Some Insight Into Your Dog’s Submissive Urination

Greg asks: My dog is a 5 month old boxer/shepherd mix who pees submissively/excitedly upon greeting friends or anyone really who arrives home.

Occasionally, even if he has been calm inside his kennel cage, he will pee in the cage when I go to greet him to take him out.

I have tried having everyone, including myself, be very low key when greeting him and trying not to excite him. It does not work. I have not been correcting him for this submissive/excitement peeing because I did not want to make him more submissive or nervous. His problem seems to be more excitement than submissive to me but I am new at puppy [training->dog training]. He does not lay down and roll over on his back when he pees and does not display typical submissive behavior. He usually does it by standing up and peeing while he greets you. I have even made him stay in a sit while he is greeted and he still pees. HELP!!!

Thank you in advance,

Dear Greg,

Thanks for the e-mail.

Yes… you are right in your assertion to not correct the dog for submissive urination.

I hate to tell you this, but barring any kind of urinary tract infection (you should have him checked just to be on the safe side) this is simply a phenomena of his young age. We usually see it in males, and usually of certain breeds. For some reason it’s quite prevalent in working breeds.

The best you can do is to leave the crate next to the door and immediately open the crate and run him outside. But even doing this, like you stated, sometimes he may urinate in the crate.

The good news is that this is simply a facet of youth. The dog doesn’t even know he’s doing it. All I can really advise is that you tough it out for another couple of months. At the most, he should be over it by 11 months. But usually they pass through it at around 7 months of age.

As the dog gets older, his temperament will firm up, too. And this will make the submissive urination problem disappear.

You can also try building up the dog’s confidence by doing some of the dominance building exercises referenced in the book, in reverse. Play tug of war with him and let him win. Build him up a bit. But regardless, this is a symptom of the dog’s youth.