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Posted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:18 pm
by Dotson101
Hey all, I have a 10 1/2 month old Dutchie. He is a phenomenal pup in terms of what he can do training wise. He's my first working dog and only my second dog I've worked with. He's so smart that people think I've been training dogs forever (I'm only 22). He makes it all so easy. The issue I am having, and the thing I really hope to overcome is his submissive urination. I bought him at 5 months of age and from day one he had this submissive peeing. I will admit that I didn't handle it it correctly because I never had this problem before. I may have reinforced the behavior a few times by scolding him for it. Jax seems super confident around people and definitely doesn't back down from other dogs, but he's very calm and collected. His submissive behaviors show randomly. The question I have is.. is this something he can grow out of with work? Or is it already too late? It's weird because when we do bite work, the decoy can be as aggressive as he wants and it doesn't phase him, but when in unfamiliar or stressful situations he will tuck his tail and pee.

Re: Submissiveness

Posted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:57 pm
by TimL_168
I've never really had to deal with this until very recently. En will sometimes urinate if she thinks she's in trouble. Gotta run right now. I'll get back on here later.

Re: Submissiveness

Posted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:09 pm
by cordeliandemon
im not sure how you might help fix that, hopefull someone will come along with some experience with that:)
demon just pees if hes EXTREMELY happy to see someone (likely if he hasnt seen them in about 6 months). he doesnt do it with me or in normal interactions though so ive never tried change it, i just tell whoever hes excited about to watch their shoes dont get wet :eew:

Re: Submissiveness

Posted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 5:34 am
by Dotson101

Re: Submissiveness

Posted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:15 pm
by centrop67
There are lots of articles on the internet on this subject: ... 452-1.html ... ation.html

The problem I see is that even though there are explanations given, I am not sure there's been a whole lot of research on the subject (I could be wrong). The behavior is thought to be a way for the dog to signal that he/she is not a threat AND it is involuntary. There's also something they call excitement urination which is a little different as well.

Some of the articles above start by trying to change the owners attitude on the behavior, but when you're training a dog for protection, the last thing you want is a "I'm not a threat" signal.

My Radar has done this. He does it when I return from a trip, or when someone he's met comes to the house after not being there a while. He has not ever done this with strangers, though.

Over time, however he does this less and less, so I am thinking he might be getting more confident.

If only they could talk to us :whistle:

Re: Submissiveness

Posted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 6:08 pm
by centrop67
If you haven't had a chance, check out my review of the book:

Beware the Straw Man
The Science Dog Explores Dog Training Fact & Fiction
by Linda P. Case

I sent an email to the author this morning asking about this topic. Specifically, I was asking her if there was much research on the subject, and if she could share some good sources for help. I wasn't expecting what I got in reply :shock:

Apparently, she is finalizing a new book that has some information on this very subject, and she was kind enough to share with us the unedited text from the chapter. :wtg:

Down below you'll find links to her books and her website. I hope you take a few moments to check them out.

Here's the text she sent me:

Submissive and excitable urination are actually two separate disorders but are often discussed together because it can be difficult to distinguish between the two behaviors. Some dogs, especially if young, may show both types of urination but in different contexts.

Submissive urination: Submissive urination is seen in dogs who show excessively submissive body postures during greeting. Although this is most commonly reported as a problem during interactions with their owners or other people, dogs can also submissively urinate when greeting another dog. The dog greets with lowered head, averted eyes, retracted lips, and dribbles urine as the person or dog moves closer (Figure 8-2). Submissive greeting is normal for young puppies who are interacting with adult dogs and for many puppies when they greet humans. Most dogs gain confidence as they mature and no longer demonstrate this level of deference. However, some dogs either do not develop adequate confidence as adults or have learned to offer extreme appeasement in response to harsh reprimands for jumping up or for misbehaving during the owner’s absence. A common but very unfortunate scenario is the owner who has verbally or physically reprimanded the dog each time that the dog has been destructive when left alone. This reaction not only causes the dog to show extreme appeasement and possibly to urinate when greeting, but also increases the dog’s level of anxiety.

Treatment: Submissive urination can be prevented by decreasing the intensity of greetings and avoiding standing or leaning over the dog while interacting. An effective approach to diffuse intense interactions is to redirect the dog by tossing a high value treat/biscuit or toy to the side as the dog approaches to greet. The dog’s movement to the side positions her out of direct eye contact and prevents the owner or visitor from standing directly over the dog. After the dog has consumed several treats in this way, she is greeted with the owner or visitor crouching down and positioning himself laterally (from the side) to avoid leaning over the dog. It is also helpful to train the dog to offer a reliable sit-stay for petting in non-greeting contexts (i.e. when excitement level is low). The sit-stay for greeting is then incorporated into greeting situations, with the treat offered to the side as a reinforcer when the dog sits (see Chapter *** for a complete discussion).

Excitable Urination: Excitable urination differs from submissive urination in that while it can occur during greeting it may also happen when a young dog becomes excited or during play. Dogs who show excitable urination often do not squat, but rather dribble small amounts of urine as they walk or jump around. Body postures and communication signals that accompany excitable urination do not reflect excessive submission but rather are those of an excited and possibly over-stimulated dog. Because excitable urination is often caused by a lack of complete neuromuscular control of the urinary sphincter, most dogs stop showing this form of urination as they mature.

Treatment: As with submissive urination, treatment involves decreasing the intensity of greeting and play to prevent over-arousal. Redirecting the dog’s attention to toys or training the dog to retrieve a ball can provide exercise and play while reducing excitement. Greeting intensity can also be decreased by providing the dog with several minutes to romp outside before interacting. This also allows the dog to empty her bladder prior to greeting. Similar to the treatment for submissive urination, teaching a sit-stay for greeting can help to prevent excitable urination, provided the sit-stay is first taught in a quiet environment. Distractions that typically excite the dog are then gradually introduced. When behavior modification alone is not effective, the medication phenylpropanolamine can be used as an adjunctive therapy. This must be prescribed by a veterinarian and functions to increase sphincter tone in the urethra. Although phenylpropanolamine is more typically prescribed to curtail urinary incontinence, it can also help to reduce excitable urination. Behavioral modification should continue and the drug is gradually reduced and eliminated as the dog improves.

Linda Case
AutumnGold Consulting & Dog Training Center (
Newest Books: “Only Have Eyes for You“ (; Dog Food Logic” ( and “Beware the Straw Man” (
Author; The Science Dog

BTW - On the research aspect, this is what she had to say: wrote:I have not found any recent research regarding submissive urination in dogs, but the information that I have suggests that our understanding of this has not changed much in recent years.

Re: Submissiveness

Posted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:41 am
by TimL_168
Wow. This is why I love this forum. Thank you!

Re: Submissiveness

Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 1:43 am
by Dotson101
Awesome! Thanks for the help!