Is your pooch under submission??

Health, last updated 08th, Aug 2015, Neha Manchanda


My 4.5 year old Labrador Retriever is friends with a 3 year old Golden Retriever and everytime they meet he rolls over and urinates. He is timid and shows this behaviour everytime a bigger dog or an unfamiliar human approaches him. Dog behaviorists and veterinarians call this behaviour - submissive urination.

What is submissive urination?

Submissive urination is one of the most common and normal canine communications. A dog submissively urinates to commuicate:

  • he is not a threat
  • he / she is exceptionally excited
  • he / she is feeling intimidated
  • he / she is greeting someone
  • he / she is being scolded or punished

While some dogs may dribble few drops of the urine, others may urinate in large puddles. It is most common in puppies but some adult dogs submissively urinate as well. 

What to do in case your puppy submissively urinates?

As a pet parent if you feel that your pooch is submissively urinating, rule out the following problems:

  • Change in diet
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Urinary incontinence - old age / spaying / neuter
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Untrained young puppy
  • Puppy under house training
  • Urine marking especially by growing adult dogs
  • Separation anxiety

Steps to take:

  • If possible, meet a dog outside the house so that there is no persistent smell in the house which may trigger urination
  • Meet a dog when he / she has calmed down completely.
  • if your pooch is submissive in nature then approach him / her gently and meet or greet them at eye level so that they are not intimidated by your height. 
  • Do not pat them on the head or ears but the chest or the back so that they do not feel dominated

What to avoid:

  • Do not scowl or punish your pooch if he / she submissively urinates
  • Do not shout or scold your pooch
  • Shouting / punishing is a  form of intimidation for dogs and it will not fare well in improving their behaviour.

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