Rescue - Submissive Urination and Fear

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Rescue - Submissive Urination and Fear

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Old 10-10-2018, 01:14 PM
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Rescue - Submissive Urination and Fear

We adopted our dog in 2015 from a rescue in Mexico. We had very little information other than she was living with a family there and was abandoned when they moved.
In the last 3 years she has been a fearful, detached dog. She doesnt respond to praise or treats. In fact often when she is offered a treat for good behavior, she will squat and pee. We had 2 children when we adopted her, as we were told she had lived with children previously. While she never has shown aggression toward them, she also hasn't bonded to them at all. Whenever our son tries to pet her she will pee (but only sometimes which is very confusing to him.)
We had a third child this year and her behavior has become steadily worse. She attempts to butt in between us and the baby and also has shown food aggression toward him if he happens to crawl into the room while she is eating.
I'm at my waits end. We've had her nearly 4 years and I have no idea how to retrain a dog that is totally unmotivated by praise, food or toys. She doesn't play, she bolts every chance she gets. WHAT ELSE CAN I DO???
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Old 10-10-2018, 05:47 PM
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I rescued a fearful dog that had been returned at least 4 times to the shelter over three years. Then went to foster. Then we had to put her through intense painful scary heartworm treatment and we had no bond with her yet.

What kind of treats/food have you tried so far?

I have personally found that almost every dog will respond to food, but it depends how you are doing it.

If you are using food as a motivator or reinforcement you have to use really high value food. Dry treats don't generally cut it for the fearfuls. We cook homemade chicken, meat, chicken gizzards/livers, etc. Also I use bits of cheese, deli chicken lunch meat, hotdogs, etc. Sometimes I have to use stinky canned dog food for some of our fearful stuff, like counterconditioning to thunderstorms. The food generally has to be delicious and smell really, really good to get a fearful or stressed dog to pay attention to you. Smell is key!

Most all of the commercial dry dog treats are not smelly enough to entice a fearful or stressed dog in the beginning.

Also, I short my dog's meals in their bowls and use yummy food as rewards during the day for great behavior. This way my dogs don't get overweight. Plus...a dog who is a bit hungry will work harder to earn the food rewards more than a totally stuffed dog after a meal.

I am betting if you "up" the value of the food/treats you may just find your dog is more interested in learning and becoming more confident.
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Old 10-10-2018, 06:07 PM
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Feed RG dog separately with NO babies nearby!

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We had a third child this year and her behavior has become steadily worse. She attempts to butt in between us and the baby and also has shown food aggression toward him if he happens to crawl into the room while she is eating.
I'm at my waits end. WHAT ELSE CAN I DO???
Hi again. Thank you for coming to our forum to seek help for your dog. Fearful dogs are very special, but can take a lot of patience and experience and knowledge to help them become less stressed. I know because I have one!!! I work with her all the time, and her progress is remarkable, but it can be very hard at times.

As for RG (resource guarding) and your dog--- I would strongly recommend that you feed your dog separately from all small children and babies until you work out the RG. Don't take a chance of your dog feeling the need to bite your baby since she is so stressed by the baby!

Feed your dog in another room, or use baby gates to create a safe and peaceful place for your dog to eat. The more your dog is stressed by the baby, the worse the aggression will probably become --and may go into other areas in life. Your dog is telling you very clearly by her aggressive behavior that she is uncomfortable with the baby being near her food.

How have you guys handled the food aggression or any other fearful aggressive behavior?

Please make sure that your are not yelling at your dog, punishing her, or telling her not to growl when she is doing so. This will only make it worse and is unsafe, esp if you have kiddos.

A dog that growls is communicating her discomfort or anxiety or fear. Dogs that get punished for growling (or are told not to growl) are way more apt to go straight to the bite, instead of delivering a warning.

Is it possible for you to have a trained behaviorist come out to your house, even if it just for an evaluation? If so, please, please use only a positive reinforcement based person as fearful dogs do not do well with fear based training.
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Old 10-10-2018, 06:45 PM
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Try a different treat delivery method

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W
In the last 3 years she has been a fearful, detached dog. She doesnt respond to praise or treats. In fact often when she is offered a treat for good behavior, she will squat and pee.
Just a thought:

Perhaps the way you are giving your dog the treats is scaring or stressing her?

Maybe the human's hand coming near her is making her nervous?
So even if you are giving her treats, she may be more worried about your approaching hand. Thus the nervous peeing and not wanting to take the treats.

Have you tried different delivery methods of the treats?

For my nervous dog Gracie, I learned to toss her the treats when it wasn't cool or safe to hand feed them, like when she was originally freaking out over seeing other dogs. If I had hand fed her the treats at that point she may have redirected onto me and bit me accidentally. So I just would toss them up in the air, or throw them on the ground for her to find.

When I introduce my shy Gracie to people I ask them to NOT stick their hands out to her. I let her sniff the person, no petting allowed. Then I may see if they want to give her a treat. We always start out by ME putting a treat at the person's feet. Not by hand. This way Gracie can take the treat without the fear of the person petting her or touching her. Sometimes we progress to doing tricks for food rewards if we (Gracie and I) like the other person! But NO hands on her without my permission! This way she is never nervous meeting anyone-- she now loves to greet people, but always on her comfort level. I never push with this one.

Maybe just put the treat on the ground if she is uncomfortable with your approaching hands. Not sure if this is even the case, but worth a shot.

Also, I find that shy dogs do much better with very quiet, gentle voices for training and praise. Non-fearful dogs are cool generally with loud fun exuberant praise, but shy or fearful or anxious dogs can get worried and nervous with louder voices. Maybe think about how you are working with her and alter your sounds.

My shy dog had no interest in loud super excited people, even if they have a treat she won't take it. I get it. I generally tell people politely that Gracie is shy and responds better to soft voices.

Do you feel this may apply at all to you guys? Hope it helps.

Last edited by AthenaLove; 10-10-2018 at 06:50 PM.
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Old 10-10-2018, 07:10 PM
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Yes I've tried several methods of giving treats. Today I tossed her a few pieces of noodle from my sons lunch and her response was to urinate and walk across the room while doing so leaving a 6 foot trail of pee. Sigh. I think I will have to look into a behavioral trainer. I see no other option at this point.

Thank you for your feeding suggestion. We have started feeding her away from the baby. We were just so alarmed at this response. I'm not risking her biting the kids.
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Old 10-10-2018, 07:39 PM
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Goodness, your dog sounds so fearful. So sad. I sure wish I was there so I could help you in person.

Will she eat out of your hand?

Maybe tossing food at her triggers some old memory of something coming at her?

What about just setting the food treat on a specific mat with a specific cue like "Treat time" so that she learns that treats given there are always safe?

Sounds like she lacks confidence hence the peeing and aggression. Does she know any tricks that y'all can do together? I found trick training really has helped my shy fearful cautious Gracie dog immensely!

Have you tried giving her regular daily massages? (not regular petting) I do this daily with my Gracie dog and it really helps her to relax in general and it increases our bond and trust. You can look up TTouch online to read more about how it really helps fearful or anxious dogs..Maybe try this?

I really want to help you guys since I really understand fearful dogs and have helped my dog so much. Thank you for genuinly wanting to help your dog
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Old 10-10-2018, 07:57 PM
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Another thing I just thought of, are you guys giving your fearful dog enough mental stimulation, as well as physical stimulation?

I know you said your dog doesn't like to play. My cautious fearful Gracie is the same way. Most toys actually scared her. She was afraid of water, sprinklers, swimming so that was out. She was afraid of other dogs, so no play there. (Finally I am thrilled to report, she is now playing like a real dog for the most part with my new Puma pup!!!)

But she loves to do tricks. We do them often. So good for her brain and her confidence!

And she loooooves to go on really long walks. I take her for "adventure walks" (two awesome hours today) where I let her sniff and sniff and sniff. We look for dogs and cats and deer... and I countercondition her to all of these with delicious treats and praise.... so now she really wants to find the dogs or other animals!! Totally different response now.

Do you take your dog on walks? If so, do you give her ample time to sniff and sniff and sniff? So many people stifle this and only want the dog to walk in a straight line and get physical exercise... and not sniff.

Sniffing is how dogs learn about their environment and become more confident. So important, esp for fearful/nervous dogs. So good for their mental health and well being. If you walk her, maybe think about how much time you are allowing for sniffing and learning her environment, so she will be less anxious overall.
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Old 10-10-2018, 08:19 PM
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Last post for tonight---promise sorry to overload you with thoughts and questions.

So here goes another thought on the matter: Since you have kiddos in your family that probably means a lot of stimulation, noise, running, fast movements past the dog, stepping over the dog, startling a resting dog, excitement, etc. Some dogs simply don't do well with this atmosphere or at best, are generally uncomfortable.

Kids are very unpredictable around dogs, and even though they have the best intentions, can be darn right annoying to any dog. Especially a fearful/ nervous/shy dog!

My cautious fearful Gracie would not do well with a houseful of kids. No way. It would be way too over stimulating for her to deal with. The few times I get loud and annoying and over excited to test her tolerance level as we progress, she generally sends me very clear body language signals that she is not comfortable with my nonsense. I see lots of lip licking, yawning, and look aways.

So where am I going with this? I am wondering if you have designated a very quiet peaceful place for your dog to retreat to when needed? Maybe a nice beloved crate with a blanket draped over it to keep it more den like? Or a soft blanket in a corner of a quiet (no kids allowed) room? Or behind a baby gate with no lil ones frolicking?

Even my super friendly Puma pup goes off on her own to rest on one of her blanket areas to get retreat from the rest of us
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Old 10-11-2018, 07:32 PM
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All great suggestions. Today she hid upstairs from 6am til 3:15pm. Went out for a pee. I put two treats down on the floor and she ate them which was good. Then I let her be for a bit. She came over for a scratch which was good. I gave her another treat which she took from my hand (great.) She even took a couple pieces of chicken from my hand. Then suddenly for no reason, I tried giving her another treat and she refused to take it and hid behind our table. It's like a switch flipped. I don't get it.
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Old 10-11-2018, 09:10 PM
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Lots of conflicted emotions in your dog: Love & attention vs self protection

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Then suddenly for no reason, I tried giving her another treat and she refused to take it and hid behind our table. It's like a switch flipped. I don't get it.
I hear ya. And I understand completely. So hard as a dog owner to see this.

Your dog probably battles with conflicted emotions of wanting love and feeling like she needs to self protect.

With my cautious fearful Gracie I have seen a lot of similar behavior over the years. Some moments she says yes, some she says no. No exact rhyme or reason. Like in the mornings, we wake up, she jumps on the bed to say hi to me. I gently put my hand out to see if she wants petties. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

If it is a no, I have to just be patient and wait for her to be ready to accept my love. But then... a few minutes later she comes over to me and buries her head in my lap or sits in my lap which is her clear sign of yes, you can pet me now. We call it Gracie is "open for business" or "closed for business"

Sigh. So hard at times. Makes me sad that she has to keep herself so guarded at times. BUT-----HUGE improvements from the days that we couldn't even put our hands anywhere near her body without her completely freaking out! Even putting on her leash was dicey. She slept in her harness for the first 3 months as it was too risky to take it on and off, for fear of her freaking out on us. Seriously.

Gracie has progressed incredibly. But it has taken a lot of patience, trust, understanding and humane training between us. Never a quick fix for these cautious or fearful dogs. But so worth the effort. The joy of watching her conquer each of her fears is beyond words for me.

I personally think this type of behavior that your dog is showing with the taking of treats from you has something to do with her being conflicted about getting close to you or others. She probably really craves attention and affection, and closeness but her inner core is genuinely afraid of something. She probably is constantly deep down in self protect mode, even if she doesn't want to be.

I equate these dogs with a person who has been victimized...that person may genuinely want a close relationship with another person, but because they were hurt/violated in the past, their self defense mechanisms kick in and stop them from trusting 100%. Hence the back and forth of seeking and giving affection/hiding/retreat/etc. Humans aren't that different from dogs in some aspects.

Does this help at all? Think of your dog as a dog who really loves you, but her inner core is genuinely afraid. She needs to gain confidence in life through safe interactions, predictability, gentle humane training, tons of patience and understanding, and lots of genuine love and compassion.
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