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Categories: Soft Dogs and Weak Nerves

Q. I have read about submissive urination and it doesn't seem to be very common in adult males. Am I wrong here? Should I neuter this dog?
Hello Ed,

I want to see if you can give me some advice with an american line GSD. I know you do not prefere American line GSDs and it is not what you specialize in but I respect your many years of exprience and would like your opinion on something. I am the owner of a 3 yr. old male american line GSD that is a SOFT dog. He is not a fear biter, but becomes "nervy" and has a problem with submissive urination. I have read about submissive urination and it doesn't seem to be very common in adult males. Am I wrong here? My main question that I wanted to ask you was whether I should have this dog neutered. I would like to calm him down some as he has an extreme prey drive and eats like a horse, but I didn't know if getting him neutered might make an already soft dog even softer. The last thing that I want to do is make this dog even more submissive. Pardon my language, but he needs to grow a pair and not lose them. Can you let me know what you would do in this situation?


A. Having dogs neutered doesn’t change their prey drive or their temperament UNLESS both of those things are linked to their sexual hormones.

Dogs that are still submissively urinating as adults are extremely sensitive and have most likely been dominated a lot as young dogs, or corrected for the submissive peeing in the past. Realize that what you perceive as a correction and what this dog perceives as a correction maybe 2 very different things. This is why we tell people who have dogs
who do this to IGNORE it and not to lean over the dog, or greet the dog when he first approaches. At 3 years old it has most likely become a habit for your dog.

If you are annoyed with your dog for this behavior, you can bet he picks up on it and he will behave even more submissively so it’s a vicious circle.

He’s trying really hard to be a good pack member and be submissive to the leader. He’s doing what his genetics tell him to do - Be a follower.

I would ignore this dog, no direct eye contact and no leaning over him. I would not pet him except maybe occasionally under the chin when we were outside or when he is feeling confident. No stern tone of voice, no physical corrections. Just looking a dog like this in the eye can be construed as a correction.

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