Wee-Wee of Joy or
Submissive Urination and What to do About It
© By Charlotte Mielziner
Professional Member, APDT
Certified in Canine Behavior, Purdue University
Certified Private Trainer, ABTA
Rally Judge, AKC and MBDC
the Mielziner home, we use the term The Wee-Wee of Joy to refer
to what is really submissive urination. The little squirt
of urine from a dog is actually an offer of appeasement. The
dog is trying to communicate that yes, you are definitely higher
in the pack order and please don’t hurt him/her during
the encounter. You may notice that it most often happens during
greetings, when the dog approaches, tail wagging furiously and
then suddenly, your shoes feel wet.
Urination is one of the top ten most common behavior problems
reported to consultants and is often the reason dogs
are surrendered to shelters and rescue groups. We know temperament
is inherited and while some dogs never let loose at all, it is
almost a given in some breeds, such as Old English Sheepdogs.
We know it usually decreases on it’s own by age two, but
if not, help can still be sought and a good outcome is possible.
to do about The Wee-Wee of Joy? First, NEVER punish it. The
dog has no control over this behavior and punishment, or
even just making a big deal by yelling, “Eeewww, that’s
gross!” just makes it worse. Remember, the dog is programmed
by nature to communicate like a dog not a human.
Often owners are very frustrated by this behavior and by the
time they have reported it to a consultant or obedience trainer,
great damage has been done to the human-animal bond. The dog
has no confidence that the owner can be appeased by what he/she
offers. The owner must understand that punishment of any kind
Let’s provide a reasonable alternative by bringing the
dog outside for greetings, if possible. If not, ignore the dog
and enter the home quietly, keep your body language neutral and
snap on a lead to take the little squirter out. Better yet, keep
a short lead in your purse and snap it on at the door. Wait until
the bladder is empty to do the Mommy’s Home routine. Quietly
go about cleaning up accidents without the loud complaints that
the dog will only interpret as more reason to appease you.
Obedience training is highly recommended, but make absolutely
sure positive motivation techniques are utilized. Trained dogs
are generally more confident and less likely to see appeasement
as necessary. Exposing the dog to many new places and people
will also help him relax. Again, make sure that these are positive
Instilling a alternate behavior can also help. Behaviorists
call this technique Response Substitution. Train a trick such
as spin or wave and use it when the dog is beginning to look
like The Wee-Wee of Joy is about to occur. Keep it light and
happy, but low key.
Good luck and may you need fewer and fewer paper towels for
The Wee-Wee of Joy.
are welcome to use this article but please give credit to
Mielziner and Mo-Kan Border Collie Rescue. Please let
us know by emailing us!