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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Edit: This original post was just after she peed — this talk of taking her back was purely out of frustration. Since this time we've bonded on a few long walks and things are looking up :)


Hey all, great community you have going here!

Last week we adopted a Terrier mix named Roxy. She's awesome! She's cute, gentle, walks pretty well, etc...

But there is one issue and it's a big one. Submissive peeing.

We've read up on all of the things to do/not do and we are at our wits end here. We've found a way to avoid the peeing at almost all other times except the most important one — when it's time to put on the collar to go out.

It would be easy if we had a yard but we don't. We have a giant park across the street and she needs her leash in order to get there. Every time we put the leash on she cowers and pees. We ignore it, we try not to hover over her, don't look her in the eyes, don't stand square to her, don't talk to her, etc... but by the time we get her out she doesn't have to go anymore.

She poops outside just fine. It's the peeing thing. We adopted her from a no-kill shelter and we're kind of upset because they failed to mention this to us. It seems that she would do better in a home with a yard.

Anyway, we're at the point where we're wondering if we should take her back, we can't seem to find anymore ideas to try. I want to try picking her up but I'm afraid that she will pee on me.

:(
 

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Sydney had major submissive urination problems for probably six months after we got her. We did all the things you're doing and as she settled in it became less and less of an issue. She's like a whole different dog now (3 years later). So my first piece of advice is to be very patient and let her settle in. You've only had her a week and I suspect it will take a good while for her to become comfortable.

I wonder if you could sit down on the floor, call her over and give her treats while you put the collar on her. That way you're closer to her level and can completely avoid bending down to reach her (which I bet is what she's been finding scary). You'll also be creating positive associations with the activity instead of scary ones. I would also recommend trying to take her out more often like you would a young puppy, to try and get a routine going and to preempt her peeing out of fear by putting the collar on her when her bladder is empty. Let us know how it goes.

Whatever you do, please don't take your dog back to the shelter. In the scope of things this is such a minor problem it isn't even funny.
 

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Sydney had major submissive urination problems for probably six months after we got her. We did all the things you're doing and as she settled in it became less and less of an issue. She's like a whole different dog now (3 years later). So my first piece of advice is to be very patient and let her settle in. You've only had her a week and I suspect it will take a good while for her to become comfortable.

I wonder if you could sit down on the floor, call her over and give her treats while you put the collar on her. That way you're closer to her level and can completely avoid bending down to reach her (which I bet is what she's been finding scary). You'll also be creating positive associations with the activity instead of scary ones. I would also recommend trying to take her out more often like you would a young puppy, to try and get a routine going and to preempt her peeing out of fear by putting the collar on her when her bladder is empty. Let us know how it goes.

Whatever you do, please don't take your dog back to the shelter. In the scope of things this is such a minor problem it isn't even funny.
I agree with this. It would just be someone else that would have to deal with the submissive peeing, and they may not be as forgiving about it as you are (aka hitting and scolding). This issue can be fixed, it will just take some time and training. A yard wouldn't make a difference in submissive peeing anyways, since it is not necessarily related to housebreaking. Since she was adopted from a shelter you don't really know anything about who her owners were. Putting a leash/collar on to go outside could have meant scary things in her old home. Maybe every time they had the leash put on they would yank and pull, and now she is afraid the same will happen with you (just an example). You just never know what experiences could have let to these issues, which is a negative about shelters, BUT the positives outweigh the negatives x10000 because you are saving a dog that was most likely in a much worse off situation than they are now.

Definitely bring out the treats when it is leash time, and maybe practice wearing the leash sometimes, like 5-10 minutes a day, and give treats when she is wearing it. I like to break the treats into very tiny pieces so I can give "more" treats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I made this post just after she peed all over the floor so it might have been a bit of an overreaction.

Thanks for the support everyone. Just after I posted this, I tried sittingon the floor and letting her come to me. She came over and put her head on my lap and nose through the collar! I got up, didn't look at her and we went out for a long walk!

:clap2: ROXY :clap2:

She's peeing less the past few days, I'm learning how to change my whole body language to something more gentle and confident, it seems to be working. Also she's really good at the park with the leash off, I think her confidence is building and this peeing thing is going to pass.

thanks
 

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Go Roxy!! I think her peeing will pass too. Just hang in there and keep doing what you are doing.
 

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I’m not sure how you feel about collars. I have heard of dogs killing themselves in crates when collars get stuck so I totally understand if you have an objection to letting your dog wear a collar all the time. That being said, all of the dogs I have ever owned always wear collars. The only come off when it’s bath time. I like knowing that if the worst happens and they run out the door, they have their info on them and someone can return them to me. This may be a one in a million chance but it’s worth it in my opinion. I also like it because sometimes I have to pull them away from something that is just too exciting or to give them the needed nudge to wake up, get off the couch, and go to bed at night. It’s super useful when I need to hold Rory so I can use the hair remover mitt to stop some of the shedding in the house. For a puppy this isn’t as big of a deal as it us for an adult dog but better for her to get used to it now.

Not actually having a collar go over her head may stop the peeing all together. You would only have to reach under her chin to clip a leash on. If it still is a problem sometimes, practice putting the leash on outside where it’s safe for her to pee. Maybe set up an x pen or have a leash already attached and attach a second one just so she gets used to the motion. Combine that with a treat and she may start brining you the leash randomly. We had a golden that brought us the leash whenever he wanted to go play.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Not actually having a collar go over her head may stop the peeing all together. You would only have to reach under her chin to clip a leash on. If it still is a problem sometimes, practice putting the leash on outside where it’s safe for her to pee. Maybe set up an x pen or have a leash already attached and attach a second one just so she gets used to the motion.
The thing is that she pees when we clip the leash on inside (she doesn't mind if we stand over her, clip/unclip outside) so holding it low and letting her put her head in seems to work — getting a 2nd collar w/ tags sounds like a good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It seems that Roxy is peeing in little bits in her crate still. Is this something that will pass? We're going to try and move the divider in a few cm and see what happens.

We just don't want her sitting in urine all day and then ruin her coat with over-washing.
 

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I'm really glad that sitting down and letting her come to you is helping with the leash situation. :D Keep it up!

As for peeing in her crate, can you give a little bit of context? Like, does she do it when you're gone for a good while (maybe while you're at work?) so it could be that she's having trouble holding it? Or does she do it when you come near her cage in fear? Does she do it immediately when she gets inside, etc?

My first suggestion regardless would be to make sure you take her out immediately before you put her in the crate for any reason. That way her bladder will be empty and she'll be less likely to have to go. The less opportunity she had to pee in her crate the less it will be reinforced as a behavior she thinks is correct. We can probably give some more specific advice with more context though.

EDIT: If it's only little bits (like spotting instead of actually outright peeing) then it could be a medical issue. Bladder infections can cause this and so could spay incontinence. Either one she be relatively inexpensive to treat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The problem with taking her outside is that she doesn't seem to associate it with peeing, only walking. However, there is an off-leash part of the park that she seems to consistently do her business (maybe she's more easygoing off the leash for potty?) but it takes about 15mins to get to (not a big problem when we have time for it). I would prefer if she would just go in the part of the park across the street, that way it's easier for everybody (rain, time constraint, etc...).


As for the peeing in the crate, it's hard to tell because it seems to happen when we're not around. It's usually in small amounts too so perhaps it's the culmination of dripping all night.

The mornings are the hardest for submissive peeing. This morning especially, she was especially cowering and looked terrified (was the leash punishment in her last home?). She even started licking the pee! I usually ignore the peeing and have somebody else clean it when we go out but when she started licking the puddle I told her "no", was this right of me?
 

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For getting her to associate the outdoors with doing her business you should praise her heavily and give her treats when she does go outside. Eventually she'll get in the habit of going more quickly because she wants that treat. :)

Like I mentioned before, I would just keep up with your potty training and make certain to take her out very often until she gets the hang of it, as though she were a young puppy. I would think every 2 hours would be enough. The more often you take her out the less chance she has of going in the house and the more she goes outside the more it will reinforce that that is the correct behavior, especially with you treating and praising her. Don't assume this dog can hold it for a long time (or even the amount you would expect for any adult dog) because this will just set her up for failure. You want to set her up for success and then reward her when she does succeed. Btw, sorry if you've already mentioned it, but how old is she?

I don't think it was wrong to tell her no when she tries to drink her urine, so long as you aren't scaring her. Definitely don't punish her for urinating in the house though, as this will just make her want to hide from you and she'll start trying to go behind furniture etc. and out of your sight. Obviously that would create a bigger problem than you have now. You want it to be the most awesome thing in the world for her to pee in front of you when you're outside, and not rewarding (but also not punished) if she goes inside. She will start to learn that going outside = awesome and fun while going inside = boring.

Also I would start sitting down, having her come to you and putting the collar/leash on her many times a day and treating and praising in a non-threatening way to help recondition her so that putting collar on = awesome and fun instead of threatening and scary. Don't push her for a while, until she shows progress don't try to lean over and put her leash on, always sit down and let her come to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The shelter claims that she's 2 though with her goofy puppy-like gait I feel like she's closer to 1 or 1.25. I also think that she was a puppy-mill dog so the whole potty business outside may be new to her.

I sit on the floor and hold the collar open for her to put her head into, seems to work for her. But maybe I will try putting it on outside first thing in the morning. Also, I think that treats is a really good idea though she doesn't seem very food motivated — then again maybe I should try giving her something REALLY delicious when she gets her collar on/goes outside.
 
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