Submissive urination is dog behavior problem that is an annoyance and a hassle to deal with. But, you can fix it and save yourself a lot of cleanup and your dog a lot of anguish with some easy steps.
Let me start out first by defining what this dog behavior problem is. Submissive urination is when your dog urinates seemingly without control. He may be excited with his tail wagging and jumping up and down, or he may show humble body language with a drooped head and a curled up tail.
My favorite part with dealing with dog behavior problems is to discover what the core or root of the problem is. I like to try to get inside the head of the dog to understand what he is feeling. My experience tells me that if I can understand the cause of the problem, then fixing it will be a cinch. The same is true for submissive urination, so let’s determine why your little guy is doing it.
Dogs operate on a hierarchal system. There is an alpha leader and submissive pack members. Dogs that submissively urinate see themselves as the subordinate pack member. They see you as the owner as someone above them in a hierarchal sense. This is a good thing. All responsible dog owners should be the Alpha member of the pack. The problem is that a dog with a submissive urination problem feels too deeply that you are the leader. In other words, he is overly submissive and it manifests itself through submissive urination. To reiterate the point, your dog should feel submissive to you, but if it leads to submissive urination then he feels too submissive.
The key to fixing this dog behavior problem is to show your dog that, yes, be submissive, but not so much. Follow these steps:
o First of all, don’t scold your dog for submissive urination. I know, this is tough, because it makes you upset. But look at it from your dog’s point of view. He is submissively urinating in a demonstration of, “Hey, I know you are the boss and are my leader.” If you then scold him it will be more confusing to him, “I already showed you that I am submissive, what are you yelling for?” Scolding your dog for this problem will actually worsen the behavior.
o Don’t stand or bend over your dog. This is a dominant and sometimes threatening pose for your dog to interpret. This can lead to submissive urination.
o Be calm at your dog’s ‘trigger times’. You probably know when your dog is most prone to submissive urination. It is probably when you come home from work, when you approach him and he has a toy, or at other such times. The key is to act calm at these times and to actually ignore your dog. Up until now your dog has been in a pattern of behavior that has triggering events. You come home, your dog feels submissive as you lean over to pet him, he feels submissive and urinates. Change the pattern. Ignore him. Give him something else to do. For example, as you come home have a treat waiting and throw it away from yourself. This way, instead of your dog feeling the need to be submissive he is now seeing a calm, aloof owner, and is thinking about the treat on the other side of the room. With this mindset he doesn’t see the need to act so submissively.
o Understand what triggers this behavior in your dog and diffuse the trigger point. I once trained a dog that submissively urinated when you spoke loudly. He also was a fanatic for a tennis ball. So what I did was take a tennis ball, yell at the top of my lungs, and immediately throw the tennis ball for him to go catch. In doing this I broke his pattern of thought. He previously associated loud speaking with feeling submissive. After my training sessions, however, he learned that when someone spoke loudly it wasn’t cause for submission; instead there was a chance that it would lead to play! Do this with your dog. Find out what causes or triggers his submissive urination and use his other desires like food or toys to diffuse the situation.