How to Stop Dog Submissive Urination

January 22, 2011

Before you read this, please read my first article, “Why Dogs Submissively Urinate?”  Submissive urination is most common among younger dogs although it can be found in older dogs who have been abused, are afraid of punishment, loud voices or one that has a great deal of fear.  These subjects will be discussed in later articles.  As mentioned, the good news is that usually the dog outgrows submissive wetting.  But while you are patiently waiting for that to happen there are some things that will help the progress along.

Some  dogs with submissive urination haven’t yet developed mature social skills. Others have a lack of self confidence, have a need to apologize or feel insecure.  Many are perfectly adjusted and are oblivious to the urination.  But one thing is for sure, no dog submissively urinates to be spiteful or contrary.   Submissive wetting is simply the dog’s way of showing submission to the human.

Never punish or correct a dog for submissively wetting.  Punishment or yelling will make the situation worse and there’s an excellent chance the urination will increase.  So think before you act.  Like I said, if you even think of punishing the dog for submissive urination, roll up a newspaper and smack yourself in the head or go to the mirror and scold yourself.  Punishment is wrong; here’s what you should do.

The more low key and calm you remain the better. When you return home, look straight ahead with absolutely zero eye contact to the dog.   Say “Hey Fido” in a low-key voice and keep walking (no eye contact).  Your dog is watching your every move.  He’s watching your eyes for a spark of expression and will see the crease made by a smile so practice your best “stone face”.

Your dog will learn that saying “I love you by peeing on the floor” doesn’t earn him the love he seeks and actually, you getting home is kind of a boring non-event. Watching the goldfish is a lot more exciting than watching you.    Only when the dog settles down should you give your warm acknowledgement, but not by petting the dog, toss a ball instead.  Diversion, diversion, try it.

Give the dog a job. Ask him, “Go see who’s at the door, who’s coming”?   Ask him to sit or go to his rug with a treat. Or, “Fetch a ball Fido”.   When the dog sits or fetches a ball, praise him like crazy to build his confidence.  Again, never pet him on top of the head but always on the chest to get his head up high “he’s such a good boy”.    Additionally, here’s something I do for separation anxiety and you can do it for submissive urination as well. Make it a habit to put on your coat, grab you keys and cell phone, turn off the TV and head out one door as if you’re leaving only to circle around rapidlyand come right back in another door as though this is your new hobby.  Your dog won’t know what to think about the strange human running in circles and acting out of the norm but wetting every time you walk in the door no longer will seem like a good idea.  A quality dog won’t even be able to get a good solid flood going.

And here’s another thing.  The chances are good the dog wets whenever you go to pick him up.  So, don’t pick up the dog.  Attach a leash and move him to the location you desire.   Attach the leash by reaching under the dog’s chin and never reach over his head.  Crouch down, get low and as much as possible be on his level.  When moving towards the dog, stand sideways and approach. Or turn your back completely on him and back up to get to him.  The key here is to have your presence hold a very low level of intimidation while you build his confidence.  Gradually use a warmer approach as the situation improves, but if he starts wetting again, go back and start with our previous suggestions. Remember, be patient.  The dog most likely will outgrow this stage and you have a great dog.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Monex

..If your dog urinates when hes playing or being greeted but doesnt exhibit submissive postures he has a different problem … ..First take your dog to your veterinarian to rule out any medical reasons for the behavior.

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Dona

Hi Monex, Yes you are right. Dogs often display submissive postures during submissive urinating. There is always the possibility that a dog has a medical problem and may need to see a vet. Thank you for your excellent observation.

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