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Training Blog

March 27, 2022

Ask MM - Nervous Pee!

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Written by: Bob Guere

Kelli asked:

How do I stop nervous peeing? I adopted a pup a year ago from the shelter who was abused. We’ve gotten past every issue but the peeing. Help!

Ok, first let’s talk about potty behavior…Liz calls it “partying in the house” haha. Either way, it’s usually some type of communication when dogs go to the bathroom. Whether it’s outside marking or nervous peeing or pooping on your things because he has separation anxiety and doesn’t want you to leave. EVER. Our dogs are trying to speak to us in this most basic way.

Specifically submissive peeing or nervous peeing is caused by too much negative excitement. When I say negative, I mean the dog is excited (elevated adrenaline) but not in a positive way. Most of this type of peeing occurs when you greet or address the dog. Sometimes just when you pick him up or maybe when you raise your voice. Either way, the dog becomes overwhelmed and literally loses control of their bodily functions. That’s a pretty strong reaction!

This should be treated the same as any sensitivity issue and slowly and methodically the dog should be desensitized to whichever stimulus is causing him to pee, i.e.: Touching, talking, elevated tone, picking up, loud noises, etc. You can do this by using a method that I talk about here: http://marleysmutts.com/2014/01/systematic-desensitization-for-fear-aggression-excitement-and-anxiety/ …called Systematic Desensitization and eventually the peeing will stop. Remember, any time you see your dog having an OVER-reaction to something, stop and try to desensitize him too it rather than avoid it. Think about a balloon waving in the breeze…nothing dangerous about it but it commonly can cause dogs to be fearful. Now imagine that every time Sonar and I see a waving balloon, I walk a wide berth around it…what would my dog think? Balloons are bad and should be avoided. We can create unwanted behaviors in our dogs by avoiding things that cause unnatural fears. Instead, try to be strong and confident for your dogs and they will learn they having nothing to fear when YOU are around! Be the calm in the storm…that’s always my mantra when working with fearful dogs. Pictured is adoptable mutt Blaze, he is a very submissive but happy boy. Happy Thursday Mutt Militia!! ~ Lisa
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