Rescue dog urinating in fear

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Rescue dog urinating in fear

This is a discussion on Rescue dog urinating in fear within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hi guys, I adopted an approx. 3 year old chihuahua from an animal shelter in my area. They had no prior history or background on ...

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Old 06-04-2018, 12:19 AM
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Rescue dog urinating in fear

Hi guys,

I adopted an approx. 3 year old chihuahua from an animal shelter in my area. They had no prior history or background on him. He's been neutered, but has fairly bad teeth - probably going to need a dental cleaning and a few extractions.

We've had him since the beginning of February, and he's improved so much.

He was a giant jerk in the kennels, he growled, he bit, he barked constantly, he freaked at every other dog he saw. He came home after he was fixed and he was a different dog. Nervous and tense sometimes but he started to play, he came to his name, he climbed on our laps and was happy to be pet. Still growled and showed teeth if he felt cornered but we understood that. Pretty sure in his past life he was abused - If we ever tell him 'no' Or 'Bad' he gets very nervous. If we approach him and bend down to pet him he cowers and pees.

Over time he's gotten much better. Never shows his teeth, only rarely growls at the cats and even snuggles our big dog. He has great recall outside. He's still so nervous though.

If I pet him and he didn't see me coming he yelps and runs away. He's so happy to come up on your lap and snuggle, but sometimes he comes to you and still ends up fear peeing all over your lap once you start petting him. If he's laying on the couch beside me and I pet him, sometimes he's super happy, sometimes he pees all over it. And if you tell him gently 'down' Or 'off the couch' he gets super scared and acts like you've screamed at him.

I know he'll likely improve with time, as he realizes he isn't going to be hit or physically disciplined, but is there anything we can do to help things along? It's tiring always cleaning puddles of pee out of the carpet, and he's so happy when he does get snuggles and affection - but you never know when you can give it without him peeing on everything.

Thanks for any advice

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Old 06-04-2018, 04:31 PM
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What I'd do is first see if he'll be comfortable wearing a belly band, and not think it's too scary of an experience, if he will that will take care of the accidents while you work on his fearful response. If he does find it really scary then just skip it because all it will do is set you back. You can use pee pads, or rubber backed baby mattress covers, where he has most of the fear peeing, and it will save your carpets and couch.

For the next step you are going to need very high value treats, broken up into fingernail sized pieces. You need to break them up or you will end up with a very fat dog. By high value I mean hot dog bits, tiny pieces of cheese, little pieces of chicken or beef, the higher the value the better!

Keep the treats in a baggie in your pocket a treat pouch, or some other out of sight place, you don't want him to see them or the treat may become a bribe and that's what you don't want.

Now when you bend over him drop one of those treats, do that a few times then just walk away. Human bending over me = great treats, oh good the human's bending over! When he's all excited to have you bend over him, reach down and hand feed him the treat then pet him a time or two before standing up. Human bending down and reaching to me = great treats, Yay this is awesome, please bend over! Do that over and over till he's happy with you bending over him. He should stop peeing and come to really look forward to you bending over. Once that happens you can start giving him the treats randomly and just pet him a time or two. If you notice him getting fearful, back up, give him space, and go back a step work if for awhile longer.

For the couch I'd work on making the off cue a happy one. My saying off would be paired with the high value treats. To start with I'd toss the treats on the floor while saying off at the same time. Do that a few times then try just saying off and see how he reacts.

The idea behind it all is to change how he's feeling about what he finds so scary that he pees.
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