Submissive Urination: My Dog Pees when Scared!

Submissive Urination: My Dog Pees when Scared!

Submissive urination is a natural social cue and a type of “canine communication” that puppies and even older dogs display as a sign of appeasement. It usually occurs when your dog is in an environment that makes them fearful or anxious. When a dog urinates upon meeting another dog, new people, or in other stressful situations he is communicating that he is not a threat. Timid, shy, insecure, anxious, or dogs with a history of harsh treatment are usually more susceptible to submissive urination. Although it is usually nothing to worry about, your first step still should be to see a vet to assure there are no underlying health issues that are leading to inappropriate elimination. Once you know all is ok, it's time to learn more about the issue and how to cope with the situation.


Signs of Submissive Urination:

If your dog has accidents during situations similar to below, then it is likely you are dealing with submissive urination.

  • When they are scared
  • When they are being greeted
  • During a stressful situation
  • While making submissive postures, like tail tucking, rolling over, exposing their belly, or lowering their head

If your dog is having accidents when not clearly stressed or anxious, but when happy and even playing, this is a separate issue called excitable urination.


Training & Solutions:

The key to preventing submissive urination is to build your pup’s confidence.

  • Do not scold your dog for submissive urination; only use positive reinforcement training
  • Avoid direct eye contact with your dog
  • Maintain a stable environment and routine
  • Always approach your dog with a gentle, non-dominant posture
  • When you come home from work, do not immediately rush in to greet your dog. Keep greetings low-key and avoid loud voices.
  • During greetings, reward confident postures such as sitting and standing
  • When approaching your dog crouch down to their level
  • Always remember to reward and praise your pup when he urinates in the appropriate place



It takes time to build up your pup’s confidence. It is important you do not rush the training to avoid extra anxiety that can make matters worse. In the meantime, prepare some useful products that can help during this time of training and positive reinforcement.

Submissive Urination Products: 

Sources & Further Reading:


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