How to Correct Submissive Urination in Puppies?

Welcoming a new puppy into your home is an exciting time. There are so many things to teach them and so much love to give. However, you might face some behavior issues that you are not prepared for. One of these can be submissive urination. Submissive urination is a common issue in puppies, signifying that they’re trying to show you respect, or sometimes stemming from excitement or fear. While this behavior may be a little frustrating, there are actionable steps you can take to help your pet overcome this habit. This article will help you understand why your puppy might be displaying this behavior and how to correct it effectively.

Understanding Submissive Urination

Submissive urination usually occurs when a dog feels threatened or overly excited. It’s their way of saying, "I’m not a threat." This behavior is most common in young puppies but can occur in dogs of any age.

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The most common situations where a puppy may display this behavior include during greetings, during play sessions, when they’re being scolded, or when they’re feeling afraid. Recognizing these instances will help you understand when your pet is likely to urinate submissively.

It’s essential to remember that this isn’t a house soiling issue but a communication strategy for your puppy. They’re not doing it out of spite or a lack of training. It’s just their way of responding to certain situations. Therefore, punishment is not the answer and can often exacerbate the problem.

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Training Your Puppy to Curb Submissive Urination

Training your puppy to stop submissive urination requires patience and consistency. It’s crucial to make your pet feel secure and less threatened.

One technique is to avoid direct eye contact and to approach your puppy from the side instead of head-on. Keep your greetings low-key to lessen their excitement. Instead of bending over your puppy, crouch down to their level. Try not to pet them on the top of the head or back, as this can seem threatening. Instead, softly stroke them under the chin or chest.

Another technique is to reinforce positive behavior. Each time your puppy greets you without urinating, reward them with a treat or praise. Also, helping your puppy gain control over their bladder will be beneficial. Regular toilet breaks and teaching pee commands can be useful.

Dealing with Excitement Urination

Excitement urination is similar to submissive urination but generally happens during times of high excitement, such as when you come home. Your puppy is so thrilled to see you, they just can’t hold it in!

The key to dealing with this is to manage your puppy’s excitement. Keep your arrivals and departures calm and low-key. If your puppy starts to get over-excited, distract them with a toy or a command. As mentioned earlier, praise them when they manage to stay dry during these high-energy moments.

Also, regular and scheduled outings for bathroom breaks can help in managing excitement urination. If you take them out for a pee before you know they’ll be excited (like before new people come over), it can help them keep control.

When to Seek Professional Help

While training and patience will help most puppies overcome submissive or excitement urination, it’s crucial to recognize when professional help might be needed. If your puppy continues to display this behavior despite your best efforts, or if the urination is accompanied by other concerning signs like weight loss, increased thirst, or changes in appetite, it might be time to consult a veterinarian or professional dog trainer.

They can rule out any underlying health issues and provide additional behavior modification strategies. Remember, this action isn’t about shaming your puppy; it’s about providing the best possible care for your pet.

Final Thoughts

Dealing with submissive urination in puppies can be a test of your patience, but remember, your puppy isn’t doing it on purpose. They’re just trying to communicate with you. By understanding the reasons behind this behavior and making a few adjustments to your interactions, you can help your puppy feel more secure and confident. And remember, this is just a phase. With time, love, and consistent training, your puppy will learn to greet you with wagging tails instead of puddles.

The Role of Body Language in Correcting Submissive Urination

The body language of pet parents plays a significant role in how puppies perceive their environment. In the case of submissive urination, a puppy may interpret certain gestures or postures as threatening, leading to this unintended behavior.

The key to effectively addressing submissive urination is to communicate to your puppy that they are safe and that there is no need for them to feel threatened. This can be achieved by adopting specific body language cues. Avoiding direct eye contact is one such method. Dogs often interpret direct eye contact as a challenge or threat, and this can trigger submissive urination.

Approaching your puppy from the side, instead of head-on, can also help. This is less confrontational and can help the pup feel more at ease. Crouching down to their level, rather than bending over them, also helps to alleviate feelings of intimidation. Remember, the goal here is to make your puppy feel secure, not threatened.

Petting can also influence your dog’s behavior. Petting a pup on their head or back can sometimes be interpreted as a dominant gesture. Instead, try gently stroking them under their chin or on their chest. These areas are less threatening and can promote feelings of safety and comfort.

By being mindful of your body language, you can help your puppy understand that they are safe, reducing the likelihood of submissive urination.

Building Confidence through Consistent Dog Training

Dog training plays a pivotal role in curbing submissive urination. Consistent training helps build confidence in your puppy and reduces feelings of fear or anxiety that may trigger submissive peeing.

Begin by reinforcing positive behavior. Reward your puppy with treats, praise, or affection each time they greet you without urinating. This positive reinforcement will help them associate greetings with good things, making it less likely for them to urinate out of submission or excitement.

To help your puppy gain better control over their bladder, provide regular toilet breaks. Teaching them pee commands can also be beneficial. This kind of training teaches your puppy to urinate on command, giving them more control and reducing instances of unwanted urination.

Consistent training doesn’t mean it has to be intensive. Short, regular training sessions can be more effective than long, sporadic ones. Remember, patience and consistency are key when it comes to training your puppy to overcome submissive urination.


Submissive urination in puppies is a common issue that many pet parents face. It’s important to remember that this behavior is not a sign of disobedience or a lack of training, but rather a form of communication that shows submission or excitement.

By understanding the triggers of this behavior and modifying your body language, you can help your puppy feel more secure and less threatened. Consistent, positive reinforcement during dog training also plays a crucial role in building your puppy’s confidence and reducing instances of submissive urination.

Always remember that patience is key. It might take some time, but with a consistent approach and lots of love, you can help your puppy overcome submissive urination. After all, your main goal is to ensure that your puppy grows into a confident and well-adjusted dog. If, despite your best efforts, your puppy continues to display this behavior, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.
Remember, it’s not about shaming your puppy; it’s about providing them with the best possible care.