Dogs have an inherent pack mentality. The lesser members of the pack have to show the pack leader that they accept their authority to avoid confrontation. To do this, they roll on their backs and urinate on themselves.
This is referred to as submissive urination.
What is Submissive Urination?
Submissive urination is a behavior in dogs where they urinate on themselves as a show of submission to their owners. Dogs that do this are either shy, anxious or have been accustomed to harsh treatment.
Submissive urination in puppies is common, and they would soon outgrow the behavior. Some puppies, however, carry shyness into adulthood, making submissive urination a problem in the house.
Signs of Submissive Urination in Dogs
If your dog urinates during the following circumstances, then chances are you are dealing with submissive urination:
- When they are being scolded
- When approached by a person
- When they hear a loud disturbance such as lightning or ambulance sirens
- When they’re making submissive postures such as tail tucked between legs, rolling over to expose their stomachs, and crouching
- When greeted
If your dog urinates without showing signs of submission when playing or being greeted, the problem is excitement urination.
How to Manage Submissive Urination in Your Dog
So how do you stop submissive urination in dogs?
You can help your dog overcome submissive urination in several ways. First, take your dog to the vet to rule out any medical reasons.
You can then venture to train your dog to get rid of this behavior.
The goal is to help your dog to overcome anxiety through training. The use of appropriate training treats will speed up the dog training process. The training should help the dog build confidence in its mind.
Here are the things you can do to help your dog minimize submissive urination:
- Do not punish your dog for submissive urination as it would only worsen the problem. Also, it would only serve to increase fear and anxiety.
- Avoid situations, people, and other dogs that are out of your control until the dog has learned to control himself and has exhibited self-confidence.
- Use positive reinforcement methods to teach them commands.
- Maintain a consistent environment and routine.
- Reward postures that exude confidence such as sitting or standing.
- Avoid language that your dog may interpret as a show of dominance. Do not make eye contact, but instead, look at their back or tail. Never approach them head-on; instead, approach from the side or present them the side of your body.
- Gradually introduce them to new people and situations to ensure a positive experience each time.
- Spend some time sitting together with your dog when he is on the leash.
- Ignore submissive urination in your dog. Do not make him realize the mistake as this will only reinforce the bad behavior.
- Keep your body language calm and unconcerned, and always issue commands in a firm but low-volume voice.
- Clean up the urine with products designed to remove pet stains and odors in the house. Ensure that your dog does not watch you doing this. You should take him outside before cleaning the mess.
- Do not immediately greet your dog after you arrived at your house. Give him some time to calm down before letting him out of the crate.
- Put his crate near the door to allow him to get outside quickly without any potential of injury.
- Train him on obedience in a fun and confidence-building way.
This process would require patience as it would take some time for your dog to build confidence and overcome anxiety. Try your best not to exhibit frustration to your dog during this process because submissive urination can be annoying.