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Question
I have a 2 year old Shih Tzu that gets so excited when company comes over, runs up to them and when they bend down to greet her she roll on her back and pees and it don't matter if I have taken her out to pee before they got here. She doesn't do this with myself or my husband but sometimes does this with our son before he even touches or acknowledges her. She would be the perfect dog if it wasn't for this, she is smart, sweet, loving and minds very well and has been doing all kinds of dog tricks since before she was 6 months old.  It seems like I don't recall her having this problem until she was several months old and is really getting worse instead of getting better. I tried making people ignore her until she calms down and then greet her but that didn't work either because the second they acknowledge her, the excitement returns again and she rolls over and pees. So i've started kenneling her before people come over to prevent this, but to me that's not a solution or teaching her anything, its just avoiding the problem. How do I fix discipline this kind of behavior?

Answer
Hi Sherry,

It sounds like your dog has either an"excitement urination" or "submissive urination" problem. I can't say which behavior it is.

This is not a housebreaking problem, except that you have a mess to clean it up. Your dog doesn't even know she is urinating, it's an involuntary reflex that just happens as she's on her back displaying her submission. Because she's not aware that she's peeing, she should not be punished for this behavior. Punishing your dog for this can make the problem worse.

It's possible that you can train your dog out of both submissive urination or excitement urination. Read about how to train your dog here:

http://rcdas.org/home/images/stories/animalBehavior_pdfs/Submissive_Urination.pd

http://www.toledoareahumanesociety.org/programs/18-behavior-subcat/61-submissive

A submissive, shy, timid or sensitive dog that urinates when greeting people has a confidence problem. You can help your dog build her level of confidence by teaching obedience commands using positive reinforcement methods with treats and praise. If you aren't sure how to do this, your vet's office can probably refer you to a dog obedience class in your area.

Here is some info on positive reinforcement training:

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/dog_training_positive_reinforceme

Since you know what causes your dog's submissive or excitation urination, your guests should wait
at least five minutes before giving her any attention, and when they finally acknowledge your dog it should be very low key. They should not "hover" or stand over your dog, and they should not look directly into your dog's eyes. They should approach your dog from the side rather than from the front. Instead of petting your dog, guests should offer small bits of food as treats (and they should not look directly at your dog when giving the treats). If your dog pees despite these precautions, do not react in a negative way! No yelling or punishing in any way. Quietly and gently remove your dog from the room.

Until you can train your dog out of the behavior, it's probably best not to allow her to be in the room when you have visitors, since you know what your dog's reaction is going to be.

Best of luck,

Patti  

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Patti

Expertise

To date, I've owned 7 dogs, all of which have lived into old age. Having cared for them in all stages of life, I feel I can offer sound advice to other pet owners, and people considering getting a dog. I am knowledgeable about the AKC (American Kennel Club) dog breeds, training and exercise, caring for sick and elderly pets, feeding, as well as many holistic treatments pets can benefit from. My only request is that you write me using standard English and punctuation.

Experience

My life experience in this field is more like "on the job training" rather than an actual degree in animal welfare. You may benefit from my experiences over the past 30 years. Aside from the dogs I've owned, I'm also involved in "breed rescue" and have fostered several dogs, all of which have been adopted to wonderful "forever homes". I find helping people who want a dog very rewarding.

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Real life experience, based on over 30 years of dog ownership.

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