My dog has a recurring problem. When he gets nervous in the house, which is often in the early morning when my husband is getting ready to leave for work, he pees. Or sometimes when you're playing with him. He's a year old, maybe a little older.
My husband, Terry, wakes up and goes out to the living room where the dog is. He sees his sunglasses on the floor (he works outside so they're important), and crouches down next to them while saying in an angry tone, "what happened to my glasses?" The dog jumps up onto the couch and pees on the couch, then, as he is rolling into his submissive posture on his back, pees right in my husband's face!!! Terry starts yelling, and the dog hops off the couch and runs all over the house, peeing.
It happened again this morning. . . Scene 2: dog peed a little on the couch. No one knows why! We got upset, and tried to take the dog outside. He peed the whole way outside.
This has to stop. It's driving me nuts, mainly because of how Terry handles it. He gets angry, yells, strikes the dog on the nose, and drags him by the scruff of his neck outside. Drags him. He says that he isn't striking him, that he is just tapping the dogs nose to show him it's wrong. Is this right? What do we do? I haven't had a dog since I was a young girl; I don't quite know how to train a dog. I just wonder if there is something in the way of positive reinforcement. I've heard to follow the dog out when he goes to pee and congratulate him, but our dog pees on the perimeter of the property, where we like him to go, usually.
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
posted 7 years ago
One of the best books I have read :" Dog Sense " by John Bradshaw will update you on how a dog learns and ways that they cannot learn. They definitely do not associate their bad dog acts with the punishments we doll out to them. They are not wired for that. The book has some great recommendations for the type of training systems that work best . All animal behavior science based stuff. Then of course there is my favorite dog trainer Uncle Matty Margolis. Books :
" Good Dog , Bad Dog " " I Just Got a Puppy What Do I Do ? " . PBS TV series " Woof , It's A Dogs Life ". Uncle Matty teaches to reinforce good behaviors and gently correct bad ones. The science states that dogs are not wolves , they are definitely wired for pleasing humans . We just have to teach them what pleases us. Harsh punishments teach the dog anxiety. They have no idea why or when the next human outburst will be directed at them . They are looking at us for signals that tell them what we want.
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Peeing is a submissive behaviour. It may be your husband needs to work on his relationship with the dog by taking him on walks, playing, teaching tricks, or just general positive handling. It sounds like being yelled at makes the dog pee, so he may need to rethink his reaction to the dog's unwanted behaviour. Good luck!
That's definitely submissive urination. Your dog is afraid of your husband. My best recommendation to get him to stop is to reacting negatively to anything the dog does that you don't like until you can teach the dog what is appropriate. As much as you can, manage the living situation so the dog can't get at things that are important (Terry's sunglasses and what not). If he does do something that you don't like, just clean up the mess or whatever but don't show any anger towards the dog. It will just exacerbate the situation. Positive reinforcement will definitely help but I don't think this is a housebreaking issue as much as a fear issue. When the dog learns to not be afraid, the behaviour will cease. You might come across some good recommendations in the question and answer section of this website:
yeah, your dog is afraid of your significant other and is begging him to smell how submissive he is, your dog is trying very very hard to communicate that he is submissive, the more angry your significant other gets, the harder yoru dog will try to get him to see he is submissive to him- aka the worse the pee situation is going to get
when we very first adopted our dog 10 years ago, my DH could not even stand upright in the same room or use his normal voice without her getting submissive, within a month we had the entire thing turned around, I had to train my DH, the dog was speaking loud and clear
AND setting your dog up for success, why is he allowed on the sofa anyway? your dog also will feel more confident when he knows what the house rules are and what his job in life is
I agree with the other comments, its all about training your husband/ Training the trainer! Puppy proof your house and train your husband. Dogs are social animals and want to please and be loved. They also want to be trained and stay occupied.
Dogs dont speak english ( or german) lol. But they do know body language and tone. (better than you or I)
Volhard and Fisher used to have a great book about training the trainer. And they both have books that have been out for a long time.
Best of luck in training them both
I think your dog would definitely benefit from having a crate! We had a dog that did submissive peeing and I didn't believe in crate training dogs back then, so every time we came home she'd pee on the floor, also when anyone else came to the door, and if we got her too excited. With your husband's putting the fear in the dog, it might really do better having a safe place to retreat to. But you have to make the crate a positive thing. When we had to crate our dog later when she became incontinent from old age, we would lure her in with a treat. Soon she wanted to go there for naps. They think of it as their safe space.
Yes, you have submissive peeing, as others have said. Dogs are like kids, for some a harsh look is discipline, and some need more. This dog needs a safe place, where nothing bad happens, like a crate. Drape a towel or blanket over it to make it dark but cleanable, and put it in a quiet corner. Give him his own chewies that stay in the crate.
An upholstered couch, once "blessed," will always smell like a pee spot to a dog. You may be able to stop the submissive peeing, but it might also help to recover or slipcover the cushions, or move it to another room at least temporarily. Also, use bitter apple on the sunglasses.
Temporarily keep DH away from him, for example, get up early and let the dog out before your DH is about, then crate the dog until DH has left. He will likely appreciate having a safe place.
Then train as follows:
Pick a time/place when the dog is settled, maybe a room where there have been no issues (dogs remember the places things happen), or maybe outside. Pick a phrase like "relax, you're fine. " sit next to him, not a head on confrontation, and pet him a bit. See if you an get him to sit at your side. Now we have a positional cue, sitting at your side, a location cue, that place, and an audio cue "relax your fine" which all mean safety. So if you get this far without peeing, do it twice a day for four days. Then try it with your DH looking in. If it goes well, repeat once a day for four days. Then try it with your DH speaking. Then repeat the success twice a day for our days, ad so on. Then a little closer. Then with you between DH and the dog. Then with the dog between you. Then move to a different place. The longer the peeing went on, the longer and slower the recovery will be.
That's one approach, open to modification, free advice, worth every penny. But I also agree DH needs to take the dog to puppy classes or some kind of trainer. (Be prepared for the dog to pee in the car, it will be scary for the dog to be trapped in there with DH) That takes you out of the middle, and lets the trainer be the one to teach DH to be gentle with this dog. That's more likely to fix the dog/DH relationship long term, which is the real goal. Scared dogs can lead to fear biting, so addressing the issue is important.