Puppies: Excitement And Submissive Urination

Does your puppy wee each time you come home, each time greet him or her in the morning, each time you make their breakfast/lunch/dinner or each time visitors come to visit? Well, welcome to the club!

Puppies generally under the age of one don’t yet have complete control over their bladders and although you may be making good progress with house-training your pup, they may not be able to control their bladders when they are excited or nervous.   Don’t worry, this is something they will grow out of… with a little help from us!

Recommendations if you have an excitement urination problem:

  • Don’t greet your puppy in an excitable way! By doing so, you may inadvertently reinforce the problem. Instead, stay calm – this means no squealing ‘OMG I missed you too!’, no picking up cuddling or petting your puppy if they are excitable and definitely no high-pitched baby talk! Step away from the cute puppy!
  • Ignore your puppy until he or she is calm
  • Take your puppy outside immediately to limit the chances they will excitement wee indoors
  • Once they toilet outside praise them and then make a fuss over them… they did a good thing!
  • If visitors come to your home, ensure your puppy has emptied its bladder very soon before the visitor’s arrival (take them for a short walk to encourage them to do so). Ask your visitors to ignore your puppy when they first arrive and then take the puppy outside where visitors can greet him or her (to avoid any accidents indoors)

A little less common is when puppies perform submission urination if they are nervous and you’ll notice the difference between this and excitement urination; submission urination can occur when a visitor enters their home, when they meet an unfamiliar dog or in any situation which they feel nervous about.  So in many ways, this is the opposite of excitement urination and so it is usually very easy to spot the difference.

Recommendations if you have a submission urination problem:

  • Ignore your puppy if they have an accident indoors. Telling them in a soothing voice that it is ok will only reinforce their feelings of nervousness
  • Never scold a puppy who suffers from submission urination as you’ll end up making the puppy more nervous. Just ignore the mess and clean it up when your puppy isn’t watching
  • Make a note of what situations make your puppy submissively urinate and then try to avoid putting your puppy in these. For example, if visitors coming to your home results in your puppy submissively urinate then arrange to greet visitors outside your door with your puppy before entering your home all together
  • Reward your puppy for urinating outside and constantly give them praise to build their confidence

Above all else, patience is key! Puppies don’t have full control of their bladder so please don’t expect a young puppy to hold its bladder for too long and always make frequent visits outside to keep your puppies bladder as empty as possible.  You may have days or weeks on end without any accidents and then feel deflated when your puppy has one, but this is perfectly normal so don’t beat yourself up and obviously don’t scold your puppy.  So long as your puppy is toiling outdoors more often than they are indoors then you’re on the right track.

It’s a problem which you and your puppy need to work at as a partnership; if your puppy has an accident indoors then this could have been prevented by you taking them outside 5 minutes before so remember this next time and make that extra trip outside with them, praise them when they urinate and then bring them back indoors.  You’ll soon be in sync with your puppies toileting and will know when they last urinated, how much they’ve drunk since and when they should be ready to go outside again… don’t presume that they will always tell you when they need to go out as it takes persistent training and time for a puppy to learn to always ‘ask’ to go outside… so just give them a little helping hand to succeed!

Good luck!

The Dirty Secrets Of The Unappetising Subject Of Puppy Poo Eating!

So you’ve brought your puppy home and they are just this tiny fluffy mass of cuteness! Then, during the tough period of toilet training (which should start from the very day you bring your new pup home), you watch in delight as your puppy makes its way outside and begins to go… success!! But wait, what is your puppy doing now? Surely it’s not going to do THAT!  But yes, your puppy turns around and promptly eats its own business!

This is a really common complaint for puppy owners so you are not alone!  It’s also something non-dog owners simply can’t understand why we would want to talk about it!  But if you’re like me and have a puppy who enjoys a mid-day snack then you will increasingly find yourself talking about this all the time!  You’ll meet a new puppy owner in your local park and the conversation goes something like this: ‘oh what a cute puppy! What’s his name? Does he eat his own poo?!’  Sound familiar?

There’s a lot of theories on this very subject too; some will say your puppy is lacking nutrients in its food and therefore needs to find them elsewhere and others will say that your puppy watched its mother doing this in the litter (mothers clean up after their pups) and so he is just copying this learned behaviour.  My theory?  They actualy just enjoy it!

Of course there are things you can do to deter and even encourage this.  For example, if you start making a fuss when your puppy goes to perform this act then you’ll end up increasing their excitment about what they’re doing.  I made this very mistake when my dog was a puppy and after time it actually resulted in a game of ‘who’s going to get to the poo first!’ which provided my friends and family with much amusement.  Because I had made such a fuss the first time she did it, and continued to do so, she got into the routine of going to the toilet and then quickly turning around and consuming it before I could remove it!

If you transfer this theory to children it may become clearer… I have a 2-year old neice and just the other day my sister was asking her what she had in her hand (she was holding a flip-flop) and my neice kept attempting to say the words ‘flip-flop’ over and over again… you can only imagine exactly how this sounded!  My sister is a great mum and although she could have keeled over in fits of laughter she remained cool and didn’t say anything.  If she had of done the former and laughed and then corrected herself and made a big deal about how my neice should not say that word, my neice could have thought this was highly amusing and then realising that she was saying ‘a naughty word’ she could have kept saying it… imagine how embarrassing that would have been at their next dinner party or children’s birthday!

So, my advice is this: your puppy WILL grow out of doing this, they WILL lose interest but YOU need to make sure they don’t have a chance to practise the behaviour.  Remember, the more a puppy (or adult dog for that matter) practises a behaviour the more it becomes what is known as a ‘learned behaviour’ and they will continue to do this. So the next time your poo-eating puppy is in the garden or the park going to the toilet, calmly place them on a lead and simply use a ‘this way’ command to move them away once they’ve finished, making no fuss at all and not giving them the chance to eat it.  You can then place it in a bin, safely out of the way of your eager puppy’s stomach and over time your puppy will lose interest in performing this taboo which all dog-owners like to discuss!