Everyone is aware of the Jack Russell Terrier Training dilemma of a dog that is trying to control its peeing and pooing indoors. But how about the Jack Russell Terrier that suddenly pees when people try to pet it, or when people come home and greet it?
The condition is called submissive urination, and it is not a house holding problem. What is going on is that the dog is experiencing strong emotions, e.g. fright or submission, and the stress makes it pee. The urination most often occurs among younger dogs, and among female dogs. The two forms of urination – out of fright or of submission – can be quickly diagnosed, mainly by studying the context in which the incidents happen. Submissive urination happens when a dog thinks it is threatened, such as when it is scolded or reprimanded. It can also be triggered by someone unknowingly displaying dominant behavior to the dog (e.g. direct eye contact).
Excitement urination usually happens during greetings and play, but does not involve submissive actuation. If owners want to help their dogs to overcome these behavior, then owners need to:
1. Reject any form of punishment or reprimanding. These do not help and can only make matters worse.
2. Keep greetings discreet and subtle when leaving and returning home.
3. Lay off postures that dogs view as dominant behavior. Examples of socializing behavior that dogs do not find confrontational are:
a) petting from under the chin rather than the usual patting of the head;
b) avoiding direct eye contact; and,
c) bending down to the dog’s level rather than leaning over the dog to pet it.
4. Encourage the dog to concentrate on other things aside from rolling over and urinating on the floor. So keep rewarding postures and behaviors that will take the dog’s mind off urination.
5. Do not mind anything the dog does until it is calm. This may actually stop its urination. If it works, add some calm words of greeting, then if the dog is indeed calm, show some physical affection for a few minutes. After showing affection, and if the dog still has not urinated, call him/her “good boy/girl” then reward the dog with a treat.
If there is any good news to all of this, it would be that submissive and excitement urination may clear up on their own as the dog grows. What can make it worse though, is punishment or unwitting reinforcement (e.g. going against the tips listed above would be it!). But if after applying the above Jack Russell Terrier Training suggestions you still keep encountering signs of urination, try having your vet check your animal since the culprit may also be urinary tract infections.