How Do I Stop My Puppy From Piddling When She Greets Someone?

Dog at door

Q. My puppy piddles on the floor when she greets visitors at our front door. She doesn’t have accidents in the house at any other time and she’s friendly and enjoys people. What’s going on, and what can I do about it?

A. This sounds like either excitement-based urination or submissive urination, both of which commonly happen during greetings. Excitement urination happens when a dog is overly excited in the situation and has little control of her bladder — it's common in puppies. Submissive urination is different; the dog hunkers down low to the ground and leaves little spots of piddle when she greets to show that she's not a threat.

Puppies often outgrow piddling when greeting, but some dogs continue this behavior into adulthood, especially if they are insecure or fearful. Fortunately, if you have a puppy who does this type of greeting or an adult dog with a leaky greeting style, there are some things you can do about it.

Before You Start Training

The first step is to visit your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical concerns that could be causing this behavior. If you have an overly fearful dog, your vet can address ways to help her with her fear, including a referral to a veterinary behaviorist or certified professional dog trainer.

Next, it’s important to be consistent in how you communicate with your dog. I recommend reward-based interactions that are structured and predictable; always use the same cue to ask for a behavior and always reward her in the same way when she completes it. Never use punishment with your puppy; it will only make the situation worse.

Change the Way You Greet Your Pup

Keep greetings calm and non-threatening. Your puppy may be so excited and overwhelmed by the arrival of new people that she becomes overstimulated and leaks on the ground. Or she may be feeling insecure about the situation; peeing is a way to show deference and disarm any conflict before it begins. For both reasons, the greeting situation needs to be kept nonchalant, with very little attention given to the dog.


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