How to Stop Your Dog Excitement + Anxiety Peeing

Having your dog pee in the house every time you arrive how, or whenever guests come to visit is an embarrassing, disgusting problem to have to put up with. It will end up destroying your carpets too!

A few simple steps and an easy action plan can put a stop to this issue. But first you have to know if your dog is excitement peeing or submissive peeing.

 
how to stop your dog excitement and anxiety peeing
 

My dog female border collie puppy always pees when she sees new people or sees someone who she hasn't seen in more than 2 days, how can I stop this behavior, I would assume it's excitement. - Lil

Excitement or Submissive Peeing

Excitement peeing and submissive peeing are two very similar problems, or behaviors, but they are based on a couple of different key emotions. While they can look very similar, the way to go about fixing, preventing, or stopping them and training your dog out of them can be slightly different.

Excitement Peeing

If your dog is running around, jumping up, peeing when they are moving or when they are playing, then that is likely to be excitement peeing.

Their ears will be up, they will be quick to engage and will generally be very lively whenever someone arrives at home.

Submissive Peeing

If, on the other hand, your dog has their tail tucked between their back legs, if they are slinking over to you (often walking almost sideways at an angle too), rolling onto their back and showing their belly, it is much more likely that a dog or puppy is submissive peeing.

They might not appear particularly distressed or anxious, but these actions are classic displays of submission.

It might seem like the difference is very subtle, but determining which your dog is doing is very important.

In one instance there is a dog who is looking really excited. They have their tails up wagging. They are running around. They are jumping up and their peeing. The other one has their tails tucked between their back legs, rolling onto their back and showing their belly.

Next time your dog pees when someone arrives at the house, look carefully when your dog is exhibiting this behavior. You should be able to see quite nicely the difference. If not, try taking a video so you can watch it back several times. After all, it can all happen very quickly!

excitement peeing and submissive peeing are two very similar problems but they are based on a couple of different key emotions

How to Stop Excitement Peeing

  1. Avoid Excitement

  2. Ignore until calm

  3. Don’t punish

  4. Be Consistent

The first thing to say is that, a lack of complete bladder control is absolutely normal in puppies. They generally grow out of it. It can occasionally persist in older dogs as well, especially when they are getting super excited and if we failed to take steps to try and stop this behavior while a dog is young.

You need to put steps in place to stop both excitement and submissive peeing early to maximize the likelihood of this problem disappearing, rather than sticking around into adulthood.

Avoid Excitement

The first thing you need to do for excitement peeing is to try and avoid excitement. Try to avoid having an incredibly excited, worked up dog. Your dog feeds off your emotions, so if you are jumping up and down, restless with excitement and acting slightly crazy your pup is going to be just as excited.

If possible, also take your dog outside to pee before the guests arrive. That is going to set your dog up for success as they are less likely to have any urine left to go. And if they do have an accident, there won’t be so much to clean up!

Ignore Until Calm

Once your guests arrive, everyone needs to ignore your dog until she calms down. Don’t pay her any attention until she is really calm and placid.

Once she is standing, sitting, or lying quietly (whichever it is you want her to do), calmly pet her and say hello. Don't go and make a big fuss over her when she is nice and calm. That will only wind her up again and get her excitement peeing again.

Slow, gentle stroking, and a calm, quiet voice will show that you are acknowledging her and will still reward her with your attention.

You are saying she is doing good, but you are not trying to excite her again.

Longer Delay

If this attention still triggers excitement, then you need a longer delay until she is truly settled. Just ignore her again and repeat the process when calm. Next time leave things a little bit longer before your rewarding her.

Clean the Pee Quickly

Now, if she does have a little accident, letting out a little bit of urine, then clean it up quickly. Don't make a fuss about it. Don't tell her off because that is only going to make things worse, potentially triggering her to submissive pee in the future.

Also, use an enzyme cleaner (like this one). These cleaners break the urine down without strong-smelling chemicals so that a dog is not attracted back to that spot and doesn't think of that spot as an appropriate place to pee. They are also gentle on carpets and typically won’t result in bleaching or discoloration.

Be Consistent

With any training, consistency is the key. Everybody has to do this all the time.

Let your visitors know ahead of time what they need to do and what you expect of them when they arrive. Prep them beforehand. After all, they don’t really want to be covered in dog pee either!

It will take time to break any habit or correct any behavior. It is not going to happen overnight. It is going to take time for any puppy or adult dog to learn that they only gets attention if they remain calm.

Once she is doing well by being nice and calm when guests arrive, regularly reinforce with treats and praise so that the habit does get ingrained and she doesn't take a backward step by starting to get really excited again.

How to Stop Submissive Peeing

  1. Train your dog to sit

  2. Reward when sit without prompting

  3. Be calm and gentle

  4. Avoid confrontational signals

If instead your dog is submissive peeing, rather than excitement peeing, you first need to know that submissive behavior is actually normal for dogs that are not at the top of the tree or the leaders of the pack. It lets others know that they are not a threat.

That said, we clearly don't want any dog to be too submissive as a result of being really anxious, nervous, or scared.

Submissive peeing is definitely more common in nervous and anxious dogs, those that have been poorly treated, or dogs that have been punished after problem peeing of any kind.

submissive peeing is more common in nervous dogs that have been poorly treated, or dogs that have been punished after problem peeing of any kind

This goes back to a dog who is punished because of excitement peeing. Then they become really anxious about being told off because they are getting excited. Instead, this anxiety then manifests as submissive peeing.

Train Your Dog to Sit

To start with, teach your dog to sit reliably. Give them a command. Get them to sit. Give them a treat.

Once this is mastered, you then want to move on to giving your dog a treat when they sit by themselves, without any command. You are simply rewarding them for sitting. They are thinking, "Well, I'm going to preferentially be in a sitting position because I'm going to get a treat."

Once they do this reliably, it’s time to introduce your guests.

Be Gentle

Ignore them when your dog rolls on their back. If they are showing any other behaviors then pay them absolutely no attention. No talking or physical contact.

Only talk to them, only stroke them when your dog is sitting. You should also crouch down, rather than bend over at the waist because a dog can feel quite threatened by being leaned over. A nervous dog can feel quite threatened if you are reaching over the top of their head or if you are reaching down their back. Crouch down to their level when you're giving the treat and when you're praising them.

What to Avoid

For the things that you should avoid doing, these would include shouting, avoid reaching over the top of your dog's head, avoid punishing, and also avoid direct eye contact. All these actions appear confrontational to a nervous, anxious dog.

If they are feeling anxious already, staring at them is going to make them even more anxious and more likely to show submissive behavior. We want to be avoiding any threatening behavior or perceived threatening behavior. 

The final thing is, rather than petting your dog on the top of their head, pet them on their neck and their chest area because these are their safe spots.

Again, reaching over the top of their head is just going to make them more nervous. If your dog is showing other inappropriate peeing behavior in the house, that could be a number of other causes for that.

Other Causes of Problem Peeing

If your dog is having accidents in the house at times other than the arrival of people, then it is unlikely to be a behavioral problem. There is much more likely to be an underlying problem. Unless, of course, you have a young puppy who is still being toilet trained.

Accidents can be a result of urinary tract infection or bladder stones for example. It could be that there is a problem with the kidneys or a hormonal disorder like diabetes.

Your dog could also be hormonal marking. Entire male dogs actually urinate and cock their legs in the corner, or against vertical surfaces to mark their territory.

If you are having a lot of problems with your dog peeing in the house then get your dog checked over. Ideally, also take a urine sample with you because that is really useful when your vet checks your dog over. Collect their first pee of the day and keep it in the fridge until your appointment.

If you get the all-clear from your vet, and excitement peeing or submission peeing is still a problem, then seek advice from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist because this is a problem behavior that you definitely want to nip in the bud.


The above is a transcript taken from “The Dr Alex Answers Show”.

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