How to stop overly submissive dog? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation How to stop overly submissive dog?

We just adopted a 5 year old male german shepherd three weeks ago. His previous owner claims he never did any of this behavior with them. He is showing overly submissive behavior with both my husband and I but more with my husband. He crouches all the way down to the ground, adverts his eye contact, and then usually begins peeing. It does not matter if it is when we first get home or if we have been hanging out in the house together all day. We have been looking up the submissive urination on websites and realize that he cannot help it. We took him to the vet and he started the antibiotics yesterday to try and help maybe clear up any debris in his bladder. The crouching and scared look is getting worse. I am hoping the peeing begins to become less and less with the help of the antibiotics. How do we get Diesel to build his confidence and not do the crouching thing and/or the peeing thing. I cannot have pee all of the house or allow him to come with us anywhere, because peeing consistently in someone else's house is not acceptable for us. Does anyone have any good ideas for us to try? Please!!!!
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 01:01 PM
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Ignore him, when you enter your house. No eye contact whatsoever. Go about your business. Never, never, never yell at him for submissive peeing. It will only make matters worse. Take him for long walks. Build a bond with him. Gain his trust.

Three weeks is not a very long time at all. He is still adjusting. Do you crate him? If not, you should. It will be his safe place. Do not let him out immediately upon arriving home. Just give him some time and lots of love.
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 01:14 PM
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We've had dogs like this in rescue.

What we tell people is to keep the dog on a leash.
IGNORE the dog, while doing this.

So dog doesn't exist, but simply start gently drawing the dog up to his feet and when he's up on all fours, suddenly, "THERE is the dog!" Hi, dog, nothing overly demonstrative, but definitely treats, yummy treats, and petting once he's on all 4s.

So you may want to start this outside. IGNORE every sign of cowering, belly-crawling, piddling, etc... Ignore completely!

Only pay attention to the dog when he's up and on all 4s and not cowering.

To do this you'll need a leash - I wish I had a vid to show you but I don't. Maybe I'll try to take one of a shy dog we have here.

Doing this consistently has helped the dogs and their adopters.

Also letting the dog out OFTEN - every hour or so - take out potty and that'll help control the piddling, well, he'll still do it but it won't be a whole bladder full.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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If you could post a video, that would be amazing! We are just getting so frustrated because this was not supposed to be a super stressful thing when we adopted him. He does have a crate and goes in it when we are gone and sometimes in the evening.
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 01:25 PM
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I'd recommend some "Mind Games" too.

Mind Games (version 1.0) by M. Shirley Chong

TONS of submissive pee links here -
Can We Help You Keep Your Pet? Submissive Urination

And I'll try to work on the vid for you

Often time, a VERY enticing treat like tiny bits of cooked hot dog, will distract a dog so that peeing is the last thing on his mind (not that the peeing is something he can control).
And so as soon as you get the dog up, you shove your hand with the bits of hot dog in it, into his mouth, and YUM, good dog! As long as he's not peeing.

Thing is - he's learned this and it's embedded behavior so it's going to be tough. Also it's difficult as humans to deal with the piddle so we get disgusted no matter how we try not to be. Even knowing it's not his fault is not helpful at times, I GET THIS.
Your goal is to ignore EVERY SINGLE incident of submissiveness. If you're working with him and he starts squatting or rolling over, WALK AWAY. Do not pay one bit of attention to this. Only show affection/attention when he's NOT submitting/rolling/squatting.


How I know this, is we had a dog like yours, a very submissive GSD who you just know people smacked because he'd piddle submissively. I knew that because he'd go from cowering, squirt of pee to "Oh my GOD I'm in for it now!!!"

And we'd ignore it, clean it up with no ado and he gradually got better but we still had to trim his nails on linoleum because he'd piddle every time.

We also had a Dachshund, came to us at age 6, same way, very sad stuff. These dogs were smacked usually, as puppies, for the training mishap, when it's nothing of the sort.

Anyway - PM me any time to "vent" if you need, I completely understand your issues!

Last edited by msvette2u; 10-09-2012 at 01:30 PM.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 01:27 PM
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Change is always stressful - for me anyway. LOL! Imagine how stressful it is to the dog. Everything is new and strange. He is still learning. I know it is hard, but try not to be stressed and frustrated. I'm sure you dog feels that. Deep breaths. Try to spend time with him outside, where the submissive peeing doesn't matter. Give him opportunities to succeed and lots of praise.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 01:38 PM
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Was it a private party that you adopted from?

I think whoever you got it from is full of BS that the dog did not exhibit those behaviors before you got it.

The advice given above is fine but it irritates me that some pass their problems on. They didn't want to deal with it so now you get to.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, it was a private party. His owner is in the army and got deployed so Diesel has been living with his owner's mother and her two dogs (a little one and a husky). And now is onto us!
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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Here is another thing that I don't understand exactly...
So, Diesel rarely crouches and pees for me but will do it with my husband even if they are playing or he is sitting right next to Diesel. I am the one more willing to try anything right now with different techniques and tricks. How do I get Diesel to a.) get praised from me for doing the right thing and then b.) have it carry over for my husband?
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 01:48 PM
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Hubby will have to work with him.
Again, only outside and after you've done things to know how it goes and how to show hubby.

I could be off here, but sounds as if the previous owner of this dog ignored submission signs and physically disciplined anyway.

Puppies, if treated right and submission signs are respected (don't scold puppy when it's in submission mode) will generally outgrow this behavior.

And if former owner is a guy, then this could explain why hubby is having a tougher time.
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