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10 Ways to Stop Your Dog from Excitement or Submissive Peeing

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By Nicole Cosgrove

puppy pee on mat

Puppies are unique little creatures. Half the time, they are bold and fearless. The other half, they’re shy and timid. And in either circumstance, they tend to show off their emotion through uncontrollable urination. Fortunately, puppies grow out of this behavior as they begin to mature and understand the world around them.

But what if they don’t?

Inappropriate or accidental urination is normally just a part of a puppy’s growing process. However, it’s when they’ve been fully housebroken or are a new rescue that has cause for concern. And before you can address the issue, you’ll need to determine whether it’s a medical or behavioral issue.

So, before trying to put your dog through a strict potty-training regimen or behavior-altering class, you should first check with your vet to ensure that there’s no underlying medical issue. Once a medical cause has been ruled out, you can begin to correct excitement and submissive urination issues.

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The 4 Ways to Stop Excitement Urination:

dog peeing in house
Credit: MCarper, Shutterstock

This is the easier of the two habits to break. And that’s because excitement urination only really happens for the first year of age until puppies naturally grow out of it. It’ll still be a long process though, so don’t become discouraged.

There’s a big difference between excitement and submissive urination as well. With excitement urination, you’ll find your puppy losing control when they get overly happy like when playing, meeting new people, or seeing their favorite friend come back home. It’s almost endearing to see, despite the fact that you’re going to have to mop up pee.

But if your puppy’s over a year old and still constantly wetting themselves, you may have to encourage the habit to stop in a few subtle ways.

1. When the accidental urination occurs, don’t react.

dog peeing on floor
Image Credit: komkrit Preechachanwate, Shutterstock

We know it’s difficult; however, the key is that you stay calm. Simply clean up the mess and leave the puppy alone. They’ll soon begin to understand how to control their emotions by following your lead and, thus, controlling their bladders.

2. Designate certain locations for playtime.

owner and dog gaming together
Credit: Svitlana Kriukova, Shutterstock

This will help your puppy to understand the appropriate time and place for everything. Sure, they’ll still be excited you’re coming home, but they’ll soon come to realize that playtime is not all the time.

3. Minimize or ignore them for the first few minutes after arriving.

curious looking Basset Fauve de Bretagne dog
Image Credit: Bokehboo Studios, Shutterstock

This trick is for if your dog mostly urinates when you first arrive home, and it will be just as hard for you as it will be on them. Your first instinct may want to be to reach down and love all over them. However, you should give them a cooling-off period and let them calm down first.

4. When your dog does use the bathroom in the appropriate place use positive reinforcement 

dog peeing on tree
Image Credit: Sukpaiboonwat, Shutterstock

If your dog goes toilet where you want him to ( like, outside) use praise and treats to reward his good behavior. These will help your puppy to learn the right and wrong places to relieve themselves and produce a more confident dog when they’re older.

The 6 Ways to Stop Submissive Urination:

dog pee on floor
Image Credit: MCarper, Shutterstock

Unfortunately, this habit can be much harder to break and can follow the pup through their adult years. Submissive urination is often done out of fear or timidness and desperate attempts to appease their masters.

You’ll find that submissive urinators are common among rescue dogs, especially those with a history of abuse. And it’s made even worse when the reason for the abuse was a previous urination problem. These dogs can see urination as shameful and not as a natural bodily function. This, then, self-perpetuates the issue.

But don’t give up hope. Submissive urination can be conquered through a bit of love, patience, and understanding.
5. Remain Calm

The number one thing to remember when dealing with submission urination is to remain completely calm and indifferent to the accident at hand. Scolding your pup at this time will do more damage than anything else.

6. Teach Your Dog Tricks

dog learning trick
Credit: alexei_tm, Shutterstock

Build your pup’s confidence around you. One of the easiest ways to do this is by teaching them simple tricks such as sit or stay. And when they successfully perform one of these tricks, always have a treat and praise on standby. This builds their confidence and rewards positive behaviors instead of drawing notice to negative ones.

7. Be Affectionate, Not Domineering

Become more approachable to your puppy. When loving on your pup, try to come down to their level instead of looking at them from the top down. They need to see that you are showing them positive affection and not domineering them. This can also be done by petting them from under the chin instead of on top of their head.

8. Greet Your Dog Calmly

Do not overwhelm your puppy when greeting them. Try and maintain a low-key greeting when approaching and talking to your dog. A calming temperament from you will actually soothe them and allow your pup to become more comfortable with you.

9. Make Your Puppy Feel Special

Make your greetings about how special your puppy is. Submission urination comes out of a feeling that they must submit to you. Break that habit by making your puppy feel like the important one. This is easily done by simply tossing some treats in their direction as they come running up to meet you.

a Labrador dog getting heart shaped cookie treat
Image Credit: Maya Shustov, Shutterstock

10. Find a Great Trainer

Seek professional help. If you’ve tried everything you can to help your pup break their submissive urination and it just isn’t working, there’s no shame in seeking counsel. A professional trainer or animal behaviorist cannot only help you to eliminate this issue but help to socialize your pup as well.

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It’s not uncommon for any puppy to have an issue with incontinence whether they are excited or submissive. It’s up to you, and how you react, to help guide them down the right path. And even after they’ve been fully trained, they may still have an accident.

But that’s alright. As long as you maintain these simple behaviors, the problem shouldn’t escalate further.

Featured image credit: Olimpik, Shutterstock

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