One of the objectives of a puppy class should be helping owners recognize problems associated with owning a puppy and how to correct or prevent them. If these problems are not handled correctly, they can have long term consequences.
Submissive urination is a problem most puppy owners encounter and it also appears in some older dogs. What usually happens is that when the owner arrives home the puppy runs up to greet, the owner bends over to pet his pup, the pup in turn squats and urinates sometimes actually rolling over on his back.
To correct this problem, explain the pack nature of the dog and the importance of the dominance hierarchy. Point out that while they may not like seeing their dog “cower”, this is the dog’s way of showing respect and acknowledging the owner as being dominant. Submissive urination is the ultimate display of respect and should not bring punishment.
All physical punishment must be eliminated especially if the owner has punished the dog for this specific behavior. This will only make the situation worse. Do not hover over the puppy. This puts the puppy in a subordinate position and may cause more urination. If the owner must get down to the dog’s level, he should kneel down keeping the back straight.
In situations where submissive urination is likely to occur, the dog should be ignored. For example, when arriving home the dog should be ignored for about 5 to 10 minutes after which controlled play is in order.
Finally, the dog should be taught to sit using the traditional tuck under or an inducive, non-physical approach if the dog urinates when handled. Once the dog responds, this command should be used followed by gentle praise in situations where submissive urination is likely to occur. What we are trying to do is build the dog’s self confidence and in doing so, help upgrade his position in the pack.