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Submissive Urination

August 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Dog Activities and Training

Does your dog routinely pee as soon as someone new enters the house?  You may think the dog is overly excited, but in reality, the animal may be demonstrating submissiveness.  If the dog also cowers, lowers her body, lays her ears flat, and licks her lips when greeting a new arrival, you can be sure she’s telling the newcomer he’s the pack leader.  The submissive dog may even roll onto her side, which isn’t an invitation for a belly rub when combined with submissive urination.  It is the ultimate gesture of submission and tells the more alpha dog he need not bother with her.

If your dog also cowers when he pees, it's likely submissive urination you're dealing with.

In any situation, dogs seek to maintain a social order.  One dog is designated the pack leader, and this dog will quite often be aggressive.  Dogs who know they are lower in the pack order will exhibit submissive behaviors to avoid having to be “put in their place” by the aggressive, dominant dog.  Submissive urination is one of the ways in which lower pack dogs communicate that aggression is not necessary, as they already know their place.

Whether your dog releases a few dribbles of urine or a huge puddle, the behavior is tough to deal with.

Submissive urination is most often seen in puppies, but some adult dogs will continue the habit.  Both males and females may show submissive urination behavior, although it is more common in females.  Small breeds are more commonly afflicted than large breeds.  Watch your dog carefully to see when the problem occurs.  It may be only with strangers, only with other animals, only with adults, or it could be when the dog greets anyone.

Dogs may also submissively urinate when they sense trouble, such as when members of the household argue or when there is a lot of noise in or near the house.  Thunder and firecrackers are often triggers for submission urination.

Medical and Miscellaneous Causes of Indoor Urination

There may be other reasons why your dog urinates a lot.  Diabetes, incontinence, urinary tract infections, and even certain medications can lead to excessive urination and should be ruled out before you decide your dog is submissively urinating.  The key is whether or not the urination is tied to someone new coming into the room or if it occurs all the time.

If the dog is new to your home, it may be that house training was never successfully completed in his or her previous home.  You may have to start potty training over from the beginning, showing your dog where you want him or her to relieve the bladder, and giving proper rewards when the message finally gets through.

Some dogs mark their territory with urine, which is totally different than submissive urination.  In fact, dogs who mark are generally aggressive, rather than submissive.  Urine marking is generally directed at vertical surfaces such as posts on a staircase handrail, while submissive urination is generally done on the floor.

Separation anxiety may also cause your dog to urinate in the house.  The key to ruling this out is whether the accidents occur while you are away or when you first come home.

Ending Submissive Urination

In many cases, submissive urination will simply go away as the puppy grows into a dog.  To extinguish the behavior earlier, you might try the following tips from WebMD.

If you can, greet your dog outside rather than inside so the urine isn’t so much of a problem.  If you must greet your dog inside, keep a few treats or toys just inside the door and toss them to the dog as you come in.  You might also teach your dog to sit when people come into your home.  Either of these tricks may distract your dog from demonstrating his or her submissiveness.

You might also try ignoring your dog altogether when you come into the house, until he or she has completely calmed down.  When your dog has finally composed himself, sit on the floor or kneel down to his or her level and calmly say hello.

Don't scold your dog if he pees submissively--it will only make things worse.

Because submissive urination has a lot to do with your dog’s self-esteem, make sure you work on building self-respect at all times.  Don’t scold your dog or use harsh training methods.  Every time you yell at or punish the dog, you teach him or her to be more submissive, thereby compounding the problem.

When you pet your dog, reach first for the dog’s chin and chest, which is much less threatening than a hand reaching for the top of the animal’s head.  When possible, put yourself at the dog’s level, rather than looming over the animal.  Avoid eye contact, which is a direct challenge to a dog.

Dogs For Life offers eight tips to stop submissive urination, and the dog obedience training review has an article to help you understand the problem more fully.

Comments

2 Responses to “Submissive Urination”
  1. Ryan says:

    What kind of dog is this on the picture it looks spot on like my little one.

  2. Ryan says:

    the one on top. I don’t know the breed of her we found her.

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