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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm in quite a dilemma. I love my Mini Dachshund (Armstrong), but he has to be the most stubborn dog I've ever come across. I'm a college student that lives in an apartment in a major city that is furnished by my landlord. My roommate and I take turns walking the dog. He gets two long walks, one in the morning and one in the evening, and one short walk midday to keep his bladder empty. During the long walks we play fetch with him to tire him out and give him lots of love. The problem I've had with this dog is that he is conflicted. He is an alpha male that is also an excitable and submissive pee-er who marks in the house. He doesn't take orders well and when I do ask him to obey he squats and pees on the landlords carpet... I never discipline the submissive or excitable peeing because that only makes the problems worse, so what my roommate and I decided to do was kennel train him in between walks to minimize messes. It did seem to work for a while. After we walked him we would leave him out to socialize with him for a couple of hours (usually until he started to eat or drink) and then put him back up.

Though something has changed. Last month we got him neutered to hopefully "tone" him down a bit. After he healed he started to pee in his kennel. He has quit lifting his leg and now just squats to pee, which he has never done before. It seems like he's forgotten where he can and can't pee too. For instance, I walked him down the apartment building stairs to go out the door for his walk and he stops midway down the stairs and pees a lot! I don't know what I'm doing wrong and could really use some help. I feel hopeless because I want to play and love my dog but I can't afford to replace the carpet when we move out.

I understand I don't know everything there is to know about my dog breed and general dog training, but I'm here to learn and try. I have taken full responsibility of this dog and will own it for the rest of its little life. So please, constructive feedback, cutting me down as a trainer won't help me make Armstrong's life any better. Thank you.
 

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You said he's stubborn, but didn't describe anything like stubborn behavior. You also said he's "alpha" but didn't describe any alpha behavior.

The fact that his incontinence started immediately following uro-genital surgery is no coincidence. What does the vet say about it?

As you have discovered, physical ailments and anxiety cause accidents, but there's only one reason for a healthy dog to pee in the house -- he believes the floor is his toilet. Dogs don't have the ability to go through the thought process that leads to "I don't care about rules, I'm gonna pee in the house."

The poor guy is confused. It doesn't really matter that you don't "discipline" the submissive peeing -- the fact that you view him as stubborn is discipline enough. It doesn't matter what words you use, or what you do -- dogs are masters at reading human body language -- he knows what you think of him. You said that you don't "discipline the submissive peeing," I assume that means he's punished for other incidents inside the house? That will confuse the heck out of any dog. Punish a dog for peeing, he thinks "what the heck is up with these people?" He does not understand that it's because of peeing inside.

The poor guy spends the whole day in a crate, with only 3 opportunities to eliminate? Sounds like a miserable existence for a dog.
 

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Well right now I would be carrying him down stairs as it will be something different but more important the Landlord is not gonna feel real good about peeing in the hallway etc. I also did not hear any alpha/stubborn stuff.

Definitely talk to Vet and take him back to puppy housebreak rules which means out more often while home. I would try shorter walks but 3 or 4 times morning and afternoon. Will this help, don't have a clue but it won't hurt.
 

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Okay, throw away all that dominant/submissive crap. It's all bunk. (Plus, I haven't heard a thing I'd consider dominant or even stubborn in your post.)

If your dog lost control of his bladder after genito-urinary surgery, call the vet. If he's always had a problem with peeing inside, he's not housebroken. You need to get back to the basics and start all over with housetraining 101.

If your dog doesn't always obey commands, he's not stubborn, he's just not thoroughly trained. It's not enough to train a dog to sit until he gets it a few times and then stop. You have to train him every day, several times a day, in every room of the house, outside, without distractions and then with distractions of all kinds. If you don't do that, he'll be a half trained dog who sometimes obeys and sometimes doesn't. Dogs don't generalize. I trained my dog to sit in the dining room. We went into the kitchen and he looked at me like he'd never heard the word before. To his mind, the kitchen is so different from the dining room that "sit" has no meaning in the kitchen. That's a dog's brain for you.

Also, are you really keeping him in a crate 20 hours a day? If so, we're going to have to have a long conversation about the terrible shape my dog was in after 2 years of such treatment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
When I took him back to the vet, about two weeks ago, to get his stitches out he said everything checks out and he looks fine. Also, that same vet told me I'm going to have a real problem with training him. He told me that this dog is incredibly stubborn yet submissive, so he said it is possible to train him if you know what you're doing. I don't, so that's why I'm here. Maybe I'm not very good at explaining everything... And I thought my original post explained that I keep him out after walking. Realistically he stays out almost all day on the weekends when I'm not as busy, but during the weekdays I'd say it's about four hours in between walks and play time. Amaryllis I'm interested to see what your dog became after a couple of years in the crate and why you did it.

@ DustyCrockett, I agree when he used to mark that I didn't seem to teach him that he couldn't mark in the house. Funny thing is, is that started two years in, I swear he was house trained before that. The excited and submissive peeing is what I don't know what to do with. Post walks after he has drunk some more water if I pet him (standing) he pees, if I sit down to rub his chin he pees, etc.

On the alpha stuff, I do know that he tries to mount every dog in the dog park, and when they go after him he runs under my legs. I have only met a couple of dogs that can play with him. The others seem to get really upset around him, as if he's putting off some kind of vibe. That's how I figured he's alpha, or maybe an instigator to other dogs.

One last thing I forgot to mention, it snows a lot here and he hates it. Will not walk in it at all. That doesn't make it easier for sure...
 

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1st off Vets should stick to Vetting, not training/behavioral issues. My personal opinion just throwing it out here. Just for kicks a 2nd health opinion from another Vet if it does not help would not hurt.

2nd I don't know the area setup that he does his duty in but if possible shoveling out an area 6 ft square would help him a bunch in snow. A mini dachshund is not a tall dog by any means and as you already know snow is a hindrance when out to relieve himself.
 

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Humping and mounting isn't simply about being the alpha or being dominant. Dogs hump when they're over excited or if they are stressed or if they are over stimulated (like sensory overload).

Humping is considered bad manners by many other dogs, so it's a good idea to remove him from that situation when he starts to hump.

I have dachshunds. They were a challenge to potty train, but once it was done, it was done. If your dog has other accidentally besides the excitement pee, then he never really got it to begin with. Go back to potty training as if he was a puppy. Preventing accidents is the key. So take him out more than you think you need to, and watch him super closely, as if he was a young puppy. Watch for the signals that he needs to go: sniffing, being a bit agitated, circling.

As for the excited pee, one of mine does that, EVERY time we visit my parents and he sees my dad. He loves my dad and is his shadow, but, in the first few minutes he sees my dad, there will be pee. So, every time we go visit my parents, we go straight to the backyard so they can greet each other and peeing is OK.

Clean all previous accidents with an enzymatic cleaner. And, I agree, vets don't know everything about behavior.
 

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When I took him back to the vet, about two weeks ago, to get his stitches out he said everything checks out and he looks fine. Also, that same vet told me I'm going to have a real problem with training him. He told me that this dog is incredibly stubborn yet submissive, so he said it is possible to train him if you know what you're doing....
Most vets are not specialists in behavior and some of them offer some pretty strange, old fashioned (and incorrect) diagnoses of what is going on behaviorally. If you want to find out about his physical health, by all means, ask a vet. If you want to know about his behavior, you'd be better off with a good trainer or behaviorist. If the behavior started after his surgery, I would definitely pursue that with the vet. It's possible that he nicked something. But if he had been marking, it's likely that he just isn't house trained. One thing you can try is a belly band, which catches most of the urine. Be sure to change often and keep an eye on it, though. You don't want him to have to be soggy. Instead of crating him all the time, supervise. For your situation you might even consider an artificial grass or litter box set up for when you can't get him out. Tether him to you so you can see if he is starting to sniff and think about going. You will help the excitement, submissive urination if you don't lean over him or make direct eye contact when he is that excited. And humping dogs at the dog park is a sign of over-arousal, not dominance.
 

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Four hours at a time on weekdays is not so bad, while you're working on housebreaking issues.

I've learned that marking and urinating are two different activities; I'm told that the house-breaking process is the same either way. I have one dog who started marking the furniture at about 2 years of age and stopped after he was neutered (still marks outside). Two other dogs, marked once in the house and never again, with no human intervention -- one of those is deceased and the other is still a pup, hopefully he won't start again.

So, if he was marking inside, neutering may have done the trick (I'm told it doesn't always). But now you have this bladder control issue (if he pees a lot, it's not marking it's urination). Could be physiological, or the dog is really anxious/nervous/fearful, or maybe it's just the snow.

As far as I know, the only way to control excitement and submissive pee is to control the excitement level. It usually improves with age.

Dogs don't have the cognitive ability to be stubborn -- that requires rational thought, "I know I'm not supposed to pee here, but I'm gonna do it anyway." Dogs live "in the moment." They can anticipate (for example, the unpleasantness of peeing in the snow), but there's no thinking ahead, considering consequences or anything like that. Whatever choices lie in front of them, they do what seems the most satisfying. A trained dog gets satisfaction from compliance, which (strangely) becomes its own reward.

The humping, stronger-willed dogs sometimes do it to weaker-willed dogs (call 'em dominant and submissive if you like), regardless of gender or reproductive status, for reasons only a dog could describe. Sometimes the humpee couldn't care less, but if the other dog looks intimidated or annoyed, he ought to be made to stop. I make my dogs stop it anyway just cause people don't like it. Sometimes at the dog park my (neutered) westie gets some pretty good laughs by humping the leg of a much larger dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
He actually does sniff a lot in the house, right after walking too. I figured he was looking for a tasty morsel to snack on that I might've dropped, but he does it all over the house. Am I supposed to stop him from sniffing in the house, and how?
 

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He actually does sniff a lot in the house, right after walking too. I figured he was looking for a tasty morsel to snack on that I might've dropped, but he does it all over the house. Am I supposed to stop him from sniffing in the house, and how?
Sniffing around is one thing, You need to watch for when he is sniffing for a place to "go". The best way to keep him constantly in your sight and eliminate the chance of him peeing when you aren't paying attention to him is to tether him to your belt. Where you go, he goes.
 

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Sniffing is not the problem. Sniffing usually precedes peeing, so if you perceive that the sniffing is morsel-related, ignore it. On the other hand, if it's pee-related, take action to keep the carpet dry.
 

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I didn't do anything to my dog. I rescued him from people who did. I'm glad you're not keeping him in a crate all day, and in fact, doubted that you were. (generally speaking, people who do that sort of thing aren't posting on the internet for help because they don't really care.)

Don't go to a vet for advice about behavior/training. They don't know anything about it. It's like asking your dentist for relationship advice. He might have good advice, but it's not his specialty.

I just don't think this dog is housetrained. I'd go back to housetraining 101. But first, how did you housetrain him in the first place? Praise and treats or punishment? Some dogs pee when scared, if you punish them for peeing inside, they get more scared, pee more, you punish more . . . it's a vicious, pee-soaked cycle.

Dominance/submission is proven to be unscientific bunk. http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2007250,00.html There are many, many more articles on this subject, but the basic point is: it's not true. Humping isn't about dominance. It's a social thing with dogs. He's not alpha because he can't play with other dogs, he's socially awkward. He's the doggy version of that kid who couldn't make friends in grade school.

It's not uncommon for dogs to hate walking in snow. It hurts their feet (be sure to check between the pads when you get back to get any iceballs out and then wipe off his feet with baby wipes to get any salt off the pads) and dogs can even be scared of snow because it's unfamiliar. Other than shoveling out a spot for him to go in, and treating and praising him for going, there's not a lot you can do.

Any dog can be trained. Go to kikopup's channel and learn about clicker training. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the results if you give it a real try.
 

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I'm rereading Culture Clash and came across the relevant portion concerning "stubborn" or "dominant" dogs that only obey sometimes:

You can recognize traditional obedience training by the following signs: 1)
some sort of special collar is usually put on the dog, 2) praise is considered
adequate reinforcement, and 3) the “pack theory” mumbo jumbo gets thrown
around a lot. This style of training has, in spite of an evolution in its trappings
and rhetoric, remained essentially unchanged since the 1950s. Its latest
incarnation is usually couched in rhetoric such as “eclectic” or “balanced,”
meaning that aversives are used as well as food.

“He knows, he’s just stubborn,” or “He knows, he’s trying to be dominant” are
extremely common attitudes. There is a true epidemic of people who witness
one, two or several correct responses by their dog, presume learning is
accomplished and then hunt around for reasons to explain subsequent wrong
responses. It’s no wonder people are clinging to stuff like “pack theory.”
There’s a serious knowledge void. In actual fact, a correct response, provided
it has been reinforced, is merely like one more grain of sand on a scale: it
increases the probability of the same response occurring in the same context in
the future. A steady history of reinforcement is necessary to tip the scale in
favor of that behavior occurring. It will become highly probable given
sufficient volume of training.

Most people do not have a good understanding of how animals learn (or of
probability), and dog owners are no exception. Many would also dearly love to
avoid having to spend a lot of time installing responses through “a sufficient
volume” of training. Many are also near their rope’s end, emotionally, in their
own hectic lives. Coping with the normal behavior of another species is
breaking the camel’s back. This all makes for fertile soil for explanations like
dominance and stubbornness and training methods that employ aversives.
 

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I prefer to reject the debunked "pack theory" from the 50's, and substitute one of my own. Has to do with attitude.

I agree with the excerpt quoted above with respect to the requirement for a "sufficient volume of training" for certain behaviors (desired or undesired), but just having a dog with a good attitude who respects your authority goes a long long way for your average pet owner.

Appropos of nothing, this is my signature on my fishing forum:

("fishing a hump" means fishing around and over terrain shallower than the surrounding water)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for your insights, I have kept him out of the kennel more by attaching him to me with his leash. I still have to be really disciplined to keep his excitement down. Maybe he'll grow out of it. Next week I'm going to sign up for private trainer instruction at my local pet shop. I think this well help educate me on being a better owner. In the meantime here's some pics of him!




 

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Another thing to consider is that anesthesia sometimes causes dogs to have to urinate more (both volume and frequency) for anywhere from a day to several days after surgery, which can sometimes lead to a regression in house training.
 
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