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Submissive urination.

Species: Dog
Breed: cockapoo
Age: 2-5 years
I adopted this dog on Thursday. I took him to the vets on Friday and he was checked out. I have owned big dogs in the past. The rescue thought he was 2-3 yo. Since I've had him home, I have noticed that he does not seem to drink very much, despite water being readily available. He also only urinates maybe twice a day, even though I walk him many times. He seems to get distracted when we walk, getting a scent, and then losing it. The problem is he has submissive urination, and pees when he's excited. I am so tired of cleaning up urine and going for walks. I read that this condition is out of his control. I do not yell at him, but it is frustrating that he begins to pee and I take him out and nothing happens.
He has one testicle, which the vet says is "empty". She thought that he might have been recently neutered.
He also does not like the crate, and I've been slowly getting him in it when he eats. I don't want him urinating in my bedroom or bed. I can't leave my house.
What can I do to entice him to pee outside and eliminate this issue. Any additional help getting him to accept the crate would be great.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Bless you for adopting Bailey!

I don't usually get too worried about a dog not drinking much (unless it is combined with a lack of appetite and lethargy). Some dogs need less water than others.

If your vet feels he was recently neutered then he still may have some testosterone in his system. This could be why he gets distracted easily on his walks. If this is the case it should get better over the next few weeks.

I definitely agree that submissive urination can be frustrating. There are a number of things you can do to help curb this habit though:

  • The first thing I would do is have your vet do a urinalysis on his urine just to be sure there is no medical problem. If there is any sort of inflammation in his bladder then this can make the submissive urination worse.

  • Not making a fuss of him. If we can reduce the amount of excitement, then this can reduce the bad behavior. So, try to make no eye contact. Bend down to his level and put your hand out for him to smell. He should get used to you being near him and not have to urinate.

  • You may want to try something called stay training. To do this, you teach the dog to go to a particular corner of the room on command and sit and stay. Once this is accomplished, you practice telling him to stay and then go near him and then go away. Do this repeatedly and he should get the idea. Then, the trick is getting him to repeat this during a time when he might be more excited. So, when you come home after being away for a while, tell him to go and sit in his corner and then quietly come in the house. Once you have been in for a while you can release him from the stay. This should greatly reduce the urinating.

  • It will also help to teach him to urinate on command outside by saying a code word such as "hurry up" whenever he is peeing. Then, when he finishes his pee reward him with a treat.

  • If he does urinate inside, do not punish him. He will think he is being punished for urinating (and likely not understand that it is because he urinated inside) and then he will not want to urinate with you when you take him outside.



Regarding his crate, lots of good experiences are the best thing. Find something he likes, like a toy kong stuffed with peanut butter, or some other type of treat and make sure he can only have that treat when he is in the crate.

Start with small stays in the crate and gradually work up the amount of time he is in there.

If he is really anxious about being in the crate then you may need to have a behavioral consult with your vet to talk about anti-anxiety medications. These are usually only needed for a few months until he adjusts and then we can often wean dogs off.

I hope this helps!

I will be heading offline now (you caught me just before bed) but if you have more concerns I will check in again in the morning.

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.