Training and Care — Tip Of The Week
Excerpt from Our New
Australian Shepherd Lover's Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care
How to Stop Submissive Urination
Submissive urination happens because the dog becomes so frightened or anxious that she literally wets herself. In a dog pack, this kind of urination is a way for the very low dogs in the pack to show their submission to the leader.
In other words, your dog feels she is so low down the pecking order that she’s afraid of you. Now, this problem can happen even if you’ve never done anything to dominate or physically hurt your dog. It can even be the result of poor socialization by the breeder, before you got your dog as a puppy (or rescue dog). On the other hand, remember what we said earlier about speaking your dog’s language. It may simply be that your body language or voice tones have been frightening the dog without you even realizing it.
If you have a habit of staring your dog in the eye, you may be making her feel submissive by accident. If you’re tall and you loom over her when you greet her, this can also be frightening for some shy dogs – remember, you look like a giant to her. If your dog rolls over to expose her belly whenever you loom over her, it’s a sign of submissiveness.
So, right away you can see what the WRONG way to deal with this behavior is: getting angry and yelling. That’s only going to make things worse, as you’ll scare your dog and make her feel even more submissive.
It seems counter-intuitive, but you actually need to ignore the behavior. You can do this by setting up a situation which would usually result in submissive urination. Do this outside, for obvious reasons. Come out and greet your dog just as you normally would. When she urinates, pay no attention and walk away from her.
Go and sit down across the yard from her and call her to you. She now has a chance to greet you at her level – and with an empty bladder. Use a treat to lure her over if necessary. If she’s crawling along the ground submissively, get her attention with the treat and use it to get her standing while you start to pet her. If she shies away from your touch, stop and try again another time.
You might have to apply this technique for weeks or even months, but be patient and consistent. Pair this with the techniques for building confidence in Chapter 7. Also, pay more attention to your body language and voice tone and eliminate anything like looming over your dog or staring at her, which may seem threatening if she’s not confident.
Next time: How to Stop Excitement Urination
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