Pet Talk: Calm Greetings May Help Leaky Puppy

Q. We have a puppy that every time we come home she gets so excited to see us she pees. Is there something we can do to stop this from happening? We love her, but it is frustrating to always have to clean up after her.

A. This is a fairly common problem in young puppies. It is not a potty training issue, but an issue related to excitement. This behavior is simply considered immaturity in young, exuberant dogs. It happens in both males and females of many different breeds who have not yet developed complete control over their bladder when they get excited. The good news is many dogs simply outgrow this behavior as they become physically mature.

Cleaning up puddles every time you come home would be very frustrating for any owner, but please refrain from scolding your puppy because it is not her fault. She probably doesn’t even realize it is happening. Punishing your pup is useless and cruel because she cannot control the leakage and may make her more anxious, making a temporary age-related behavior into a long-term nervous habit. It’s best not to react at all. Just calmly clean up the mess.

You can’t necessarily stop her from urinating involuntarily, but here are a few ideas to try and manage it.

  • To reduce your dog’s excitement when arriving home, walk into the house without greeting her. Don’t look at her, touch her or acknowledge her in any way until she is calm before you give her any attention. Do not engage in a loud, excitable greeting ritual. Rather, greet her calmly and speak quietly with a low tone of voice.
  • Be sure to keep your pup exercised. Tired dogs don’t get as excited.
  • Take her for more frequent walks so her bladder is always as empty as possible.
  • If possible greet your pup outside where there’s no need to clean up afterwards.

Remember to address this problem in a calm, quiet and kind way. Dogs often mirror the behavior they are shown, so your calmness may help with your pup not becoming overly excited.

Hope some of my suggestions help.

Sally Salopek is the owner and operator of Attend-A-Pet pet sitting services in northern Door County. She has also worked professionally with animals in health care, pet grooming, training, wildlife rehab and rescue. Send your pet-related questions to her at [email protected].