Help for Dogs Who Pee When they Say Hello - Submissive Urination

03/19/2009
by Jess Rollins

By Jess Rollins
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I was motivated to write a little bit on submissive urination as it has been something I have been dealing with lately. I hope to be able to share my personal as well as my dog training experience to help others deal with this problem.

My little Ollie is a Chihuahua mix about 1.5 years old. He has always had a tendency to pee when saying hello to people (embarrassing and messy!). The common advice regarding submissive wetting is to ignore your dog by looking away or not approaching him and to hope that he or she grows out of it. There are some other tips which mostly involve managing the problem such as making sure they have pottied recently and to make a point to say hello to your dog on an easy to clean surface. Male Wrap (for male dogs) or dog diapers can help to contain the urine and can be especially useful if you are having many guests over.

The traditional advice or ignore, manage and hope usually does work fine (although, I found it is very difficult to prevent everyone from greeting Ollie on a walk and this risks getting pee on their shoes). It's true that most dogs do grow out of submissive urination by about one year of age, but, not my Ollie! I have heard of many other dogs as well that are still submissively peeing into adulthood. So, for those adult dogs and if you prefer not to have to wait months and months for your puppy to get over the submissive peeing, read on!

I received the following advice from a trainer colleague and friend of mine, Aryn Hervel

She said to keep some treats by the door and when I come home and then feed Ollie treats for sitting politely. Once he is able to do that fairly calmly and without peeing, before feeding a treat, I should lean over him just a tiny bit before feeding the treat. The next step after he is able to accomplish that without an accident is to lean and bend towards him before feeding the treat. Continue to progress like that in small steps and over several days until you can bend and pet your dog and even talk in an excited voice while he sits calmly and happily waits for a treat.

If your dog does start to urinate because you have pushed on a little faster than your dog can manage, simply turn away from him. Do not scold as it will only make the problem worse as he tries harder to submit to you in future greetings. Just chalk it up to experience and resolve to go slower next time. If your dog begins to urinate even as you approach, you can start by tossing treats to him from a distance or try standing sideways.

I bet you'll find that this solution is surprisingly easy and effective and you will wonder like me why you waited so long to try this simple idea!

To perfect your dog's dry greetings, you will need to practice feeding him treats for sitting calmly in some different situations such as for greeting different people and in other locations.

For me at least, just getting part of the way in this training over a few easy sessions has prevented all accidents and has made living with Ollie just a little more wonderful.

I suspect this technique works because it gets the dog's mind off of "greeting" and onto something else like sitting for a treat.

Happy training to you and your pooch! Please let us know what works for you and your dog by clicking on "comments".

For more info on housetraining, including helpful products and articles, click here.

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