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There are several reasons why your dog may be struggling with housebreaking. The most common causes are submissive urination, excitement urination, and marking. Here are some helpful tips for helping your furry friend get passed these issues.

Submissive urination:

Submissive peeing or fearful peeing typically stems from a dog who is feeling intimidated or not sure. Tinkling when engaging with another shows the “aggressor” that they are not a threat to them.

To help a submissive or fearful pee(er?) overcome their tinkling, fix yourself first. Be aware of your body posture and tone. Be inviting to your dog, don’t hover. If you see your dog is not sure then don’t force them, wait until they make the choice to come up to you.

Step two- build your dog’s confidence through positive social experiences. I typically don’t have others pet my dogs, but rather give my pup a treat. This create a positive association and builds confidence in my pup with each interaction they may have.

Step three reward all positive potty breaks (going outside) heavily.

The final step, if your dog does tinkle don’t acknowledge it. Simply call your dog away and put them in an area where they can’t step in it. Once away, clean up the mess and carry on how you typically would.

Excitement urination:

Excitement urination stems from your pup being in a overly excited state and tinkles a little bit, because it’s just too good to hold in. Excitement pee(ers) typically grow out of this phase as they reach adulthood, but to help your pup along we suggest greeting your dog when he or she is calm. Ignore them until they calm down and then greet. If they amp themselves back up, ignore again and wait until calm. Repeat in all areas that your pup gets wound up in. Reinforcing calm behavior will help your dog keep their wits about them and reinforced that bladder hold.


Dogs mark to leave their scent behind for others to smell. This typically is done by dogs who are coming into sexual maturity. Marking typically falls on the owner if inside the home. Having your dog on a solid schedule for going outside and not allowing “free time” in the home unsupervised will curb marking. If your dog does mark, clean thoroughly with an enzyme cleaner. Then go back to tethering your dog to you. Breaking the habit is the biggest key to marking inside the home. Reward heavily when your dog does go outside to potty or mark. Encouraging he or she to continue that behavior in the correct area.

In short, our dog’s housebreaking habits falls on us and our consistency. Find the cause of accidents and adjust you schedule accordingly a couple weeks of success will set you and your pup up for the long haul.