What’s up with all the waterworks? Does your dog whine, wiggle, and pee when you return home after a long day? Or does your dog pee when you pet him? Ever wonder why dogs pee when you come home? If you have a new holiday pup, you may face this issue, especially with very young dogs.
Dogs pee when excited, and puppies pee when scared. It also can be a sign of deference, especially in puppies, and this normal display happens when the dog declares you as the “boss.” Of course, you don’t want your dog to be scared. We want our dogs to offer deference to us, but the wet floor ratchets up YOUR stress levels, too. After all, the dog is house trained and knows better, and you’ve shamed him so he understands wetting isn’t acceptable.
What’s a caring pet parent to do?
Why Dogs Pee When You Come Home
Not all wetting has to do with house training or with urinary incontinence. Dogs use urine to communicate in a variety of ways, and wetting at home-comings has very specific meaning. Urinating in your presence, especially with the wiggly wagging and crouching body language, means,
“You’re the BOSS!”
Yep, submissive urination is the ultimate in signaling doggy deference. Consider this a back-handed compliment because your dog thinks so highly of you he wants to show his respect by squatting and peeing.
Puppies usually outgrow the behavior, but some very submissive or fearful dogs continue as adults. The dog typically throws himself at your feet, wiggles and averts his eyes, squats and wets. Sometimes he turns onto his back before wetting. The behavior commonly happens during greetings when you return after an absence.
Punishing Submissive Wetting Makes It Worse
Patting the head can look threatening to some shy dogs. So they wet to diffuse the perceived threat. When you react with upset words, the dog figures you didn’t understand—so they pee when you pet them even more.
Angry reactions make it worse. Yelling, shaming, touching, or even making eye contact tells the dog he’s not yet submissive enough, and that makes him pee even more. You can teach him better control and more confidence so he doesn’t feel the urge to wet.
- Ignore the behavior and clean up the mess without making eye contact or saying a word.
- When he wets for another dog, let the dominant canine make his point before calling him away.
- When homecomings trigger submissive wetting, ignore the dog for the first ten minutes after you’ve walked in the door. Turn your back and walk away to give him time to calm down and gain control. Avoid paying attention to any of the dogs if they’re nearby, or your tone of voice will still influence Rex’s emotions.
- Instead of head pats, scratch his chest, or beneath his chin once he’s calmed down.
- Speak in a gentle voice. Men can unintentionally sound gruff and dominant to the dog, so practice expressing your inner softie nature.
- Don’t be emotional. Loud voices, shaming, or sometimes even baby talk can encourage the dog to continue peeing. Be matter of fact.
- Avoid eye contact if you see the dog squat. Other dogs use direct stares to intimidate and assert their position, so look away until your pooch regains control.
- When greeting the dog, avoid “looming” over top of him the way dominant dogs do. Instead, give the dog space by backing up and asking the dog to come and sit, over and over.
- Keep backing up, ignore the “wet” sits, and gently praise and offer food or toy rewards for dry sits so Rex learns that NOT wetting prompts the payday.
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Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!