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Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 2474
Experience:  DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time.
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my 3 year old springer spaniel urinates in the house or where

Customer Question

my 3 year old springer spaniel urinates in the house or where ever you are if you raise your voice to him & if you continue to tell him off he urinates even more whilst cowering down, he is also very aggressive on sight of any other dog apart from the XXXXX XXXXX he lives with. When we initially got him at approx 3 months old whenever he met another dog he ne whined, cower down and urinate which then turned to aggresion he is obviously very nervous, we do not know if anything traumatic happen to him prior to us getting him
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 3 years ago.

durangojo :

Hello,

durangojo :

My name is Dr. Jo and I will do my best to help you with your questions about your dog. I'm so sorry you are having this very frustrating problem, but I'm glad you are looking for answers. I apologize it has taken this long for an expert to get back to you, and I see you are no longer online. If you return online and wish to pursue discussing this with me, please post a reply and I will discuss this with you as soon as possible.

durangojo :

Thank you.

durangojo :

(There is no charge for replying to my information request.)

JACUSTOMER-ek3xk410- :

Hi

JACUSTOMER-ek3xk410- :

It seems impossible for us to tell him off for doing this with out making him do it even more

durangojo :

Yes...

durangojo :

What you are having here is a failure to communicate.

durangojo :

The two of you are speaking two different languages, if you will

durangojo :

In dog language, the kind of urination your dog is doing (his name, please?) is him trying to say, "I'm so sorry! You're the boss! I really, really apologize!"

durangojo :

And then if you scold him more, he's even sorrier.

durangojo :

This kind of urination is a response to fear, insecurity, and a form of apology and acknowledgement that you are superior.

durangojo :

Rest assured your dog is as confused by the situation as you are frustrated.

durangojo :

Does it make sense to see it that way?

durangojo :

I'm hoping it will provide you a good start to understand now WHY he is urinating this way. Then you can set about trying to fix the problem. Unfortunately, this is a pretty big, complicated problem and the overzealous submissive urination is only one tiny symptom.

durangojo :

As you've already experienced, it will not be at all helpful to scold him for submissive urination. Sadly, it usually makes it worse. You will have some degree of untraining/retraining to do here as you repair the damage caused by your failure to understand each other. Don't lose heart, though. It can be done.

JACUSTOMER-ek3xk410- :

yes it does his name is tommy, the breeder told us when we collected him that as a young pup he was confronted by a large dog that attacked him, he told us he had trained springer spaniels for manchester police for 20 plus years and in his opinion this would not in any way long term affect him, do you thinkk this might be the cause of this and if so how do we assure him he is safe ?

durangojo :

It's possible Tommy's bad experience as a young pup affected him, but we can't know this for certain. A lot of a dog's temperament is inborn. Regardless, the situation Tommy is in now is the result of his natural personality, his experiences, and the training/interactions he's received so far. While an experienced breeder/trainer might not have had any difficulty molding Tommy into a well-adjusted dog equipped to deal with the challenges of everyday life, the potential was certainly there for it to be more than a typical pet owner could manage, no matter how loving or good your intentions were.

durangojo :

I'm glad you very clearly want to help reassure Tommy. This will be a pretty big project.

durangojo :

At three years of age Tommy is showing he is pretty far on the submissively fearful and aggressive scale. In order to have the best chance of teaching him better coping tools you will need to work with a trained and experienced dog behaviorist. While most pet owners do fine with house training and basic obedience, this is an "advanced project" if you will, best suited to a professional.

durangojo :

The amount of expertise you would need to successfully rehabilitate any dog with behavior issues like Tommy's is significant.

durangojo :

I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I want to do what I can to help you turn Tommy into a happier dog who is a joy to share your lives with.

durangojo :

Without the assistance of a behaviorist you'll have to become your own expert. There are a lot of good books out there addressing the subject. I can recommend some of my favorites....

durangojo :

This is one of my favorite websites...

durangojo :

This author, Karen Pryor, is amazing.

durangojo :

I have also used this book:

durangojo :

I'm so glad Tommy has you and that you are looking for the answers you need to help him.

durangojo :

It is an unfortunate reality that he simply didn't develop better tools for coping with situations that he doesn't understand. With a lot of patience and understanding, you can help him gain those tools.

durangojo :

It will be a whole new way of life for both of you, but success is within reach.

durangojo :

Is there anything else I can do to help?

JACUSTOMER-ek3xk410- :

I will get hold of these books, one last question in the short term when he does urinate in the wrong place how should we react to him.

durangojo :

Good question. I'm glad you asked. The appropriate thing to do is ignore it. Stay calm. Turn your back. Offer no reaction at all.

durangojo :

I'd be inclined to turn my back to him and sit on the floor quietly. It would be very good if he would get up and come over to you when you did that, and then I would praise him. Keep in mind you are not praising him for urinating on the floor, but for calming himself down afterwards in a more suitable manner.

durangojo :

For submissive urination, do your best to avoid the stimuli that cause it and ignore it when it does happen. The flip side of the coin is to be sure your praise him when he is calming himself in an appropriate manner.

JACUSTOMER-ek3xk410- :

thank you so much for your advice i will try that approach

durangojo :

Excellent. Thank you so much for using our website!

durangojo :

Sorry... I removed the feature that was preventing you from entering a rating. Thanks!

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