 years ago

        That is not a solution. I never scolded the behaviour.