German Shepherd Dog Forum

Hosted by Showtalk

Promoting responsible German Shepherd Dog ownership

  • 918
  • 96316
  • 1


Is it submissive or excitable?   Controversies, Catastrophes and Teaky Moments (Enter at your own risk)

Started 9/12/19 by Solitaire13; 108 views.

From: Solitaire13


Submissive and excitable urination are actually two separate disorders but are often discussed together because it can be difficult to distinguish between the two behaviors. Some dogs, especially if young, may show both types of urination but in different contexts.

Submissive urination: Submissive urination is seen in dogs who show excessively submissive body postures during greeting. Although this is most commonly reported as a problem during interactions with their owners or other people, dogs can also submissively urinate when greeting another dog. The dog greets with lowered head, averted eyes, retracted lips, and dribbles urine as the person or dog moves closer (Figure 8-2). Submissive greeting is normal for young puppies who are interacting with adult dogs and for many puppies when they greet humans. Most dogs gain confidence as they mature and no longer demonstrate this level of deference. However, some dogs either do not develop adequate confidence as adults or have learned to offer extreme appeasement in response to harsh reprimands for jumping up or for misbehaving during the owner’s absence. A common but very unfortunate scenario is the owner who has verbally or physically reprimanded the dog each time that the dog has been destructive when left alone. This reaction not only causes the dog to show extreme appeasement and possibly to urinate when greeting, but also increases the dog’s level of anxiety.

Treatment: Submissive urination can be prevented by decreasing the intensity of greetings and avoiding standing or leaning over the dog while interacting. An effective approach to diffuse intense interactions is to redirect the dog by tossing a high value treat/biscuit or toy to the side as the dog approaches to greet. The dog’s movement to the side positions her out of direct eye contact and prevents the owner or visitor from standing directly over the dog. After the dog has consumed several treats in this way, she is greeted with the owner or visitor crouching down and positioning himself laterally (from the side) to avoid leaning over the dog. It is also helpful to train the dog to offer a reliable sit-stay for petting in non-greeting contexts (i.e. when excitement level is low). The sit-stay for greeting is then incorporated into greeting situations, with the treat offered to the side as a reinforcer when the dog sits (see Chapter *** for a complete discussion).

Excitable Urination: Excitable urination differs from submissive urination in that while it can occur during greeting it may also happen when a young dog becomes excited or during play. Dogs who show excitable urination often do not squat, but rather dribble small amounts of urine as they walk or jump around. Body postures and communication signals that accompany excitable urination do not reflect excessive submission but rather are those of an excited and possibly over-stimulated dog. Because excitable urination is often caused by a lack of complete neuromuscular control of the urinary sphincter, most dogs stop showing this form of urination as they mature. 

Treatment: As with submissive urination, treatment involves decreasing the intensity of greeting and play to prevent over-arousal. Redirecting the dog’s attention to toys or training the dog to retrieve a ball can provide exercise and play while reducing excitement. Greeting intensity can also be decreased by providing the dog with several minutes to romp outside before interacting. This also allows the dog to empty her bladder prior to greeting. Similar to the treatment for submissive urination, teaching a sit-stay for greeting can help to prevent excitable urination, provided the sit-stay is first taught in a quiet environment. Distractions that typically excite the dog are then gradually introduced. When behavior modification alone is not effective, the medication phenylpropanolamine can be used as an adjunctive therapy. This must be prescribed by a veterinarian and functions to increase sphincter tone in the urethra. Although phenylpropanolamine is more typ
...[Message truncated]
View Full Message
DW (GSDogwalker)

From: DW (GSDogwalker)


Mine haven't had either.  Although once my girl got mad at my previous dog and ran over and peed on his bed.  It was intentional.