Submissive Urination in Dogs
Other Behavior Problems to Rule Out
Untrained Young Puppy
If a puppy is less than 12 weeks of age, he might not be house trained. The lack of house training might be because he simply hasn’t learned where to eliminate and where not to eliminate yet. Alternatively, the problem might be entirely physical. Many puppies under the age of 12 weeks haven’t developed bladder and bowel control, and they can’t “hold it” for more than a very brief time. For more information about house training your young puppy, please see our article, House Training Your Puppy.
Incomplete House Training
Some dogs have been incompletely house trained. An incompletely house trained dog might occasionally soil in house, soil if he’s not given frequent opportunities to eliminate outside, soil only when left alone in the home for long periods of time, soil first thing in the morning or during the night, or soil if there’s a change in his family’s daily routine that alters his access to the outdoors. Some incompletely house trained dogs soil anywhere in the home, while others soil only in infrequently used rooms. Many sneak out of their pet parents’ sight to soil in other rooms. Sometimes, an incompletely house trained dog simply doesn’t know how to indicate to his pet parents that he needs to go outside to eliminate. To learn how to train your dog to tell you when he needs to go out, please see our article, Teaching Your Dog to Ask to Go Out. For more information about how to resolve incomplete house training, please see our article, House Training Your Adult Dog.
Some dogs urinate in the house because they’re scent marking. Dogs scent mark for a variety of reasons, including to claim territory, to identify themselves to other dogs and let them know they’ve been there, and in response to frustration, stress or an anxiety provoking situation. A dog scent marks by urinating small amounts on vertical surfaces. Most male dogs and some female dogs who scent mark raise a leg to urinate. For more information about urine marking, please see our article, Urine Marking in Dogs.
If your puppy only soils when left alone in your home, even for short periods of time, he may have separation anxiety. You may notice that he appears nervous or upset right before you leave him by himself or after you’ve left (if you can observe him while he’s alone). For more information about separation anxiety, please see our article, Separation Anxiety.