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Published: Dec 21, 2011

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, a dog who eliminates inappropriately may be experiencing submissive urination.

Submissive urination occurs when a dog becomes fearful or anxious when approached or when it is being punished. It will show its fear by taking on a submissive stance - ears back, retracted lips, avoiding eye contact, cowering and lowering its body.

Dogs who have been adopted might suffer from this problem, especially if their previous owners mistreated or neglected them. Because of this, new owners should never punish or scold an animal for inappropriately urinating. Instead, the mess should be cleaned up calmly and the dog should be praised when it eliminates in a proper location.

To reduce or stop this behavior, owners should first take their dogs to a veterinarian clinic to make sure the problem isn't due to an underlying medical condition such as a bladder infection or kidney problems.  Once such concerns are ruled out, owners can begin training.

VCA suggests when entering the home, owners should try to act less threatening by avoiding eye contact with the nervous dog and crouching down to its level to greet it. This may help show the pup that everything is OK. Another method for stopping this undesired behavior involves boosting the dog's confidence. Teaching it simple tricks like "sit," or "stay" and then rewarding it with treats may help reduce its anxiety and the poor behavior.