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Puppy Training Tips: Submissive Pee

How I Stopped A Puppy From Submissive Peeing

Ever had a puppy that submissively pees? It's not the easiest thing to deal with. Especially when he walk pees his way over to you, shuffling his snow white fluffy feet all through the trail of puddles he was leaving in his wake.

Any time I'd look at Frank he peed. If I reached over to hook his leash to his collar he would pee. Frank wouldn't just squat. He walk-peed every time he approached me. Even gently blocking him from jumping up on me with his now yellow feet would also trigger him to pee.

The crowning glory was his second night of training with me. My classes were full of new people he'd just met. I decided he couldn't go home to his family smelling like the 49 submissive pees that he shuffled through that night.

In the desperate attempt to clean him before he went home, he submissively peed when I reached over to clip the leash to his collar. Then he peed again when I handed the leash to one of my students who was instructed to all but ignore him. Then he submissively pee-walked all around her as I futilely chased him around with some spray on shampoo and a towel. All the while he was getting leery of my assistant who was crawling on hands and knees with cleaner and a roll of paper towels behind him...which of course triggered him to submissive pee some more.

It was some sort of comedic chaos that we could all laugh over long after the fact but in the moment all we could see was...well...yellow.

Frank was with me for 10 days. And his training goals during his time with me was not only help him build confidence and manners around new people and new dogs, but of course to address the never ending streams of submissive pee.

Truthfully, he may have been one of the more extreme cases I've dealt with with this.

The usual approach of ignoring him until he was completely calm, taking your attention away from him the second he squats, and giving him time to outgrow the behaviour were having very little effect. After all, my job was to maximize my interaction with him in a very short amount of time each day to get the training done.

I half wondered how much head way I could make. After all,10 days would be over in the blink of an eye. But this was my job - so I rose to the challenge.

Besides, I knew getting mad at him would only make the situation worse. For puppies, a submissive pee is a sign of respect. If I were to punish him, it would only cause him to "respect" me more.

So I decided to get creative. Thankfully, one of the Frank's redeeming qualities was that he was highly food motivated. Second, he loved to chase and play.

Every time I opened his kennel door, I'd drop food for him before hooking his leash up to his collar. He'd be so busy eating that he would forget to pee...especially when I mastered the ninja speed of clipping his leash to his collar in a single motion so smooth and quick that he barely noticed it happened. I also started Frank's training and socialization program with a game of food chasing. When he was merrily chasing food kibble, the fear subsided. Thanks to evolution, the brain can't be in a playful/problem solving state and a fearful state at the same time. Armed with this knowledge, I used it to my utmost advantage, I used this game to not only teach him obedience exercises, but to also introduce him to new people (the major trigger for his pee episodes).

By the end of the10 days, Frank could confidently sit for greetings with new people without trying to jump up on them, or submissively pee (or do both). It was a full circle win - especially because his final session with me we ended up training with the same students that had met him Day 2. Check out the video below to see how far he's come!

I'm happy to report that I got a very thankful update from his dad a few days after our training was done. He told me that Frank was no longer acting shy around new people, and in fact, had stopped submissively peeing anytime someone new tried to pet him.

Do you have a puppy that tends to submissively pee? Share with us your experiences and what creative solutions you had come up with to help them overcome this behaviour.

We'd love to hear from you!

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