Why Does My Dog Urinate When I Scold It?

If you ask yourself "why does my dog urinate when I scold it?", it's very possible that it has to do with submission.
Why Does My Dog Urinate When I Scold It?

Last update: 29 September, 2021

Especially when it comes to puppies, it’s common to see them pee a little in certain situations, including when scolding them. That can lead many people to ask themselves: “why does my dog urinate when I scold it?”

The first thing you need to know is that it’s something that’s totally involuntary and it’s easily corrected. However, in order to eliminate this behavior, you must first understand it in depth. In these lines, you’ll find everything you need to cover this problem.

Why does my dog urinate when I scold him?

For dogs, urinating isn’t only a physiological need, but also a method of communication. Through smell, a dog can identify the chemical substances in the urine that will inform them about the sex, health, and reproductive status of another dog (and even its state of mind).

A urine marking is a deliberate message: the dog wants to leave its information in a specific place to mark as their own.

In unexpected circumstances for the dog (such as a scolding), the message they receive when they hear your screams or shouts may be one of threat and danger. If frightened, it’s very likely that they’ll involuntarily urinate due to panic, which is part of a submission response.

The fact that your dog shows its submission by urinating has great adaptive value, as it’s their way of implying that you’re intimidating them and that they want to prevent the conflict from escalating. It’s as if your dog tells you “you win, I don’t want a fight.” In addition, the urine will contain substances that another dog would associate with fear, even if you can’t smell them.

Cystitis in dogs is a common event.

Signs of submission urination

Some dogs unintentionally pee in other circumstances, such as when the guardian comes home and they get very excited. You should know how to distinguish when they’re being submissive and when it’s for another reason. Submissive urination is usually accompanied by other signs, such as these:

  • The dog sticks its tail between its legs
  • It lies belly up, showing the belly
  • It puts its ears back and lowers its head
  • They squint their eyes or widens them until their sclera is visible
  • It remains motionless
  • It trembles
  • Crying or whining

Factors influencing submission urine

Once you verify that what the dog is doing is showing submission, you can begin to analyze the situation and look for the factors that are causing this behavior. Among the most common conditions are the following:

  • You’re scaring your dog: If you yell, hit them, or use sudden movements that the dog may interpret as violent, then you’re creating a sense of danger that your dog feels is disproportionate (and it certainly is).
  • You scold them long after they’ve done something wrong: If the reprimand occurs long after their bad behavior, the canine won’t understand the relationship between their behavior and your aggressive scolding.
  • The dog has a sensitive or reactive personality: Your scolding may not be very intense, but the dog suffers more than other dogs in these situations.
  • The dog hasn’t learned to relieve itself outside the home: In the case of puppies, for example, they may not yet have their bowel movements under control.
  • Bad or traumatic experiences: If the animal has had a traumatic episode in its life (violence, abuse, etc.), it may be much more submissive and reactive to negative situations.

My dog urinates when I scold him: what can I do?

When a dog uses submission too often to resolve conflicts (or always urinates when you scold them but shows no other clear signs), you may be dealing with a behavior disorder. Correcting it will be beneficial to the mental health of your canine companion, and will mean you don’t have to mop up continuous puddles of pee. Here we’ll show you how.

Make a plan

First of all, analyze the situations in which the dog urinates when you scold them. Take into account how long it takes to scold them from the moment it does something wrong, the intensity of your voice, and your gestures. Do they pee in a specific room? Does it always happen at night? Any information can be important.

If you spot a pattern, simply change or eliminate the situation, and the dog should stop urinating over time. If not, you’ll have to keep looking for triggers or see a professional.

Rule out pathologies

Since this is involuntary urination, it may be due to a health problem, such as kidney imbalances. Psychological ailments are also important: for example, if the dog is suffering from an anxiety disorder it will be more sensitive to scolding.

Take care of the communication with your dog

Humans rely heavily on spoken language. Due to this, sometimes we aren’t aware that the gestures, postures, or movements we make can be more aggressive for a dog than we think. Therefore, always try to create a calm and friendly approach when interacting with your dog.

Remove punishment from their training

Start positive training reinforcement, rewarding good behavior, and dissuading the dog from bad behavior in other ways. Eliminate punishment entirely, as it’s the main trigger for the dog to urinate. In addition, the positive method guarantees more solid and long-lasting results.

Establish predictable interactions

Creating a daily routine helps dogs to maintain mental and emotional balance. You must be consistent in your responses to their behavior, because if you scold them one day but reward them the next in the same circumstances, then you’ll only create confusion in the dog and aggravate the problem.

Cleanses the urine with an enzyme product

Everyday cleaning products can leave traces of urine odor behind that you can’t detect, but the dog can, and that may encourage them to urinate in the same place again. Enzyme cleaners give you the guarantee that there’ll be no organic residues, thus preventing them from wanting to mark specific places.

A dog that feels guilty after peeing.

My dog urinates when I scold them: one last piece of advice

Understanding dogs is a progressive process. Even if you’ve been with your dog for years, there may be aspects of their personality or health that you’ve missed, but that doesn’t mean you’re a bad owner. We should never stop learning about how to teach and understand our dogs.

If your dog urinates when you scold them and you don’t know how to fix it, go to a canine ethologist or the vet, as the most important thing is to solve the problem.

It might interest you...
What to Do When Dogs Urinate on the Bed
My Animals
Read it in My Animals
What to Do When Dogs Urinate on the Bed

A lot of dogs urinate on their owners bed. If your dog has this problem, then read these tips to help them get rid of this bad habit.