Some dogs will pee a small puddle (sometimes more) when they greet people, particularly if the person moves to pet them. Some dogs do this whenever anyone greets them, but often the leakage problem only occurs with certain individuals or with people who have a certain appearance or voice tone.
It is fairly common in young puppies who have less control over their bladder and are easily excited, though it usually goes away as the dog matures. Some dogs, however, continue this habit into adulthood. This behavior tends to be more common in female pups, but it can happen with males, too.
Why Dogs Pee When Excited
When a puppy becomes overexcited, or when something frightens her, it’s normal for the pup to release a few drops of urine. Not all puppies do this, but many do. It happens because overexcitement or fear may cause the pup to momentarily lose control of the muscles that close the urinary bladder, which allows a small amount of urine to escape.
This is a physiological response to excitement and is not under the pup’s control. She might not even realize it’s happening until she feels a sensation of wetness.
Why This Dog Behavior Is A Problem
Cleaning up puddles every time you greet your dog can be frustrating and distressing to owners. The first reaction is often to scold a dog for the behavior, but it is not the dog’s fault. Punishing a dog for this behavior is useless and cruel, because the dog cannot control the leakage.
Scolding or showing disapproval can make the dog more anxious and cause the problem to get worse—sometimes turning a temporary age or health-related behavior into a long-term nervous habit.
How To Keep Your Dog From Peeing When Excited
Reduce the initial excitement.
The most common trigger for urination while greeting is loved ones arriving home after being gone for several hours. To reduce the dog’s excitement, walk into your house without greeting her. Put down your purse or other items you’re carrying and put your coat away. Delay greeting her until about five minutes after you’ve arrived home.
Keep greetings low key.
Speak quietly and calmly when you greet your dog. Don’t immediately bend down to pet her, as “looming over” a dog in that way can trigger them to urinate. Instead of reaching for her, just put your hand where she can come to it for petting. Pet her under the chin, not on top of the head. Teach your visitors to do the same.
If your dog tends to pee when you first say hello to her, say hello outdoors. This way the dog will be urinating where there’s no need to mop it up. That will reduce your own anxiety about the possibility of a wet greeting and you’ll relax a bit—which can help reduce any anxiety your dog might have learned to feel about greeting time.
Though usually outgrown by six or seven months of age, this behavior can linger into adulthood. Sometimes health issues, such as urinary tract infections, can cause delayed bladder control, so if your dog is over five months old and still piddling when petted, let your veterinarian know. If it’s a health problem, it needs to be treated medically. Most often, though, there are no health issues causing the problem—it’s just a case of too much excitement.
By: September B. Morn
Feature Image: markcarper/iStock/Thinkstock