Submissive and excitement urination

Hound puppy looking up

Submissive and excitement urination are separate from typical housetraining issues and dogs who display these behaviors simply cannot contain themselves. However, with some patience and understanding your dog can learn to stop.

Submissive urination

Submissive urination may occur when someone is greeting the dog (with direct eye contact, forward posture and leaning over the dog) or punishing him, either verbally or physically.

It's most common among dogs who are shy/fearful toward people, have historically been scolded or punished after the fact, are sensitive to punishment, and have frequent fearful/submissive postures (flattened ears and tail, lowered body posture, rolling on back).

Excitement urination

Excitement urination is most commonly seen during play, high-energy greetings, or when a dog is overstimulated.

How to prevent submissive and excitement urination

While some dogs grow out of this behavior, others need help from us!

  • No punishment or scolding of any kind.
  • Keep greetings low-key and avoid eye contact.
  • If your dog is excited, avoid contact until he is calm.
  • For shy dogs, lower your body and greet from the side, rather than bending forward in a head-on posture. This will appear less threatening and less likely to elicit submissive wetting.
  • Using positive reinforcement, train your dog to offer a different behavior: sitting calmly for a treat is a good start!
  • If the behavior worsens rather than improves, talk to a behavior specialist about possible medications to ease anxiety.

Need more behavior help?

If you have additional questions about your dog's behavior, contact our behavior pet helpline. For more helpful tips and resources for training and managing your pet's behavior, you can also visit our behavior resource library

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