Puppies that are not properly socialized can develop the habit of
submissive urination. This is what happens when the dog meets a stranger
or is exposed to a new situation and he begins to "tinkle". An owner
being too harsh when disciplining the puppy can cause submissive
urination with family members. Humans must be the dominant "leaders of the
pack" but you don't want to destroy the puppy's self-confidence by
being overly demanding or threatening. Keep in mind that there
is a fine line between establishing your position as pack leader and
being an over-bearing dictator!
occurs when a puppy or dog FEELS threatened. This can occur when he’s
being punished, verbally scolded, or when someone approaches him he
believes is threatening. Remember that the response is based on the
puppy’s perception that he's being threatened, not the actual intent of
Submissive urination is generally accompanied by submissive
postures: crouching, rolling over and/or exposing the belly. You can
help your dog overcome submissive urination by helping to build his
Teach him commands and reward him for obeying.
when exposing him to new people and places.
Encourage and reward your
puppy for confident postures and actions.
Give your puppy an alternative
to behaving submissively - ask him to "sit" or "shake" as you approach.
Reward him immediately in a low-key fashion when he obeys.
also a number of things you can do to minimize your "threatening"
Avoid direct eye contact, look at his back or tail instead;
Bend down at the knees to get on his level instead of leaning over from
Pet your puppy under the chin rather than on top of his head;
Approach him from the side and/or present your body to him sideways
rather than your full front;
Ask others to use these same techniques to
approach or greet him.
Try to make sure all of
your puppy's new experiences are
positive and happy. Arrange greetings so that they are as
non-threatening as possible and so that your puppy is not in a place
that you will have to make a fuss if there is an episode of submissive
urination. Above all, DO NOT scold or reprimand your dog for this
behavior. Making a scene, showing your irritation or making the
dog feel he has been "bad" will only reinforce his need to let you know
he is submissive to you (or visitors or whatever the situation may be).
In other words, reprimanding the dog for submissive urination will
actually "teach" him that you WANT him to do this!
Excitement urination is another problem altogether. Excitement urination
generally occurs during greetings and playtime and is not accompanied by
submissive posturing. This behavior can sometimes be attributed to an owner's
over-zealous greetings after being gone for a period of time. A young
puppy will REALLY need to go to the bathroom after being locked in the
kennel for several hours. You should quickly and quietly remove the dog
from the crate, take him outside and then, after he's relieved himself,
you can praise and greet him effusively.
If you greet the dog in the
crate with a high-pitched voice while making a fuss over getting him
out, he will get very excited and may not be able to control an overly
full bladder. If he begins to urinate while you are praising and petting
him, you are reinforcing that you WANT him to continue this behavior. Over a period of time this becomes a habit that is difficult to break.
Remember to keep greetings low-key until the puppy has had a chance to
relieve himself. Ignore an overly excited dog until he is calm and
promptly reward correct behavior. Excitement urination usually resolves
with maturity if it’s not inadvertently reinforced or made worse by
punishment. NEVER discipline a puppy or adult dog for submissive or
excitement wetting as this reinforces the need to be submissive!