Skip to main content

How to Deal With Submissive Urination in Dogs

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer and former veterinarian assistant who partners with some of the best veterinarians worldwide.

Encouraging confidence in your dog will help reduce submissive urination.

Encouraging confidence in your dog will help reduce submissive urination.

How to Deal With Submissive Urination

Are you one of those canine owners that upon returning home from work are 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 or dog's eyes, you are their boss; urination is a manifestation of respect for those on the top of the ladder. Do not get too excited about being considered top rank, however—you may end up cleaning a lot of carpets if you do not initiate a change.

What to Do and What Not to Do

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.

Staying neutral and calm is critical when addressing submissive urination.

Staying neutral and calm is critical when addressing submissive urination.

Always 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 in Your Dog

Puppies are the most common submissive urinators. As puppies develop more confidence and better bladder control, 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 dog confidence booster exercises 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 them excessively for what they do 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!

Tips for Raising a Confident Dog

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.

© 2008 Adrienne Farricelli


Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 23, 2010:

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..

Jeff on November 20, 2010:

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