Submitted by Amber Drake
Have you ever had a dog who was so ridiculously excited to see you (or someone else) when you walked in the door that she peed? Just walk in the door, look at your dog, and suddenly there’s a pile of pee you must clean up as soon as you get home.
Yeah? Us too.
And, so many other dog lovers have had this experience.
I had several clients who would pee every time their owners would walk in the door. They would just be that excited. They couldn’t wait for their best friend to walk through that door each day.
Don’t panic if your dog is one of those who pees when excited. We’ll talk about why this is and the steps you can take to get this behavior under control.
Excitement Urination: What is it?
Excitement urination (peeing when excited) usually happens during a greeting or playtime of some sort.
If your dog is peeing due to excitement, you won’t see any signs of submissive body language. She shouldn’t be looking at you with the ‘whale eye,’ a hunched back, tail between her legs, or display any other sign of submission.
Instead, your dog will be acting completely normal… other than being thrilled about the situation of course.
She won’t act scared, nervous, or frustrated.
She will just be happy. That’s all. And, while we’re on this subject, it’s nothing you should be scolding her for.
Excitement urination most commonly occurs in young dogs and puppies who don’t quite have control of their bladders. Don’t worry, most dogs get rid of this behavior with time (after one year of age).
In some cases, this behavior continues due to allowing it to be reinforced. For example, if you pet and talk to your dog in an excited manner while she’s excitement peeing, you’ll be letting her know all is well and be somewhat encouraging the behavior.
What Are the Recommendations?
First and foremost, as I always say, it’s important to visit your veterinarian. The behaviorist is step two in the process. It’s important to see your vet first so he or she can rule out any medical reasons for the behavior.
To avoid accidents, greeting or playing outdoors is recommended until the problem has been resolved.
Take walks often. Take long walks. Take short walks. Vary your routine. Make sure that bladder is empty as often as possible.
When your dog pees on walks, don’t forget to give praise and/or treats. Show him he’s doing a good job and you’re proud of him. He loves that. And, you’ll be making him more confident, too.
Keep your greeting on the ‘down-low.’ Don’t get overly excited or talk in an excited voice when you arrive home. You shouldn’t have any high-pitched ‘baby talk,’ hand-clapping, or hugging when you see your dog after you get done running errands. It doesn’t sound quite fair, but it’s important for your dog’s behavioral well-being (and for your sanity so you’re not cleaning up puddles all the time).
Once your dog calms down from the excitement of seeing you home, that’s when you can approach her and show her some love.
The last point, and the most important point, is not to punish your dog. Yes, I know I said this earlier in the article. But, it’s extremely important. And, I want you to know that punishment, even if you believe it works will damage the relationship you share with your dog. Your dog will have less trust in you. Your bond will be broken. And, that’s something you may never get back.
The Bottom Line on Excitement
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the situation, don’t feel bad for walking away for a few moments to take a breath. Calm down. Then return to the situation and think about what’s best.
Of course, if you’re feeling extremely frustrated, you may want to book a consult with a canine behaviorist.
Be patient. And remember, if your dog is under one year old, this is a behavior that could simply be due to her bladder not being ‘ready’ to hold much urine.