Submissive urination is a fairly common problem, especially with smaller dogs and puppies. However, sometimes it can be difficult to determine if the urination is caused by other issues, such as:
The following guide can help you determine whether your dog is submissively urinating, and give you helpful tips to stop the problem.
Is My Dog Submissively Urinating?
When a dog urinates suddenly due to anxiety, fear, or because they’re timid, it’s called submissive urination. Most puppies will stop submissively urinating after they reach one year old. However, it can continue into adulthood.
The act of urinating submissivly is meant to communicate that they’re not a threat. Among dogs this is completely normal and acceptable behavior, but it can be quite frustrating for an owner to have to deal with on a regular basis.
Fortunately, submissive urination is both preventable and easily treated. If you suspect your dog might have developed it, or will develop it in the future, there’s no reason to worry.
Why Is My Dog Submissively Urinating?
Here’s the bad news: it’s most likely you or your other family members that are causing your dog’s reaction. Your dog is trying to tell you that you’re doing something that makes them nervous or frightened.
The good news: you can easily modify your actions to calm and reassure your dog. You’re not being a bad owner, you just have a shy dog that you need to be extra gentle with. Here’s a few tips for preventing a reaction:
- DON’T pet them on top of their head. The shadow from your hand and your looming figure can scare them
- DON’T encourage excited or frantic behavior within the first 10 minutes of greeting them
- DON’T overly scold them. This can worsen the behavior, not to mention eroding their trust in your, and there are better, calmer ways to achieve the desired behavior
- DO ignore them within the first 10 minutes that you see them
- DO pet them slowly and gently (after the first 10 minutes) underhanded on their chest or under their chin
- DO speak softly when you greet them
- DO let them come to you, rather than reaching out.
Following these simple guidelines drastically reduces the chance that you’ll trigger a reaction.
How Do I Prevent My Dog From Submissively Urinating?
You have to tell your dog that they can relax around you in a way that they understand. By sending specific calming signals to your dog, they will eventually know that there’s nothing to be afraid of.
Try using these signs to calm your dog:
- Avoid eye contact
- Speak softly and gently
- Fake yawn
- “Paw” the ground
- Lower yourself (squat down & turn sideways to the dog)
- Scratch your belly
Body language is incredibly important to dogs. These actions are doginese for “I’m not a threat.”
If your dog is urinating when visitors arrive, teach your friends and family to ignore them for the first ten minutes of their visit. You can also have the visitors use calming signals mentioned above.
This communicates that they’re nervous too, or that your dog’s excitement is making them nervous. This typically calms your dog while getting them accustomed to guests.
At DogBoy’s we love our timid dogs and have classes specifically designed to accommodate their needs. If you’re having trouble with submissive urination or want some tips on how to train a shy dog, don’t hesitate to contact us today.
Laying Dog by Alan Levine
Sad Pug by Hannah K