House training is one of the areas of dog ownership that’s most subject to misunderstanding, confusion, and just plain dread!
Today’s newsletter is going to deal with two of the most common problems surrounding the issue of house training:
– Submissive/excited urination
– Scent marking
Common house training problem #1: Submissive / excited urination
What is it?
A ‘submissive urinator’ is a dog that urinates on the floor and himself (and sometimes on you and any guests you may have!) in situations of extreme excitement or stress – like when you return home at the end of the day, or when he’s being told off.
Why does it happen?
Puppies are the usual candidates for submissive/excited urination, but it’s not uncommon to see adult dogs with the problem as well: usually, these are highly sensitive and timid dogs, and/or ones from a shelter/with a history of abuse (often these last two go hand-in-hand.)
When does it happen?
Situations when an excited/fearful dog is likely to urinate:
– Greeting time after a prolonged absence
– Play time
– The arrival of guests
– Stressful situations at home, eg arguments
– During a correction (you’re telling him off)
– Sudden loud noises (thunder, fireworks)
What can I do about it?
Fortunately, it’s not difficult to “cure” your dog of his submissive/excited urination.
First of all, you should take him to the vet to make sure there’s no medical reason for the issue (like diabetes or a bladder infection.)
Next, it’s time to take control of the problem:
– Limit his intake of water to help him control his bladder more effectively. Don’t restrict his water intake over a prolonged period of time, but if you know there’s a situation coming which would normally result in urination – for example, you have guests coming over, or are planning on a play session soon – take his water bowl away for a period of time (maybe half an hour to an hour) before the event.
– When greeting your dog, keep it calm and mellow. The more excited he is, the harder it is for him to control his bladder, so don’t encourage him to get worked up: ignore him for the first few moments, or give him a neutral “hello”, a quick pat, and then go about making yourself at home.
– It’s important that you DO NOT punish or harshly correct your dog for this behavior. It’s not something that he can easily control, and he’s certainly not doing it on purpose. When you catch him in the act, you can interrupt him (a firm “No!” followed by praise when he stops should suffice) but don’t punish him. Keep your cool, and try to be sympathetic: he doesn’t mean to do it, after all!
– If he urinates out of fear (submissiveness) when scolding him for another offense, try to take the stress levels down a notch by keeping a firm, authoritative, but not angry tone. Remember, you’re dealing with a sensitive, highly-strung dog: if you get angry or worry him further, the problem will worsen.
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