Emma peeing as a sign of fear

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Emma peeing as a sign of fear

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Old 06-29-2011, 10:59 AM
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Emma peeing as a sign of fear

When I first adopted Emma she would pee on herself very often when I would do something such as giving her a bath, brushing her, clipping toe nails etc. Eventually she (I assume) got more trusting of me and stopped doing it completely.

Well, yesterday I went to clip her toe nails and she peed herself. She usually is so good and just lays there and stares at the treat bag until I get finished. She's by far the easiest of my 3 to groom. When she did that yesterday it made me feel so bad. I stopped and put the clippers up and haven't attempted it since. Is that what I should have done in this situation? I wasn't about to force her since she was that scared.

The situation had made me feel awful. Like something has happened to cause her to loose trust in me. I know that's probably not the case, but it's discouraging. I have come so far with her from the reactive dog she used to be and I feel like this is a step backward.

Any advice? Why do you think she did this? And what should I do if it continues to happen?
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:27 AM
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I think you are right on to interpret this as fear... it's called "submissive urination."

You sound like a very kind owner. Please don't berate yourself! You can make this easier for her by taking a bit more time to desensitize her and help her to think of the nail clipping as a positive thing because it involves a LOT of treats! You certainly seem to be on the right track there. I would suggest you just go a bit slower, and dole out more treats at every step.

Here is a video of a dog being "counter conditioned" (getting used to it) to nail clipping. This dog reacts aggressively with his fear, which is different from your dog that is peeing, but the problem is similar, and the treatment is similar!

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Old 06-29-2011, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Tess View Post
I think you are right on to interpret this as fear... it's called "submissive urination."

You sound like a very kind owner. Please don't berate yourself! You can make this easier for her by taking a bit more time to desensitize her and help her to think of the nail clipping as a positive thing because it involves a LOT of treats! You certainly seem to be on the right track there. I would suggest you just go a bit slower, and dole out more treats at every step.

Here is a video of a dog being "counter conditioned" (getting used to it) to nail clipping. This dog reacts aggressively with his fear, which is different from your dog that is peeing, but the problem is similar, and the treatment is similar!

YouTube - ‪Dog Aggressive for Toenail Trim | drsophiayin.com‬‏

Thanks for the advice. I could not think of the term 'submissive urination' when I was typing this, but that's what her trainer called it when she first started doing it. I will certainty start giving more treats. Anything that will help her.

Another thing though, when she does pee should I still proceed with the grooming or not? I don't want to because I feel like it just reinforces her thoughts that grooming is bad. I just do not want her to have a bad experience with any the grooming because it took us so long to get to this point. (When I first adopted her she tore down six shower curtains)
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Old 06-29-2011, 01:19 PM
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I would back off if she starts to pee. It means you're going too fast for her comfort level.

Think of this as investing a couple of weeks of counter conditioning, a few minutes every day, but don't expect to actually clip any nails. Just do the toe touches and treats for a while. And if that is too much, just show her the clippers and give a treat. The key is to go as slowly as you need to go to keep her stress level low.
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