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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there!

Back in February of this year I rescued a puppy and named her Cypress, her mom is a shepherd/retriever mix and dad is unknown but we believe him to be part lab/border collie. She was just over 2months when I had adopted her and had been a breeze to train due to her obsession with food, however, she has always been highly prone to many accidents in the house and even on the road on walks. At first, I believed it to just be puppy things but as it progressed I noticed she is an excitable and submissive pee-r.

We have worked on her potty training relentlessly and she fully knows the routine of going outside after waking up, before going to bed, and being let out when she sits at the back door (sometimes with some whining). I have always rewarded her when she pees outside in the grass/dirt and when she waits by the back door and used to scold her for her bad pees. Since learning about submissive and excited pees, I no longer punish for those and just move on but there seems to be many random pees all around but typically in the stairwell, living room, and on the back porch and outside stairs.

I also want to add I was away in University when I first got her and have been living back at home since April for the summer (and leaving again for Uni shortly to the same house). At my Uni house there are cats and back at home here we have our 2 family dogs (both fixed m and f), 2 outdoor cats, and also a hobby farm with goats, chickens, and ducks. I'm not sure if any of this plays any part but thought I'd share some context.

She is now over 8months old and I thought the accidents would stop by now but just today she had 5 accidents (1 being an excited pee from intense playing with one of my family's dogs and 1 being submissive for sure). Most days she goes without any accidents but then there seems to be some days as if she's never been housetrained at all. Can anyone explain why she keeps peeing even though she seems to be housetrained? How can I go about helping her to fix it? I love her to bits and she's a fantastic dog but I'm exhausted cleaning up pee all the time!!
 

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There are a couple things that come to mind. But easier stuff first.
1. I know there's a cue, but how often does she pee? Every 2 hours? Twenty minutes after a big drink?
2. Maybe not, but have those accident prone spots been cleaned with an enzymatic cleaner? They might also be places where "sneak pees" (her and one of the other animals) have happened, so they encourage revisits. A blacklight might be handy.
3. This could very well be-and my first guess- a medical problem. Chronic UTI, kidney and/or ureter abnormalities, other physical abnormalities, hormone imbalance, weak bladder muscles, the list goes on.
4. You could try kicking up the value of those rewards for outside pees, but I really would pop into the vet's office first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There are a couple things that come to mind. But easier stuff first.
1. I know there's a cue, but how often does she pee? Every 2 hours? Twenty minutes after a big drink?
2. Maybe not, but have those accident prone spots been cleaned with an enzymatic cleaner? They might also be places where "sneak pees" (her and one of the other animals) have happened, so they encourage revisits. A blacklight might be handy.
3. This could very well be-and my first guess- a medical problem. Chronic UTI, kidney and/or ureter abnormalities, other physical abnormalities, hormone imbalance, weak bladder muscles, the list goes on.
4. You could try kicking up the value of those rewards for outside pees, but I really would pop into the vet's office first.
Thank you for the reply!

She typically pees every couple hours or so and we usually let her out even more often than that, sometimes she'll have an accident after just having been outside. On carpeted spots, we use a carpet cleaner that is supposed to work for pee spots as well and on hardwood I usually wipe it up and clean it with some lysol wipes.

The funny thing is I saw there could be health issues but it's so hit and miss that the vets I have talked to just wrote it off as a puppy thing. I can ask the next vet I see or schedule an appointment but I was pondering the idea of maybe finding a trainer to book a consultation in case it's behavioral.

I'll try to keep up with the rewards for sure, when I have some spare time I'll be taking her outside specifically to work on rewarding good pees since she somewhat knows the command "go pee".
 

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Try the enzyme cleaner on the hardwood as well. I think there are specific formulas if you're worried about damage.
If it helps, it's usually (though not always) UTI, bladder muscle weakness, then abnormality in young dogs. You might need to be more firm, "I'm bringing in [name] for a UTI urine culture." No taking "no" or "unnecessary" and ask to see the test results.
You can try slowly bladder training her in the meantime. For example: goes 20 minutes after breakfast? See if she can hold it 21-22 before letting her out. Work up slowly from there.
A certified behaviorist might be more knowledgeable than a trainer, but also may e not.
Wish you luck, keep us updated, and hopefully more people will chime in.
 

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I'd just add that it sounds like it's a control problem so agree a vet check. After that, you want her to learn to really try to hold her toilet. So, I'd suggest you up your reward for outside toreward to something really special like roast chicken or frankfurter sausage, that is only used for outside toilets. And make sure you deliver it immediately, so it is really clear that it's for toileting and not for anything else.

You also know some triggers, so if she is playing and isn't outdoors already, take her out at the end of play. You said today you know that one was a submissive pee - how did you know? Whatever the trigger was, if that happens again, have her outside or take her out to empty before it occurs.
 

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No, I think she is a girl!
Sorry again..I was misreading things as it was quite early here when I attempted to respond. In that case, I must return to my original guess of spay incontinance as a possibility. I had an Aussie girl that developed spay incontinence and was put on Proin until she passed away, which was UNRELATED to her condition.

Coffee worked wonders..LOL
251526
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'd just add that it sounds like it's a control problem so agree a vet check. After that, you want her to learn to really try to hold her toilet. So, I'd suggest you up your reward for outside toreward to something really special like roast chicken or frankfurter sausage, that is only used for outside toilets. And make sure you deliver it immediately, so it is really clear that it's for toileting and not for anything else.

You also know some triggers, so if she is playing and isn't outdoors already, take her out at the end of play. You said today you know that one was a submissive pee - how did you know? Whatever the trigger was, if that happens again, have her outside or take her out to empty before it occurs.
I knew it was a submissive pee because when I showed her to a pee that she had previously done she got upset and then peed in submission. The difficult part is that most days she's a-ok and has no accidents. She was left at home in the house with the other two dogs for a couple hours on the weekend and was perfectly fine. I just don't understand the random pees that seem to come out of nowhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sorry again..I was misreading things as it was quite early here when I attempted to respond. In that case, I must return to my original guess of spay incontinance as a possibility. I had an Aussie girl that developed spay incontinence and was put on Proin until she passed away, which was UNRELATED to her condition.

Coffee worked wonders..LOL
View attachment 251526
She has been spayed since 6months of age but the problem has been the same from before her spay and after.
 

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when I showed her to a pee that she had previously done she got upset and then peed in submission.
I'm afraid that suggests she is nervous or afraid of you. Taking her to a pee she has already done is pointless and even harmful (as you have seen). Scolding or punishing her is counterproductive because it just makes her want to avoid you if she needs to toilet, the opposite of what you want. Dogs don't make a distinction between you being cross at them for toileting, as opposed to toileting inside. So they often seek or create opportunities to toilet when you are not there. If you want to stop this, it is important that you stop scolding, punishing and scaring her when she has had an accident. Hard as it is, try not to react.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm afraid that suggests she is nervous or afraid of you. Taking her to a pee she has already done is pointless and even harmful (as you have seen). Scolding or punishing her is counterproductive because it just makes her want to avoid you if she needs to toilet, the opposite of what you want. Dogs don't make a distinction between you being cross at them for toileting, as opposed to toileting inside. So they often seek or create opportunities to toilet when you are not there. If you want to stop this, it is important that you stop scolding, punishing and scaring her when she has had an accident. Hard as it is, try not to react.
I've been trying more not to scold but it's what we did with all of our previous family dogs and it always worked. But I can see if she's a more excitable and submissive dog how this can be negative. Sometimes it's difficult not to react, it's been a problem for so long that I get frustrated very easily.

I will definitely work on not scolding and building her trust when needing to do her business and see if this helps.
 

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There is another thing that you can try. All of mine reacted positively after realizing that they had hurt me physically (puppy biting) and I would say OW in a hurtful tone, as I always did when they were puppies.
I used the same tone of voice when they messed up; Like Ohhh....("dog's name") using the same hurtful tone, but mildly spoken. That was not a punishment, but they knew that I was unhappy. They have a habit of occasionally knocking me down (I have 3 dogs) and I use the same tactic to slow them down.
 

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Your other dogs may have been OK despite being scolded rather than because of it.

If you are interested in the behavioural science behind it, Brian Iwata's Functional Analysis of problem behaviour studies with children shows that instead of punishing them when they get something wrong, undesirable behaviour markedly decreases when it is ignored or when desired behaviour is rewarded. The same applies to behaviours in dogs.

A reward based approach also has the benefit of not setting them up for failure; punishment by definition has to allow the dog (or child) to make an error first. And, you could even argue that punishing a bad behaviour could make it worse - because it gets your attention, the dog/child might even repeat it for that alone.

By encouraging and rewarding good behaviour we mould a better behaved dog who will be more confident in making good behavioural choices.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Your other dogs may have been OK despite being scolded rather than because of it.

If you are interested in the behavioural science behind it, Brian Iwata's Functional Analysis of problem behaviour studies with children shows that instead of punishing them when they get something wrong, undesirable behaviour markedly decreases when it is ignored or when desired behaviour is rewarded. The same applies to behaviours in dogs.

A reward based approach also has the benefit of not setting them up for failure; punishment by definition has to allow the dog (or child) to make an error first. And, you could even argue that punishing a bad behaviour could make it worse - because it gets your attention, the dog/child might even repeat it for that alone.

By encouraging and rewarding good behaviour we mould a better behaved dog who will be more confident in making good behavioural choices.
This definitely makes a lot of sense. I learned a bit about this topic through my psychology and biology type courses (I'm a Kinesiology major) and I do remember that positive results influence a bigger positive change. I've tried applying this through her training so she gets small rewards for smaller triumphs and big rewards for big wins.

I will definitely stay away from punishments and will update my family on this as well and see how things go!
 
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