Having a dog that pees all over the place is no fun at all. It is messy and annoying, and can be very expensive when furniture and carpet is involved. As trainers we call this behavior Submissive or Excitement Urination.
Most dogs that suffer from excitement urination are nervous around other dogs or humans who appear to be dominant over them. They want to express that they are beneath others and do not even realize what they are doing. Their bodies’ naturally chose this as an action of submission. As owners we need to remember that this is a subconscious act not a potty training issue.
Where would you find excitement or submissive urination?
- Negative experience from the past
- Lack of training
- Poor socialization
- Lack of confidence in a dog
- Young puppies who do not know how to show other dogs or people respect
- Abusive owner
If you are looking to help your dog move past their submissive urination, there is a lot that you can do to help. You will first want to boost you dog’s ego and self-confidence. Another helpful method is to give you dog a replacement behavior to use in situations where your dog would feel compelled to pee.
Keeping a positive attitude around your dog, and not being too assertive will go along way. While you don’t want to make you’re the head of the household, you do want to help their confidence level. This is not a time to punish your dog. Punishments will only cause the behavior to worsen, as you are asserting your dominance over your dog every time that you punish him.
While it is critical to help your dog improve his confidence level, you also want to make sure that you are not enforcing the submissive behavior by coddling your dog or giving affection when he exhibits the urination behavior. If after each time he pees uncontrollably you pick him up and tell him that everything is going to be okay, he will want to do it more often to gain your attention. Instead, when the excitement urination occurs, you should simply ignore the situation and clean up the mess.
I know that this might seem like a hard balance to obtain between building your dogs confidence and not coddling him, but it can be done.
You can really help your dog by socializing him to the area around him. You want him to feel comfortable with the people in your home, visitors, neighbors, other dogs, and other places. A great way to do this is to take your dog on at least one leash walk a day. This will expose him to many different factors and situations.
Another way that you can help your dog to control his submissive urination is through dog obedience classes. When your dog becomes predictable with his urination, you can try to divert his actions to another behavior. For example, if your dog pees every time the UPS deliveryman comes to the door, you can tell your dog to heel. Once you train your dog to do tricks these are also great distracters that you can ask your dog to do. Shaking hands/paws is one of my dog’s favorite tricks.
Growing up our dog, Mandy, always use to pee when we came home or someone came into the house. We would tell them not to pet her or pay attention to her upon entry. We would put her leash on and take her straight to the backyard. After she was able to urinate outside and calm down for a few minutes we would bring her back in to socialize with our guests or us.
There is no step-by-step program for building your dogs confidence. It takes time and a lot of trial and error to see what works for your particular pup. Your dog may not be able to get over this behavior entirely, but there are workarounds to make you and your dog happier.
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image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lizadaly/1680662925/