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Dog Pees When Excited? Understanding the Cause and Solutions - PawSafe

Dog Pees When Excited? Understanding the Cause and Solutions

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

dog pees when excited

Returning home to wagging tails and happy whimpers is heartwarming, but for some, their dog pees when excited as a greeting. While emotional expressions are generally harmless, happy urination can pose challenges for pet owners seeking to manage this behavior.

Firstly, it’s important to note that this behavior is entirely normal for dogs. When they get elated, their bodies release hormones, which can cause them to lose control of their bladder. This is especially common in puppies and younger dogs yet to develop mature bladders and still learning to control their bodily functions.

However, if your dog is constantly peeing when thrilled, it’s essential to rule out any underlying medical issues. Also, note that submissive peeing is vastly different from excited urination, which can also fall under inappropriate urination, where the first stems from fear and the latter from happiness, as a UC Davis study observes. So, let’s demystify this emotionally charged phenomenon. 

You’ve seen tears of joy, but canines love a twist, so they’ll give you urine of joy instead. We love seeing our dogs happy, but coming back home to a puddle of pee is a buzzkill. Can’t they just find better ways of saying I miss you? 

The good news is these “wet welcomes” will probably gradually reduce until they eventually end as your puppy grows up. Probably. While you may be unlucky enough to experience this in your dog’s adulthood, sometimes the urination, even without drinking water, may point to an underlying health issue.

While it can be frustrating to deal with a dog that pees when they get elated, it’s important to remember that they are not doing it on purpose. Also, this behavior doesn’t just happen in puppies. For example, this German Shepherd is far from being a pup:

Understanding Excitement in Dogs

Happy urination is different from regular urination because it is unrelated to the need to relieve oneself. Rather, it is a response to a strong emotional stimulus, such as seeing their owner after a long absence or meeting a new dog. It is important to note that this behavior is not necessarily a sign of disobedience or lack of training.

Excitement peeing is also known as the “glee pee” or “piddling” inappropriately and is typically just a small spray of urine in the heat of the moment. Note that this type of urination is not territorial marking, so desexing won’t reduce frequency. Our article on puppies peeing a lot gives you 15 possible reasons if you’re convinced your dog’s unintentional episodes aren’t normal.

It is crucial to avoid overstimulating your dog to prevent frenzied urination. This can be done by greeting them calmly and quietly, avoiding direct eye contact, and not making a big fuss over them. It is also essential to provide your dog with plenty of opportunities to go outside and relieve themselves before any exhilarating events.

If your dog continues to urinate, whether happy or not, it may indicate an underlying medical issue. It is essential to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions that may be causing the behavior.

How To Stop Your Dog Urinating When Excited: A Case Study

As a dog trainer, I often address various behavioral issues in puppies, like the case of Xena, an exuberant German Shepherd who struggled with excitable urination, especially when greeting people. This behavior, common in young dogs, was particularly pronounced in Xena, but with consistent training and strategies, we were able to address it effectively.

The primary step in managing Xena’s excited urination was to minimize over-stimulation during greetings. We advised her owner and visitors to adopt a low-key approach when entering the home or interacting with Xena. By reducing the intensity of greetings, we aimed to lessen Xena’s excitement level, which was directly linked to her loss of bladder control.

To further this strategy, we implemented a ‘no touch, no talk, no eye contact’ rule for the initial moments of any greeting. This approach helped Xena learn to remain calmer during these interactions. Once she was calm, then she could be gently greeted. This training extended to her owner, who practiced calm and unexcited re-entries to the home, only acknowledging Xena once she had settled down.

In addition to managing greetings, we focused on providing consistent and frequent bathroom breaks. This helped reduce the likelihood of accidents and reinforced good bathroom habits. We established a regular schedule for Xena to go outside, ensuring she had ample opportunities to relieve herself.

Positive reinforcement played a crucial role in this training. We rewarded Xena for calm behavior and successful bathroom trips outside. Rewards included treats, praise, and affection, but were only given when she was in a calm state, reinforcing the connection between calmness and positive outcomes.

To further address the issue, we worked on obedience training and commands that encourage self-control and focus, like ‘sit’ and ‘stay.’ This training not only improves overall behavior but also gives Xena tools to manage her excitement.

Lastly, we made sure to rule out any medical issues that could contribute to this behavior. A veterinary check ensured that Xena’s excitement urination (also called glee peeing) was behavioral rather than a health concern.

Through these combined efforts – managing greetings, establishing a bathroom routine, using positive reinforcement, focusing on obedience training, and ensuring good health – we successfully mitigated Xena’s excitement urination, helping her become a calmer and more controlled young dog.

Excitement Peeing Vs. Submissive Peeing in Dogs

When we think of dogs peeing, we often associate it with marking their territory or relieving themselves. However, some dogs may pee when they are happy (called glee peeing) or feeling submissive. This can be frustrating and embarrassing behavior for dog owners, but it’s essential to understand why it happens and how to address it.

Glee peeing is common in puppies and young dogs but can also occur in older dogs. When a dog is elated, they may lose control of their bladder and pee involuntarily. This can happen when greeting people or other dogs, during playtime, or even when their owner comes home. 

On the other hand, submissive peeing occurs when a dog feels intimidated or submissive. This can happen when a person or another dog approaches them in a dominant manner, such as standing over them or making direct eye contact. Submissive peeing is often accompanied by other submissive behaviors, such as cowering or tucking their tail between their legs, pinned ears, and tense posture.

To address gleeful and submissive peeing, it’s essential to remain calm and avoid punishing the dog. Punishment can actually make the behavior worse and increase anxiety in the dog. Instead, try the following strategies:

  • Keep greetings low-key and avoid making direct eye contact.
  • Take your dog outside to relieve themselves before exhilarating activities, such as meeting other dogs or walks.
  • Use positive reinforcement training to build confidence and reduce anxiety.
  • Consider consulting with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist for additional support.

The Science Behind Glee Peeing in Dogs

Piddling is a common issue among dogs, especially puppies. It occurs when a dog becomes too happy or anxious, leading to involuntary urination. This section will explore the science behind this behavior in dogs.

Neurological Responses

When a dog becomes too joyous or anxious, their body releases certain hormones that trigger the fight or flight response. This response is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for regulating the body’s response to stress and anxiety.

In some dogs, the joy can be too overwhelming, leading to a neurological response that triggers the bladder to empty. This happens because the brain sends a signal to the bladder muscles, causing them to contract and release urine.

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes in the body can also cause piddling. When a dog becomes excited, their body releases a hormone called adrenaline. Adrenaline is responsible for increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration.

In some dogs, the increase in adrenaline can also stimulate the bladder muscles, causing them to contract and release urine. Research shows that Epinephrine (Adrenaline) can affect urine formation by increasing the arterial pressure, which indirectly increases urinary output.

Additionally, extreme excitement can also cause a decrease in the hormone vasopressin, which regulates the body’s water balance. This can increase urine production, making it more likely for a dog to experience involuntary urination.

Breeds Prone to Peeing Due to Excitement 

Urinating due to extreme happiness is common among dogs, and some breeds are more prone to it than others. Here are a few breeds that are known to be more susceptible to frenzied urination:

1. Toy Breeds

Toy breeds such as Chihuahuas, Yorkshire Terriers, and Pomeranians are known to have a higher incidence of happy peeing. These dogs are small and often have a lot of energy, making them more prone to urinating when excited.

2. Sporting Breeds

Sporting breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Cocker Spaniels are also more prone to piddling. Additionally, some sporting breeds known for their highly social nature, such as retrievers and spaniels, may be predisposed to this behavior due to their enthusiastic and people-oriented personalities.

3. Terrier Breeds

Terrier breeds such as Jack Russell Terriers, Scottish Terriers, and West Highland White Terriers are well-known piddlers. It’s important to note that these are generalizations, and individual dogs can vary widely in their behavior regardless of breed

It’s important to note that while these breeds may be more prone to this behavior, any dog can experience this issue.

Age and Excitement Urination

As dogs age, their bladder control may weaken, making them more prone to involuntary peeing. It’s important to note that not all dogs will experience increased urination as they age, and it’s not necessarily a sign of a medical issue.

In older dogs, gleeful urination may be linked to other age-related factors, such as weakened bladder muscles or health issues like urinary incontinence. Senior dogs might experience reduced muscle tone in the urinary tract, leading to a diminished ability to control their bladder during moments of exuberance.

Additionally, age-related conditions such as arthritis or cognitive decline may contribute to a lack of awareness or delayed response to the need to urinate. Females, 20% of unneutered females and 30% of neutered females weighing over 20 kg, according to Dennis J. Chew, DVM, DACVIM) are most commonly affected by urinary incontinence. But it’s still prevalent in males.

If you notice any sudden increase in urination in an older dog, it’s always a good idea to consult your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health problems.

More Tips For How to Handle Excitement Urination

While involuntary peeing can be frustrating for pet parents, it’s important to remember that it’s a natural behavior that can be managed with the right training and environmental adjustments.

Training Techniques

There are several training techniques that can help manage this involuntary urination in dogs:

  • Positive Reinforcement: This involves rewarding your dog for good behavior, such as sitting calmly or greeting visitors without urinating. Use treats, praise, and affection to reinforce positive behavior.
  • Desensitization: Gradually expose your dog to situations that trigger the peeing, such as visitors or new environments, in a controlled and calm manner. This can help desensitize your dog to these triggers and reduce the likelihood of urination.
  • Crate Training: Crate training can help your dog feel safe, calm, and secure, reducing the likelihood of uncontrollable urination. Make sure the crate is comfortable and inviting, and never use it as a form of punishment.

Environmental Adjustments

In addition to training techniques, several environmental adjustments can help manage involuntary peeing in dogs:

  • Limit Excitement: Avoid overly stimulating situations that can trigger involuntary urination. For example, limit the number of visitors your dog greets at once or avoid playing overly stimulating games.
  • Frequent Potty Breaks: Take your dog outside frequently, especially before and after very fun activities or when visitors arrive. This can help reduce the likelihood of accidents.
  • Clean Up Accidents: Clean up any accidents with an enzymatic cleaner to remove the scent and discourage repeat accidents.

By using these training techniques and environmental adjustments, we can help manage excessive peeing in our dogs and create a more positive and stress-free environment for both our pets and ourselves.

When to Seek Veterinary Help

If your dog is experiencing excessive urination or urinating in inappropriate places, it is important to seek veterinary help. This could be a sign of a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, or other medical conditions that require treatment.

In addition, if your dog’s urination is causing significant stress or disruption in your household, it may be worth consulting with a veterinarian to address the issue. They can provide guidance on training techniques and potential medication options to help manage this behavior.

It is important to note that while this behavior is a common issue in puppies and young dogs, it can also occur in older dogs and may be a sign of an underlying medical issue. Therefore, it is always best to consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns about your dog’s urination habits.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I stop my dog from peeing when excited?

There are several ways you can help your dog stop peeing when excited. One way is to train your dog to remain calm and relaxed in exciting situations. You can also try using positive reinforcement techniques to encourage your dog to behave appropriately. It’s important to avoid punishing your dog for submissive urination, as this can make the problem worse.

Do dogs outgrow submissive urination?

In some cases, dogs may outgrow submissive urination as they mature and gain confidence. However, this is not always the case. It’s essential to work with your dog to address the underlying causes of submissive urination rather than simply waiting for the problem to go away on its own.

What causes dogs to pee when excited?

Several factors can contribute to gleeful urination in dogs, including seeing owner or another dog, waiting to go for walks, or anticipating toys or food. It’s important to work with your dog to address these underlying issues in order to help them overcome their joyful urination.

Can neutering help with excited peeing in dogs?

Neutering is unlikely to help reduce the incidence of happy urination in some dogs, because it’s different from territorial marking. It’s important to work with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action for your individual dog.

What are some tips for dealing with submissive urination in older dogs?

If your older dog is experiencing submissive urination, there are several things you can do to help. First, it’s important to avoid punishing your dog for submissive urination, as this can make the problem worse. You can also work with your dog to build confidence and address any underlying anxiety or fear issues.

Is it normal for dogs to pee themselves when they get excited?

While it’s not uncommon for dogs to experience involuntary urination when they get excited, it’s not considered normal behavior. If your dog is experiencing frequent frenzied urination, it’s important to work with your veterinarian to address the underlying issues.

Final Thoughts

Gleeful urination is often linked to specific triggers that elicit a strong emotional response in dogs. Common scenarios include greetings when a dog is overjoyed to see its owner or visitors or during play sessions when the thrill of the activity becomes overwhelming. 

As pet owners, we can take certain steps to prevent our pets from peeing when they get too excited. For instance, we can ensure they go outside to relieve themselves before any exciting activities, such as playtime or visitors arriving. We can also limit our dog’s excitement levels by keeping them calm and relaxed.

It is also important to note that punishment is not an effective way of stopping this behavior. Instead, we should focus on positive reinforcement and praise when our dogs do not pee when excited.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.