Ask the AKC Animal Behaviorist - My Dog Pees Whenever She's Excited

More on PawNation: dachshunds, dog training, DogTraining, excitement urination, ExcitementUrination, pee, urination, urine

Dachshund dog picture "Was that the doorbell? Did someone ring the doorbell? Did I just hear the doorbell?" alex1923, Flickr

Meet Mary Burch, American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Director and Paw Nation's expert columnist addressing your questions on animal behavior. Dr. Burch has over 25 years of experience working with dogs, and she is one of fewer than 50 Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists based in the United States. She is the author of 10 books, including the new official book on the AKC Canine Good Citizen Program, "Citizen Canine: 10 Essential Skills Every Well-Mannered Dog Should Know."

I have a 3-year-old dachshund who pees every time someone comes to the door. Sometimes she pees when she excited about other things, like something on television. I feed her like clockwork twice a day. We allow her to run in the yard whenever she asks to be let out, so I know that she has plenty of opportunity to pee. Is there something else we should be doing?

The first thing to do, if you haven't already, is have your dog checked by a veterinarian just to make sure there are no medical reasons for the problem. Hopefully the doctor will give the "all clear" and it will be time to address the problem through training.

Your situation seems like a case of adult excitement urination. (Sometimes, puppies will leave a puddle because of excitement or as a sign of submission but they tend to outgrow the behavior.) Remember, your adult dog can't help it when she becomes incontinent in these situations. The reaction is involuntary and it is not really related to learned behaviors such as house training. But there are things you can do:

Build the Dog's Confidence
Add activities that are designed to make her feel unshakable. In short sessions (about five minutes) three or four times a day, teach her to sit, lay down, stay, or do a trick. Reward her with a treat. Eventually, you'll be able to use behaviors such as sit, down and stay to help you manage your dog in new situations, but in the beginning, these are confidence-building games. If you have the time, one of the best activities to give confidence to a shy dog or dog that gets overly excited (and urinates) is agility. Plan some experiences out in the community so that your dog is exposed to many stimuli and is well-socialized.

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