As with any behavior issue your dog may have, IF you don’t first understand WHY it is happening, you won’t be able to fix it.
One common problem dog parents have is being greeted by their peeing dog. Yes, this is very common because dogs may do this for many different reasons. Sadly, this is also a very common reason of why dogs are surrendered to shelters. Many dog owners do not understand why this happens, lose patience, and decide that instead of working to correct it, they give up and take the pup to the pound. Yes, the pound… A.K.A. “doggie death row.”
This is NOT a crime punishable by death. As with any troubled dog behavior, this requires an understanding, some consistency and a lot patience to fix. But it’s worth it. Not just to spare a dog’s life, but a pet is a lifelong commitment. A dog will dedicate their life to providing you with unconditional love. And there is nothing quite like it.
Most common: Excitement Urination and Submissive Urination
Excitement urination is the most common. It happens when your dog is so incredibly excited to see you, that they simply cannot hold it. Some actually consider this to be an honor. Who else in your life could be so excited to see you that they instantly pee?
This is usually done by young dogs. Some simply grow out of this behavior after maturing. Remember, puppyhood lasts the first 2 years of a dogs life. This is one of the many challenges of raising a puppy instead of adopting an older dog from a shelter or rescue.
What to do:
- Try greeting your dog outside if possible. The cleanup will be easier.
- Make sure you set your dog up for success by keeping their bladder as empty as possible. Start taking them outside to pee every hour. Reward them with a small treat EVERY TIME they pee. They will become so excited to receive praise and treats from you, they should learn to focus on doing that every time.
- Try a more relaxed method of greeting your dog. Most dogs will reflect your energy level. When you are excited to see them, they will be excited as well. Instead, try ignoring them when they are overly excited and rewarding them when they are calm and relaxed. Remember to keep your composure.
- Keep them tired! A tired dog is a happy dog. There is no disputing this fact. Use extra walks, hikes, swimming, or high energy games like fetch or frisbee to use up the naturally anxious energy that dogs have. Hire a professional dog walker to tire your dog out during the middle of the day, so that your pup will be tired and relaxed when you come home from work.
Remember to NEVER PUNISH YOUR DOG for this mistake. If you become angry, your dog may become fearful. This may cause permanent damage and could only make things worse.
Submissive Urination is common in young dogs more than older ones, also more common in females than males. This condition is more prevalent in specific breeds like Dachshunds, Spaniels and Golden Retrievers. Urination may not be the only sign. A dog who pees submissively may also show signs such as lowered body posture, rolling over, licking, looking away or flattened ears.
Submissive behavior may be triggered by many things. Some triggers include loud, deep voices, fast movement, direct eye contact, standing or bending over the dog or patting the dog on the head.
Try greeting the dog with a sideways kneel, averted eyes, with treats, and with a soft rubbing/gentle scratching of their chest or chin. The two places dogs love to be petted the most: Chest and Chin.
Things you can do:
- Try greeting the dog outside if possible.
- Keep greetings calm. Speak in a slow, soft voice. Also remember to stay low to the ground. Towering over them can be intimidating.
- Practice consistency! If there are other people living in the home, or friends, neighbors or relatives who visit, EVERYONE must participate in the same behavior.
- Take them out for hourly pee sessions (as mentioned above).
- Sideways kneel greeting with no eye contact where he/she comes to you. Limit your attention and let them sniff/greet you.
- Try offering a treat while holding it up in the air. Make sure that you are sitting on the floor or ground. The goal is for the dog to increase it’s body height by jumping or stretching higher than you are. This may help to instill confidence.
If an accident does happen, invite them outside to finish and reward them with a treat. Then clean up the mess inside. If you can’t handle cleaning up a little pee, you most likely should not own a pet.
Check into learning some confidence-building games for your dog to play. There are many out there. This should help with other behavior issues as well.
Thanks for caring!
- Certified Pet Care Specialist
Absolute Pet Care, LLC