How to Treat a Dog with Submissive Urination or Excitement Urination

Play with your young dog outside if he tends to have excitement urination problems.
funny dog puppy playing with toy in mouth running image by Paul Retherford from

Dogs express emotions like fear, insecurity, pleasure or aggression through body signals. A dog owner or trainer needs to be able to read such signs in order to understand what's going on with a dog. Two separate behaviors that are important to understand are submission urination and excitement urination.

A dog's submissive behavior tells another dog or a person that he is not a threat. Even house-broken dogs may exhibit this behavior if the dog is feeling particularly insecure. Submission urination is most often a puppy behavior, but a dog of any age may display it, particularly if he has no self-confidence or has been abused. It is acknowledgement of the superiority of another dog or a person.

Excitement urination is typically an issue of young dogs who are excited and not quite yet completely able to control urination. They typically grow out of it. Punishing a dog for urinating either as a submissive behavior or in an excited state is very likely to make the problem worse.

Submissive Urination

Step 1

Visit the veterinarian to rule out medical issues that may cause a dog to urinate inappropriately. The dog could have a urinary tract infection or suffer from some other abnormality that could cause him be incontinent, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Step 2

Greet and approach your dog outdoors whenever possible. A dog with submission urination issues will leak some urine, but the amount will usually be small enough that it won't ruin a carpet or floor. Regardless, greeting the dog outside will reduce your reaction, which is easier on the dog.

Step 3

Make initial approaches to a submissive dog or puppy slowly. Make yourself seem smaller by getting closer to the ground. Refrain from opening your arms wide as if to scoop the dog up into your arms; as much as we may think this could comfort a dog, it can be intimidating, as it only makes you look larger.

Step 4

Refrain from fixing your gaze on the dog, and do not touch him or speak to him if he begins to urinate on your approach. Look away, or ignore the behavior. Do not display displeasure; it can only make a submissive dog more insecure.

Step 5

Offer treats, and get even closer to the ground if the dog is still apprehensive and urinates. This technique will make your approach less overwhelming to the dog.

Excitement Urination

Step 1

Be certain your pup is over 12 weeks of age and potty-trained before you correct him for "mistakes" in the house. A young puppy is not fully in control of his bladder.

Step 2

Ignore excitement urination. Once the urinary control mechanisms mature, the problem will disappear, according to

Step 3

Speak to your dog quietly and calmly. Dog lovers naturally long to see their pups after a long day away, and may squeal in delight when arriving at home. This excites a dog and can cause excitement urination.

Step 4

Encourage play in areas where leaks are acceptable. Discourage play where they are not.

Step 5

Reward your puppy with treats when he urinates in the proper place.


  • Always consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet.

  • Submissive urination can become a vicious cycle; if you scold or punish the submissive dog, he will urinate more in his attempt to appease you. He's doing the best he can. Have a heart.


About the Author

Elle Smith has been an advertising professional for more than 25 years. Her work for ABC, CBS and Sony Pictures Television has appeared on radio, on air, in print and outdoors. In addition, Smith has more than 20 years experience in marketing, graphic arts, commercial photography and print production, and is a licensed real estate agent with property management certification in California.

Photo Credits

  • funny dog puppy playing with toy in mouth running image by Paul Retherford from