Help for Submissive Urination In Dogs!

Does Your Dog or Puppy Urinate Submissively? Thanks to Paws for a Minute for use of the photo.

When you come home does your dog flip belly up and urinate?  Submissive urination can be frustrating!  We all want to come home and be greeted by our excited dogs, but the last thing we want is to be peed on after a long hard day!  Some dogs even urinate excitedly when company comes over to visit!

Why?

Why does your dog show this behavior?  When he shows his belly to you and urinates your dog is signaling to you that he is extremely submissive.  He wants you to know without a shadow of a doubt that you are the pack leader.

Some dogs simply just get so excited, it’s that feeling of being so excited or so nervous you want to pee your pants (every had that feeling?), except your dog is doing just that to the floor and sometimes even on you.

The natural reaction is to get angry and lose your temper or shout.   However, yelling, shouting, or even just assuming that stiff angry body posture can make this problem significantly worse, especially for the next time you return home or have company over!  The more you punish him, the more angry you are the worse the problem will be!

What Can You Do?

The most important thing to remember is that one of the reasons your dog does this is lack of confidence, and so you must build his confidence within the pack.  Build his confidence and treat him gently throughout the day.  If you lose your temper at other times during the day, this only reinforces his fear and need to be submissive for you.   If you feel yourself losing your temper, step out of the room and reevaluate the situation, focus on your breathing and give him something to do that he can be easily successful.

Also when you come home speak gently and do not get over excited.  Ignore him if you have to at first to give him a moment to adjust.  Do not encourage or engage in a loud excitable greeting ritual, or your dog is likely to relapse and urinate.  Be calm and quiet, move slowly and do not reach toward him.

Next get him outside to potty where it is appropriate.  If you can get him outside fast enough, he can relieve himself there first and therefore it sets him up for greater success when he comes inside!  If he does this when you have company, simply have them alert you before a visit so you can get him outside first.

Let your company know this is a training problem and not to get over excited or over exuberant with your dog.  If you have a super boisterous friend coming over, you may allow your dog and your friend a few minutes to settle in before they greet each other.  Dogs often mirror the behavior they are shown, so if you and your company are quiet and calm and ignore the dog, it will help your dog learn to acclimate without becoming overly excited!

Do not reach over the top of his head to pet him.  Dogs can view your hand going over and above their head as scary and dominant behavior, some dogs might be rescued or have been previously abused by someone else.  Pet your dog under his chin and on his chest while you are working on submissive urination.  Don’t bend over the top of the dog, get down on his level and slowly, calmly pet him while quietly speaking to him and avoiding eye contact.

Expect slip ups and plan for them!  This is a difficult behavior to break and it is going to take time.  Your dog is going to make mistakes and slip up.  When he does urinate just ignore the behavior, do not yell do not get upset or frustrated simply exit and clean up the puddle.

Submissive urination can be a common behavior problem, but if it is addressed with calm, quiet, kindness it should disappear within a few weeks!

 

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Comments

  1. Jana Rade says:

    This often becomes a vicious cycle. The dog urinates being submissive, but gets yelled at. He tries to appease the master but urinating some more … I read a story where the dog in desperate attempt to diffuse the tension rolled on his back and urinated straight on his master. Guess what followed after that …

    Great article. The main thing is not to intimidate your submissively urinating dog.

    [Reply]

  2. Toni says:

    Thank you for many good ideas about dog training. My pomeranian dog urinate, but not when I see him. He oftenurinate when I don’t see him. I can have my back to him or I can be in a different room. I often find puddles on the floor. Yes, it is annoying. Very annoying. I have learnt to ignore bad behaviour when I don’t see him in the act. So what do I do?
    Adding information: I did not manage to potty train him. He did this right up to the time when a little pom girl came into the home when he was 15 months old. Then he stopped. All of a sudden he started again. First by using the puppies “wee pad”. And now she doesn’t need it any more but he goes on the floor. He is now 22 months old.
    Do you have an idea what to do?

    [Reply]

  3. Lura Bryan says:

    This is very interesting and something I am going to do as My dog is one that urinates when greeted. Thank you!

    [Reply]

  4. I have a Poodle who is two and she does this with everyone who walks in the door but doesn’t do it to me. Thanks for the advice.

    [Reply]

  5. Deb Sugar says:

    My standard poodle (2 yrs) doesn’t urinate when we reenter, however will not void anyplace but our back yard (where we house broke her) No matter how long the walk outside she will only “poop or Piss” in our back yard. Is this a common problem? Is there a simple solution?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    YES! I have had a couple of dogs like this and vacations are trying! You must take her on walks and not allow her access to the back yard for a few days so that she gets the idea. You must just take her out several times a day…think of it like you are on vacation. Eventually she will go and then praise her!

    I have also learned that you must keep up on the training or the dog goes back to only being comfortable in their own yard. So once you find success, keep it up or make it a point to work on it once a month or so! Good luck

    [Reply]

    Paula Reply:

    Hi there, I had this problem with my Yorkshire, she would only pee and poo where she KNEW, so if we went out for the day she would simply hold it and to start with only pee indoors and later on only in places she knew. Very quick and easy solution to this, apart from the above, is also to pick up some poop and take it out with you and place it somewhere where the dog has not been before. Then let him go to that poop and smell it – the message is: oh yes, I have done here before. That should ease the problem. Of course, don’t forget to pick up poop again after. :)) My Yorkie now pees and poos wherever we are and is completely clean indoors. But I adopted a dog and he pees himself when he is told off or when my husband gets home, ha! Back to square one!

    [Reply]

  6. jody says:

    Ignore your dog completely when you come home, direct your dog directly to the outside, go out or wait till dog urinates then give them your attention justly deserved after returning home. With young dogs/pups sometimes there urination control muscle has not yet developed and will come with time. But the same holds true with older dogs who have lost some control.
    Please keep in mind I came very close to putting down my young golden that was fully house trained then started unrinating the vet and I tried everything and tested for everything. Vet concluded it was mental. Come to find out it was due to his testicles never dropping and had blocked that great muscle that controls urination. Thank God! I feel still a bit guilty that putting him down was at one point a possibility.

    [Reply]

  7. Terri Dunlap says:

    This is great info – but does anyone have suggestions for a dog that marks inside the house? He’s completely trained and doesn’t pee, per se, but apparently feels the need to mark the house as his territory, even after a year! He’s a 3 yr. old rescue Chi mix, who’s still quite insecure, although he’s come a long way from his original fearfulness. He even ‘tells’ me when he’s marked by his submissive posture and it’s just a matter of time before I find the spot. I’ve used the procedure for cleaning and erasing the scent, and he just finds new spots. Help!!

    [Reply]

  8. Karen says:

    My dog only does this when I got to take her toy when we are playing fetch. I am talking very nice and gentle to her and this is the only time it ever happens. I’m stumped.

    [Reply]

  9. Jonathan Ivy says:

    Hi,

    I contacted you earlier and told you that I got your dog traing program a while back. I purchased it and downloaded it. Subsequently my computer crashed and I lost what I had down loaded. I wanted to know if I could order a hard copy or cd set of your dog traing program so I will have a back up if something like this happens again.

    Thanks,

    Jonathan Ivy

    [Reply]

  10. Janis says:

    What do we do for this scenario? My sister & family bring their dog to visit with them. I LOVE their dog & my dogs LOVE their dog. Problem: He is so overexcited by the new surroundings and seeing his “cousin” dogs that hee pees in the house up to SIX times in a day!! We let him out to pee both alone and with my dogs at least that many times a day, but he is still so excited, he pees all over the house. BTW, he is not rolling over & peeing, he sneaks into the next room or hallway and does it. My dogs don’t even have to be on the same floor of the house with him and he does it. My sister will not keep him on a leash 24hrs a day and I don’t blame her. What can we do besides sedation & diapers?? HELP!!

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  11. Marian VandenMeydenberg says:

    Yes, our Daisy has this problem. I had already devised the strategy to not give her any attention when company arrives. And that works. But she’s also very sensitive (at times) when we look in her eyes. She’s all Jack Russell terrier and feisty, but at times she’s so timid. And my husband and I are both soft spoken people; we don’t yell at her or anytime. Outside on our walks she’s never timid, but it’s indoors when she changes into this bashful behavior at times.

    [Reply]

  12. Carolyn says:

    I have a question. My golden retriever/dachshund mix has submissive urination only with older men, mainly with white hair. She doesnt do it with anyone else. We adopted her and got her over the submissive urination with the above tricks but older men just get her very nervous. I am not sure what to do. I believe that an older man abused her, as after urinating she tends to get aggressive with them and nip at their heels also. I had a hard time house breaking her because she wouldnt go to the bathroom in front of me, only when i wasnt looking at her. Any help would be appreciated.

    [Reply]

  13. Good info! Be sure your vet exams your dog to eliminate any medical reason for the behavior (like a bladder infection or diabetes). Also build confidence by teaching your dog obedience commands and tricks and offer lots of praises!

    [Reply]

  14. Donna says:

    Hi
    I dont have a problem with submissive urination but i do have a problem with my males marking in the house. They are neutered. Also with one female she does use the pee pad but she periodically squats on the floor. If the other female sees this she will go over to that spot and pee. They all trying to be dominant? Anyone have any suggestions? I so want to stop this bad behaviour. Everything i have tried just hasnt done a thing.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    How many do you have? Are they spayed and neutered? What are their ages?

    Yes it sounds like a lot of marking. Marking is difficult to stop and can become a

    [Reply]

    Donna Reply:

    Hi Minette
    I have 4. Their ages are from 7yrs to 3 yrs. Yes they are all neutered and spayed.Thank heavens we dont have carpet anywhere.Oh i know it will take sometime to end this but how?

    Btw i see that only part of your reply got through.

    Thanks for responding back.

    [Reply]

  15. Savannah says:

    My golden retriever puppy has done this twice last Thursday and hats it and it was because a big 70 pound malamute came running over to him. Are the steps the same if he does submissive urination becAuse of other dogs? How do I help him build his confidence?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Try not to let other dogs run at him, try taking him over to other dogs to socialize, he must learn to enjoy other dogs on his own time but a 70# dog running at him must be overwhelming.

    Take him to socialize with good dogs that you know and encourage safe play. Let him potty before meeting other dogs to lessen the chances of him urinating when he meets them. Good luck!

    [Reply]

  16. Adopter says:

    I adopted a chihuahua/dachsund mix about a week and a half ago, and he’s fine while I’m home, but as soon as I leave him and return he urinates uncontrollably. I was home with him the first week, on vacation from work, but now that I’m back at work I’m leaving him in the kitchen on the vinyl floor because each day when I get home from work, even without any excitement on my end, he sees me and starts urinating. He is going to the vet this weekend to make sure it’s not physical, but it is very hard not to get angry over the sheer frustration in not being able to calm him. He is beyond submissive, and came from an abusive situation (he is a rescue from the pound, an owner surrender), so he has a lot of fear in him. I really hope he gets over this sooner rather than later. I am willing to work with him, but if I don’t see any progress, I am not sure what to do. I can’t leave him in the kitchen every day while I’m at work forever. And I find I’m unable to enjoy him because I’m always afraid I’ll trigger him to urinate.

    [Reply]

    Carla Reply:

    Having similar problem with my newly adopted Chi-terrier mix. He’s two years old and was in two prior homes with his litter mate brother. We only took him. First home was “bad” and second surrendered them. He was submissive to our two older ShihTzus and my daughter and I at the adoption center, but didn’t pee. I don’t get mad at him, but then he uses his crate (my other two don’t use a crate) as sort of a security thing. I want to cuddle and love on him like my other two, but I have to prepare for his peeing. Not fun. I just started him on some anti-anxiety meds yesterday which is referred to as “ace” by the vet. I can notice a calmness, but no effect yet. If this seems to work in the short run, the vet will go to a prozac or something. I’m hoping we can work with this behavior more positively for him–build confidence–and then take him off meds gradually. He is so smart and a pleaser. Someone did right by him at some point. I’m not ready to give up on him. I’m doing a lot of pee-related laundry. I even put a vinyl tablecloth on the couch with the flocked side up to protect that. He did manage to pee on my bed once. Also, recently purchased a solution to get rid of urination, vomit, poop, etc. called “Extreme” (In a blue-green bottle). I like using it in the wash also. Overall frustrating!!!

    [Reply]

  17. Ashley says:

    I’ve found a lot of useful info and suggestions but I’m having a real problem with my Standard poodle he’s 8 months old… we had the backyard problem where that was the only place he would go that was fixed with Vacation for 4 days… he had no choice but to go when taken outside or crate until he did! After the first night the other 3 were golden! We have also dealt with the excited pee and the submissive after our vacation we came home and all problems were solved. We therefore started letting him sleep where ever and be free no more crate he done well a couple weeks… Now a new problem! He only does this to me and not my husband or anyone else and I don’t work we have two daughters and me and my girls are always with him unless we can’t be for dr visits or etc… Now if my husband is working and me and the girls are gone and come in he refuses to go out!!! Drives me nuts… I overreacted the first couple times and I guess I’ve made it worse. Meanwhile I’ve calmed down and learn not to raise my voice but after I’ve been gone 30min or longer and enter the room and tell him lets go Outside he refuses! My husband said to ignore it and don’t pay attention to him and he’s potty trained let him go to the door when he needs to go out! But I don’t want him controlling and calling the shots he should learn to go out when I tell him in case I do have to go somewhere and he used to this just recently started thats why it ‘s so frustrating! If me or the girls get anywhere near him after he has refused to go out he pee’s everywhere! If I try to touch him he does it, it doesn’t matter if he’s sitting or laying down he pees! He’s so big now he gets on the furniture and bed whether I want him there or not and if I touch him or talk to him he pee’s! I love him but I’m so frustrated because this is a new problem after the peeing was taken care of and he is ruining my house! I can’t get the oder out of my loveseat and I have a 1 yr old and 3 yr old girls… I don’t want them in a house like that! If we’re all out and my husband comes in first he goes right out with him and there is no issue, but me it doesn’t work! And I don’t understand why when I’m the one taking care of him, feeding, treats, baths, grooming, and everything!

    [Reply]

  18. Shayla says:

    I’ve tried all of these things to help train my 8 month old Terrier/American Eskimo mix. He just gets excited to be Any further suggestions? He’s a bright dog, knows do how do several tricks and gets highly praised to help boost confidence but that hasn’t worked either

    [Reply]

  19. PeterW says:

    We have a 3-year-old rescue bitch who came to us at 18 months old. At first she suffered weeing on greeting, couldn’t be left, not even for 5 minutes, warned other dogs off and cowered away from visitors.

    18 months on, she has had great fun training, quickly picking up all required commands plus a few tricks. We’ve learnt a lot about ignoring on greeting and, after many false starts, have got her happy to be alone for 3-3.5 hours, when necessary. We’ve got her happy to see visitors and she’ll even play with other dogs.

    BUT… when being tummy-tickled by wife about 2 weeks ago, there was a ‘yelp’, as if she’d pulled a muscle, she (not my wife!) ran off, tail between her legs, and hid for a while. Ever since then, she has shown signs of stress when being stroked and we get a small wee when greeting after a spell on her own, no matter how calmly. She is crated when on her own and, when we turn up, we do not release her straight away, just go about our business for more than 5 minutes.

    I’m assuming more-of-the-same and time will solve the problem, but any suggestions gratefully received.

    [Reply]

  20. Tina says:

    Hi, I have a 4 month old Jack Russel/Pit Bull mix that submissively pees no matter what we do. This did not start right away, and it is getting to the point that I don’t know what to do with him! When we first got him he was just fine, some puppy dribble here and there, but now, he cowers everytime my husband or I reach down to pick him up, look at him and speak, unless he is out side playing. If he is on the porch and we reach down to pick him up he still cowers. Any suggestions would be helpful. It almost seems as though he suffers from some sort of anxiety. For the first month we had him, he slept in our bed. All of a sudden with this submissive urination, he peed in our bed and has to sleep in his crate now!

    [Reply]

  21. Rachel says:

    I have a 3 year old dachshund chiwawa mix. I have had her since she was 8 weeks old. Grew up in a food home. No abuse. Every time we come home we have worked on leaving her outside to pee right away and ignore her so she will calm down. This avoiding an accident.
    But mainly what’s frustrating is every time I ask her to “get her toy squirrel” she runs to her kennel. Where as when my husband says the same thing , she plays with him.
    Or when I bend down to pet her she pees. When I put her collar on she kneels down and pees. When she gets on the couch or on our bed and I call to her sweetly she crawls over and pees a little . I’m like ” what’s the deal!” She is so submissive I just don’t understand. It’s frustrating. My she is less submissive to my husband , than to me. I had her to myself for the two years of her life and I’m not sure if she just enjoys having my husband as her playmate and me as her comforter. But the peeing needs to stop. Please I need advice !!!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Follow the advice in the article and it should help

    [Reply]

  22. kelly says:

    My sister’s pit bull pees every time I come to visit and she says he only does it when I’m there and I haven’t the faintest idea why. I’ve never raised a voice or a finger to this animal except in friendly affection and yet he cowers and pees whenever I touch him or approach him. It makes us all crazy – and I feel guilty because she says it’s only me he’s like this with.
    I’ve fostered, rescued, adopted, and babysat dogs of all breeds and ages – I know how to behave around dogs but this just baffles me…

    [Reply]

  23. Shawnell says:

    I just got a 2 year old Jack Russell from a family member. She been mine for a week now. Every time someone comes in the room, leaves the room, or call her name she urinates on the floor. I had to stop her from getting on any furniture because she would tinkle on it. I was told she might be pregnant or maybe abused. She has not barked growled or anything. Should I be concerned? I have a vet appt for the 26 should I make it sooner?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I would try sooner there is a chance she has a UTI.

    I would also just give her some time to just adjust. Just because she is submissive peeing doesn’t mean she has been abused. My grandmother has a cocker spaniel that submissive peed throughout it’s life.

    If you haven’t read the article please do as it has good advice!

    [Reply]

  24. Lucy says:

    My 6 month old lab doesn’t do it to anyone but me. Whether it be that I went out to throw out the garbage or coming home from work. He will get on his two back legs and pee. When I ask him to get off he just runs in circles or sound the house continuing to pee on everything. As far as making them go out beforehand, I have had him pee on my WHILE outside and he had already relieved himself and was playing for hours outside with my family. I am at a loss. He is so sweet but I can’t handle much more. Please help.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Some dogs must grow out of it, but even I sense your anger and I bet he does too.

    I would certainly go to his crate, leash him and put him outside for 10 minutes or so after coming home.

    [Reply]

  25. Nikki Caldwell says:

    My dog just stopped peeing when we see each other now at 7 months he cums on the floor sniffs it then does what is asked… for a week no peeing then a red tip shows and he cums.
    I am thinking he is out doors for the rest of his life.
    this is gross i could deal with pee.
    Any ideas?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Neuter

    [Reply]

  26. Jantina robins says:

    HELP!!ive had my dog just over a year,we got her from rescue so dont know much about her early days.in the last few months she has started peeing if someone visits and now has started peeing when i yell at my kids.i dont know what to do now,i was trying some of the things that ive read to deal with submissive behaviour but im now stuck because sometimes i have to yell at my kids but feel that i cant because of my dog peeing.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    yelling only makes submissive urination worse.

    [Reply]

  27. Rosanne says:

    You show understanding and empathy with our four footed friends. Great article.

    [Reply]

  28. Judy says:

    I have a 5 yo Purebred Blue Tic Beagle, BC CHEWIE, that my Dad hoped would be a good rabbit dog. She came with me, still a pup, not long afterwards.
    “Pooper” will not go outdoors, except twice when she was running with her brother and sister, German Shepherds I’ve tried putting pee pads outside and going out with her. She’s held it, 8 hrs. until she ran inside and peed. I can’t put her in a crate or leave her alone, because once she discovered her howl, she uses it well! She’s had seperation anxiety forever and doesn’t lay down, at night unless she’s under the blankets beside me! I can’t leave the house, for long or without treats unless her big brother is there and when I take her, she howls in the front seat, as soon as I’m out of sight. I feel like the worst owner alive and have to leave a sign on the dash, if I run in the store! I had a woman marking down my license plate, one day, five minutes after I got out. I have a lot of health problems, including a brain tumor, she discovered first!! I LOVE HER TO PIECES, but, would love to have some life back!! I’m sure she picked me because I have no smell, since my tumor! Unfortunately, others do! Everyone says get rid of her…that’s not an option!! HELP PLEASE!!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Unfortunately you are severely contributing to the problems. The dog needs to learn to be independent by taking her everywhere, not crating her, you are creating separation anxiety.

    I have many articles on potty training and separation anxiety for free. You can use the search bar at the top of the page to search articles.

    [Reply]

  29. CAROLINE says:

    Hi so we are having a problem where my 4 year old boxer cross urinates when we wanna taking him for walks so when we try to put is leash on his pees and a whole lot sometime he even picks up his leg to do so we adopted him last year from a bad situation he was left tied to a tree for 24 hours and they believe he was used as a bait dog we don’t know what to do we are willing to try anything at this point.

    [Reply]

  30. Brigitte Brisson says:

    We just got a now 3 months old pitbull who often wets her behind, there’s not literally pee on the floor, she leaks a bit here and there and we honestly don’t know why, could someone please help us, we don’t know what to do anymore, we only give her a lot of love maybe too much but for me there’s never enough love which is unconditional so hoping to see some replies, thanks!?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    ask your veterinarian

    [Reply]

  31. Kura says:

    My dog has a urinating issue. He is fine with my husband when we wake up. He sleeps in our bed most nights. When we all get downstairs my husband goes to pet the dog and he pees then. He is fine before and after he pees he is usually fine. We aren’t sure why he isn’t doing this. It’s only worth him and it happens once and then he is fine. He curls up with him on the couch and follows him around the house. We are gettting frustrated. It’s only with my husband and only once a day either first thing in the morning if he isn’t working or when he gets home from work. Please help.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    If it is only a problem once a day in one specific circumstance, I would have your husband change his behavior and not pet the dog at that time.

    [Reply]

  32. Nikole says:

    I need help please!! We adopted a pit bull mix a little over a month ago, and she is fantastic while we are home but she had not only severe separation anxiety but she also has started submissive urinating all over our house. The weird part is that she isn’t baring her stomach she is laying belly down and peeing even in the kennel she is peeing and pooping.. she’s done it on the couch, on the floor, just about everywhere. The only time she’s really been spanked is when she tore up our living room carpet. We have her on anxiety meds she’s gone through uti meds, we have given her treats she’s gets taken outside routinely I’m at my wits end… I don’t want to place her back in the humane society she has been there 6 times before we adopted her but idk what else to do next step she is gonna start wearing diapers whenever she is in the house… any ideas would be greatly appreciated

    [Reply]

  33. Milo says:

    My dog submissive pees a lot, but won’t do it in the crate. I can come home after being gone for a long time, act excited and call his name, bend at the waist, pet on top of his head, look him in the eyes, etc. and he won’t pee in his crate. I literally do all the things that should cause excitement or submissive pee and he won’t do it in his crate. I stop doing all those things, let him out and he pees all over the floor and himself. I’ve been scolding and punishing him, but it’s not improving his behavior. I just did research today and learned of submissive peeing and I want to start being patient and following the new information I’ve found online, but the fact that he doesn’t do it in the crate makes me think he can clearly hold it in and knows he’s not supposed to pee. Anyone run into anything like that? Any help would be appreciated.

    [Reply]

  34. Jen says:

    My 4mth old pitbull only pees when we take him to the pet store or when my son in law comes over. He gets super excited, however he’s equally excited when we go to the vet but doesn’t pee there.

    [Reply]

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