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Old 11-07-2012, 12:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Terrified of everything

I'm new to this site, so if this is the wrong place, I'm sorry ahead of time.

I adopted my pup from a family about three weeks ago (she's about 10 months old). For the first week or so, I expected some peeing in the house because she was making a big change and I knew there would be a lot of anxiety, so I tried to just keep her as comfortable as possible and made her a safe haven in our kitchen with pillows and toys. I noticed though that she does the submissive peeing a LOT and it's been a long time since I've had a dog that does that.

I tried to do with her what I did with my golden retriever when it came to submissive peeing which was get down to her level and basically try to build her confidence a bit by being reassuring and petting her chest, not the top of her head, look at the face but not eye contact, etc. What's striking me as really odd is that she won't let me get down to her level! If I get down so that I'm just below her eyes, she lays down. I've NEVER seen such submissive behavior.

She's such a sweet girl, I almost feel guilty when I try to get to her level lol

Admittedly, she's my first German Shepherd, so I don't know if this is normal for them, but I was wondering if anyone could help me out with building her confidence even more. She pees on the floor even when someone comes near her to pet her. It makes me feel so bad because I automatically run all sorts of scenarios for why she's doing this through my mind

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-07-2012, 12:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Great info here about submissive urination.
Can We Help You Keep Your Pet? Submissive Urination

You'll need to just ignore her completely. When you get down there she probably thinks you're going to scold or hit her.
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Old 11-07-2012, 01:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Poor girl I would never lay a hand on her. She's such a good dog! I wonder if the people who had her before me were mean to her because she had some untreated (though mild) medical issues when we got her, too.

Thank you for the link, I guess Mia and I have some more work to do
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Old 11-07-2012, 01:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yes, go through the links there, you'll figure out how to get her past it
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Old 11-07-2012, 01:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yes, ignore her completely. No eye contact, drop treats when you walk by. I know it's hard because you want to engage her and reassure her, but ignoring works.
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Old 11-07-2012, 01:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Ugh! If only she didn't have those big, sad eyes. I gotta be a strong mama, we can do this! lol Thank you for your help This is going to be just as hard on me as it is her, I think lol
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Old 11-07-2012, 02:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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When you get down there she probably thinks you're going to scold or hit her. .... OR ... on the other side of the coin, when you get down there to PET her / reassure her, you're actually reinforcing the state of mind that she is currently in (submissive / meek) and telling her that you like that ... so she's going to keep doing it!

Ignore her - it won't stop overnight, but at least you won't be reinforcing it!
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:41 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Ignoring and tossing treats is a good idea. From a more sciencey point of view, you really don't reinforce fear so you COULD pet her - but in this case it won't help because the petting and contact are the things that she, right at that moment, is nervous about.

You Can’t Reinforce Fear; Dogs and Thunderstorms TheOtherEndoftheLeash

reinforcing fear in dogs TheOtherEndoftheLeash

This group is really helpful: shy-k9s : shy-k9s

Let us know how it goes.
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Old 11-08-2012, 12:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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When we get dogs like this in rescue, we often kneel down facing away from the dog.
They often feel safer approaching your turned back, and you can build the bond that way.
I wanted to say, you don't ignore her all the time. But ignore when she's being ultra submissive, and only reward when she's on her feet again and has regained composure.
And then, praise has to be low-key and quiet, murmuring almost - "what a GOOD girl!" and treats. Find something irresistible for her
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Old 11-08-2012, 02:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I was also told, don't approach directly from in front (confrontational) or behind (makes them nervous), but from a 45 degree angle in front of the dog. (This actually works with almost any animal)

And approach slowly, and with the posturing other people have mentioned.

Good luck! I have a submissive pee-er. She's much better with me now, getting better with my sister, and still kind of hopeless with my dad. *sigh*
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