Piddling Pooches: Excited Urination in Dogs

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By Sophia Yin, DVM, MS

DanteHoop 34

Q) Our ten-month-old Cockapoo is adorable; however, he has a problem. Whenever he gets excited, especially when my grown children and grandchildren come over, he pees on them and on the floor. We try very hard to give him lots of attention and everyone greets him on arrival, but the peeing is quite extensive. It also occurs when I bring him to their homes. As soon as we walk in, he leaves a trail of urine.

Are there some measures I can take to avoid the embarrassment and damage to the floors, shoes and pants?

—BL in Napa

A) Never fear, your pup’s peeing problems will soon disappear. While little Fido’s bladder control or lack thereof leaves much to be desired he’s in a phase that most puppies pass through. He may be a little behind on the piddling predicament, but the problem is likely to eventually evaporate as he matures. In the meantime you can take several steps to speed the process along.

You’ve identified Fido’s problem as occurring upon first greeting family and friends, and you’ve correctly observed that he piddles out of excitement. So the solution is simple. Don’t get him so excited.

When family and friends come to visit, instead of petting and playing with the piddling pooch they should ignore the little guy for several minutes or until he has calmed down. Once he’s standing or sitting serenely, they can try some placid petting. They should start with slow, even strokes paired either with silence or soft, soothing speech.

If Piddles the pup lets loose at this stage, the petting session started too soon, was too exuberant, or lasted too long. Petters should gauge his behavior. If Piddles starts to wiggle and squirm in excitement they should quickly remove their attention and treat him as if he doesn’t exist. Then as soon as he’s still, they can reward him with petting.

Expect immediate accidents the first few times because Piddles is used to his old routine—see friends, greet excitedly, and urinate. But, surprisingly, if all greeters stick to the new routine, the piddling problem might be solved in only a handful of sessions. Meanwhile, if you fear for the safety of your family’s floors, you can hold the first few sessions outside.

Q) We own a beautiful whippet boxer mix named Matilda whom we got from the pound when she was 7 months old. When we got her, she was frightened of most people. We took her to dog school and have faithfully kept up with her training. She’s wonderfully behaved and very happy and sociable. Our problem is that she’s 4 years old now and she often pees when saying hello to people. There are a few people who Mattie loves to see but greets them every time by peeing and then flopping down into the pee and wanting to be petted. We really want to stop the peeing! What can we do?

—Amy in East Bay

A) Sweet, messy Matilda’s not overexcited like the last case. By flopping down and piddling in joy, she’s proclaiming her submissive status.

But a submissive dog is not a bad thing. In fact it’s the safe place to be. Gesturing this way to other dogs and to people who read fluent “dog” sends the clear message that she’s no threat. However, add the bit about the piddling and it becomes a nuisance to humans. As with the piddling pup, we’ll just change her routine, but in this case, instead of teaching Matilda to just be calm when petted, she’ll learn to sit.

Although she undoubtedly know to plop her derriere down on command, we’ll teach her to sit automatically in certain situations.

First, at home, take some treats and wait for Matilda to sit on her own. As soon as she sits, offer her a treat. When she learns to automatically sit for treats or a pat on the head, she’s ready for her new greeting routine. You’ll need to enlist some friends to help.

When Matilda runs to greet them they should ignore the flopping Fido. That means silence. Not touching or talking to her and no commands to sit. Any petting or talking will reward her for that undesired behavior. When she finally sits on her own they can give her a few pats on the head or a treat. Like Piddles the pup, start with short petting sessions and stop before she flops down again. Consistent follow-up and before you know it, she’ll have a piddle-free greeting routine.


Adapted from an article originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle in 2001.

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10 responses to “Piddling Pooches: Excited Urination in Dogs

  1. Dear Dr. Yin,

    These examples of other dogs peeing when greeting or getting excited applies to our dachshund, but we’re dog sitting a chihuahua (2 yrs.) and he’s never been housebroken due to an inattentive couple who never bothered to train him. Sometimes he goes to the door to be let out and I let him out often with my other dogs, but he will still pee and sometimes poops in the house. We purchased a belt with velcro that holds a sanitary napkin to keep him from ruining carpets and he wears this in the house except for when I put him in the laundry room to sleep. Do you think there’s any hope of housebreaking at this late date?

    Thank you for any advice you can give us.


  2. M’y dog la almost two and she près when ever i leave and come back I can be gone one min. from her site and then when she sees me all hell breaks loose. I’m so embarressed and don’t know what to do she never has accident in the house only excitable accidents.

  3. Mabel pees as soon as you walk in the door. Not so much with her owners but when we visit or they visit there is absolutely no time to use the tips above. She is a rescue dog 3 years old they have had her for almost two years. She will pee before you can even say sit and if you do say sit she pees during her sit. They are getting ready to remodel thier house and need to get this stopped. Wouldn’t a sound collar work when she does it? And if not why.

    1. We’re sorry you are having this issue with your dog – that can be very frustrating. Included some links below that discuss how to potty train.
      We can also recommend our Perfect Puppy book & the Creating the Perfect Puppy DVD for more on training issues. Also you should rule out any medical issues that could be the problem, by seeing your vet. If the problem persists, we suggest you see a veterinary behaviorist. To find behaviorists in your area, please visit the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior website ( Under Resources, click on “Behavior consultants near you.” They will be able to better assess your situation and can give more detailed advice. You can also find others here:
      Hope that helps.

  4. My 4 year old is doing the exact same thing when my adult children come over. Definitely going to try the not letting or anything until she isn’t excited anymore. This just started but there’s been a lot of new situations for my poor little girl so I’m not all that surprised. More like kids then we will ever know.

  5. My 4 year old is doing the exact same thing when my adult children come over. Definitely going to try the not petting or anything until she isn’t excited anymore. This just started but there’s been a lot of new situations for my poor little girl so I’m not all that surprised. More like kids then we will ever know.

  6. My Maltese, 5 yrs old, is having a piddling contest with the older Westie in the house. The Westie is my son’s dog, 15 yrs. old. I moved in with my dog and I guess the older is marking his territory and mine doing the same. They have known each other since mine was a pup and I brought him over to play. No problem with the Lab. What can we do.


  7. My 5 month old male cockapoo is still peeing on the floor. I have done all the praising with him outside, watch the timing with meals and play, and he does not seem to get my attention in anyway that he needs to go out. He will even look right at us and pee on the floor at times! I will ask him if he needs to go potty outside and take him outside. I have tried to use the bell on the door handle and he shows no interest in using it and shies away from it.

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