Some dogs and puppies pee when they’re nervous or excited.
This is usually not a potty training issue. It’s an issue related to excitement, nervousness or submission. The dog or puppy is not really able to control themselves.
This can happen with male or female dogs and in adult dogs or puppies. Some puppies grow out of it as they gain confidence or become calmer.
This article will go over some ideas you can use to manage or even prevent your dog or puppy from peeing due to nervousness or excitement. This should help reduce how often it happens, anyway.
For those of you going through this right now, there is hope!
When my weimaraner was a puppy, he would pee every time he greeted someone. He was so excited, he’d be hopping on his hind legs, peeing everywhere! So embarrassing!
But, once he hit 6 months old or so, this behavior stopped.
How to tell the difference between submissive peeing vs. excited peeing in dogs
There is a difference between a puppy peeing due to nervousness or submission and a puppy peeing from excitement. Although, sometimes it’s both if you have an excited, nervous puppy.
And either way, you would handle the situation pretty much the same. You want to reduce the excitement or stress that is causing your puppy to urinate.
Submissive peeing in dogs and puppies
When a dog is peeing due to submission, nervousness or fear, it is more of an appeasing behavior – “I respect you” or “I mean no harm” but excitement can also trigger the peeing.
Submissive urination in dogs is more likely to happen when you crouch down or try to touch your dog or make direct eye contact. For example, he might squat and pee as you try to pick him up or try to put on his leash or even as you try to let him out of his crate.
It’s much more likely for a nervous dog to pee when a stranger or new person or anyone outside the home is greeting her. This is simply someone the dog is not used to or more nervous about.
Submissive urination can happen with male or female dogs of all ages (puppies and adults). You may notice it when your pup greets other dogs on walks or when visitors come to your door and greet your dog.
Some puppies grow out of it. Some don’t. I had a golden retriever that did this all her life but my weimaraner quickly grew out of this phase when he was around 6 months old.
Dogs peeing due to excitement!
When a dog is peeing due to excitement, it is just that – excitement and losing control! This seems to be much more common in puppies and young dogs than in adult dogs but it can happen with adults too.
The best way to help your dog through this problem is to remain CALM during greetings.
How to stop submissive urination or excited urination in dogs
Well, you can’t necessarily stop a dog from “excited peeing” but you can do quite a bit to manage it. Here are some ideas to try:
In general …
1. Take your dog outside more often for walks and potty breaks.
That way her bladder will be empty and she’ll be less likely to pee in the house when someone walks through the door.
If you know someone will be visiting soon, you can take your dog out for a potty break right before your visitor arrives. Or, you can have your dog greet your friend outside.
Another option is to kennel/crate your dog to give her some time to relax before greeting someone.
2. Limit excitement towards your dog when you come home.
If your puppy tends to pee every time you come home from work, don’t acknowledge your puppy when you first come home. Ask other family members to do the same.
Give her 20 minutes to calm down. Don’t look at her, touch her or even acknowledge her in any way. I know this is hard to do.
Wait until she is calm before you give her any attention. Or, if you have a fenced yard, go directly outside to greet her there.
For example, if your puppy is in a kennel/crate while you’re at work, you could open her crate door without making eye contact, talking to her or petting her and just head right outside so she follows. Then greet her outside.
3. Use a crate for your puppy.
A crate or a baby gate can be helpful for keeping your dog confined to a certain area.
That way, when you return home she won’t be able to run up and greet you and start peeing. You can give her 10 or 20 minutes to calm down before you go to her.
4. Don’t react to your dog’s excited peeing.
As frustrating as it is, it’s best not to punish or scold your dog for submissive or excited peeing. She can’t help it.
Scolding her will just make her even more nervous. Coddling or reassuring her just adds unneeded attention and excitement.
It’s best not to react at all. Just calmly clean up the mess.
5. Build your dog’s confidence.
The easiest way to build up a dog’s confidence is to work on some solid obedience skills at home and then slowly work on those skills in more challenging areas. Things like sit, stay, down, come, heel, watch me, leave it.
See my article: socialization tips for dogs and puppies.
6. Increase your dog’s physical exercise.
This will help decrease excess energy – the calmer the better!
Nervous dogs often need a lot more exercise just to help them decompress. I recommend long walks off leash in nature of that is possible. If that is not safe for your area, then use a long leash and a harness.
Let your dog sniff and just be a dog. I recommend you do this for a good 45 mins at least 3 times per week.
7. Don’t hover over your dog or pet the top of his head or back.
Pet your dog under his chin so you’re not reaching over him.
If you crouch down to pet him or put his leash on him, do so from the side vs. head on.
8. If your dog pees when you put the leash or collar on …
9. If your dog pees as you approach her kennel/crate …
Try approaching from the side vs. head on. And try not to crouch down at her level. Avoid direct eye contact. Just quickly open the crate’s door and then turn away from your dog and head outside or ignore her for a few minutes.
What to do if your dog pees while greeting visitors:
- Train your dog to stay on her bed or in her crate when visitors arrive at your door. She’ll generally be calmer and more secure there. Give her a Kong or bully stick while in her kennel.
- Train visitors to ignore your puppy when they arrive. Ask them not to touch her, look at her or acknowledge her until she is calm, maybe 45 minutes after they arrive. If needed, it’s probably easier to keep your pup in her crate when they first arrive and have her greet the guests outside once she’s calmed down.
- Have visitors greet your dog in a room with hard floors (easier cleanup) or outside.
- Warn guests of your dog’s issue and ask them not to respond if she does pee. Most people tend to make a big show of it “Oh my gosh!” or “Oh poor baby!” Not reacting at all is best.
- Just because a dog shows nervousness/fear or submission doesn’t mean she was abused. It’s more likely related to her personality, a lack of socialization or a lack of confidence.
- You can use a dog diaper if needed. A belly band also works for male dogs. This is basically a male diaper that fits around the belly.
- Unfortunately, some female dogs have urinary incontinence issues after being spayed. If you think this is an issue with your dog, it’s best to discuss it with your vet as there are medications to help with this.
Other possibilities to consider if your dog pees when excited:
The dog could have a bladder infection or urinary tract infection
Dogs with bladder infections tend to urinate in small amounts here and there because I imagine they feel like they have to pee all the time (if you’ve ever experienced a UTI you know what I mean!).
Always good to rule this out with your pup’s vet if you’re not sure. Both male and female dogs cant have bladder infections.
Your dog could be marking
Marking is very different from excited peeing or submissive peeing, but some dog owners can’t tell the difference.
With marking, there is usually leg lifting (males and females) and sniffing beforehand. It’s usually to pee over or mark a certain smell or to claim territory. Your dog may be marking if you’ve had lots of other dogs or cats in your home.
With excited or nervous peeing, the dog is usually crouching down and has a more submissive posture.
What are some tips you would recommend for others? Just add them in the comments, along with any questions.
- How to potty train a puppy
- How to potty train an adult dog
- How to stop a dog from marking in the house
- My dog pees in her kennel/crate