The second that you walk into the house, your puppy hears you come in. Puppies are always so happy and excited for you to be home that sometimes they can’t handle their excitement.
When this happens, it can lead to your puppy peeing a little even before you get a chance to get them outside to relieve themselves.
Many new dog parents that encounter this problem, are looking for answers to the question : My puppy pees when excited, what can I do to stop this from happening?
Nobody wants to constantly be cleaning up pee all over their house.
Are there different reasons why dogs pee when they get excited? Is it just puppies’ that do this, or can it be something that will continue to happen even when they are older.
Puppies when then are firstborn, do not have the ability to hold their pee or urine. The muscles that control the bladder are simply just not strong enough to allow them to hold it for any length of time.
Gradually over time, puppies’ learn just like humans to contain the reflex reaction or urge to pee. When they are young, their bladder stretches and stretches forcing that urge to pee to come on very quickly.
As they age, they learn to fight that urge to go resulting in the muscles becoming stronger and stronger. Once these muscles are strong enough, your puppy then has the ability to be house broken which will stop accidental peeing in the house.
Now the reality of how long it really takes a puppy to be able to control their bladder ranges from 4-6 mos of age. This is all part of house training your dog to teach them to hold it for longer and longer periods of time. Generally it is recommended that you can start training your puppy at around 6 weeks old.
Routine is the key to success with bladder control. Keeping the same routine, teaches your puppy that they need to follow the same steps each time you leave them and come back again.
In the beginning of a puppies’ life, the second that they feel the urge to pee, they squat and pee. This is an automatic reaction and isn’t related to anything other than them not having the ability to control it and overall immaturity.
Accidents as the puppy gets older, can often be linked to what we call excitement peeing. This can happen every time a puppy gets excited and often can even occur when they are greeting new people.
The good news is, that most times, a puppy will grow out of this behavior by the time they reach a year old or so. Being extremely patient with your dog is the key to success. For your dog, out growing excitement peeing, will not happen overnight. You need to be consistently, patient and never get angry at your dog for this behavior.
Punishing your dog when they are young for accidental peeing, can create a lack of confidence in your dog. You always want to be super careful to praise your dog when they pee when you want them to and where you want them to. Positive reinforcement is the best way to teach your dog how to control their bladder.
Anytime you are taking your dog out with you or even if you are planning on some playtime, make sure that first they go outside to pee. Keep your tone very calm and make sure that you have positive body language, as dogs can certainly pick up on it if it is negative.
Some key things that you can do for success in eliminating excitement peeing are:
- For a dog that has accidents when they greet new people, one thing you can try to do is have them greet new people outside instead of in the house.
- Make sure that you and your guests keep their tone free of excitement. Never greet an excited dog, as that sends the wrong message to them.
- Do not touch your dog when you first come home. Make going outside to pee, the very first thing that they do. Then once they have peed, reward them with positive touching and positive reinforcement.
- Take your dog outside to pee more frequently than you would, especially right after they eat or drink. Usually the urge to pee happens pretty quickly.
- Tire your dog out, by exercising them. A tired dog is less likely to get easily excited and have an accident.
- Teach your dog regular relaxing behavior by getting them to sit or lie down on command for long periods of time.
Exercise, tone of voice, body language and teaching relaxation are some very big ways to help you teach your puppy to successfully beat the excitement peeing.
Unfortunately not all dogs grow out of excitement peeing. When an older dog pees from excitement, we know that it has nothing to do with not having a full grown bladder. They are physically mature and so this behavior more times than not is a behavioural issue. But just to be on the safe side, having your dog checked out by a Vet is a good idea, just to rule out that it isn’t a medical issue that is to blame.
There is another reason that your dog may pee when greeted and can often be mistaken for excitement peeing. This is called submissive peeing.
Submissive peeing is way more common in females than in male dogs, and typically affects younger dogs. There are some breeds, that are more likely to have this issue, like: Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds and Golden Retrievers. But of course, this doesn’t mean that a dog of a different breed can’t have this same problem.
What is submissive peeing? In a dog’s world, submissive peeing is their way of avoiding a confrontation. This can happen when someone speaks to a dog loudly in an aggressive tone or moves quickly to lean in towards to try to touch the dog.
Dogs that are shy, timid, and lack confidence or are fearful are prime candidates to exhibit this type of pee behavior. Unlike excitement peeing, you can spot the different between simply by noticing your dogs posture. They can squat down, fold back their ears, roll over, or even look away. When you greet them, you may notice that they are exhibiting a subdued type of greeting.
If a human aggressively approaches a pee-prone dog, they are likely to notice a puddle of pee very quickly. For this reason, men that have a deep gruff voice are more likely to trigger a pee accident. Tone of voice is something that is very important.
Dog owners will be happy to know that this a normal and very natural behavior. More likely this comes from their mother when they are babies and how she licks their genital area to keep it clean. This puts them in a lower ranking position and keeps their mother in the higher ranking position, as top dog.
A dog that squats and urinates when they see another dog sends the message to the other dog that says “I am not challenging you”. Basically saying “Yes you are the boss”.
Usually submissive peeing is something that happens in an immature dog but as the dog ages and gains more confidence this behavior will disappear.
A key to also helping your dog outgrow this submissive peeing behavior is to never punish your dog or scare them when they do have an accident. If your dog gets scared of you or is punished for a pee accident, this can exacerbate the situation. The dog then would be peeing simply because they anticipate that punishment is coming.
Some ways to help you handle your dogs submissive peeing are:
- Keep your greetings calm with no rapid loud movement.
- Ignore your dog until you let them outside to pee.
- Take them outside frequently to pee.
- When you greet your dog, turn sideways and kneel down with a straight back avoiding eye contact.
- Pet your dog under the chin, rather than on top of their head.
- Never physically or verbally react to your dog if they have an accident.
- When company comes over to the house, give them a toy to give to your dog, which will force your dog to maintain height and keep them moving forward.
The most important thing that you can do for your dog if they submissive pee, is to build up their confidence. Playing retrieval games or find it games, with positive reinforcement can help them become a much more confident dog. Take your dog to dog training to learn proper behavior which will also help build them up.
Whether your dog is a dog that pees from excitement or from being submissive, our response to both of these issues is the key.
When we look at the ways that we help our dogs with either of these issues, it all starts with us. Almost everything that our dog battles through as puppies’ or grown dogs, can be helped with our positive response to the situation. Just like teaching a child the difference between right and wrong, our dogs are the same.
Correct behavior with a calm approach and always remember that every opportunity is an opportunity to teach your dog the proper way to act.
As the saying goes, “You get more bees with honey” this is 100% true with a dog family.
I personally have always believed that having more than one pet in the home, can really go a long way in teaching our dog how to behave. I was blessed enough to own 2 dogs for over 11 years. Although I never got them at the same time, once they were together having a sibling just seems to make things easier for them to pick things up quicker.
Of course, just like anything with dogs, some dogs do not outgrow excitement peeing or submissive peeing as easily as other dogs. More times than not excitement peeing happens only with puppies’ but it can just as easily be a bad habit that the dog just doesn’t grow out of.
Behavioral issues with your dog can create so many physical issues for them. Proper training, confidence, consistency and patience are all the best ways to ensure that your dog conquers these issues successfully.
I totally believe in crate training as a super positive and helpful way to train your dog. Crate training your dog at least for the first year anyway, can help contain your dog and ensure that they don’t get into trouble when you are gone. It is also much easier to train your dog to have fewer accidents, as dogs generally do not like to have an accident in their crate.
The second that you get home, don’t speak, touch or really even acknowledge your dog. Open the crate door and head right outside for them to do their business. Using the same routine every day, will teach your dog very quickly what is expected.
As always, make sure to set your dog up for success with all the right tools. The way we approach any issue with our dog is going to translate to our dog. Attitude and body language is something that our dogs always pick up on, so please remember that.
Be respectful to your dog.