Submissive urination – 2 year old cocker spaniel

oliver031009 writes to me:

I’m about to adopt a beautiful American Cocker Spaniel. The owner says she
always urinates when she gets excited around her, as well as meeting new
people. The dog is not a puppy,(2 years old)
Anything I can do to reverse this. I’ve met the dog and It does do this.

Adam replies:

Hi, Oliver:

This is usually a behavior that a young dog will grow out of. But at this age, it’s hard to say whether she will or not. (More than likely, she will). The trick is to teach the dog a lot of obedience exercises, and get out and socialize, socialize, socialize: For example, have her sit immediately upon greeting people, and hold a strong sit-stay. You can work her around people to get her used to people (have them ignore her) and the obedience exercises will build up her confidence– which frequently will fix the submissive urination issue. Have strangers approach her in a sit-stay and then give her a cookie– without a lot of drama.

Just know that there’s no 100% guarantee that this will stop, completely. If you do adopt this dog, you need to be mentally prepared in case it never completely goes away. (Not so much for you, but when she meets other people). In most cases, it goes away once you start with the obedience exercises, the way I suggest in the book.

Keep me posted.