The Water Bowl
Breed & Health Resources

Stop the Piddle - Solving Submissive Urination

By Bradley Phifer

Submissive Urination is typically seen in young, inexperienced dogs. As a sign of respect- don't kill me, the young dog rolls over on his back as he avoids eye contact, licks his lips and lets out small amounts of urine.

This behavior is typically seen during greetings or while being punished and is a sign of a submissive, insecure dog. Although the behavior often resolves itself as the dogs matures and gains more confidence, you can help your dog by teaching him commands, rewarding him for obeying, offering more socialization and teaching people how to best approach your dog.

Recommendations for overcoming Submissive Urination

  1. Talk with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical reasons for the behavior.
  2. Keep ALL greetings low key:
    • Ignore the dog for five to ten minutes upon arriving home or when visitors first arrive at your house. This means do not talk to the dog, make eye contact or attempt to pet the dog until he has relaxed and is settled.
    • When greeting strangers on the street, teach him an alternative behavior such as sit or shake as a stranger approaches and reward him for obeying.
  3. When ANY human is interacting with your dog they should avoid:
    • Hovering over him.
    • Bending at the waist and leaning into the dog’s personal space.
    • Standing directly in front of the dog.
    • Making direct eye contact.
  4. When interacting with the dog ALL humans should:
    • Allow the dog to come to them
    • Bend down at the knees and turn their body sideways.
    • Talk in a soft voice.
    • Pet under the chin.
    • Keep interactions short – 10 seconds.
    • If while you are attempting to pet the dog, he rolls over, immediately stop the interaction and walk away. He only gets petted for confident postures such as sit.
  5. Build your dog's confidence
    • Enroll in a training class
    • Teach new tricks like bow, spin or shake
    • Get your dog out of the house to explore new areas, go hiking, or practice agility in the backyard.

Training Tip!

As frustrating as it is, do not punish or scold your dog when he begins to piddle. This will only cause him to piddle more and increase his insecurity. You need to slow down the process and focus more on increasing his confidence through training ad socialization. You may need to consult with a professional trainer for further assistance.

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