You come home after a long day out, open the door, and you see your beloved pet with tail wagging. Your dog’s happiness is so infectious, you can’t help but smile as you bend down to pet them—and then it happens. They unleash the pee or you step in the puddle. Why do dogs pee when they’re excited?
We’ll help you understand this behavior, and how you can help your pet grow out of it.
Ruling Out Physical Problems
As WebMD points out, there are two main reasons that dogs urinate indoors. One is behavioral, which we’ll discuss further in this post, and the other is medical.
Some possible medical causes include
- gastrointestinal upset
- complications caused by a change in diet
- urinary tract infection
- pain or discomfort from recent spaying or neutering
- incontinence due to old age
It’s best to consult your veterinarian to confirm that your pet isn’t suffering from any physical ailments before embarking on training to help with this issue.
Understanding Behavioral Reasons
Four major types of behavioral issues cause indoor urination in dogs:
- separation anxiety
- urine marking
Submissive or excited peeing is almost always triggered by human interaction with the pet, whereas peeing for marking and peeing caused by separation anxiety will occur regardless of a human’s presence.
Is it submissive urination?
The Humane Society states that submissive peeing is generally caused by a lack of early socialization, inappropriate discipline, and harsh treatment, or possibly just a shy and timid disposition.
Often pets will have grown out of this trepidation sooner and developed a more confident attitude, but their humans sometimes send them the wrong signal and reinforce the submissive peeing, which persists.
This writeup from Banfield Pet Hospital suggests appearing as non-threatening as possible, turning your body away from the animal when petting, and staying some distance away and letting your dog approach you all as possible aids with this problem behavior in your pet.
Why Dogs Pee When Excited
“Excitement urination is different than submissive urination. This occurs when highly excitable dogs lose control of their bladders during activities that involve social stimulation or put them in a state of arousal,” says the American Kennel Club.
Excitement urination is not accompanied by fearful body language (such as tucked tails, shaking, and averting eye contact).
Common triggers include:
- when a stranger approaches for petting or playing with your dog
- when you return after being gone from home
- you were at home but entered a room after you and the dog had been separated for a while
- someone leans over the dog to pet it
- active play
A consistent and frequent potty break schedule can be helpful, as well as reserving vigorous play for when you are outside.
Desensitizing your dog to the stimulus that triggers them is a great strategy for helping them grow out of this problem. Reducing the intensity of the stimulus can also be helpful.
For a dog whose excitement urination occurs when new people are petting them, getting them used to meeting different people gradually and increasing the number of new people they meet over time can help.
If your dog pees when you come back home, keeping your greeting short and low-key when you return, as well as diverting their attention and distracting them with a treat, could help reduce their excited peeing over time.
If these simple steps do not start to yield improvements, a consultation with a qualified pet behavior specialist could be in order.
What about Marking or Separation Anxiety?
If your dog is fixed, it’s unlikely they’re peeing to mark territory, but it can happen. It’s usually done to assert their ownership of a physical space if they feel threatened, challenged, or unsure.
In contrast, separation anxiety stems from “hyper attachment” and your dog’s feeling of dependence on you. Peeing is not the only symptom of separation anxiety, which is often accompanied by howling, whining, chewing, and other destructive behaviors.
- How Long Can You Leave a Puppy Alone?
- Here’s the Only Real Way to Train a Dog with Separation Anxiety
- Does My Dog Pee Too Much? When To Worry and What To Do