Have you ever noticed your housetrained puppy leaving puddles or urine dribbles on the floor when greeting you? This behavior displays submission to you as the alpha leader. It also reflects the excitement that your puppy feels upon seeing you.
Many dog behaviorists relate submissive urination as a gesture of respect for those members of the pack which are higher in rank. Apart from being a sign of deference, the behavior is also commonly seen in puppies that have not yet been fully socialized or those dogs which have been abused or mistreated. When the behavior is exhibited by adult dogs, it is often associated with insecurity.
Submissive urination can also be displayed when a puppy is subjected to excessive or delayed punishment during training. When a puppy is punished for an accident that took place a few hours back, your actions will only confuse your pet, forcing him to instinctively show his respect and fear by urinating.
If your puppy is displaying submissive urination, it is best to ignore the action. Reassuring your pet will only make him think you are praising him and this will certainly encourage the behavior. On the other hand, negative reinforcement such as reprimanding will frighten him and create the need to apologize by exhibiting a submissive gesture, which is by urinating.
By making the effort to determine the underlying cause of your puppy’s behavior, you will be able to address the problem properly. One way of dealing with it is to help your puppy build self-confidence and teach him other ways of showing respect to the alpha leader. A few basic obedience exercises accompanied by positive reinforcement can help your pup develop confidence and self-esteem.
For some puppies, urinating when they are happy about something is apparently normal behavior. This action is often associated with a lack of bladder control in puppies. When your pet engages in the behavior, punishment will only confuse him. In fact, this can only help cultivate the habit, which can eventually develop into submissive urination, a behavior which is your puppy’s attempt to appease you.
You should be aware that as your puppy matures, he will be able to develop bladder control and this undesirable behavior will eventually stop.
For the time being, know the potential causes that can make your pet overexcited. Once you are able to pinpoint the reason, expose your puppy frequently to the stimulus until it will no longer excite him. If the trigger factor is your arrival, simply ignore your puppy for several minutes even if he greets you enthusiastically. Always remember to be patient and keep a tight rein on your temper while you are training your puppy to behave appropriately.