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Understanding Dog Urination Behaviors

There are times when a house-trained dog will unexpectedly urinate in the home. There could be a number of reasons for this behavior if the issue is not medical. But what could be the triggers for this behavior if your dog is physically healthy?

If your newly housebroken puppy or rescued dog pees on the floor for no apparent reason, it may suffer from submissive or excitement urination.

Why Do Dogs Urinate When They are Submissive?

Dogs that urinate submissively are trying to appease someone they see as socially dominant and to escape being punished. When someone approaches, when they are greeted, or if they have previously experienced harsh treatment or punishment following inappropriate peeing, submissive dogs may urinate. This frequently occurs in rescued and timid, anxious, and shy dogs.

Your dog likely has an excitement problem if it doesn’t urinate when you’re in a dominant position, such as looking your dog in the eye, bending from the waist, or greeting them face-on. It’s a submissive issue if your dog eliminates when you get home, when you’re in a dominant position, or when it’s being disciplined.

How to Get Rid of Submissive Urination

You must alter your actions, and you must also teach your dog to become desensitized to triggers.

Change Your Approach with Your Dog

This means that pet owners and other people should avoid leaning over their dogs, coming at them head-on, hugging them, and making direct eye contact.

Instead, squat down to give the impression that you are smaller. Allow the dog to approach you while avoiding direct eye contact by looking to the side or at the dog’s hip. Offer them treats to entice them to come, and when they do, gently pet them under the chin rather than on top of their head.

Desensitization of Your Dog to Specific Triggers

Desensitizing your dog to actions that cause submissive urination is the next step. It would be best if you first determined the circumstances that your dog is sensitive to. Then, when those circumstances arise, begin making smaller movements and rewarding your dog for holding his bladder.

For instance, start by moving your hand a few inches away from your body and rewarding your dog for not reacting if they poop when you reach for their collar. Gradually introduce larger movements once your dog is obedient to small ones.

If your dog doesn’t respond to the movements by peeing or reacting any other way, keep rewarding them. You can eventually work up to touching and handling your dog’s collar without any poop on the floor.

Having your dog wear a dog diaper while you work on desensitizing is another way to prevent submissive peeing. It will be more challenging to enter the submissive squat with the diaper on.

The submissive peeing will worsen if you use negative reinforcement like spanking, yelling, or rubbing their nose. You should speak with your veterinarian about using a mild anti-anxiety medication if training cannot stop submissive peeing and your dog is submissive in all social situations.

Why Do Dogs Urinate When They are Excited?

The good news is that puppies under a year old frequently experience excitement peeing, and they usually outgrow it. The bad news is that they will need more time to break the habit. These dogs urinate when they are playing when you get home or when strange people come over. Patience and understanding will go a long way toward training a puppy out of this behavior.

How to Stop Dogs Urinating Due to Excitement

Controlling excitement peeing involves three major steps:

Take Regular Walks

Regular walks encourage your dog to relieve himself outside rather than in your living room. They have less urine to release when overexcited if their bladders are empty.

A dog can typically hold their bladder for 1 hour every month plus one starting at the age of four months. A puppy six months old should be able to hold its bladder for up to 7 hours (6 months plus 1 equals 7 hours). However, it’s perfectly acceptable for some dogs to need to go outside more frequently than that. To lessen the excitement pee, you should take your dog out more often than this.

Teach Your Dog to Relax

The second essential step is teaching your dog how to relax. Some dogs may require assistance from their owners because they lack the instinct or desire to relax. With brief, daily training sessions, dogs with trouble falling asleep can learn how to unwind.

Protocol for Relaxation from the book Clinical Behavioral Medicine For Small Animals is an excellent example of a dog training program. This 15-day positive reinforcement training course aims to teach dogs how to remain calm in the presence of various sounds and activities.

It can also be beneficial to train your dog to engage in an action that is directly incompatible with behavior triggered by excitement. As an illustration, imagine having your dog lie down with its head and neck extended. This helps your dog transition from an excited state to a calmer, task-focused state.

Don’t Interact With Your Dog When They Are Excited

The third key is to avoid interacting with your dog in circumstances that cause excited urination. Make sure your dog has been completely housebroken and can hold its bladder.

Stand still, turn away from your dog when they become overstimulated, and wait for them to calm down. Once they have calmed down, say hello. If your dog becomes agitated, turn away and give them time to calm down.

The key to treating excitement peeing is to treat the excitability. Decrease excitement peeing by lowering your dog’s energy level through regular daily exercise and mental stimulation. A tired person won’t have the energy to become overly excited and urinate on your floor.

Playing catch, doing agility training, jumping hurdles, or running with you are all excellent ways to expend some of that nervous energy.

While it is understandable that you may become angry or frustrated due to frequent excited peeing, DO NOT use punishment to correct the problem. Pet parents used to be told that rubbing the dog’s face in pee or poop was a good way to teach them that peeing or pooping inside is bad behavior. This is an outdated and ineffective method of training.

By introducing a submissive or fearful element to your dog’s inappropriate urination, any punishment will only make things worse. Even your relationship with your dog could suffer as a result. A better course of action is using positive reinforcement to help correct the situation and deepen your relationship with your dog.

Urination Caused by Health Issues

Visit your puppy’s veterinarian to rule out any medical issues before attempting behavior modification. A urinalysis will reveal the condition if your dog has a UTI, which is treatable with antibiotics. If your puppy has bladder stones or cystitis, which is bladder inflammation, other diagnostic tests may be able to determine the cause of the issue. Additionally, because kidney disease and diabetes can cause excessive or inappropriate urination, your veterinarian will look for any signs of these conditions.

Many medical conditions that cause your puppy to pee uncontrollably can be treated, though kidney stones may necessitate surgery.

After being neutered, your male dog may urinate in the house or in another wrong location. It is unknown why dogs need to mark their territory after this procedure. Speak with your veterinarian if the peeing continues for more than a week after neutering.

What is Territorial Marking?

As you probably already know, dogs naturally mark their territory with urination. In contrast to submissive peeing, this only sometimes indicates a lack of confidence. Dogs frequently feel the need to defend their territory.

When your dog feels challenged at home, this frequently happens. For instance, a new baby in the house may distract your dog and cause abnormal behavior. He might urinate on toys, grocery bags, or anything else that comes into the house to reclaim his place in the family. A new pet may also cause a similar response, and your dog wants to ensure the new family member understands who is in charge.

How to Manage Territorial Marking?

While territorial marking is inevitable it can be managed through these steps.

  • Eliminate urine odor, thoroughly clean the areas where your dog is marked.
  • Close off previously soiled areas.
  • Keep objects that are likely to cause marking out of reach of children.
  • In your home, resolve any conflicts between competing animals.
  • Restricting your dog’s access to doors and windows prevents them from observing animals outside.
  • If your pet is marking in response to a new resident in your home, have the person make friends with your dog by feeding, grooming, and playing with him. If you have a new baby, make sure your dog has a good time when the baby is around.
  • When your dog is indoors, keep an eye out for signs that they are about to urinate. When they start urinating, make a loud noise and take them outside. If they urinate outdoors, reward them with a treat.
  • When you can’t keep an eye on them, confine them to a crate, where they are less likely to soil.

After your dog has marked a space, remember to never punish them, after-the-fact punishment is ineffective because the recipient won’t connect it to an act they may have committed hours earlier, which could cause confusion and even fear.

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