Ask the Trainer

Ask the Trainer: Putting an End to Fearful or Submissive Urination

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Shibainu

Hi Kevin,
I adopted Stella, a 3 year old mixed breed, from a shelter. Possible Shiba Inu mix, approx 18 pounds, female. Someone may have used a shock collar on her, and she was physically abused. She is a fearful dog with a wetting problem. How can I stop her wetting issues? She did stop for awhile. I ignored her when I came in the front door, did not make eye contact, and stood sideways, according to fearful dog behavior. When she stopped wetting, I stopped using the fearful dog behavior corrections, and the issue came back, only worse. Do I need to ignore her for life?

I also adopted a mill dog mother from National Mill Dog Rescue. A mini Aussie. She has the usual fear of people. I have had her 6 months. I want to teach her to come, to avoid being hit by a car, should that arise. How do I teach a mill dog to come? Thank you for any help you may provide.
-Sandy

Hi Sandy,

Dealing with submissive urination can certainly be difficult. One thing that I would recommend doing is a lot of repetition of coming in the front door and tossing something extremely high value to her. For some dogs this would be cheese, hot dogs, turkey etc. What I want you to do is come in the front door many times and toss her the awesome thing and then just walk away. If she comes after you looking for more go ahead and give her some.

If you do enough repetition of this (and I mean a LOT) she should start associating you coming in the door with awesome stuff resulting in the nervousness going away. I would probably do this 20 + times a day. After a couple days of doing it you should start to notice a change in her body language when you walk in. If after a few days she is acting the same, I would continue doing it.

Once you start to notice her behavior changing in a good way, slowly start to decrease how often you are doing this. Then what you’ll want to do is randomly do it here and there to keep her thinking it may still happen.

Overall it would also be a good idea to build her confidence up a bit. The video below will give you a visual of one way to help her conquer some of her fears, resulting in a more confident dog. One thing you can do is get a hula hoop and try to get her to go in it. I would toss a lot of high value food objects around it and in it and allow her to get them at her own pace. She may be kind of slow at it in the beginning but once she gets the hang of it she will speed up. When she is entering the hula hoop you can eventually ask her to sit. From there you can continue to push her comfort level a bit while giving her lots of those food rewards that she really loves. Feel free to get creative in regards to using objects to build her confidence. Some other examples include putting a broom stick in-between some chairs and getting her to jump over it. (start off very low to the ground if not on the ground with the broom stick.) You can get a ladder and get her to walk through the rungs as well. Just be sure to not push her too much. If you do you may end up flooding her which isn’t conducive in the building confidence department.

And, here is a video that will help with teaching your Mini Aussie to come when called:

Thanks for the question. Stay patient and consistent.
Kevin Duggan CPDT-KA

Kevin is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT.org)  and is a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator through the American Kennel Club. He currently resides in Ohio with his dog, V, a six-year-old Shepherd/Lab mix, where he operates All Dogs Go To Kevin, LLC, specializing in helping build positive relationships between humans and their canine companions using clear communication, not pain and fear. For more training tips and tricks, and to meet his amazing dog, V,  follow him on Facebook by clicking here.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar Of Dan

    dan

    says:

    Dog is a year old Yorky poodle. I have tried every method I can find to teach him not To pee and -poop On hard wood floors.

  2. Avatar Of Jeff

    Jeff

    says:

    Teaching a dog to come when he doesn’t want to because there is something more interesting is far different than teaching a dog to come when he is scared to death of you, which is what the original question asked.

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