So what is this problem? Submissive peeing!
It's what happens when you come home. The dog runs to greet you, rolls over, and pees on the floor. In itself, it's not a major problem but it's the implication that your dog is submitting to you in such a way. Plus there's the hygiene aspect, which is less than ideal. And then there's what happens when she meets strangers and lets go a veritable fire-hydrant of pee.
It doesn't have to be like this. By understanding the psychology of what makes the dog pee, you can tackle the issue at its root cause, so that both you and the dog are happy.
This is done by using a combination of tactics, such as using reward-based training to bolster confidence, avoiding confrontational circumstances, and by keeping things low key.
Dogs of all ages can show submissive urination, especially puppies. However, many pups do grow out of the problem by the time they are a year old and their bladder control improves. If at any stage you suspect the dog is incontinent, rather than showing submissive urination, then check in with a vet.
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Lillie only submissively urinates when my husband tries to put her back in her kennel at the end of his lunch break. He has no problems other times of the day. I never have any problem with her. We do have to coax her in with a treat and she cries for a little bit then she stops. She knows when his lunch break is over and she’ll hunker down and pee, even with the treat! My husband has made it a point to make the kennel experience pleasant and talks sweet to her, he gets down on her level. She is a rescue lab pit mix so we don’t know her whole background either. We’ve had her for 2 months.
Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
Hello Jessica, It sounds like Lillian is anxious either about having to go into her kennel or about your husband leaving. It might be the last one since she is fine at other times. Possibly the reason that she is OK at other times but not at this time, is because she is getting anxious leading up to him leaving, since his routine is so consistent. She might be working herself up to a higher state of anxiety than the crate alone would cause. It's a bit like the building stress of waiting for a roller coaster to make it's first big drop at the beginning of the ride, opposed to already being on the roller coaster and experiencing multiple drops throughout the ride that cause less stress. Look for creative ways that your husband can change his lunch routine, such as putting her into the crate and then taking her back out, leaving the house and then coming back, gathering his things and then putting them back. You want to keep her guessing until she becomes bored with the experience of his departure. Also make sure that she is being given an opportunity to eliminate during the lunch break, even if it has not been that long since she went last, and give her something really fantastic to do in the crate after you are gone, in addition to the treat that you are already doing. For that, I recommend stuffing a Kong with mushy kibble and peanut butter. Put your dog's food into a bowl and cover it with water, let it sit out until the water makes the kibble mushy, then add peanut butter to it, and loosely stuff the Kong with it. For an extra challenge, freeze the Kong overnight, so that it is a time released treat that will keep her busy for longer. If you freeze the Kong, then you can purchase multiple Kongs and stuff them all at once, then simply pull them out of the freezer when you need one. When you use Peanut Butter check the ingredients and make sure that it does NOT contain Xylitol. Xylitol is a substitute sweetener than is extremely toxic to dogs. If you cannot use Peanut Butter squeeze cheese also works. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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She pees a little when we have visitors not all visitors just some what can I do
Hello Sharon, She is probably excited peeing. Instruct your visitors to ignore her for at least ten minutes when they come in. Once he has calmed down and has been taken outside to pee, which will decrease but not stop the peeing incidents by itself, then they can say hello to her calmly. You want her to expect all visitors to ignore her when they come to your home. This should not only prevent excited and submissive peeing during that visit but also decrease her overall excitement and possible anxiety about visitors in general. If she begins to expect visitors to be pleasant but not overly-exciting, then she should be less prone to peeing around visitors in general. Do this will all visitors while you are training her. Not just the ones she pees for. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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When I take him out of his kennel in the morning he has a couple squirts of pee almost every morning. How can I make him stop or at least cut back
Hello James, The peeing is probably excited peeing combined with a full bladder. First of all, try to make your interaction with Bond as calm and boring as possible in the morning before he has peed. When you walk into the room where his crate is, ignore him for five minutes to help him calm down before letting him out of the crate. When he is a bit calmer try three different methods I will outline below and do whichever one works best for Bond. First, ignore Bond for five minutes, then reach into Bond's crate very calmly without saying anything and without touching him any more than absolutely necessary to clip on his leash. Next, tell him "Okay" very softly and calmly, and stand up and start walking toward the door without interacting with Bond other than simply holding his leash to lead him outside. The goal is to make his entire morning routine boring. Second, if the first method causes him to pee despite letting him calm down first and not talking to him, then after five minutes, start to open the door, and if he tries to rush out, close it again. Repeat this until you can open the door all the way and Bond will wait inside. Once he is waiting patiently with the door open, then calmly tell him "Okay" and let him come out. You want him to come out calmly and you want to keep all of your commands very calm and monotone. Once he is out, walk toward the door to take him outside and let him outside if your yard is fenced. If you need to put a leash on him, then attach it in the crate after doing the door opening and closing. Third, try ignoring him for five minutes, going over to the crate, calmly opening the door without speaking to him, and then immediately turning your back to him and walking away toward the door to go outside. You can then let him outside into your fenced in yard. If he needs a leash, then follow one of the other options to attach a leash in the crate first. Try each of these for three days in a row and see which one keeps him from peeing. The key is to decrease his excitement and change his attitude to being calm to make it easier for him to hold his bladder. Once he pees outside, then you can interact with him like normal again. You may also need to practice always letting him out of the crate calmly, so that he will not expect crate exits to be so exciting. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Leia usually does this with my husband. He will come home from work and she will pee on the floor. We have tried everything. All of the recommendations...nothing is working. How can we break her of this? It's tiring cleaning up pee every single day. We've tried the low key method. He has never given her reason to be afraid or fear him. At our wits end!!!!
Hello Patricia, First, try tweaking the low-key method. When your husband comes home, have him stand by the front door very calmly, while completely ignoring her through the window, for five minutes. After five minutes, he should come in, continue to completely ignore her, without looking at her or speaking at first. After ten minutes, if she is completely calm, then he can take her outside and say hi there. You need to break the cycle of her getting excited, then peeing, to change what is now a habit and hard for her to stop. That first method will be a bit simpler then what I am about to suggest so it might be worth trying that for week first. If that does not work, then teach Leia to go to a crate when she hears him coming and to stay in there for thirty-minutes, until you tell her "Okay". To teach this you will need two people (it does not have to be your husband at first but it can be). Set up the crate somewhere easy for her to get to but not in the entrance way. Put a leash on her, lead her over to the crate with the leash, tell her, "(Husband's name) is home", lead her into the crate with the leash, and as soon as she gets inside, toss lots of treats inside. Stand by the crate door without saying anything, and if she tried to leave the crate (which she probably will at first), close the door to block her from getting out. After a second, open the door again without saying anything, and if she tries to leave again, close the door again. Repeat this until you can open the door and she will stay inside. Toss more treats into the crate when she will stay inside. Practice having her stay in the crate while the door is open for five-minutes at first. When she can go into the crate when you say "(Husband's name) is home" and will stay in there for five-minutes with the door open with you standing there, then work up to ten minutes staying in the crate, and practice having her stay in the crate while you are a bit further away. Overtime you are going to work on practicing her staying in the crate for longer and longer and practicing it with you standing further and further away. Practice this until she can stay in the crate for thirty-minutes while you are out of the room. Occasionally return to her when and drop more treats into the crate to reward her for doing well. Do not let her out of the crate or say anything to her when you drop the treats though. You want things to be calm. When you are ready for her to come out, tell her "Okay" and lead her out of the crate by the leash at first - to show her that "Okay" means come out. When she can stay in the crate without anyone present, then go back to standing next to the crate. Have your assistant knock, walk into the house, or unlock the door and then walk in (whatever is more similar to the noise your husband makes when he enters). As soon as she hears the noise, tell her "(Husband's name) is home." If she goes into the crate on her own, then reward her. If she tries to leave the crate before being told "Okay", then be ready to close the door to remind her not to leave yet. If she stays in the crate, then occasionally reward her again. If she does not go into the crate on her own, then be ready to lead her into it with the leash. Expect her to disobey what she has learned the first few times with the distraction of a person - that's why you are practicing it around a person. Be ready to show her again what to do with the new distraction of a person. Finally, put the entire scenario together and practice it with your husband. Work up to her being able to go to the crate on her own when she hears the door, and stay there without you present- like you did when not one else was there and it was just you and her practicing it at the beginning. For on this until she can go to the crate on her own when she hears your husband entering, and will stay in the crate on her own for thirty-minutes after she goes there while he is home. The goal of that training is for her to learn to go somewhere calm and calm down before being around him. She is likely excited peeing - which is similar to submissive peeing but is more related to your dog's excitement rather than submissiveness - the excited dog needs to learn how to calm herself down. I suggest having her stay in the crate for thirty-minutes because she needs to be in there long enough to get bored and have her stress hormones decrease again - to let her be able to contain herself when she does get around him later. When he does greet her finally, it should almost be like he does not care about her - that unexcited and unenthusiastic at first. You can leave a food-stuffed chew toy or favorite chew toy in the crate. You may need to tie it to the back of the crate with something that she cannot chew through to keep her from removing it from the crate though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hello! I have been working on housetraining my puppy. I am a first time dog owner so I know I am not experienced. I take her out every half hpur to releive herself but she cant stop the submissive peeing. Latley she has been doing it when I put her leash on to take her outside. She also does it when she is being picked up, when she gets too excited and sometimes for no reason. I was spanking her lightley and saying no but I have read that doesnt work. Should I put her in her kennel? How do I know if she is submissive peeing or doing it for a different reason? I give her a treat every time she goes outside and she knows thats where she is supposed to pee. I dont want her to fear me or to do it wrong but I also want her to learn. Thanks.
Hello Victoria, First, it helps to understand what submissive peeing is. Submissive peeing is something a dog will do around another dog to let them know that they recognize their authority and do not want to fight. Because of that doing anything domineering or intimidating to a submissive peeing dog will actually make the submissive peeing worse because she is essentially trying to show you that she recognizes your authority and wants to avoid confrontation - by peeing, which of course makes you more angry - creating a vicious cycle for her. It is extremely common for puppies to submissive pee so extremely likely that she is doing it due to submissiveness and sometimes excitement and not because she is trying to be vengeful or difficult or something else. Most puppies outgrow submissive peeing if you can prevent it from becoming a habit - to prevent it from becoming a habit the goal is to simply help her stay calm enough that the cycle of peeing is broken as she grows and has better bladder control. Avoid the spanking and other forms of physical discipline right now - you can still have consequences like her having to leave the room when being pushy but you want to keep hands less scary so that you can build confidence about her being touched again - to avoid her peeing when you touch her. Work on handling exercises to get her comfortable with being touched; to do this, gently touch her somewhere, like a paw and give her a treat at the same time. Practice this outside at first in case she pees. Gently touch different areas all over her body, one place at a time while giving a treat each time. Feed her her entire meal this way at dinner or breakfast. When she can handle being touched all over without peeing, then gently lift her up a couple of inches, put her back down, then give a treat. Practice that until you can pick her up and she can stay calm too. When you first get home, ignore her and act boring until she calms down. When you open her crate, keep her calm and be boring. Lead to the door outside in a calm business-like matter and clip her leash on when she has had a chance to calm down a little bit, touching her as gently and little as possible. If that is still too much for her, purchase a chew-proof leash, like Vir-Chew-Ly and keep a leash on her around the house when you are there to supervise her. This can be good for other types of training too. Avoid talking to her in a deep-angry or excited-high pitched voice while inside. Instead, save the excited voice for outside, and when you have to scold her be matter of fact and calm. Try using a word such as "Ah ah" for no, so that you sound firm but not as angry. You can and should still be sweet to her and praise her inside, just keep your voice softer and more soothing while inside. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We rescued jimmy about a month ago and noticed that he will urinate at the most seemingly random times and always after I know he has already gone outside. Sometimes when he is really excited but mostly it is becoming clear it’s when he is nervous. Today he was outside going potty and I came out on the deck and called him over to me and he immediately rolled into his back and was shaking and starting shooting pee out.
It made me sad because he seemed scared or something and I’m starting to realize perhaps this is his issue. How can I handle this appropriately? I never yell at him because he is such a sweet timid dog.
I don’t know his history but I’m starting to think he may have been abused.
Hello Laura, First, if it is happening often you may want to purchase a belly band to keep your home clean while you work on it. Use treats to gradually introduce the belly band (male diaper) to him to help him feel at ease with it if you do so. Second, since it sounds like you are interacting with him calmly (which is the first step for most people), I suggest also working on obedience that will generally build his confidence and relationship with you, and getting him used to being touched more. For the confidence, a general positive reinforcement obedience class, an agility class, a trick training class, or a tracking/scent type class could all be good options. You want to stimulate him mentally, help him learn to navigate new situations, increase things like impulse control and his ability to calm himself, and increase his focus and confidence toward you. Practicing certain types of training in a positive way can help him develop those skills. Also, give him boundaries and structure at home. It can be easy to pitty or baby a timid dog, but they actually tend to benefit from consistent rules and boundaries that are enforced. When you enforce the boundaries, be consistent and insist that he obey but do it calmly. It's the consistency and insistence that matter. For example, if you tell him to sit while on a walk, keep his leash tight enough that he can't go do something else fun, like sniff, and wait until he complies and sits before you continue walking, even if it takes him five minutes to give in (after a couple of minutes you can repeat the command once if you think he may have forgotten it by now, and he must understand what the word Sit means to begin with). Another example would be practicing heel during walks. Expecting a nervous dog to focus on you and walk behind you a bit can help that dog worry less about their surrounding and depend on you to lead during the walk instead. To get him used to being handled, use his meal kibble to reward him when you touch him. Feed him his whole meal one piece at a time while touching each area of his body gently. Do this as often as you can make time for. For example, touch his shoulder and give a treat, touch his ear and give a treat, touch his paw and give a treat, touch his belly and give a treat, and touch his mouth (if he has never shown any form of aggression) and give a treat. Repeat this with every area of his body calmly (if you act too excited he may pee). Practice this for several weeks until he feels confident being touched and enjoys it. When you attend a class I suggest having him wear the belly band with an absorbent pad in it to avoid any concern about peeing during class. You can also look for a class that trains outside if there is a high quality one in your area that does that. It is possible that the timidity is due to a lack of socialization and a genetically timid temperament, rather than abuse, and he could have been given up because of the peeing. If so building his confidence is still what I suggest, but he may also benefit from more positive socialization as well (which a class would also help increase). Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog wees when excited and also when i give her certain commands she has not be socialized very much and growls at some ppl please can u help me.
Hello Krystal, First, I suggest building confidence. This can be done by taking her places and rewarding calmness, friendliness, bravery (in a good way like curiosity), and focus on you. Also, work on teaching her commands and tricks. Training that stimulates her mentally can also help not only with confidence but also trust in you. While she is still peeing you may want to train outside using a long leash or a fenced in space. What commands does she pee when given? The issue might be your tone of voice or the submissive position of the command. You may need to change the way you are teaching and enforcing certain things right now, to avoid intimidation. That doesn't mean you cannot enforce the commands or even discipline, but learning how to do it very calmly and proactively instead of being reactionary if that seems to be an issue (I am basing this off of what little I know about the situation - so that may not be the case). If she seems overly excited when this is happening, opposed to timid, then I suggest keeping training more structured and calmer. Use life rewards, like getting to eat dinner or receive a pet or a toy, opposed to treats, or training practice - if she is overly excited. Also, keep your energy and tone of voice very calm - avoid high pitched, excited praise, and praise her softly and calmly instead. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Jim is my pride and joy, although the issue is that, without fail, every time anyone greets Jim (even if its not for the first time) he pees EVERYWHERE. I don't scold him and I have tried ignoring him but it still isn't working. I've taught him to sit already, should I just try distraction methods?
Hello Ashley, I suggest doing what you can to make visitors very boring. Instruct guests to pretend like he isn't even there until he is completely calm, then they calm super calmly greet him (fun is not the goal here - boring is). Right now he is excited about people and is likely getting excited during the whole process of the person driving up, walking up, entering, then finally greeting him - by the time they greet him it is too much for him. Make it so that he learns that guests are not fun or exciting but boring, so that he doesn't get worked up by their approach even. If he doesn't get worked up by their approach after practicing this long enough for it to become a long-term habit for him, then when they are in your home it is not as hard for him when they do give him attention. When you get home, ignore him for the first ten minutes you are home (I know that's hard to do). He will learn to expect your return home to be boring and it can help him break the cycle of habitually peeing when you first greet him. You can also have him wear a belly band - which is like a male dog diaper for urine to keep things in your home clean in the meantime. Have him wear this inside in general though and not just when you know someone is coming over if you use it though, because you do not want the belly hand to signal that someone is coming and get him worked up - you just want it to be something he wears sometimes, like his collar or leash. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We just adopted Otto about a week ago. He is absolutely our best friend, gives us extra love and affection compared to any other dogs and is otherwise a great dog. He even let me remove tar from his paws which was unpleasant. Somewhat randomly, he will pee in spurts of 3-4 times whenever we try to leash him, or give him a command that he does not desire, such as a semi-soft "No" or "come here" when he goes to step in a pee puddle or eat something he shouldn't. It is extra frustrating because we are afraid to get a leash to take him out, which we need to (live in apartment) and because of how sweet and kind he is to us 95% of the time. He seems to feel shame of it sometimes and we are at our wits with what else we need to do after trying treats, body language, no discipline, etc. Please help
Hello Giovanni, I suggest keeping a drag leash on him, such as VirChewLy - which is less likely to tangle on things. When you need to go get him or take him outside, calmly walk over to him, pick up the leash, and lead him where you need to go - you can try giving him instructional commands when you do this, such as Let's Go, Leave It, or something else that gives calm and upbeat sounding direction. Using the leash to prevent the accidents is to get him out of the habit of peeing so often to begin with - avoiding most of the scenarios that cause the peeing. While using the leash to give him directions, also work on confidence building. First, use his daily kibble to practice handling exercises. Touch him somewhere while giving him a treat. Touch his side - give a treat. Touch his paw - give a treat. Touch his collar - give a treat. Touch his tail - give a treat. Repeat this with every area of his body, being more gentle and focusing more time on areas he seems less comfortable with. Do this to get him associate touch with something positive instead of him feeling insecure about collar grabs and approaches. Second, do something with him to build his confidence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OseD7TRwsPQ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPxUXvWawpk To keep your home clean while you are still working on this you can also have him wear a belly band - which is a male diaper that looks like a sling and just covers the area where he pees. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hi! Aurora is 2 years old and I’ve been struggling with her for 2 years now. When she was a puppy we had her in a crate but she still went to the bathroom in her crate anyway..she got treats for going outside and we try to distract her and get her outside when we catch her peeing inside but nothing works. She ended up breaking out of every crate she’s ever had so we gave up on the crate. We have another dog who is 1 and she’s still in her crate and she loves it. They have their own room so that’s where aurora goes when we leave the house and I can’t remember the last time a day has gone by where I haven’t had to clean up a flood. Our younger dog has no issues and I just don’t understand why they’re so different from each other when they were brought up the same way. Aurora also pees when she’s excited and she just pees more when I try to get her to go outside. I’m really sick of the way my house smells and I have a baby on the way. I can’t keep cleaning up pee. What do I do?!
Hello Britany, Honestly you need to work with a trainer in person or at least over the phone for this issue. A trainer needs to be able to ask questions, hear about your home, schedule, and situation to come up with a plan that will work for you. The crate escaping can be addressed with the right training, but she will likely just continue to pee in there at this point too since she has lost her natural desire to hold it in a confined space - or never had the desire to hold it (which is rare but can happen), or lost it as a puppy due to how she was kept (in a pen or crate too long). Something absorbent in the crate could also be related to that. I wouldn't worry about the past though - that simply means that crating her now may not help with potty training, but not escaping likely can be taught if you needed to crate for other reasons. I would start with having her wear a doggie diaper in the house. Have her wear it while you are home for a couple of days first, and interrupt her anytime she tries to bother it, bite at it, or take it off. Reward her with lots of treats when you put it on, and generally have her wear it around a lot so that she will get used to the feeling of it and learn not to take it off - this will require a whole lot of supervision at first. Take it off when you take her outside to go potty. Once she is used to wearing the diaper in the house, a couple of things may happen. Some dogs will try to hold it while wearing the diaper at first. If this happens, take advantage of that and take her outside often and reward her pottying outside to keep her from having an accident in the diaper. This could be your ticket to pottying training but this does't happen with all dogs, and a dog will eventually start peeing in a diaper if not taken potty outside without the diaper on often enough. If she doesn't care and pees in it anyway, then it will still give you a chance to remove the pee smell from your house (something that has to be done in general to stop future accidents) and you will have less to clean up pee wise while working through other methods. Clean things thoroughly in your home with an enzymatic cleaner - only enzymes will break down the pee or poop remaining from previous accidents well enough to completely remove the smell. Any remaining pee smell encourages a dog to just go potty in that area again - so this is important. Bleach isn't sufficient and ammonia actually smells like urine to a dog - so avoid ammonia containing cleaners in general around the house right now. I suspect this will mean throwing out some rugs and things that are too hard too clean, or at least storing them somewhere else for a while. I believe you can buy enzymatic carpet cleaning solution for carpet cleaners you can rent also. Once the smell is taken care of, you will either need someone to come to your home and keep her attached to themselves with a six or eight foot leash all the time to prevent her from wandering off and having accidents, or find a trainer who will board her and do this, or teach her to use an indoor potty instead. If you go the indoor potty route, if you have a walk in shower that is not being used, that is one of the least messy ways to do this with a large dog. You can actually teach a dog to pee in a shower if it's a walk in type shower, without the bathtub part. You would keep her attached to you with a six foot leash while you are home, take her to the shower potty often, and reward with treats when she goes potty there, then at night and while you are gone, confine her in the bathroom next to the shower for easy access once she associates the shower with pottying. You can even put a piece of grass sod or a disposable grass pad in there while she is first learning to help her associate it with pottying, to make the training easier for her. It's important that the rest of the bathroom has been cleaned up from previous accidents though, so that only the shower smells like a potty to her and encourages her to pee just there. Remove everything absorbent from the bathroom floor, such as bath mats. I suggest finding a trainer who handles behavior issues and has dealt with hard potty training cases to help you with this. You really need a training plan tailored to you by someone who can talk through the details of your situation with you and come up with a plan for you. Skype or phone training may even be enough with the right trainer if you can follow instructions over the phone really well. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog Ellie pees when meeting new people. She used to pee with my family and I when we first adopted her, after she got used to us it stopped. We have tried telling guests or strangers to ignore her until she calms down however she still crouches down and pees even without any direct attention. Her tail is always tucked, ears back, and a low submissive position she will occasionally roll over and urinate on herself. She is very sweet and great with kids so we want to train her to be a therapy dog, but the submissive peeing will be a little problem when she goes into hospitals or rehab centers. Do you think confidence boosting will work, or any other training methods??
Hello Sarah, Most submissive peeing dogs can out grow it with the right training that teaches calmness and confidence. Some dogs are very genetically prone to it and still struggle with it long term - its just managed a lot better with training. There is no guarantee it will stop completely unfortunately, but the odds are that confidence boosting would help. I would focus on general confidence building like tricks, agility obstacles, and other games that challenge her mind. I would also work on impulse control through things like a long Place command around distractions. Finally, I would specifically work on building her confidence around strangers through having others work with her through training such as heel, Place, tricks, basic obedience commands, or agility obstacles...treats are good for helping a dog associate people with good things, but a dog that struggles with over-excitement and submission might do better working with new people in a fun but calm way - like training and heel work. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I've had my mini aussies since she was 10 weeks old. She's never been harshly corrected or physically punished but she has always been a nervous/anxious dog. She has separation anxiety and no amount of D.A.P, sprays, calming aids or medication has been able to fix it. She was on Prozac and another drug that I can't remember the name of. It didn't do anything for her separation anxiety and just made her tired and unlike herself so I weened her off of it and have just been dealing with it. She needs to be crated when left alone to prevent her from injuring herself. She's let out to potty and walked before we go anywhere but she still soils her crate often enough. Every time we leave we know there is about a 50/50 chance of coming home and having to clean her up. And even though we don't react and try our best not to have a negative expression, since she's fully potty trained she immediately submissive pees when she sees us if she has soiled the crate. Additionally any time she's caught doing anything she's not supposed to she rolls over and submissive pees before we can do anything. What can we do to help her?
Hello Dee, Unfortunately submissive peeing is genetic for some dogs and long-term management is needed but the dog may still always be prone toward it. Structure and confidence building can often minimize it though. As well as being calm while interacting with her - which it sounds like you already do. I would work on confidence building exercises such as agility obstacles, trick training, and obedience that builds self-control and calmness. There are a couple of routes you can take with the separation anxiety. For structure you can work on things like making her work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets. Working on "Stay" and "Place," commands while you move away or leave the room, and teaching her to remain inside a crate when the door is open. Structure can seem counter-intuitive but a lot of anxious dogs benefit from it calm leadership that's super consistent. Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Place command: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-place-command-the-good-dog-training-tips/ Heel: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Change your routine surrounding leaving so that she does not anticipate alone time and build up her anxiety before you leave - which is hard for her to deescalate from, and be sure to give her something to do in the crate during the day (such as a food stuffed Kong to chew on); this is the general protocol for separation anxiety. It is gentle but can take a very long time for some dogs. Another protocol involves teaching the dog to cope with their own anxiety by making their current anxious go-to behaviors unpleasant, giving them an opportunity to stop those behaviors long enough to learn something new, then rewarding the correct, calmer behavior instead. This protocol can feel harsh because it involves careful correction, but it tends to work much quicker for many dogs. If you go this route, I suggest hiring a trainer who is very experienced using both positive reinforcement and fair correction. Who is extremely knowledgeable about e-collar training, and can follow the protocol listed below, to help you implement the training. Building her independence and structure in her life will still be an important part of this protocol too. The protocol below is best followed with the help of an trainer who is very experienced with with behavior issues like fear and aggression. First, purchase a high quality e-collar with at least thirty stimulation levels and vibration. Look for a high quality brand such as E-collar technologies (mini educator), Dogtra, Garmin, or Sportdog. Pay attention to weight ranges on these when choosing one. High quality e-collars can give much smaller/gentler corrections and are far safer than random unknown brands bought overseas. Have her wear the collar around for a bit to get used to the feel of it. Next, find the correct level of stimulation to use for her training, called her working level. You can try just the vibration also, but some dogs actually find that harsher than a super low stimulation level - a high quality collar shouldn't be super painful just odd feeling and really noticeable for her to get her attention. Modern collars are not like the old fashion shock collars. To find the working level, wait until she is simply standing around acting boring and not distracted. Without saying anything, push the stimulation button for a second. Watch her to see if she responds. This response might be subtle like scratching, acting like a bug is on her, shaking her head, looking around, moving away from where she is, or something else. She might yelp out of surprise, but if you are using the lowest level and a high quality e-collar a yelp is typically due to surprise. If she seems overly sensitive to the collar you can use the vibration setting instead but vibration tends to be harsher than low stimulation for many dogs. Repeat pushing the button three times at the lowest level and watching for a response. If she does not respond, increase the level by one and watch for a response again while you test that level out three times. Continue increasing the level by one and watching for a response, until you reach a level that she responds too - If the collar you are using has a lot of levels, like the Mini Educators' one hundred levels, then many dogs won't even feel it until around level ten. It all depends on their own sensitivity level, which is why you find each dog's individual level. Check out the video linked below, demonstrating finding the correct level for a dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Next, set up a camera to spy on her while she is in her crate. You could use a GoPro with the Live app on your phone, two smart phones or tablets with Skype or Facetime with her end on mute so she won't hear you but you can hear her, a video baby monitor, security camera, or any other camera you have that you could watch her from outside on. Once you have the correct collar stimulation level and she is calm and relaxed again, start your leaving routine, put her into the crate, and go outside. Drive down the block and walk back if she isn't convinced you really left. From outside, watch her on the camera. When she barks or tries to escape from the crate, push the stimulation button on the remote for one second. Repeat the correction every time she barks. This will probably take a few repetitions before she starts to connect the stimulation on the collar with her barking. If it doesn't improve after seven corrections, increase the collar level by one, and again by one if she still doesn't respond. When she pauses barking for four seconds, while she is quiet, go back inside, sprinkle a few tiny treats into her crate without letting her out or talking to her, then leave again. Repeat correcting her when she barks from outside, going inside and sprinkling treats when she is quiet then leaving again; do this for 30 to 45 minutes each session. After about 45 minutes, while she is quiet, go back inside for good. Leave her in the crate and ignore her for ten minutes. Correcting with the e-collar without acknowledging her if she barks at you from the crate. After ten minutes, while she is calm, go to her and let her out of the crate using the method from the article linked below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn5HTiryZN8 You generally want to encourage calmness around the crate - being overly excited, anxious, or worked up can make separation anxiety worse because of the chemicals released into the body. Expect to need to repeat the crate collar training several times for 45 minute sessions for her to realize that the results are always the same and she needs to be calm and quiet in the crate. You can do this more than one time each day to speed up the process, just make sure she has breaks in between each session to unwind. When she is quieter in the crate, then when you leave, give her a food stuffed chew toy, like a Kong, to help with boredom and to automatically reward her for staying quiet. This method helps prevent her from working up into an anxious state and breaks the cycle of getting super worked up every time you leave, then rewarding her and calmly returning while she is calm helps her learn to stay calm while you are away instead. If you can break the anxious cycle the accidents in the crate should improve if they are anxiety related - which it sounds like they are. While practicing all the training you may want to keep a 4-6 foot drag leash on her around the house while you are home so that you can direct her without having to touch her every time - which helps prevent submissive peeing. Check out something like VirChewLy which is chewproof and less likely to snag on things. You can take the handle off of it while in the house so that it doesn't get caught. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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