Hygiene aspects aside, this isn't nice for the dog, especially as this behavior is likely to be submissive and a glimpse into the dog's state of anxiety.
Indeed, a submissive dog is likely to spend a lot of his life feeling anxious or fearful. At best, this is unpleasant for the dog, and at worst it could lead to growling or biting if the dog feels sufficiently threatened to lash out. This is most commonly the case when a child doesn't understand that a dog rolled on their back isn't asking for a belly rub but is actually fearful. When that child then persists in stroking the dog, perhaps even a little roughly, the dog may be sufficiently anxious to bite.
No-one wants a dog to be distressed, especially when the solution often lies in our own hands.
A common mistake made by many owners of submissive dogs is to coo over their pet pal when he rolls into a submissive position. Unfortunately, attention is a highly prized commodity to a dog and making a fuss only reinforces the dog's submissiveness.
Instead, turn the problem on its head and ignore the dog when he shows anxiety, and praise him when he approaches you confidently. Then he will learn that boldness is a good thing and he doesn't need to be submissive.
It's also helpful to acquaint yourself with how to read dog body language so that you can recognize the subtle signs that indicate the dog is stressed or anxious. This will help you avoid accidentally rewarding submissive actions and build on the confident ones.
To help the process you will need:
Any time my fiance trys to put her leash on and take her outside or tries to brush her she pees excessively. She use to do it any time he touched her. She doesnt any more but still in the other two cases and he is getting discouraged and frustrated.
Hi Cassandra, Chloe might feel intimidated by the leash, brush, or your fiance reaching over to to access her collar. Reaching over a dog is a dominant act, and it's common for people to reach over their dogs to pet them or grab their collars. Being grabbed by the collar also feels a lot like being grabbed by the scruff of the neck to some puppies, so she might be acting submissive in response to what feels like a dominant action from him. Have him grab her as gently as possible and to reach under her chin instead of over her if he is not already. I would also advise him to work on getting her comfortable with the leash, brush, and being grabbed on the collar to build her confidence. Have him practice gently touching her collar with his hand, touching the leash to her, and touching the brush to her in different locations. Keep the touches very calm and minimal at first to prevent her from peeing, and gradually touch her more in those areas with those items as she improves. Very slowly up to brushing her on top of her head, on the back of the neck, and on her underbelly, since those are probably the hardest areas for her. Every time that he touches her with his hand, the leash, or brush while practicing with her, have him praise her in a calm and soft voice, and give her a treat. Giving her a treat every time that he touches her should help to build her confidence and remove some of the intimidation. Go slow at first, so that she does not pee even more when you do this. You also might want to start out by practicing this outside, in case she has any accidents during the training while learning. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Everytime she meets up with other dogs she is too submissive and is always being barked at and chased without her doing nothing other than running away or rolling on ground. She never barks back so she isxalways bullied by other dogs, even smaller dogs than her and this is making our outings quite stressful.
Hello Valentina, It sounds like Nanette is naturally very submissive. Since she is young, age is also part of the problem. To help build her confidence see if any of your friends have well socialized, friendly, easier going, more submissive dogs. Dogs that are more confident than Nanette but also submissive like her. Let her have a play date with one dog at a time. Whenever she becomes a little bit overwhelmed give the dogs a break and let them rest, then let her initiate the interaction again when she is ready. Moderate their play like you would with puppies. Be her advocate and set the rules for the interactions. Make sure that they are taking turns being on top and chasing during wrestling and chasing games, and giving each other breaks when one gets tired and is trying to take a break or get away, until both dogs show that they are ready to play again. As she plays with other, less pushy dogs, and learns how to interact with another dog properly, her confidence should grow. Age will also help with this if she continues to be around other dogs, as long as she is not being bullied. She should not be taken to the dog park when lots of dogs are there. She will just get bullied and the problem will get worse. If you go, only go when the dogs present are the type of dogs I described and the park is pretty empty. Bringing her to an obedience class, such as a CGC class, could help her get used to other dogs in a more structured setting. Praise her in a confident and excited tone of voice when she acts playful with another dog. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My 4yr old dog is extremely submissive to people and other animals. Even in his own home. He’s afraid of loud sounds and always flips belly up when anyone sees him. He appears to be happy wagging his tail laying on his back and whining or shaking with what we thought was excitement but now realizing is his anxiety or fear. He never growls or snaps at us, rarely if he has a bone or something he knows he shouldn’t have like a sock or piece of cardboard and we try to take it from him, he’ll growl and give us a side eye and run away from us. But other than that, he will never lay a tooth on anyone or another dog, even if it’s being aggressive to or challenging him.
We just got a puppy. Very sweet, watchful, playful but ignores Truitt for the most part. Not in a weird way, but she’s just focused on other things and let’s him have his space. However, Truitt appears as though he feels like he can not enter a room the puppy is in or play in the same room the puppy is in. She has done nothing to him, sniffed him a couple times briefly in passing but has been really good about giving him space and not nipping at him at all.
I want Truitt to still feel comfortable in his own home and be brave enough to play with th puppy and be comfortable around her. If he has a toy and she comes anywhere near him, he will drop it and walk away. I want him to be able to be the boss in his house and not feel like he can’t have anything that is his own.
Hello Haley, There are a couple of things that you can do to build Truitt's confidence. The first thing is, whenever the puppy enters the room where Truitt is and Truitt notices her, or whenever the puppy approaches Truitt, or you call the puppy over to yourself when you are petting Truitt, give Truitt several small, tasty treats, such as freeze dried meat or liver pieces. Try to sound excited to Truitt about the puppy's presence. Use an upbeat, confident, happy tone of voice and avoid speaking in a tone of voice that sounds like you feel sorry for him or are comforting him. The idea is to get him a little bit excited and to convey your own confidence to him. At the same time, continue to encourage calm behavior in the new puppy around Truitt. The second thing is to work on teaching Truitt obedience skills and other new training skills. Have a regular time every day most days where you teach Truitt obedience, tricks, or other mentally stimulating things and increase his focus in general, his respect for you, his success in life, and general bond with you. This should help his confidence in general. When he comes across almost anything that he is afraid of you can help him work through it by having him do obedience exercises in the same general area as the source of fear, with some distance between him and the fear source, and reward him heavily for obedience and calmness, and as he improves you can decrease the amount of distance between him and the item, letting him be the one to determine the pace. Always maintain a confident, upbeat attitude yourself while doing this with him. You can also reward him with treats and praise him in a happy tone of voice whenever he looks at something he finds scary and then looks to you for direction or remains calm. You can also place treats around a scary object and leave him alone to let him work up the courage to investigate and get the treats. Simply replace the treats that he eats, remain calm yourself, and praise him calmly and happily when he investigates. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Submissive. Will not defend against another dog, and is jumpy if something falls or moves quickly. But has learned many tricks. Handles well otherwise. Is not aggressive . Loves everyone. But will not growl or deal with threats.. lays down.
Hello Anna, Junie is likely more submissive by nature. When he is being bullied by other dogs, you need to defend her. Take charge, and tell the other dogs "Out" and firmly walk toward them until they leave the area. If they come right back, then repeat until they give up. Encourage your dog in an up beat, confident tone of voice when another dog approaches and she starts to get overly submissive. The tone of voice is important. You want to sound proud, happy, and very confident yourself. You do not want to sound frustrated or sympathetic or worried, but happy and up beat. When she feels like she can trust you to defend her and feeds off of your up beat energy that should help her with her own confidence. Practicing regular obedience training is also good for building confidence. She will likely always be a bit submissive and more skittish naturally. That can be a genetic trait but work on supporting her and building her trust for you so that she will look to you for help and not become overly afraid. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My 17 week old urinates at night when I call him to go to bed, or sometimes in the morning. Sometimes when I call him he doesn't move, he just stares at me. I call him a couples times, even in an upbeat mood, and he eventually comes but pees when he gets to me. It happens about every other day. Other than that, when we go outside he pulls on the leash and is constantly wanting to explore. When he sees other dogs, he gets super jumpy and barks at them to get their attention. When I tell him to calm down, he listens 9 times out of 10. Also, we have a 12 week old kitten, and he loves chasing her. She constantly attacks him and they wrestle a lot. But anytime I call him, he immediately stops and comes to me, no problems. He sits, lays down, comes to me, pees, poops, and stays on command. and he follows me EVERYWHERE, he is always at my hip. And he gets super excited whenever I get home and constantly wants to play, such as running with me, barking, or wrestling. I need him to be a service dog for my ptsd.. and I am really concerned he won't grow out of it. Especially since he is going to have to detect the stressful situation and diffuse it before I do something I regret and hurt someone else.... sorry if that's too much info
Hello Travis, In general it sounds like Rogers is doing very well and has a nice temperament. The submissive peeing is very normal for his age. The goal with submissive peeing is to prevent it as much as possible by managing his circumstances. Almost all dogs will grow out of it on their own by eighteen months of age if you can prevent them from developing a habit of it. To prevent him from peeing, attach a four to six-foot chew-proof leash or cord to him while you are at home to supervise him wearing it. VirChewLy and several other brands make chew-proof leashes that you can buy off of Amazon. They are made out of a thin flexible piece of wire covered with rubber. If he does not chew on leashes and you feel like he will leave it alone, then you can also purchase a normal check cord, which is a leash that does not have a handle and slides through the grass, and in your case carpet, well. When you need for him to come inside, go over to him and calmly pick up the end of the leash and start moving him toward his bed or outside. When he is doing better, then you can add a calm command if you want to, like "Let's Go". But when you say it, say it in a calm, pleasant tone of voice and not an angry or excited tone of voice. Do not grab the leash and wait for him to think about what's happening, simply pick up the leash and start walking in the direction that you want him to go, so that he will not have time to do anything else. It sounds like you already know this, but when you are dealing with submissive or excited peeing, try to ignore the dog for five minutes when you first get home or let him out of the crate, to let him calm down. An exception to this is if he needs to pee right away, in which case you can open the crate door and then begin walking toward the door to go outside while he follows you, without touching or talking to him. If he can hold it for five more minutes, then when you walk into the room and he is excited, wait five minutes to let him calm down, before letting him out of the crate. In general avoid touching a nervous or excited dog until he relaxes a bit. Do not lean over a dog who is about to pee. Do not reach toward him or raise your voice or act really excited if he is about to pee. Pay attention to when he normally has accidents when you interact with him. During those times, try to keep those interactions as plain and boring and peaceful as possible. Using a leash that has been attached to him ahead of time will make it possible for you to interact with your dog when he is struggling not to pee, without having to touch him, reach toward him, or lean over him. You do not have to interact with him on the leash or without touching him all of the time. Doing things such as practicing "Come" on a long leash with lots of excitement while outside are great. Touching him in general, when he is not as likely to pee, also very important. Simply avoid the excitement and touch and other triggers when he is likely to pee. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Me and my boyfriend rescued a dog from a shelter. I have experience with shelter dogs, however, i have no idea what to do or how to help Gucci. He pees when greeted, he pees when approached, He pees when you try to pick him up. He's not familiar with stairs and i live on the second floor, which makes it impossible to take him outside because no one wants to get peed on. He loves laying on the couch rather than his bed but whenever we try to remove him from the couch he pees all over it. we have tried treat methods and he doesn't care to eat the treats.We even tried the confidence exercises, but He's shown no improvement. It's to the point where he refuses to leave the cage to even eat. we have never scolded him and we have only raised our voices at him once and that was day one or two of having him and it was for potty training purposes. we have now had him for 2 months. Our couch is ruined from constant pee. Me and my boyfriend adore Gucci but its becoming unbearable. Please help!!
Hello Remi, First, purchase a Belly Band, which is a piece of fabric with velco or buttons that fits around a male dog's waist. You can either purchase disposable ones or washable ones and put feminine pads, belly band liners, or human incontinence pads inside the washable ones to catch urine. Purchase at least three (most come in packs). When you introduce the belly band, give him a treat for sniffing it, touching it, and Everytime you touch in to him. If he will not eat, then you may just have to put if on him as gently as you can without treats and leave it until he gets used to it - like you would when you introduce a puppy to a collar. Once the stress of him peeing all everyone is relieved with the belly bands you can work on getting him used to being handled. Find something that he loves like his dog food, liver paste, peanut butter, cheese, chicken, freeze dried meat treats, or anything else that is safe for dogs. If he loves his own dog food, then just use his meal kibble and feed him his entire meal everyone during the handling exercises I am about to go over. Get a tiny piece of the food he loves and gently touch him somewhere like his ear while feeding him a treat. Touch the other ear - feed a treat. Touch a paw - feed a treat. Touch his tail - feed a treat. Practice gently touching him all over his body, one area at a time, and feeding him a treat at the same time. When he does well with that, then put your hand on his abdomen and feed a treat, then lift him a few inches off the ground, feed a treat, and put him back down. Gradually increase how long you hold him for before putting him back down by just a couple of seconds as he improves. Since he will be wearing the belly band you shouldn't have to worry about getting accidently peed on. I also suggest having him evaluated by your vet to make sure there is not a hormonal imbalance leaving to his anxiety or that he is not in pain from an unaddressed medical issue from his previous home. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Will my yorkie ever grow out of submissive urination, she is almost 4 years old. She is housebroken, but when she gets excited she pees all over the place, she crouches and pees. We have tried ignoring her when we come in, never bending over her, alway petting her under her chin. She is very high strung. She was almost 2 when we got her so I don't know what she was treated like before we got her. We have tried meds, calming vests, etc. I am at my wits end. If I put diapers on her she throw herself into walls. I don't know what else to do.
Hello Connie, Honestly at this point there is no guarantee that she will outgrow it. Most do, but a few never do. Hiring a trainer to help you address behavior may help though. First, have the trainer help you introduce the diaper to her and work her through that new change. Most dogs protest wearing one at first but can adjust - just like how many older dog's freak out when you first put a leash on them and have to be taught to relax and respond to it. Next, have the trainer help you work on her self-control and teach her how to relax better. Check out the videos linked below for some good exercises to work on with her, especially a long Place command. Crate exiting and manners: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn5HTiryZN8 Heel command: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Place: https://youtu.be/omg5DVPWIWo Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My in laws have a rescue who has been more of a headache than they imagined. He is extremely submissive and used to be very aggressive when he met new people. He had severe separation anxiety and would eliminate in the house without anyone being around. Since my wife and I introduced our well mannered dog to him, they have bonded and his aggressiveness is nonexistent. We have given him more structure and put him in his crate regularly, where before he never was in his crate (he is free of anxiety in his crate). I trained the three other dogs in the house and they are well behaved and obedient for the most part. But with the slightest leg lift or the drop of my hand to my side and shaggy tries to run away even if I am making these motions from the other side of the room.
Using 6 foot leads, I now walk him with two other dogs and he loves being outside with them, but he has always been very submissive when approached and sometimes when I put the leash on him. If I try to give him affection or approach him, he squats immediately, and more times than not, he rolls on his side to be pet on the belly. He won’t take treats from me either: chicken was a suggestion from a friend but I haven’t tried it.
When I first took him on walks he was a little overwhelmed but took to it ok. But he would always lay down whenever we stopped for the shortest period of time and get soaking wet. I taught him to stay up when we are walking on the leash and he does stay up more now. My biggest issue is when we go out without leashes. We live on a 30+ acre farm and he along with two other dogs are always loose without any problems and always come back. However, when I try to take him and the other dogs out without leashes, he shakes uncontrollably and refuses to eliminate. He will often just run back to the door and wait for me to return.
Hello Ward, First of all, great job thus far. It sounds like you have worked hard and he has made huge improvements. The use of a crate and added structure is great and something he likely strongly needs in general to feel secure. To get him used to pottying without the leash, use a long training leash, 20' - 50' foot long (not retractable but the type used for training and hunting). Coil most of it up so that he is given about 15 feet of length to start with (and you aren't tripping over the extra). You can play with length too to decide how much to give depending on how he responds (less is easier, more should be harder). Take him out on that leash like you would a regular leash while your other dogs are also outside off leash in that area (if it's safe to do so in that area). Let your other dogs wander around where you can see them and reward them anytime they choose to periodically checking in with you on their own, then send them out again. A couple of things should happen here, first, he will see the other dogs free and happy and exploring and checking in with you automatically. This can give him a bit of guidance on what to do while off leash since he is a dog who needs to be told how to be and what to do to feel okay. If any of your other dogs goes potty, praise them for it as well. Second, the long leash will keep him from running back to the house but still give him enough space to explore and venture out when he chooses to. At first, give him time to warm up and get used to being outside in this new way. If he wants to stay by the door, that's alright the first time you practice this. After you have simply spend some time with him outside during several sessions though, if he is not venturing out a bit by this point, then give little leash pops (not continuous tugs but quick little pulls over and over to add a little pressure without causing him to fight the leash...this should look like tug, then slack, tug, then slack, tug, then slack, over and over). As soon as he steps forward a bit to escape the discomfort of the annoying little pops, praise him in a calm but happy tone of voice and let the leash become slack again as a reward for coming forward. Now, that new location where he just walked to is where he is expected to be able to start from from here on out, and not the door. You will work him further from that spot gradually too, and gradually require him to come further and further once he sees that he can handle those few feet. Practice this protocol until he will simply follow you outside without having to give leash pops, to the areas where the dogs normally go potty. The end goal is for him to join the other dogs sniffing around, looking for a spot to go potty. When you take him potty on the normal leash or the long leash, tell him to "Go Potty". If he does go potty, praise him and try dropping a bit of chicken for him (so that you don't have to reach toward or bend over him to give it). He is more likely to take the food while on the 6 foot leash and less stressed at first; do this every time he goes potty. Later, when he is comfortable being outside to go potty without a leash, you can tell him to "Go Potty" so that he understands what to do while off leash. Don't expect him to go potty on the long leash right away. He will need to get over his fear of being off the leash for it first. As he improves give him more and more slack in the leash so that he is less dependent on it's pressure to know what to do. Use the Go Potty command once he has learned that from going potty after hearing that command before - this will give him some structure and a task to focus on, which also might help with his nervousness. Once he is more relaxed outside and has learned what Go Potty means, then he is more likely to pee when you take him off leash. A nervous dog doesn't like to pee or poop because it feels vulnerable so addressing the nervousness can help. Expect this to be gradual progression, you want to apply just enough pressure during training that he is challenged to do something different than what he currently does to cope (run home) but not so much that he shuts down. As he gets better you can push just a bit more and expect more of him. If he will take chicken you can reward with chicken when he makes effort at joining in. Make sure that his collar or harness won't slip off if he starts bucking on the leash (which might happen, simply stay calm and wait until he calms back down, the continue your training, helping him work through his fear). Check out the video below of a trainer who specializes in fearful, aggressive, and reactive dogs working a dog through the place command use a bit of pressure. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AivnQUnTy2s Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We rescued coco when he was 6 weeks old. We've potty trained, kennel trained and trained hin commands. He is a super smart dog but he submissive pees EVERYWHERE. When we call his name, when we walk in the door, when he's happy, when he's in trouble. He gets on his back and pees all over himself. No matter where he is. How in the world do we get him to stop doing this and what are we doing wrong?!HELP!
Hello Stevie, Many puppies are submissive pee-ers, and it can also be genetic. The majority of dogs will outgrow it with age if you try to keep things calmer during times when you know the dog is most prone to it. Some dogs are genetically prone to it and could always be prone to it. Either way you can minimize it by keeping a drag leash on him while you are home, so that when you need him you can calmly walk up to the leash, pick it up, and lead him where he needs to go instead of touching him each time - which usually means a pee. When talking to him keep praise soft and calm sounding, and give commands in even tones. Reprimands should also be calm, serious but very calm and not angry sounding. Work on getting him used to being handled more - practice this somewhere outside. Use his meal kibble as rewards - touch areas of his body and give a treat. Touch ears and give a treat, paws and give a treat, tail and give a treat, ect... Take him places and practice things like tricks and going over obstacles to help build confidence. When you first come home, ignore him for ten minutes unless you know he is desperate to go potty. You want to make entrances super boring to bring his anticipation of excitement down to help him control himself better. Finally, to help keep your home clean while you are working on the submissive peeing still, you can also have him wear a belly hand, which is like a male dog diaper that just goes around the waist, to catch urine to keep it off floors when he does struggle. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My family's dog Bela is amazingly friendly, everyone around us, human or not, feels like they are Bela's best friend. However, my sister's dog, a shitzu, comes often to our house to visit or to spend a few days, and he harasses her all the time. He barks to her face non-stop, protects her own food from her, tries to mount her, chases her around aggressively. And he is not being playful. As she is so sweet, she just stands there, taking it all... but she is a very sensitive and nervous dog, she had epilepsy when she was little because she was abandoned outside in the cold weather. The vet said she had lost a lot of weight, had some nasty wounds all over her, was on antibiotics and overall a bad shape, because she was anxious with the other dog. We can't really tell my sister not to bring her dog as he would be left alone for too long otherwise... I took great care of her, she is doing better now, as I defend her from him, I try and act like a pack leader for her... but I would really like to teach her to defend herself from him... specially when I am not around and can't defend her. She is stronger and bigger than him, she could totally defend herself if she had a single aggressive bone in her. Can you help?
Hello Nicole, You can't encourage her to take up for herself without also encouraging aggression, but you can work on manners with the other dog and teaching her to look to you for help - which could increase her confidence in the long run by stopping the cycle of fear. If your sister is willing work on a few commands with the dog, especially Place, and have both dogs - especially your sister's dog stay on place while at your house unless you are specifically focusing on and working with the dogs. Reward your dog for being calm and in a good mindset around your sister's dog to help boost confidence, and reward your sister's dog for being calm and leaving your pup alone. When you reward, keep it super calm and give the treat on the floor between their paws so they learn to stay where they are if lying down. Try to be sneaky about rewards so the other dog doesn't rush over to get one too. Decide what your house rules are for both dogs and you be the one to enforce the rules instead of the dogs. No aggression, no pushiness, no stealing toys, no stealing food, no being possessive of people or things, or any other unwanted behavior - if one dog is causing a problem, you be the one to enforce the rules so that the dogs are NOT working it out themselves. For example, if your sister's dog comes over to your dog when she is trying to sleep, tell pup Out. If he obeys, praise and reward him. If he disobeys, stand in front of your dog, blocking your sister's dog from getting to her, and walk toward your sister's dog calmly but firmly until pup leaves the area and stops trying to go back to your dog. If the Shitzu growls at your pup, make her leave the room while also addressing your dog if needed. Be vigilant and take the pressure off of your dog - you want her to learn to look to you when there is a problem, and for the Shitzu to learn respect for your dog because you have taught it to him and not because your dog has had to resort to aggression. Teach the dog - Especially the Shitzu the Out command using the How to Teach the Out Command section of the article linked below. Once he knows the command, then enforce the command using the method from the How to use out to deal with pushiness section of the article - using out this way "claims" your dog in a dog's world - so that the other dog learns to respect your dog because of his respect for you and your "ownership" of the other dog and not because your dog has to earn his respect. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Feed both dogs in separate locked crates. Not only will this prevent fights and food getting eaten by the other dog - it also removes the stress of eating with another dog hovering nearby, and less stress is better for digestion and prevents food aggression and resource guarding from developing. The dogs absolutely need to be kept separate when you are home not. Leaving them alone together puts unnecessary stress on your dog and teaches the other dog to bully by giving him opportunities to practice it without anyone intervening. When the Shitzu has learned better manners they may be able to be free together but they are not there yet and it will take time to get there, so they really need to be crated or at least confined in separate rooms to prevent fear in your dog, bullying behavior in the Shitzu, and unnecessary stress. Finally, if your sister is willing (this is up to her) you can correct the continuous humping and following with a Pet Convincer. Tell her dog Out and use your body language to walk her out of the area like the Out article mentions. If after three times of doing this, the Shitzu keeps returning to your dog, when her dog starts to fixate on your dog, use a Pet Convincer -which is a small canister of unscented pressurized are, to spray a quick puff of air at her dog's side (not face) to snap him out of it and make fixating less fun. The air shouldn't hurt but it should get his attention enough for him to snap out of fixating. Reward for calmly co-existing in the same room together to help dogs continue to like each other and associate the corrections with their behavior and not the other dog. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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She seems like a happy pup and is very comfortable with us, playful all the time. When we take her for walks, she runs up to other dogs and flops on her back immediately, but once they sniff her, she'll start playing with them in an equal fashion. With humans, she used to run up and flop on her back - but now she is becoming skittish and won't approach them at all. She looks at them like she's very excited, wags her tail, gets down on her belly and moves towards them, but then when they move to her she runs off. If they are very patient and make contact, she's then all over them, licking and playing. We've been trying to expose her to more humans and having them be patient with her (she's totally fine with the many people she knows and has already accepted), but any other thoughts on how to prevent her from getting to nervous when a human just wants to pet her? She loves it once she finally lets it happen. Thanks!
Hello Alexandra, Some puppies are especially shy or submissive. First, see if you can recruit lots of friends or family members she doesn't already know. Go on a walk with them, with them starting from across the street, passing a few times until she is relaxed around them, then walking in your same direction. As pup gets more comfortable with them being around, have them walk next to you and casually pass the leash off to them. Walk with them for a bit, then let them continue walking without you, passing you occasionally. When pup does well, they can gently hand her an easy to eat, small treat while they are still moving, after some walking and passing you, begin walking all together again. Practice this with as many different people as possible. You want pup to bond with people via going on a walk with them, make the interaction very casual and not touchy or in her face. Second, work on desensitizing her to being touched and handled. First, use her daily meal kibble. At as many meals as you can, practice gently touching her in an area while giving a treat. Touch an ear and give a treat. Touch a paw and give a treat. Touch a tail and give a treat. Touch her belly and give a treat. Practice this with every area of her body. When he enjoys you doing this with her and acts confident about it, have someone she is comfortable with also practice. As she improves, gradually have more and more people do it with her, starting with people she is comfortable with and gradually progressing to those she doesn't know well. The touches should always be gentle and paired with the food. Less noise during it will be easier for her if she is struggling. Finally, have new people you have recruited to help simply sit on the floor, couch, bench, ect... and sprinkle treat all around them, some treats closer to the person and some further away. Have them ignore her while she eats the treats and investigates. Don't have them pet her unless she asks to be petted. Practice this with lots of people with touching unless she asks to be petted. The goal here is to get her comfortable around people with to remove some of the anticipation of always being touched and the person acting exciting, so she can simply get comfortable approaching. Once she isn't building anxiety while trying to approach it will be easier for her to stay calm when there is touch involved - no prebuilding of anxiety. Continue socializing her even though its harder right now. Many puppies go through several fear periods - where they need extra careful exposure, a boost in confidence, and patience to help them through it. With the right training they often relax more after the fear period (if they aren't isolated or traumatized during it). She could be in one of those periods right now - but either way the training would be the same. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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