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Urinating When Excited or Nervous

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Breed Selection Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

puppy looking chastised

A piddling pup is NOT doing this on purpose! If you yell at or punish him, it will only make him more submissive and more prone to piddling.

The good news is that this behavior is NOT a housebreaking problem. The bad news is that your pup has no control over it.

Excitable urination

An excited dog, especially a young one, doesn't always have complete control of his bladder. If he's very happy to see someone, his bladder may accidentally let go when the person reaches toward him.


This is an instinct in the canine species. A submissive canine, upon meeting a more dominant one, often crouches and releases a little urine, which is a canine social signal that says to the dominant dog, "Don't hurt me! I accept your superiority."

A submissive dog may do the same thing when a person bends over him, or reaches toward him, or raises their voice at him. Submissive urination is most common in young and adolescent dogs, and in gentle, soft-tempered dogs.

How to deal with excitable or submissive urination

When you have a pup with one (or both!) of these behaviors, you need to remain calm and casual around him.

Keep your voice calm and matter-of-fact. Don't get him all excited!

Cavalier pupWhen you greet him, don't make eye contact. Look over his head or past him, rather than directly at him.

Don't reach your hand toward his head or body.

Keep his leash on, which allows you to control him without needing to put your hands on him.

Build the pup's calmness and confidence by teaching him how to stand calmly while you handle and touch all the parts of his body.

Build more confident by teaching him how to conquer agility obstacles  (tiny jumps, tunnels, etc.) and how to play challenging games such as Tug. Both agility and Tug are covered in my book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words).

Submissive urination and excitable urination are most common in puppies and adolescents. If you don't punish the youngster for it but instead engage in trigger-avoidance and confidence-building activities, submissive and excitable urination usually go away with maturity.

(Unfortunately, "usually" doesn't mean "always." Sometimes this behavior persists even when the dog is an adult. Then all you can do is continue managing it as best as you can.)

Just remember that punishing it never helps, but only makes things worse.

My book covertraining program is for puppies 2 to 18 months old. It explains, step by step:

  • How to establish good patterns and routines that govern everything your pup does.
  • How to teach your pup to be calm and to look to you for guidance, direction, and permission.
  • How to make yourself important – the most important thing – in your puppy’s life. How to show your pup the clear, black-and-white rules and routines he is to follow. And how to make sure he does.

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.