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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

Whether young or old, a dog who piddles when excited or nervous 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 dog has little or no control over it.

Excitable urination

An excited  canine, especially a puppy or adolescent, doesn't always have complete control of his bladder. Yet another reason to teach your pup to be calm.

Submissive urination

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." This is an instinct  in the canine species.

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 dog 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.

When you greet him, don't reach your hand out toward his head or body.

If he's the excitable type, keep his leash on indoors, 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 confidence by teaching him how to play challenging games such as Obstacle Course, Fetch, and Tug.

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. This can be very challenging to live with, especially when all you can do is continue managing it as best as you can.

Just remember that the pup is not doing it on purpose and punishing it never helps, but only makes things worse.

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.

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