It’s an all-too-common occurrence for owners of a brand-new puppy: anytime someone enters the home or the dog gets excited, a little puddle of pee appears on the floor. Cleaning up after your overly excited puppy can get frustrating, especially when your puppy has been housebroken.
But why, exactly, do puppies tend to pee when they get excited? And is there a way to stop it from happening?
What is likely happening is that your dog is experiencing one of two types of inappropriate urination: submissive urination or excitement urination. Knowing the difference between the two will ultimately help you decide which course of action is appropriate to remedy the problem.
Both problems are common in young puppies and are typically resolved with age, but there are ways you can minimize the urination to save both you and your pup some stress—and minimize the damage done to your carpets.
Submissive Urination: "I'm feeling intimidated"
Submissive urination is your puppy’s way of displaying to you that it is not a threat and that it submits to your dominance. This reaction typically occurs when your puppy is feeling intimidated, scared or threatened by someone, whether it is you or a stranger.
You can tell whether inappropriate urination is submissive based on your dog’s body language and when the urination happens. If you greet your dog head-on, look it right in the eye or stand over it and it pees, it’s likely submissive behavior. This also might happen when you’re scolding your puppy or even using a loud, stern voice around it.
Alongside urination, submissive dogs will typically show other signs, such as lowering the head, tucking the tail and cowering.
Submissive urination is more common in dogs with anxiety or rescued dogs that were abused or excessively punished in the past. It’s also not solely a puppy problem—submissive peeing can continue into your dog’s adulthood, which is why it’s best to change the behavior early on.
To help prevent submissive urination, you should remain calm and avoid approaching your dog in dominating ways so it does not feel intimidated. Keep greetings simple and avoid standing over it or looking at it directly in the eye.
Do not yell at or scold the dog for submissive peeing—this will only exacerbate the problem and make it feel more afraid. Instead, give your dog lots of praise and rewards for good behavior and training. This will help build your dog’s confidence and curb the intimidation.
Excited Urination: "Yay! Welcome home!"
While submissive urination is more common in scared dogs, excited urination occurs when your dog is too excited about something. This typically happens when you arrive home or when new people come to the door. Additionally, excitement urination may occur when the puppy gets curious about something and barks or when you’re playing together and it gets a little too into the game.
Usually, excitement urination stop after your puppy reaches 12 months of age. The reason behind the urination is most likely due to your puppy’s small bladder and its inability to fully control its muscles.
Although you can wait for excitement peeing to stop on its own, there are ways you can minimize it. These methods require patience and a lot of calming behavior.
If your puppy often pees when you or other people enter the home, give your pup the chance to calm down on its own before interacting with it. Avoid contact immediately upon returning home and only interact with it when it is calm. You must remember that the more commotion there is during times of excitement, the more excited your puppy will be, and the more likely it is to urinate.
Avoid reprimanding your puppy after it pees out of excitement. It likely does not have adequate control of its bladder and will not understand why it is being scolded. Instead, you should praise and reward your puppy for peeing in the correct places and work on controlling the excitement.
Urination and Health Problems
While submissive and excitement urination are common in puppies, it’s also important to note that inappropriate urination might be a sign of more serious health problems that your dog will not grow out of. If the inappropriate urination is consistent, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your
dog’s behavior and symptoms to determine whether it needs veterinary attention.
Some underlying problems can include bladder, kidney or urinary tract infections, as well as bladder inflammation or stones and diabetes. Paying attention to what triggers the urination can help you distinguish between medical-related urination and excitement.
In time, your dog should either grow out of or be trained to restrict its submissive or excited urination. Be sure to exercise patience and restraint to teach your dog the proper way to act within your home.