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If your dog greets you or your guests excitedly upon arrival and then squats or rolls over and pees, you could be dealing with excitement or submissive urination. A dog that is completely housetrained can still have trouble in this one area when it comes to urination habits. Submissive and excitement urination are not housetraining problems; they are an involuntary reflex that requires some patience and confidence building to correct.
A dog who feels threatened or lacks confidence may urinate uncontrollably, either a little or a lot. They may also have accidents if they are being punished or verbally scolded, or when someone they perceive as a threat approaches them. Your dog will likely overcome their submissive urination as they gain confidence. You can help to build their confidence by teaching them cues and rewarding them for obeying. Consider enrolling your dog in an obedience class that uses positive reinforcement to teach your dog new cues. Dog obedience classes are more effective when you’re part of the process, so look for a class that has you attend some or all training sessions, and/or involves homework for you and your dog to complete together.
Avoid things that might cause your dog to submissively urinate. This can include:
• Rough handling
• Giving them attention when they are excited
Many of the dogs we adopt have been rescued from cruelty or neglect cases, so the submissive urination may be the result of past interactions with humans. It’s up to you to help them overcome their learned anxiety over greeting you or receiving attention. One important thing to remember is to keep greetings low-key. Ignore your dog when you first come home until they calm down. Speak softly to them and kneel down to your dogʼs level rather than leaning over them. Don’t stare directly into their eyes – keep your gaze soft and make it clear you aren’t watching them intently. When you go to pet your dog, pet them under the chin and on the chest rather than over the head or on the back. Reinforce calm and relaxed behavior with treats or play.
In some cases, or if the behavior started happening suddenly, you might need to visit your veterinarian to rule out any medical reasons for the behavior. While you are working on building your dogʼs confidence you could play with your dog outside to avoid any accidents in the house. Many dogs will grow out of the issue fairly quickly if you follow these guidelines. In some cases, however, the problem can persist if the dog is frequently punished. Employ positive reinforcement training methods, and consult a behavior specialist if you feel you need more support.
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