Q: Why does my dog urinate when he gets excited and how can I stop it? Can the dog control this behavior? Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

A: Submissive urination is the discharge of a trickle or a few drops of urine when a dog gets excited or when he wants to show deference to a person or another dog as the leader.

A bit more information is needed in order to deal with any behavioral problem and a professional trainer (positive training only, of course) can help you identify possible causes and set up a behavior modification program for you.

That being said, five things are necessary:

  1. Check out your dog’s physical health. Make sure the problem is indeed submissive urination by having your dog checked out by a veterinarian to rule out any physiological problems.
  2. Increase your dog’s confidence level . By teaching your dog new behaviors (including tricks), he will gain confidence and not be as timid.
  3. Do not use negatives . Make absolutely sure no punishment is administered.
  4. Ignore your dog for 90 seconds when you first come home . Basically you want to reward a calm, relaxed dog rather than inadvertently reinforcing the submissive behavior. By ignoring your dog for the first 90 seconds, his excitement level will drop a bit and then you can ask him to lie down or do something else before he has a chance to eliminate.
  5. Teach a substitute behavior . Get your dog’s mind off urinating by giving him something else to do instead. For instance, throw a treat on the ground and say “find it.” Teach him to go to his bed. Teach him to fetch a toy. Teach him to lie down.

I hope this helps!