If your puppy greets your guests by weeing on their feet, don’t despair!
Known as ‘submissive urination’, this unfortunate habit is very common in Labradors and many other breeds of dog.
Some dogs will run around a visitor’s feet, leaving a little dribble of urine as they go.
Others will roll onto their backs to have their tummies rubbed and wee as soon as they are touched.
The reason might look slightly different in these varying scenarios, but the route is the same.
And you will be pleased to hear that if your puppy wees on visitors, there is no need to panic.
Submissive urination in puppies is not a cause for concern.
It is not a sign of incontinence, if your puppy is learning to use his bladder as expected at other times of the day and in other situations.
Nor is it a sign that your puppy is nervous or anxious. In fact, puppies that do this are usually very friendly and pleased to greet your guests.
It is not gender related either, so the sex of your puppy won’t increase or reduce the chances of them submissively urinating. Males and females seem to do it in equal measure, and the good news is that most dogs grow out of it.
The bad news is that it can take up to a year before the habit is gone completely, and a few dogs continue to do it throughout their lives.
Lack of control over urination at other times may be related to health issues, so do consult your vet if your dog loses control over his bladder for no apparent reason.
Don’t punish the dog
Don’t even think about punishing the dog. Submissive urination is involuntary. The dog cannot control it and neither can you.
Until your puppy grows out of it, the best course of action is to make sure your guests are forewarned, and that they greet the puppy well away from your carpets.
If you don’t have uncarpeted areas in the house, then consider introducing your pup to your guests in the garden if the weather is nice, or have an old towel or sheet for your visitors to meet your puppy on.
It’s all about management, and time.
Remember – your puppy isn’t being naughty, he is just being a puppy.
What about House Training?
Submissive urination is not related to house training, however it is not uncommon for new puppy owners to have a lot of questions in this area too.
If you are looking for help with potty training your puppy, check out theses articles for lots of advice and tips:
- A Quick Guide to House Training your Puppy
- Help with Potty Training your Labrador Puppy
- House Training your puppy
- House Training without tears
- What to do when your puppy won’t wee outside
- Labrador FAQ: House Training
Did your Labrador Retriever puppy wee on visitors when he was small? How old was he when he grew out of it?
This article was first published in 2011, and has been revised and updated for 2015.
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website