Excitement Urination in Dogs

Excitement urination in dogs is not a great issue that a pet owner wants to have with man’s best friend. These accidents usually happen when a dog is overly excited, anxious or feeling a need to be completely submissive. Most incidents happen when your dog is greeting you or guests at the front door or while romping around. Ultimately, regardless of the situation where it happens, your pup is unable to contain himself.

Before you can stop excitement urination in your dog, you must determine exactly why he is doing it. There are a variety of reasons your pooch could be having a hard time holding his bladder when he sees or plays with you. Utilize the help of your veterinarian and dog trainers to make sure your pup is able to develop the right tools to stop the unwanted behavior.  

Reasons for Excitement Urination in Dogs

One thing is for certain, dog trainers, animal behaviorists and veterinarians agree that excitement and submissive urination does not happen because your pup is a bad dog. It has nothing to do with potty training and isn’t retaliation for you leaving him at home alone for extended periods of time. Excitement urination is a problem that happens because your dog is so overwhelmed with excitement or is wrought with fear that he can’t hold his bladder any longer. Sometimes the accident might just be a little dribble while other times it might be a full release of his bladder. 

There are three main categories of urination problem causes such as submissive issues, medical issues, and behavioral training/confidence problems. The behavior can happen when they greet you at the door, while you are petting them or as you make eye contact (in the case of submissive urination). Some breeds such as Cocker Spaniels and Retrievers are more prone to excitement urination than others. Pay attention to what is happening right before your dog has an accident with excitement urination. This is the key to resolving the problem.

Recognize Scenarios When Urination Occurs

Most dogs experiencing excitement urination and submissive urination often do so under the same daily circumstances. Pay attention to when it occurs.

Common scenarios that lead to excitement or submissive urination include:

  • When a stranger approaches your puppy or dog
  • When you enter the house or a room after leaving the puppy alone for a while
  • If someone stands over your dog while trying to pet him
  • When your puppy hasn’t seen the person he is most attached to for a while
  • During really active play with humans or other dogs

Your pup may have an issue with just one type of scenario where he has an accident or it could be more extensive with multiple scenarios leading to urination problems.

Submissive Urination

All dogs are pack animals who have a keen sense of the canine pack order within a moment of meeting other dogs, animals or people. A dog’s behavior changes when demonstrating that he is not a threat to another dog. He will avert his stare and not make direct eye contact. He may then take a submissive posture often with this tail cowering between his legs or completely rolled with his belly up. He could also urinate a bit while in the submissive position.

Submissive urination in the home can mean that your dog has experienced abuse or is overly fearful and intimidated by certain family members. Not all dogs urinated when acting submissively and this is more common with puppies than older dogs, though adult dogs are not immune to developing the issue.

Medical Reasons

There are potential medical reasons that a dog might have episodes of excitement urination. Your dog may have a small bladder or a urinary tract infection. Talk to your veterinarian and have him rule out any medical reasons for the problem behavior. Puppies may have more issues with excitement urination especially if they are in the process of being potty trained and have been holding for extended periods of time waiting for you to return home.  

Behavioral Issues

Excitement urination or submissive issues are not the same types of behavioral issues that occur with poor crate or potty training of your dog. Behavioral issues that lead to submissive urination usually have to do with lack of confidence, abuse or poor socialization. If you notice that your dog urinates when someone makes direct eye contact with him or only when certain people make direct eye contact with him, the issue may have more to do with fear than a small bladder.

Learning the background of an adopted dog is critical to finding the root cause of the submissive urination problem. Was the dog abused or in a home where a dominant male figure was so imposing that your dog was afraid? This could lead to an association with new people in his life that aren’t there to harm him but still evoke the problem response. It could be anything from big men, sunglasses, or hats that trigger submissive urination.

Once you know what the underlying problem is causing submissive urination, then you can address the issue properly. Remember that your pet isn’t doing this because he is mad, he won’t respond to scolding especially if is submissive urination. That will only reinforce the problem causing him to fear you more.

Stopping Excitement Urination in Dogs

Excitement and submissive urination happen because your dog is so excited that he can’t control himself or is simply trying to avoid confrontation. Learn the signs that lead to urination problems and develop a plan to help your dog overcome his issues whether they are related to excitement or submission.

Learn the Body Language Leading to Urination

A dog that is about to have a urination problem shows signs and has easily recognized body language. As a dog owner, this body language will tell you that your pup is either getting overly excited or feeling a need to be submissive.

An overly excited dog or puppy will wag his tail, run up to you jumping and circling unsure what to do. Trying to calm your dog down will help reduce accidental urination problems. It is also worth trying to get him outside for a moment so if he does have an accident, he isn’t doing it in the house leading to other urine removal issues.

A submissive dog will cower and withdraw as a person approaches. This puppy or adult dog will not make direct eye contact with you while he tucks his tail between his legs. If you continue to approach as a perceived confrontation, he will likely roll over with his tail tucked. This is when submissive urination is most likely to occur.

A Trip to the Veterinarian

While the problem may be more likely to happen with a puppy, adult dogs can experience bladder control issues. If it is a new behavior, you will want to have the veterinarian rule out a bladder infection or other urinary tract infection. A round of antibiotics could be all your dog needs to regain bladder control. If it isn’t an existing medical issue but a new behavioral problem, you will need to consider whether your dog is experiencing new separation anxiety or has experienced some abusive incident.

Sometimes your pet is exposed to incidents you aren’t aware of such as a neighbor hitting him with a newspaper over a low fence. If this problem isn’t from medical reasons, you may need the help of a dog trainer or behaviorist to help address the issue. Learning what triggers your dog is a big help in stopping unwanted behavior.

Socialization of Submissive Dogs

Both female and male dogs need proper socialization with other dogs to develop healthy behaviors around other animals and people. A dog that isn’t well socialized may experience separation anxiety, confidence issues, and fear.

If your dog is overly submissive, you can lay on the floor with him and put your head beneath his next. This allows him to be the dominant dog; lay there as he develops confidence that he is not in trouble or danger. A submissive dog won’t try to dominate you but will develop confidence that he is safe around you. You can also allow your dog to stand over you in a dominant position.

In addition to posture work with his best friend at home, take a submissive dog out as much as possible to socialize him. Smelling where other dogs have marked and leaving his own marks will help him learn who is around. As he meets new friends, don’t force the issue and provide him with positive reinforcement.

Allow him to take his time, watching his posture the entire time along with any dog’s posture he encounters. Don’t pull at the leash but instead allow him to feel some freedom as he meets and sniffs new friends in the neighborhood.

Helping Submissive Dogs Build Confidence

Anyone who has ever tried to get a scared stray dog to come to them knows the difficulty of developing a bond with a pet in a submissive scenario. It takes time and patience to help the dog develop positive feelings and overcome a submissive urination problem.

Sitting with your dog, allowing him to come to you while you avoid eye contact is a start. Let your dog come and explore you without feeling he has to submit. Gentle petting and scratching along with slow deep breathing on your part tell your dog you are friendly and non-threatening. Learn what triggers make your dog fearful and take the time to build routines around those to help him build more confidence when facing them. This could be the doorbell ringing or a certain person visiting. Never using scolding but instead offer very calm reassure feedback to your dog.

Dog Obedience Training

Thanks Dog Training 101 for the photo

Most dogs were bred to do something special: hunting, herding, retrieving, guarding. Getting your dog out and into training programs gives him structure and a purpose. Even basic obedience training can help your dog overcome separation anxiety, submissive or lack of confidence issues. Further agility work and scent training helps stimulate your dog’s mind and builds his confidence.

Beyond basic obedience and fun skills training, using obedience training to help your dog build confidence around things he is afraid of is one of the most useful tools out there. When he is confronted with a known trigger, ask him to sit and hand him a treat. Give your dog the opportunity to relax around things he is afraid of will desensitize him and help remove the trigger. This will help with reducing submissive urination problems.

Incorporate distance work with the treat. If there is someone who can help with this, it will be easier. Ideally, the person who is least threatening is handling the dog. The other person leaves and returns but stays far enough away to not be a threat. If the puppy or adult dog doesn’t have a urination issue, he gets a treat. After his reward, the person takes a step closer.

As long as the dog isn’t urinating while waiting or in a sit position, keep giving him a treat as a reward and then move closer. This positive reinforcement helps him realize that people coming to him usually mean good things like treats and eventually belly rubs. Avoid situations where he gets overly excited and refrain from using punishment when training.  

Puppies Vs Older Dogs

There is a difference between puppies and adult dogs experiencing excitement or submissive urination. Puppies have a few physical and behavioral circumstances that make it more likely for them to urinate under stress. First, they have smaller bladders that are still not potty trained perfectly. They are also easily excitable. Additionally, puppies may be fearful in a new environment if taken away from their littermates and mother too soon. This is especially true for the runt or submissive pup.

Older dogs who are never given the tools to stop submissive urination will continue to have problems. When an adult dog suddenly has an issue, it usually is because of a traumatic event such as losing his caretaker, being taken to the shelter, or attacked by an intruder or stranger. While some breeds are more likely to have excitement and submissive urination issues, it can happen to any dog. As a pet owner, pay attention to your dog’s normal habits, posture, and body language. If his normal behavior changes it is up to you as his owner to figure out why and get the right type of help whether it be medical attention or behavioral/obedience training.

Dealing With Dog Urine and Smells

Most dog owners know that dealing with the excitement or submissive urination is only half the battle. If your puppy or adult dog has urinated in the house, he might become more likely to start marking in the house as well. This is more true with a male dog than a female dog. To prevent a bad urination problem from becoming a secondary marking issue, make sure to properly clean the area of accidents.

Nature’s Miracle is a great product for pet owners who need to disinfect carpets and floors, remove the odor and reduce the chances of repeat issues. Nature’s Miracle is a stain and odor remover specially designed to deal with dog urine and feces. Make sure to test the product out on a small, discreet area of carpet or flooring to be certain it won’t create discoloration.

Nature’s Miracle is applied directly to the dog urine, allowed to soak for 10 minutes and then blotted up with a damp towel. You can also use a wet vac to suck up the extra moisture to get a deeper clean. Take care of all urination accidents immediately when they occur or as soon as you discover the accident. The longer the urine remains, the more likely your dog (or other dogs) will use that spot for marking. Marking might happen long after the submissive urination issue is resolved.

Final Thoughts on Excitement Urination

Remember that excitement urination and submissive urination don’t happen because your dog is being bad. Punishment will not resolve the issues and will make it worse. Learn to calmly approach your dog when he has been separated from you and give him a chance to slowly adapt to the situation. Always rule out whether or not he was developed a medical problem such as a bladder infection.

Starting training when your dog is a pup is the first step to helping him learn to control his bladder. With a lot of positive reinforcement, you will find that your dog feels your approval and is able to keep himself calm until he is released to play in the yard. If your dog is feeling overwhelmed with submission issues, work with a dog trainer to help socialize him and build his confidence in all situations.

Dog training will help with more than excitement or submissive urination issues. It creates a great bond between a pup and his human companion, teaches him what is appropriate behavior and gives him ways to stimulate his mind and release energy.

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