Nice to pee you again!!
June 10, 2012 6:33 PM   Subscribe

How do I get my puppy to stop peeing in excitement whenever she sees me upon my return?

My 9mos+ mini doxie, Gertie, has started, in recent weeks, to pee in excitement whenever I or my other dog, Schroeder (Weimaraner, 7yrs old) return from being out/away. Sometimes she just squats, other times, she'll roll over and pee on herself a bit. She's pretty shy but not around me and her brother (in fact, she's pretty crazy about him) so I don't think she's doing it out of fear. As with her breed, she's been very stubborn about house training (Schroeder was house trained in just over a month so this has been my lesson in patience) so, even tho she's gotten better, I end up cleaning up urine about once a day, sometimes more now that she's also excitement peeing. How do I get her to stop? Is that even possible? Is this just a phase? I never experienced this with Schroeder so I'm at a bit of a loss.
posted by violetk to Pets & Animals (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have no idea how to get her to stop peeing when she sees you, but an interim step might be to have her come meet you outside when you come home, so she does it outside, at least....
posted by zachawry at 6:46 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Is she fixed? Lots of spayed dogs have continence issues; your dog sounds like my parents' Brittany. She just leaks when she gets excited, or when she's dreaming, or for no reason at all. She's been on a low dose of (what I think is) estrogen for basically her whole life after we figured it out, and has improved greatly. (She's now 14, so clearly the drugs haven't taken their toll on her or anything.)
posted by supercres at 6:50 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I used to dog sit for a little guy that would do that. His owners counseled me to take him straight out upon return before even greeting him. Maybe you do that, or maybe there's a better solution, but just throwing it out.
posted by dreamphone at 6:55 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would think crating the dog while you're out would help.
posted by rhizome at 6:57 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

My German Shepard/Husky X I had growing up did this as well. Wagged her butt so hard in happiness she peed herself, every single time. I have no idea how we trained it out of her, or if we even did -- i think she just eventually grew out of it. But it did stop. Eventually.
posted by cgg at 6:59 PM on June 10, 2012

Your Google search term is "submissive urination."
posted by HotToddy at 7:02 PM on June 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

Ah yes, 'happy pee'. We combatted that by ignoring the puppies for the first few minutes after we came home, then taking them for a walk after that.
posted by grudgebgon at 7:08 PM on June 10, 2012 [5 favorites]

My colleague was just telling me that her dog did that. Her solution was to completely ignore the dog upon entering, and for a few minutes until she was ready to summon the dog for some lovin'.

Not sure how to manage that when entering with another dog, though.
posted by elizeh at 7:09 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is a common problem in small dogs, especially dachshunds (several of my doxies and my chihuahua do this). What does your coming home routine look like? We've reduced this behavior a lot by minimizing as much excitement as possible when coming home; there's no excited cooing or yelling when we get home, and the first step is always to go straight out to the backyard so we don't have to clean up if they do pee. They are much more likely to pee if we bend over at the waist to pet them; sitting down on the back step or crouching over to pet them is a lot less stressful for them. We also hold our hands out and let them sniff and lick a little before we seriously pet them. Our dogs are also much more likely to submissive pee if they have full bladders, so we consider that when we get home.
posted by lilac girl at 7:16 PM on June 10, 2012

If you're acting excited when you get home, that will overexcite your dog as well and this could lead to excitement peeing. So it is correct to ignore them when you first walk in to prevent them from becoming overexcited.

Is this something that has started recently? If so, you might want to get her checked for a bladder infection or some other medical issue that would make it hard for her to hold it. There are several medical things that can make it difficult for a dog to hold their bladder when they didn't have a problem previously.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:16 PM on June 10, 2012

We have a dachshund that does this as well. Ignoring the dog completely helps. Don't even make eye contact. Definitely don't bend over and pet the dog. It has gotten much better over time -- it used to happen every time we came home, now it's once every 2-3 months.
posted by Ostara at 7:54 PM on June 10, 2012

My wheaten terrier had this "excited urination" problem, especially when meeting new people. It started as a puppy. Years later, we have made significant progress but it's still something we take into account.

We have found that the best strategy is to ignore him when he gets into this state. Literally, no petting, no eye contact, nothing. If we do acknowledge his presence in any way, he becomes more excited ("ZOMG ATTENTION!!!!") and the chances of him peeing increase exponentially. (In one memorable incident, a family friend ended up with pee on her shoe. *Sigh.*)

So we ignore him for a few minutes. He will often pant and whine for attention. If it gets to be too much, we will put him in his crate for a short period. I don't know what the situation is with your dog and crating, but my dog loves his crate — we leave the door open and he goes in voluntarily to relax, sleep, etc. It's not a punishment as much as it is his place to calm down. And for whatever reason, he doesn't pee in his crate.

When he has calmed down slightly, we tell him to "sit" and put the leash on him, and then take him outside to pee. Once he has peed, then we acknowledge him, pet him, praise him for being a good dog, give him a treat, etc.

Excited urination still happens from time to time (once every one to two months, maybe?) but this is almost always only when he hasn't been outside to pee in a while and then meets someone new.

And for the most part, I think that my dog "gets it" as much as he's ever going to: he understands that he's not supposed to pee indoors, he understands that he's not supposed to pee out of excitement when he meets new people, but he just can't help it sometimes. It's genuinely about the muscles "down there" loosening accidentally rather than a behavioral problem or anything like that.
posted by hypotheticole at 8:31 PM on June 10, 2012

My wonderful Manchester terrier Hot-dog did this for a time, until she was about a year and a half old. HotToddy has it, it was submissive urination and she couldn't help it; she simply seemed to "grow out of it". After that she learned to be loving without squirting about it all the time, and things were fine.
posted by jet_silver at 8:37 PM on June 10, 2012

for those asking, it did start only a couple of weeks ago as far as i've noticed. she is crated for the bulk of the day and my roommate usually lets her out to go to the bathroom outside when he gets home (which is anywhere from an half an hour to an hour before i do) and then lets her about in the house. i do usually greet them happily, so i'll definitely try the ignoring when i get home.

any advice for when it happens in the car? i have the wagon part of my volvo wagon partitioned in half for my weim and sometimes she will crawl into his section. if she's been left in the car and he and i return, she will pee as soon as i open the wagon door to let him in. in this case, i'm not greeting her or anything since i'm busy opening the gate to get my weim in.
posted by violetk at 10:45 PM on June 10, 2012

You could maybe speed up the learning process by practising returning.

Go out, turn around, come back in, ignore the dog for a bit. Go out and sit in the garden for five minutes, come back in, ignore the dog for a bit.

Do this until you are fully bored with it and so is the dog; keep increasing the amount of time you stay out for, until the dog has definitely learned that "you coming through the door" is not a source of any kind of excitement.

You might also try teaching the dog a specific cue for "get all excited!". The dog will quickly learn to wait a while for the cue (or no reward! no fussing!). In this way you may be able to extend the amount of time that the dog will spend sitting quietly waiting for you to suggest playtime. Hopefully you will reach the point where you can get the dog calmly out of the door before you give the playtime cue.
posted by emilyw at 7:53 AM on June 11, 2012

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