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January 5, 2024

Through my teen years, my family included a cocker spaniel named Brandie. My friends, however, likely thought her full name was "That's Brandie. Don't pet her. She'll pee." Ever wonder why puppies pee when excited or nervous? Well, consider my thoughts on the issue below.

why puppies pee when excited or nervous main graphic - photo of smiling puppy with text in a bone-shaped graphic

Reasons Puppies Pee When Excited or Nervous

  1. They feel excited or nervous or fearful. A dog trainer once described it to me like "pee just falling out of them."
  2. Plus, their tiny bladders don't come with excellent control in the beginning, so while wiggle-wagging, they don't automatically cinch things up yet. Our friend Carol over at Fidose of Reality calls it "glee wee," which makes me chuckle. In some cases, puppies are thrilled, but also consider how different that might look if they feel fearful. 
  3. It can be their way of saying, "I'm NOT a threat," especially to other / bigger dogs, but I worry that the term "submissive peeing," connects too much to the bogus and outdated dominance ideas about dog behavior. So, yeah, it can be that too. Our old boy Ginko once scared the pee right out of a friend's tiny sheltie in our living room. Both of those dogs and the friend are no longer with us. [sad face]

What to Do About It?

puppies pee when excited graphic, list of possible solutions -- recap of what's covered in the text of the article

Relieve emotional pressure for puppies who pee when excited or nervous by ignoring them and/or not requiring them to do things they feel unsure about.

Make sure they potty before meeting new people or dogs. One pal asked everyone to greet their young bulldog outside in the front yard before coming in the house. Honestly, young puppies should be taken outside to potty frequently, like very hour or two, anyway. 

Build your puppy's confidence through careful socialization, where they can observe things from a safe distance and without required interaction.

Allow puppies time to acclimate and decompress. They've often been through a lot when you first get them. 

Puppies Pee When Excited Often Grow Out of It

When puppies gain confidence and understanding of their world through predictable routines and emotional support that does NOT require them to engage with people, dogs, or other things that freak them out, I honestly believe most puppies outgrow this issue thanks to:

  • Improved bladder control
  • Increased confidence
  • Engaged living and socialization

We see this a fair bit with the many puppies we foster. For that reason, we give them plenty of time to decompress as well as the ability to choose when to engage or approach things (or not). We typically see improvement with puppies who pee when excited in the time they stay with us as fosters and get more confident about the world and their ability to navigate the lives we ask puppies and dogs to tolerate these days. 

What About Bladder Infections?

That's another consideration as well. Some puppies struggle with urinary tract infections. Clover's housetraining went remarkably well despite suffering from constant UTIs as a puppy. So glad we fixed that!

Since puppies see their veterinarians a lot for their puppy vaccines and such, be sure to ask about peeing issues and UTIs if you're concerned. 

About the Author Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related.

I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

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