Have you known a scared dog who urinates when people try to say hello? Or how about one who’s out of his mind with excitement and dribbles? Then there are full grown dogs who never quite learned the rules of etiquette and do odd jobs around the house. You’ve tried “everything”. You need a new plan.

Whatever your dog’s age, start by ruling out physical problems.

  • An exam and lab profile can check for disorders like bladder disease, diabetes, or kidney failure.
  • Some older dogs have aging brain changes or arthritic joints. It’s hard for them control their stool and urine.
  • Most of these problems are treatable.
  • If everything turns out normal move your game piece to the next paragraph.

Many dogs are born with submissive personalities; it’s part of who they are.

  • Some puppies and many adult dogs react to certain people with a sheepish posture and a dribble.
  • Watch the dynamic and learn what causes your dog to fall apart. Booming voices, approaching and leaning over the dog are common triggers.
  • Then instruct all concerned to avoid those dominant postures.
  • Initially ignoring the dog, then squatting, speaking in a quiet tone, and allowing the dog to come to the person will prevent a lot of submissive urination.
  • You can distract the dog by giving a simple command like “Sit” and rewarding with quiet praise and a treat

What about that happy guy who is sooo thrilled to meet anybody that he wets his pants? Dogs like this may be conflicted between their excitement on one hand and fear (of strangers or of punishment) on the other.

  • According to Dr. Gary Landsberg’s Handbook of Behavior Problems of the Dog and Cat, “Owners and guests should refrain from eye contact and verbal or physical contact until the pet calms down. Greetings should be low-key and words spoken in a low, calm tone.”
  • Food rewards for obedience need to be timed so the fear/excitement isn’t reinforced.
  • Some dogs can benefit from medications like phenylpropanolamine or imipramine.

Punishment is usually best left out of the equation.

  • Many of the house soiling problems I manage in my behavior practice are made worse by the dog’s fear of retribution.
  • Harsh corrections, whether at the time of the incident or worse, after the fact, motivate a dog to not get caught. The messes continue but are found in more interesting locations.

Finally, your dog may not be clear on the concept of the restroom being outside. Incomplete housetraining can be a factor for any dog who eliminates indoors. My article on One Day Housetraining may be just the ticket.

Do not despair. Nearly every house soiling problem can be successfully managed. Life is better when one no longer lives in a canine latrine.