By Janice A. Jones | Last Updated January 30, 2020
Excitement Urination and Submissive Urination are two types of urination problems that I have seen sometimes in small dogs. Both are troublesome and discouraging, but there is hope.
While we may not be able to eliminate these problems entirely, we can at least understand why they are happening and what we should and should not do to improve the situation.
Some dogs will get so excited when an owner comes home, or a favorite person comes to visit that they urinate in their tracts.
Some get so aroused during an active play session that they can't help themselves and urinate.
Some are so excited that they don't even squat. They begin to piddle whether they're walking, running, standing or still in active play.
Excitement urination occurs in young dogs under a year old and most will outgrow the habit once they gain more control of their bladders. Very excitable puppies are most prone to this type of urination.
What is happening is the urinary sphincter muscle that controls the urine flow temporarily released during excitement causing the dog to loose control. It is similar to a person who is incontinent, but it is a transient happening.
The dog does not have any control over his urinating so punishing him is likely to make the problem worse. In fact, if you punish the puppy for urinating when excited, you will be initiating another type of elimination problem, submissive urination.
Since this type of problem usually occurs during periods of heightened excitement such as during greetings, you will want to keep your greetings very low keyed—brief and tranquil.
Stoop down to greet your puppy or turn sideways. Your body language is telling a dog that you are not a threat. Do not make eye contact. Eye contact is very threatening to dogs.
Another approach to try is to stop by the door and let the puppy come to you.
Squat down and pet him behind his ears or under his chin or on his chest. This is good advice to follow whether or not your dog is experiencing excitement urination.
Patting or rubbing a dog’s head is seen as a form of dominance on your part and may lead to more submissive behaviors such as submissive urination as the dog tries to please you.
Never punish the dog in any way. Simply get up and clean up the spot with a good enzymatic cleaner that will eliminate the urine odor.
Teach an alternative behavior that distracts and prevents the dog from urinating.
If your dog loves belly rubs, teach him to roll over for a rub. Alternately, teach him to sit or lie down. All of these doggie positions will prevent him from urinating.
To do this, you may need to keep a bowl of treats by the door and reward with a couple of treats if he obeys the command you request. Usually, a belly rub for dogs that love this type of attention is reward enough.
If you do decide to use this method, remember these pointers:
Eventually, your goal should be to teach a command that you and anyone else could use either with or without treats every time someone comes to the door.
While performing your command, your dog cannot urinate. Sitting and urinating cannot take place at the same time.
According to Pat Miller, trainer and author of numerous books on dog training, some behavior professionals consider excitement and submissive urination to be on a continuum of the same behavior, while others make a clear distinction between the two.
Here is our take on the differences.
Since this issue only occurs during periods of high excitement, you can learn to control and prevent it by becoming aware of when it occurs. In many cases, there is a pattern to when the puppy urinates.