You love your dogs – but not their urine. Dogs and puppies urinate in the house for several reasons, including showing submission and being overexcited. Both behaviors have a lot in common. Both excitement urination and submissive urination happen mostly to younger dogs and puppies. Both problems often go away on their own once the dog and the dog’s bladder muscles mature. But there are some differences between these two types of inappropriate urination.
Excitement urination is caused by the dog or puppy being so overjoyed by an event that he loses bladder control. The amount of urine lost is often a series of small drops. Events that trigger excitement urination include greeting human or canine friends; being shown a new treat or the appearance of a favorite toy.
Puppies and dogs that become nervous or scared urinate to show how helpless they are. This behavior is seen in the dog’s relative, the wolf. Releasing a few drops of urine shows that the dog is helpless like a little puppy in the presence of the pack leader or higher-ranking family member.
When a dog or puppy pees when excited, the dog appears happy. The ears are perked, the mouth is open and the tail is wagging. The dog may vocalize to get attention or relieve some of her excitement. The dog is up on her feet and may be bouncing about.
In contrast, submissive urination is done in a different body posture. The dog or puppy is often on her back to show her belly to whoever is intimidating her. The mouth is closed and the ears may be pressed to the head. The dog or puppy may quiver or tremble. The tail may or may not wag. Submissive urination sometimes occurs when the dog is standing with a hunched back and a lowered head.
Treating the Problem
Because the causes are different, the treatment of these two types of inappropriate urination is also different. Excitement urination is an involuntary action, so pet parents need to work around it. If a puppy or young dog is known to pee when excited, make especially stimulating moments like getting a new toy done on the outside or in a room lined with puppy pads. If the dog does not outgrow this behavior by age two, see a veterinarian. There could be a medical issue.
The best way for dog owners to handle submissive urination is to ignore it. Just clean up the puddle and go on. Bring the dog’s confidence up by not bending over the dog. Greet the dog by sitting down and letting the dog come to you. Do not stare directly at the dog’s face, but off to the side. Use a soft voice. When the dog approaches, pet the dog’s chest or under the chin to avoid reaching over the dog and frightening him.