Submissive Urination in a Puppy Submissive wetting or urination is a normal way for puppies to demonstrate submissive behaviour Even a puppy that is otherwise house trained may leave dribbles and puddles of urine at your feet and on the floor when greeting you.
Submissive urination is the ultimate show of respect and deference for higher rank. It occurs frequently with young puppies who have not yet learned and perfected other social skills and means of showing respect. Submissive urination in adult puppies is usually a sign of insecurity. Often un-socialized and abused puppies will submissively urinate. Other puppies that engage in submissive urination may simply have not been shown that there are more acceptable ways to show respect, such as paw raising (shake hands) or hand licking (give a kiss).
Submissive urination may be present in overly sensitive or mistreated puppies because they feel the need to constantly apologize. This state is often caused by excessive or delayed punishment which frightens and confuses the puppy without teaching him how to make amends. The puppy resorts to the only way he knows to show respect and fear, by submissive urination. When your puppy submissively urinates, it is best to just ignore him. If you try to reassure him, he will think you are praising him for urinating and will urinate even more. If you scold him, he will feel an even greater need to apologize by urinating. Either reassurance or scolding will only make submissive urination worse.
Treatment of submissive urination must be directed towards building your puppy's confidence and showing him other ways to demonstrate respect. The quickest way to accomplish this is by teaching your puppy a few basic obedience exercises. A puppy that can earn praise by obeying a simple routine of "Come here, sit, shake hands," will soon develop self esteem and confidence. A confident puppy who can say, "Hello, Boss" by sitting and shaking hands does not feel the need to urinate at his owner's feet.
Excitement Urination in a Puppy Even a puppy that is otherwise doing great at house training may exhibit excitement urination by leaving dribbles and puddles of urine at your feet and on the floor when greeting you. It's normal for some puppies to urinate when they become excited.
Excitement urination usually occurs in puppies and is caused by lack of bladder control. The puppy is not aware that he is urinating, and any punishment will only confuse him. Since he does not know why you are angry, the excitement urination will quickly become submissive urination in an attempt to appease you (details on submissive urination below). As your puppy matures and develops bladder control, the problem will usually disappear. However, in the mean time, it is probably a good idea to do something to help keep your puppy dry.
The best treatment for excitement urination is to prevent your puppy from becoming overly excited in the first place. You can do this by exposing your puppy to the stimulus that excites him, over and over until it no longer excites him. Most likely, your puppy gets excited and wets when you return home. If so, simply ignore him for several minutes. Don't even look at him.
Then leave again for a few minutes, return and ignore, leave, return and ignore. Keep doing this until you can see that your puppy is not only unexcited, but is actually getting bored with the whole thing. If excitement urination is a problem when visitors arrive, have them do this too. When your puppy has calmed down and is no longer excited when you come in, then very quietly and gently say hello. If any signs of excitement or urinating appear, quickly exit and repeat the coming-and-going routine. A rapid sequence of heel-sits will capture your puppy's attention and channel his excitement to the game of heeling and sitting instead of urinating. Remember to ignore all excitement urination and never scold or get angry at your puppy when it occurs.