Excitement Urination in a Puppy
When puppies are born they cannot eliminate without some physical stimulation from their mother. They soon learn to control the passing of urine and faeces and not to soil the den or themselves. As dogs grow up, urine in particular, is used as an important communication method. Marking can be very complex but typically urine markings are to indicate territory and dominance.
Most puppies respond well to our house-training efforts to prevent home soiling. Some, however, may leave puddles of urine at your feet and the floor when greeting you. While it is not unusual for some puppies to urinate when they get excited or relaxed during sleep, for some it becomes a problem. The sheer excitement of seeing family members come home is too much for these young dogs and causes this involuntary reaction.
Excitement urination usually occurs in puppies and is caused by lack of bladder control. The puppy is not aware that it is happening. Any punishment will only confuse the dog and may lead to what is known as submissive urination. As the puppy grows older and gains bladder control the problem usually disappears. Help from the owners can speed things up.
Aim to prevent the puppy from getting too excited in the first place. If possible, ignore the pup for a while without any eye contact. Otherwise a short somewhat cool greeting is called for. No bending over the puppy or baby talk. Calling the puppy into the garden to relieve itself is always a good idea. Once it has calmed down the puppy can be called to sit and be cuddled while giving it attention.
The best treatment for excitement urination is to prevent your puppy from getting over excited in the first place. If the puppy gets excited and wets when you arrive home, then simply ignore him for several minutes. Don’t even look at him. Then leave again for a few minutes, return and ignore, leave, return and ignore. Keep doing this until you see that your puppy has calmed down and is no longer over excited when you arrive home.
Explain the above procedure of “arrive and leave” to other members of the household or visitors if the puppy / dog show signs of excitement urination in their presence.
Never scold a puppy for something over which it has no control.
Submissive Urination in a Puppy
Submissive wetting or urination is a normal way for puppies to demonstrate submissive behaviour. Even a puppy that is house trained may leave dribbles and puddles of urine at your feet and on the floor when greeting you. Submissive urination in older puppies is usually a sign of insecurity. Often under socialised and abused puppies will submissively urinate. It is a show of respect to a leader and is seen in puppies that have not learnt other ways of showing respect. It is also seen mostly in bitches. When approached by a dominant male they will also urinate submissively. Some bitches are very submissive by nature or may have been punish after she has already shown submission.
Overly submissive puppies and young dogs may constantly feel the need to apologize and say, “I’m sorry” although we have no clue why it should happen. It is best to just to ignore it if possible. If you try to reassure her, she will think you approve of her behaviour and will urinate even more.
The first sign of submissive urination is squatting and that is the signal for you not to make eye contact or speak but to turn away and leave. Call in a friendly voice for your dog to distract her and break the habit.
Another form of submission is when a dog rolls onto its back, exposing his vulnerable parts, signally, “I will do everything you demand.” This is a form of total submission. You cannot possibly get cross with such a dog. Rather teach it other ways of greeting such as sitting and shaking a paw.
The quickest way of treating submissive urination is to build up a puppy’s confidence by teaching him some basic obedience exercises. “Sit, come, find it, shake hands” etc. can all lead to praise and develop self-esteem and confidence and he will not feel the need to urinate at his owner’s feet.