While dog might be man’s best friend, that puddle on the floor sure isn’t. If your new housebroken puppy or rescued dog occasionally pees on the floor for no fathomable reason, then you might have a dog with submissive/excitement urination issues.

So what should you do if you think you have a dog with an excitement or submissive peeing problem? First off, take your dog to the vet to rule out other reasons for the inappropriate peeing. If you receive the all clear from your vet, how do you know which problem your dog has?

If your pooch doesn’t pee when you’re in a dominant position (i.e., looking your dog directly in the eye, bending from the waist, greeting your dog face on), then chances are your dog is suffering from an excitement issue. If the dog does pee when you arrive home, when you’re in a dominant position, or when it is in trouble, then it’s probably a submissive issue. Either way, the situation can be remedied.

Submissive Peeing

Submissive dogs pee when they are greeted, when someone approaches, when they are punished, and when there is a history of rough treatment or punishment after peeing; this is common in rescued dogs. This is also a common reaction with shy, anxious, and timid dogs. To fix this problem, avoid scolding or yelling at your dog after it has peed. Instead, try building its confidence by teaching it simple commands (sit, stay, come), and reward your dog after each success. The same applies with teaching simple tricks (roll over, fetch); go with the reward and praise route.

You will also want to approach your dog in non-dominant postures. Avoid direct eye contact, approach from the side, and crouch down to your dog’s level. When patting your pooch, go for under the chin rather than the top of the head. Keep all greetings low key, and when the dog does pee, simply clean it up without fuss and go away. Do not forget to reward and praise your pup when it pees in the appropriate place.

Excitement Peeing

The good news for you is this usually happens to puppies under one year of age, and they will usually grow out of it. The bad news is it’s not going to happen overnight. These are the dogs that pee while playing, when you come home, or when people visit.

To help your puppy with this issue (and save that very expensive rug you just bought), try keeping all playtime outside, or on a specially prepared area of newspaper and puppy pads. This way, if there is a little accident due to over-excitement, it doesn’t have to be a big deal.

When there is an accident, just as with submissive peeing, do not reprimand or punish your pup. Simply clean it up quietly and leave the puppy (or dog, if this is happening with an older dog) alone. Give your puppy treats when it pees in the correct place, and keep all greetings to a minimum. You may even want to ignore the dog when you arrive home. Does this seem cruel? It’s not really, as it gives your pooch a chance to calm down on its own. Ask guests to do the same.

When the dog pees while out on walks, give it praise and treats. The same goes for when the dog pees in designated areas (which is not the rug or the designer bedspread). All these things should not only help your pooch break its habit of peeing when excited, but will also help you to cultivate a calmer, more confident dog.

So good luck with your dog. And remember, patience and perseverance will always pay off.