How to Stop Your Dog from Peeing When Excited

man hugging his golden retriever dog

Many dog owners are wondering what to do when a new puppy or dog greets people with excitement and accidental peeing. Your dog might anticipate you coming through the door or see someone walking down the sidewalk and begin wiggling and peeing at the same moment.

The puppy or new dog may pee just a few drops or a lot more, either way, you want to know how to stop your dog from peeing when excited.

Dogs that accidentally pee are often not in the common position to urinate, but rather trying to jump on someone or they are sniffing.  At the same time, they are leaking pee on the people around them or on other dogs.

Dog owners will usually see this occurring in young dogs ages 9-12 months as a dog is learning impulse control; however, it can happen in older dogs as well. 

We will look at how to stop your dog from peeing when excited with training tips that will provide solutions for you and your dog. 

Please keep in mind that this article is not meant as a substitute for professional medical care.  If for any reason you suspect involuntary urination is related to your dog’s health, make an appointment to see your local veterinarian.

We will look at what is happening when your dog pees from excitement, the difference between submissive and excitement urination, identifying the stimulus, and training tips to enable your dog to have better impulse control.

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How to Stop Your Dog from Peeing When Excited: What is Happening?

When an excited dog greets other dogs or humans and they are unable to control their bladder it is referred to as Excitement Urination. More specifically the dog is unable to control their bladder in an excited state or arousal state of mind. 

Excitement urination can be exhibited in smaller dogs, submissive breeds like Cocker Spaniels, or dogs that naturally are excitable like Labradors, Terriers, and Border Collies.  However, it’s not specific to certain dog breeds.

Here are a few suggestions on why your new puppy or adopted dog is unable to control their impulses.

  1. They might have developed an emotional pattern, that when they are aroused, they tinkle.
  2. Genetics make them naturally excitable, shy, or easily aroused.
  3. The dog needs more time to physically mature.
  4. Puppies need a wide variety of social exposure and training on how to handle new situations.

The similarities of excitement urination and submissive urination are both linked to the dog not having the emotional control to deal with human and animal interactions.

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How to Stop Your Dog from Peeing When Excited: Submissive Urination

Submissive urination can be its own issue, or it can accompany excitement urination.  The main difference is submissive urination has more to do with the dog trying to appease a human or another dog they perceive as socially dominant.

A more accurate name for this behavior is called appeasement urination behavior, which better defines the emotional state of the dog. It also identifies what is actually happening with your dog.

Dog’s that show submissive urination might also greet people by rolling over on their back or rolling on their side to indicate they are not a threat.

A dog that has submissive urination will begin peeing when they see someone approach, often bowing their head in a downward position at the same time.  It could be from genetics, inadequate social skills, or a learned behavior to escape punishment from previous inappropriate treatment.

This article will focus on possible solutions and training tips for how to stop your dog from peeing when excited, specifically “excitement urination.”

How to Stop Your Dog from Peeing When Excited: Identify the Stimulus

Before we dive into training tips on how to stop your dog from peeing when excited, you will first learn what triggers involuntary urination.

It would be helpful to keep a pad of paper and pencil on hand for making notes. Plan on several interactions with you, your family, guests, or other dogs to identify the stimulus that makes your dog urinate.

Questions to ask while you are making notes of what triggers your dog to excitement urinate:

  • Does your dog urinate when someone familiar approaches or a stranger?
  • When a person they are familiar with or a stranger stands or leans over them?
  • Do they pee every time you leave the home and return?
  • The puppy wakes from a nap and wants to play and begins peeing?
  • When they are being handled?
  • The dog is actively playing a game with you or another dog?
  • When they walk by another dog at the park?

Any information you can record about what triggers the excitement urination will be helpful with how to stop your dog from peeing when excited.  Written notes are also valuable should you decide to seek professional help or need to see your veterinarian.

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How to Stop Your Dog from Peeing When Excited: Training Tips

While you are working with your puppy or applying these training tips remember that your dog does not need to be punished. Yelling or physically punishing a dog out of frustration will not help excitement urination behavior. In fact, it will often only make it worse.

  • Another key is to remain calm and patient when learning how to stop your dog from peeing when excited.

When your dog has excitement urination, clean up your dog’s urine right away.  It’s important to use cleaning supplies that do not contain bleach or ammonia.  Many household cleaners contain ammonia which closely resembles the scent of urine to a dog.

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Clean the dog’s urine with an enzymatic cleaner to make sure the scent is eliminated. Dog’s will urinate in the same place over and over again if they smell it.

Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

Tip #1: Teach Your Dog Polite Greetings

How to Stop Your Dog from Peeing when Excited with training your dog to properly greet people. Here are a few tips for when you and others greet your puppy.

Stay Calm.  Enter your home calmly.  If necessary, ignore your dog at first and then ask them to sit before giving them attention.

Four On the Floor. Your dog must have all feet on the floor before being touched.  If they try to jump, ignore them, or gently put their feet on the floor before petting them.

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Avoid Facial Touches & Top of Head. Touch under the chin or the body near the back. Touching the top of a dog’s head can intimidate dogs making them want to jump and pee even more.

Sit for Greetings.  Allow your dog to sit calmly before being greeted by others.  If they get up from their sit then the person must retreat, calmly ask for a sit again, and wait.  Practice this with family members.  Another option is to put your dog in a sit and walk out the door.  Enter 1-2 seconds later and ask for a sit before touching. 

Be consistent with greeting behaviors and practice until you and your dog are confident.

Tip #2:  Practice Purposeful Eye Contact

One reason dogs may excite or submissive urinate is feeling intimidated by human eye contact.  Practicing purposeful eye contact is one solution on how to stop your dog from peeing when excited.

Practice with Less Distractions.  Choose an area that will allow your dog to focus on this new activity.

Dog Initiates Cooperation.  Walk your dog on a leash around the yard or in your home.  Keep your movement slow and varied.  When your dog volunteers eye contact, praise and give them a treat.  Repeat.

Practice Eye Contact. Position your dog in the sit position with you standing or sitting in front of them. Take a small treat and move it from your dog’s nose to your eyes, and then back to your dog’s mouth. Allow them to eat the treat and repeat.  No words are necessary.

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Throughout your day praise and treat your dog when they give you purposeful eye contact.  When you practice eye contact with them, begin counting to see how long they can hold it.  Be sure to not to move too fast and treat progress.

When a dog learns that good comes to them when they give eye contact to their person, they will be more confident and less threatened.  A confident and calm is necessary when you are learning how to stop your dog from peeing when excited.

Tip #3:  Greeting Other Dogs

Excitement urination can happen with dog-to-dog greetings as well.  Another tip for how to stop your dog from peeing when excited is how to handle dog greetings.

Politely Decline.  People with dogs often think their dog enjoys greeting every dog they see.  Often your dog would feel more confident not greeting dogs at the park.  When asked if your dog can be greeted, politely decline with “my dog is in training”.

Focus On You.  Create confidence in your dog by teaching them to look at you with purposeful eye contact.  If another dog needs to walk past you, back up and get your dog’s focus on you.  If they like treats, feed them one treat after another until the other dog passes.  Eventually, the dog will be conditioned that good things happen when they give you purposeful eye contact.

Create Space Between the Dogs.  If possible, allow your dog to socialize by viewing other dogs from a distance. Keep training them to focus on you with purposeful eye contact.

Use Gates in Your Home.  If another dog is coming to your house, use gates to separate the greetings. Take your dog out to eliminate before a dog-to-dog greeting. Once they have smelled each other through the gate and are calm, allow a supervised greeting. 

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Basically, it is best for a dog that struggles with excitement urination to focus on you and not worry about greeting another dog. When another dog visits your living space, make sure both dogs are calm before greeting.

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Tip #4:  Desensitize Your Dog to Collar Touches

Dogs that struggle with excitement urination can be naturally timid or hesitant to have people touch their collar.  One training tip for how to stop your dog from peeing when excited is getting them comfortable with handling their collar.

The purpose behind this training tip is to teach your dog to remain calm and confident when people reach towards them to touch them.

Reaching Towards the Collar. Begin by standing in front of your dog.  Gently reach out for the collar, but do not actually touch it yet.  If your dog does not shy away, praise and treat.  If your dog is hesitant or shies away from the reach, ask them to “Sit” or “Down”. Praise. Practice until your dog is comfortable with reaching towards their collar motion.

Touch the Collar.  After your dog is comfortable with the reaching motion, you can proceed with touching their collar. Move slowly and calmly toward their collar.  Touch it, praise, and treat. It really depends on the dog how many repetitions are needed to actually hold the collar.

Hold the Collar.  Once your dog is calm and anticipates you reaching for their collar, grab a hold of the collar.  If the dog is patient with this next step, treat and repeat.

Vary Speed and Timing of Hold.  When your dog views the reach and hold as no big deal they are ready to move to the next step.  Increase the speed at which you grab their collar.  Praise and treat. You can also increase how long you hold the collar.

After this training tip, your dog will be desensitized to people reaching over them to touch and grab their collar area.  They can remain calm when around people.

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Tip #5:  Pet Your Dog When They are Calm

As your new dog matures, they will have fewer excitement-related accidents.  One last training tip for how to stop your dog from peeing when excited is rewarding them for being calm.

It’s a fact that dogs bring excitement and energy to our life. What makes it difficult is not knowing how to handle or how to stop your dog from peeing when excited.

Stay Calm and Patient.  As much as you want to handle your dog and exclaim with joy that you are home to spend time with them, you must remain calm.  It might even be necessary to ignore your dog.

Handle with Care. Ask your dog to “sit” or “down” and give them a rub from their side.  When your dog is in a sitting position, you can gently rub and greet your dog on the middle to back of their body.

Gentle Touches By Others. Allow your dog to learn to greet others.  Give a guest a small treat.  Tell your dog it is safe to greet them, they reach out for the treat and then you call them back to you.  Praise and treat them.  Keep practicing this exercise until the guests can give the treat and gently touch your dog. 

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The Bottom Line: How to Stop Your Dog from Peeing When Excited

Practice and patience go hand and hand with helping your dog overcome excitement urination. One note of caution, if your dog goes beyond excitement urination to growling, or even biting, you will want to seek out a professional trainer and/or animal behaviorist. 

A professional dog trainer will be able to interpret your dog’s body language and give you stronger strategies for overcoming excitement urination.  Often times a specialist can detect problems that we were unable to notice.

Here is a quick review; teach your dog polite greetings, practice purposeful eye contact, desensitize your dog to being touched on the collar, and lastly handle your dog when they are calm.

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