How can I address submissive urination in my dog?

Submissive urination in dogs can be a frustrating issue for many pet owners to deal with. It occurs when a dog urinates involuntarily in response to feeling anxious, scared, or intimidated. This behavior is more common in puppies or dogs that have experienced trauma or were not properly socialized. As a concerned dog owner, it is important to understand the causes and triggers of submissive urination in order to address and manage it effectively. In this article, we will explore various strategies and techniques that can help you address submissive urination in your dog, so you can create a safe and stress-free environment for both you and your furry friend.

To gain a better understanding of submissive urination, we will first delve into the potential causes of this behavior. Understanding the underlying reasons why your dog is exhibiting this submissive response is crucial in finding the right approach to address it. We will discuss common triggers such as fear, anxiety, and previous trauma, as well as the role of genetics and breed tendencies. Additionally, understanding the body language of a submissive dog can provide valuable insights into their emotional state. By recognizing these signs, you can develop strategies to build your dog’s confidence and reduce the incidence of submissive urination. Let us now explore the various techniques and methods you can employ to address submissive urination in your dog and help them feel more secure and comfortable in their environment.


What Are Effective Strategies for Dealing with Submissive Urination in Dogs?

Submissive urination in dogs is a common behavioral issue that often arises when a dog feels anxious, fearful, or overly submissive. This problem can be frustrating for dog owners, but there are several effective strategies to address and manage this issue with your furry friend.

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In order to tackle submissive urination in your dog, it is crucial to understand what it entails. Submissive urination occurs when a dog unintentionally releases urine as a form of appeasement or submissiveness. It is most commonly observed in puppies or dogs that have experienced past trauma or abuse. The underlying causes of submissive urination can range from lack of confidence to social anxiety.

While submissive urination is often unintentional and a natural response, as a dog owner, there are steps you can take to help your dog overcome this behavior. By examining your own behavior and approach towards your dog, you can create a more relaxed and comfortable environment.

In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the various effective strategies and techniques that can be employed to address submissive urination in your beloved pet. From building their confidence through positive reinforcement to managing greetings and providing ample socialization, our comprehensive guide will provide you with all the insights and tools necessary to tackle submissive urination head-on.

How can I address submissive urination in my dog?

Submissive urination is a common issue that many dog owners face. It is a behavior in which a dog urinates out of submission or fear when interacting with other dogs, humans, or even in response to certain situations. While it can be frustrating and embarrassing, there are several steps you can take to address this problem and help your dog overcome submissive urination.

1. Stay calm and avoid punishment

When your dog exhibits submissive urination, it is important to remain calm and avoid any form of punishment. Punishing your dog can worsen the problem and make them more fearful, leading to more submissive urination. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement and reward good behavior.

2. Build confidence through training

Training plays a crucial role in addressing submissive urination. By providing structured training sessions, you can help build your dog’s confidence and reduce their submissive tendencies. Start with basic obedience commands and gradually progress to more challenging tasks. Be patient and consistent in your training approach.

3. Gradual exposure to triggers

Dogs with submissive urination often have triggers that lead to this behavior. It could be meeting new people, encountering other dogs, or certain situations that make them feel anxious or scared. Gradually expose your dog to these triggers in controlled environments, ensuring they feel safe and supported. Over time, this exposure can help desensitize them and reduce submissive urination.

4. Reinforce positive interactions

When your dog interacts with other dogs or humans without submissive urination, make sure to reinforce and reward their positive behavior. Use treats, praise, and affection to let them know they have done well. This positive reinforcement helps to build their confidence and associate positive experiences with social interactions.

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5. Seek professional help if necessary

If your dog’s submissive urination persists despite your efforts, it is advisable to seek professional help from a veterinarian or a certified dog trainer. They can assess your dog’s behavior, provide additional guidance, and suggest specific techniques or therapies to address the issue effectively.

6. Maintain a consistent routine

Dogs thrive on routine and stability. Establishing a consistent daily routine for your dog can help reduce anxiety and promote a sense of security. Feed them at the same times, provide regular exercise, and maintain a predictable schedule for bathroom breaks. This routine can contribute to overall well-being and help minimize submissive urination episodes.

7. Provide a safe environment

Creating a safe and calm environment for your dog is crucial in addressing submissive urination. Minimize loud noises, sudden movements, and stressful situations that may trigger your dog’s submissive behavior. Provide them with a comfortable space where they can retreat when feeling overwhelmed.

Addressing submissive urination in your dog requires patience, consistency, and understanding. With the right approach and support, you can help your dog overcome this behavior and live a happier, more confident life.

According to a study by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, approximately 20% of dogs exhibit submissive urination in response to fear or anxiety.


1. What is submissive urination in dogs?

Submissive urination is a behavior in dogs where they involuntarily urinate as a response to feeling intimidated, anxious, or overly excited. It is a submissive gesture to communicate their subordination to a more dominant individual or in fearful situations.

2. Why does my dog engage in submissive urination?

Dogs engage in submissive urination as a way to appease and avoid conflict with other dogs or humans. They may do it due to fear, lack of confidence, or as a response to perceived threats. Some puppies also exhibit this behavior as they are learning social skills.

3. How can I differentiate between submissive urination and a housebreaking issue?

Submissive urination is typically accompanied by body language such as crouching, averting eye contact, and displaying a tense or fearful expression. Housebreaking issues, on the other hand, are more often inconsistent accidents at various times, regardless of social interactions.

4. Is submissive urination more common in certain dog breeds?

While submissive urination can occur in any breed, it may be more common in dogs that are naturally more sensitive, anxious, or prone to fearfulness. Breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Beagles are known to exhibit submissive urination more frequently, but it can affect any dog regardless of breed.

5. How should I react when my dog has submissive urination?

It is important to respond calmly and avoid any punishment or scolding, as it can worsen the problem and increase anxiety in your dog. Instead, ignore the submissive behavior, avoid direct eye contact, and redirect your dog’s attention to a positive and engaging activity.

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6. Can submissive urination be treated or controlled?

Yes, submissive urination can be managed and minimized through positive reinforcement training, building your dog’s confidence, and providing a safe and secure environment. Consistency, patience, and avoiding situations that trigger submissive urination are key in the treatment process.

7. What training techniques can help address submissive urination?

Training techniques such as desensitization, counter-conditioning, and obedience training can be useful in addressing submissive urination. Reward-based training methods that focus on reinforcing positive behaviors rather than punishing undesirable ones are more effective.

8. Can spaying or neutering my dog help with submissive urination?

In some cases, spaying or neutering can help reduce submissive urination, particularly if the behavior is influenced by hormonal factors. However, it may not be a universal solution, and consulting with a veterinarian or professional dog trainer is recommended to assess your specific situation.

9. Are there any medications that can assist in treating submissive urination?

Medications may be prescribed in severe cases of submissive urination, where the behavior is deeply rooted in anxiety or fear disorders. However, medication should always be considered as a last resort and prescribed by a veterinarian after a thorough evaluation of your dog’s overall health and behavior.

10. Can I train my dog out of submissive urination on my own, or should I seek professional help?

While some cases of submissive urination can be managed with consistent training and guidance from online resources, seeking professional help from a dog behaviorist or trainer is highly recommended. They can provide tailored guidance, techniques, and support to address the specific needs of your dog.


In conclusion, submissive urination in dogs is a common issue that can be addressed through patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. It is important to understand that submissive urination is usually an involuntary response and should not be met with punishment, as this may worsen the problem. Instead, focus on building your dog’s confidence through training and socialization.

Firstly, it is crucial to identify the triggers that cause submissive urination in your dog. By paying attention to your dog’s body language and environment, you can determine the situations that make them feel anxious or threatened. Once you know the triggers, you can work towards desensitizing your dog through gradual exposure and positive reinforcement.

Additionally, it is essential to use positive reinforcement techniques such as praise, treats, and rewards to encourage your dog’s confidence and reinforce desired behaviors. Consistency is key in addressing submissive urination, so it is important to provide clear signals and boundaries for your dog. Avoid scolding or punishing your dog for submissive urination, as this will only increase their anxiety.

Furthermore, seeking professional help from a veterinarian or a dog behaviorist can provide valuable insights and guidance in addressing submissive urination. They can help tailor a training plan specific to your dog’s needs and provide additional tips and techniques to manage the problem effectively.

Remember, addressing submissive urination requires patience, persistence, and understanding. With consistent training, positive reinforcement, and professional guidance if needed, you can help your dog overcome this issue and build their confidence.