Submissive Urination

February 24th, 2007 by Kathleen

Submissive urination is a common problem in puppies. This can be a very annoying problem, but it can be solved with a little patience and the right technique. Let me share with you how we solved this problem with our new puppy.

When my husband brought home Casey she was just about the cutest thing I had ever seen. Of course I have that response to every puppy I see. Still though, it was love at first sight. After she had grown accustomed to her new home and started getting a little bigger we started to see her true personality.



I had read an article about Mountain Curs. It said they were a high energy dog. Translate that as a rubber ball with a tail. In defense of all Mountain Curs, the breeder did say that he thought she may be mixed with an uninvited guest. None the less, rubber ball was a pretty accurate description of Casey. I often told people that she was a high energy dog and I am not a high energy owner. Yet she was always very eager to please and very excited to see my husband when he came home from work. That’s when we noticed that we had a small problem.

Every evening when Dave came home, Casey would urinate on the floor. This was not going to work. So we tried putting her outside when he got home. As soon as we let her in she still would urinate on the floor, but things didn’t stop there. Things got worse.

When Casey got into our daughters’ room she would have a “happy attack” and urinate on their floor. If we weren’t quick enough she would jump on the bed to greet them and in her jubilance; yes, you guessed it; right on the bed. Then she started the same thing on our bed. She was just so darned happy to see us, even if we has just been out for a minute, that she could hardly contain herself. In fact she couldn’t contain herself, and I was getting really tired of washing bedding every day.

It was time to do some research. Let me add here that it’s a good thing I enjoy research. It is not only a useful skill for a freelance writer, but it has also come in very handy in my adventures raising kids and dogs. I found that this problem is called submissive urination. Thankfully, I was able to find a solution to our problem.

The Technique

I set some rules for the family when interacting with Casey:

Rule #1: When we come home, do not acknowledge Casey in any way. Do not look at her. Do not talk to her. Do not pet her. Once she is calm, go to her and pet her at her level.

This was a difficult rule to follow. Casey desperately wanted to greet us. We desperately wanted her to stop making messes. So we made an effort to follow rule #1.

Rule #2: In the event that Casey has an accident, do NOT yell at her. Move her away from the puddle and clean it up without any excitement. Do not acknowledge her while you are cleaning up the puddle; just do it and be done.

This was difficult to do also since everyone’s first reaction upon seeing her squat on the carpet was “NO!!” I patiently reminded everyone to follow the rules, and I explained why these rules would work.

The Reason

A submissive dog wants her owner to be pleased with her submissiveness. When you reach down to pet her as soon as you walk in the door she thinks this is her big chance to show you what a good, submissive girl she is. She wants approval. When she gets yelled at or everyone makes a big deal over cleaning up her mess, she reads that as not being submissive enough. Her reaction is to do it more. It becomes a vicious, and messy, cycle.

On the other hand, if you are calm and go about your business when you get home you are ignoring her. She has no opportunity to show you how submissive she is because you aren’t paying any attention. After a few minutes the excitement has died down and she feels calmer. When you get down to her level you don’t present yourself as a superior, dominant master. She feels no need to cower. Problem solved.

Admittedly, this technique took a little time. There are rarely instant solutions to any behavior problem. Thankfully, this solution worked. Casey is still a rubber ball with a tail. I am still not a high energy owner. Our family has a lot less laundry to do, and submissive urination is a thing of the past.

One Response to “Submissive Urination”

  1. Dog Video Of The Day: “Smiling” Mastiff | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] the Mastiff “smiles” for the camera. Many dogs will display a “submissive smile” as a sign of [...]

Leave a Reply