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Why do dogs pee when you approach them?

Have you returned home after a long day at work only to be received by your dog’s happy leaps and wags but also a puddle of pee on the floor? You may be happy about the wagging, but what do we say about frequent urination? Understanding why this happens can be the best way to solve this issue.

When your dog frequently pees, especially when approached by you or other humans, it could be that your dog is excited, anxious, or simply marking his territory.

However, you can take certain measures to address this issue in your dog; read on to find out more!

Why do dogs urinate when approached?

It is common to see dogs pee when being approached, and there are several reasons why this might be happening with your dog. Most times, your dog can not control it, so he pees unintentionally either because he is excited or he feels threatened by a person’s presence.

Fear and anxiety

One of the common reasons why dogs pee when you approach them is they feel fearful or intimidated by your presence. Dogs, like humans, are social animals; hence, they understand the importance of hierarchy and would instinctively cower at the presence of someone they see as superior.

Peeing as a result of fear or anxiety is commonly seen in young or newly adopted dogs. Being in a new environment can cause them to exhibit fear, and then pee in submission. Your dog may also pee when they are scared of being punished when they feel they have done something wrong.

Marking territory

Territorial marking is an example of how dogs communicate with urine—your dog may try to show dominance or mark a certain place as their place, especially when you are approaching them with a new dog or a stranger.

The way humans see urine is not the same way dogs see urine; for dogs, urination is one of the tools of communication. So, for example, if your dog would like another dog to know they have been at a particular place, it can do so by urinating there; also, if your dog would like to show they do not feel threatened by the presence of another dog or person, they might do so by urinating.

Excitement

Excitement is another common reason your dog may form a puddle of pee when you approach. Although some adult dogs still exhibit this behavior, it is more common in younger dogs as they find it more difficult to curtail their excitement and other forms of emotions. Since they do not have complete bladder control as young dogs, they release urine out of excitement.

You can tell your dog peed out of excitement when they do not take a break to pee but release while running, walking towards you, or bouncing up and down. The most common times this happens is when they have not seen you in a while or after being home alone for a long time. Excitement peeing gradually stops as your dog ages and becomes more emotionally mature.

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Medical conditions

Suppose your dog is fully mature and able to control his emotions and receive training, yet the frequent urination persists. In that case, you can consider your dog’s behavior as being a result of a medical condition. For example, medical issues like urinary tract infections, bladder inflammation, changes in diet, or cystitis can lead to your dog’s inability to control his bladder– a condition medically referred to as urinary incontinence.

Retraining your dog or trying out behavioral modification therapy might not work for your dog. The best option would be to visit a veterinarian who would run some diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the uncontrolled urination.

How can I tell a dog is about to pee when approached?

Dogs peeing when being approached is common amongst various dog breeds; knowing this might lead you to wonder how to recognize the signs that a dog is about to pee once you approach them. Once you know the signs to look out for, you can be more careful and avoid “accidents.”

The signs a dog is about to pee may differ based on what the cause of urination is; if your dog is excited, the signs he will show may be different from when he is peeing as a result of a medical condition. The tips below will guide you on the various signs to look out for and the meaning they hold.

The common signs dogs show when they are about to pee upon approach are

  1. Incessant barking and scratching when approached
  2. Running around in circles and restlessness
  3. Sniffing around new people or objects
  4. Crouching and making submissive postures
  5. Raising one leg after sniffing around you or new objects

These signs let you know your dog might “go” at any moment after being approached.

How to tell why your dog is peeing when you approach

However, aside from recognizing these signs, you can also figure out why your dog is showing these signs and what the cause might be. For example, your dog might raise its leg when you approach it with a stranger or another pet so it can mark its territory with its pee.

You can tell your dog may show signs he is about to pee as a result of fear or anxiety when

  • He is being scolded or spoken to
  • There is a noise or disturbance in the background
  • He is approached or greeted by strangers
  • He makes submissive postures like tail tucking, rolling over, and exposing their belly

Excitement peeing, on the other hand, can happen when

  • Your dog is bouncing up and down
  • Your dog’s tail is raised higher than normal
  • Your dog is excessively wagging and barking

If your dog is peeing as a result of a medical condition, the signs are

  • Licking peeing area after urinating
  • Straining or whimpering as he urinates
  • Peeing more often than normal

How to manage and prevent the behavior

Understanding why your dog pees when he gets approached is the first step toward finding a solution to the behavior. The cause of the behavior would determine the type of management, treatment, or control measures to be taken to stop the behavior in your dog. For example, if your dog urinates out of fear or anxiety when getting approached, it is clear that the manner of approach has to be changed; let’s discuss some other methods to help stop this behavior in your dog.

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Retraining your dog with rewards

If your dog cannot control his bladder as an adult dog, it has likely lost its training; hence, retraining your dog is one of the ways to stop the behavior of peeing when people approach.

If you have a younger dog, you can check out our article on how to transition a puppy from the litter box to outside.

A common mistake many dog owners scolding or punishing their dogs for peeing on the floor; however, this method has not been proven effective in curbing such behavior in dogs.

Instead, professionals recommend dog owners practice positive reinforcement training rather than punishing dogs for their acts. This involves doing more positive corrections and less negative corrections like scolding and shock collars.

Positive reinforcement training focuses on teaching your dog what is right by rewarding them for making the right choices.

For example, if you approach your dog and it begins to pee, rather than yelling bad words at it, you can take it out to complete the peeing process and give it a treat for doing so; over time, it will learn going outside is the right thing to do.

Recognize and avoid triggers

Another efficient method that can control peeing behaviors in your dog is to identify what causes them to pee. Then, ensure such triggers are avoided. For example, if your dog usually pees when you approach and try to pet them, then this behavior can be termed submissive peeing.

One of the ways to stop this is to ensure that you allow your dog to be calm and only pet them slowly—give them time to process so they are not nervous or uncomfortable; this will help to stop uncontrolled peeing with time.

Seeking the help of professionals

Sometimes, positive reinforcement training and cautionary methods taken at home may only produce minimal results in stopping your dog’s behaviors. In such cases, it could be your dog has an underlying health issue that may need the help of professionals in combating such conditions.

You must take your dog on a visit to the veterinarian or a professional trainer, so they can run tests to determine the cause of your dog’s behavior. You can get professional counsel on what to do to prevent future occurrences.

Your vet or professional trainer would need to have a moment with your dog to identify triggers or causes and proffer a solution.

Final Thoughts

One of the responsibilities of a dog owner is to help your dog navigate through difficult situations and to help them become better and healthier. This includes finding solutions to behavioral or medical issues your dog may be experiencing, like peeing when being approached.

There are several reasons your dog could have this behavior; it could be that your dog is scared or excited after not seeing you for a long while.

Whatever the cause, identify the triggers and work with professional dog trainers or veterinarians to help your dog manage this situation; doing this will help you better understand your dog, thereby improving your relationship.