It sucks, yep! I'm with you on that, if you have a dog that pees everytime you come home, you look at her or raise your voice. I've talked to many people who are just fed up, they are sick of cleaning up the pee. Not only are they fed up but they are embarrassed to have anyone come over or heaven forbid someone should say "hi" to her. They'll be in for a sprinkling. I've often gone into a new clients home and had my shoes tinkled on, I don't care but the owners are mortified. So what can you do to stop submissive peeing?
The first and most important fact to deal with is when, when is this happening? Is it everytime you talk to your dog? Only when you come home after a really long absense? When anyone strange talks or touches your pooch? That is important because usually submissive peeing has very clear weaknesses. Weaknesses in tolerance. This means that your dog may be fine with people coming in your home, as long as they don't talk to her. Or she is fine with talking just don't touch. So every dog with a submissive peeing problem has their limit so to speak with regards to tolerance.
My very first dog had a problem with excited peeing, not quite the same issue but the same result. She was fine as long as we weren't gone too long. So when we were gone for several hours, we would walk in the front door, passed the dog and outside. She'd have her pee and if she got a bit excited before hand we were outside so it was okay. She quickly grew out of this as many dogs do.
Ignoring is a huge factor in assisting with the submissive pee as well. Many dogs are really happy that someone new is at your house, but it can take just one glance to push them over the edge. So your dog is dealing nicely with a new person, wagging low to the ground, dancing around super happy and then the push. "Oh no, that person is looking at me," and then the inevitable squat. As with most problem behaviors this one needs baby steps to succeed. So when someone walks into your front door, you immediately say "PLEASE, pretend I do not have a dog." All of a sudden people coming to the door is not quite as intimidating, they aren't even interested in meeting your little squirter.
Your pup gets use to the people coming and going with no problem. The next step is the hand drop, a hand dropped down to sniffing level of your dog. As she sniffs your guest, you praise calmly. The next step would be a touch, the person actually touches the dog once she has approached the hand. But still no eye contact, eye contact can be very powerful. Then give your friends a treat, have them come in, sit down and offer treats.
Now, all this is fine but you must also be practicing confidence building exercises. Sometimes nervous or overly submissive dogs thrive with structure. So we teach sit, down, stay, come and place. Place can be an amazing tool for a submissive dog. Let's say someone comes to your dog, you know what is going to happen so you tell your dog to go to her place. She runs enthusiastically over to her designated spot and waits for her treat. Beaming with pride the both of you are working through this.
You can also use a simple sit, this gives the dog a very specific activity. It builds confidence as they suceed and helps with the initial greeting process. Once people are in your home things are usually much easier for a submissive dog. That is unless you have someone over who just doesn't listen, they know dogs, all dogs love them. You know the type. I've heard so many stories of "my Brother, my Uncle, my neighbor." Some people will never listen, you can talk until your blue in the face and it will make no difference. So for these people you must take actions into your own hands.
Often a submissive dog will only pee when someone looms over them. This is a very dominant gesture from a human and if you offering it to a dog that is timid, it might just be what pushes them over the edge. People also tend to pat dogs on the head, DON'T. This too is a dominant gesture. My automatic default behavior when I meet a new dog is to bend down and turn sideways. If I am going into someone's home I often completely ignore the dog; of course I'm reading the behavior the entire time, I'm not really ignoring the dog. Many people just think that every dog wants to be pet, rubbed, hugged or have their ear scratched. They don't.
Submissive peeing can be cured. But patience is required and confidence building for the best success. So if you have a little squirter, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you are not alone. It is a very common issue.