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I have a GSD (approx 1.5 - 2 y/o) who I adopted from the local animal shelter about 6 months ago. When I first met with her she was a bit shy and submissive, I chalked it up to all the commotion at the shelter. Unfortunately, they do not let you take the dog home before they cart them off to the vet for the required spaying so I was unable to acclimate her to the home before she was traumatized by too much change too quickly.

Without fail when I brought her home the next day from the vet she was drowsy and unaware of her surroundings. I made a safe place for her to relax and come back to reality and checked on her without trying to over extend my presence. With the recent spaying came the time to give her medication (which IMO was very difficult and was one of the reasons I think they should let you mesh with the dog before forcing pills down her throat) and by giving her the pills I feel it distanced her from me from the start.

A week went by and she became a little more open but I could tell she had come from a home that mistreated her. Having had dogs in the past from all backgrounds I saw this as not much of a challenge but more of extra time to get to know her and become closer.

I would bring her in the house and for the most part she was very well behaved (I let her walk around and learn the house while keeping a distant eye on her). She would lie near where I was but would cower a little when I'd approach so I would come in gently and let her lift her head before I pet her and praised her. Even when feeding she would cower and little so I would wait until she sat up for me to pet her (and also read to pet them under their head in order to build confidence). It seemed to work, maybe I could have spent a little more time with her, but I wanted to let her get used to the place before getting too crazy.

Things seemed to (slowly) get better but one day it all changed (I was careful not to get mad at her or yell or even feel angry around her so that she would gain confidence which is why I thought things were progressing). Unfortunately, this fateful day, she began to pee... all the time.

I would go out to feed her, she would bark and yelp in excitement while waiting by the door, and when I came out with the food she would lay by her dish, full body on the floor, and pee, a lot. She would wag her tail while doing this spraying the pee all over the place but I stayed calm and directed my frustration elsewhere. She would also pee anytime I would go outside to do yard work, play with her, or just stand there.

There has not been anything out of the ordinary happen but I am out of answers. I have looked thoroughly through many forums and Q & A's to no avail. If anyone has had this happen or has any advice please feel free to voice your solutions. I will try anything right now.

Also, I used to be able to bring her in the house without worry, she would let me know when she wants to go outside to go to the bathroom, used to be able to take her in the car, and used to be able to put her on the leash as long as we were always moving (she will drop to the ground if we stop).

Sorry for the long question, I just want to get the whole story in order to help solve the problem. Thanks for the help!
 

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**Add On**

Also, I forgot to include -

When on her own in the yard she has the confident stature (perked ears, head held high, etc) and a confident bark when she hears noises and people. It's when she is confronted by them that she cowers.

Thanks
 

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All I can say is patience and more confidence building though I know the longer this goes on the more impatient most people become. Sounds like submissive peeing and something you may want to work with a trainer on:)
 

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This is a tuff one, I had one kinda like this but not as bad. I also suggest a really good trainer. Another great confidence builder is agility, can you take her to a class?
 

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My Sheltie Mix, Riley, was abused and a submissive peer. It took about 6 months of patience, love, kindness, socializing, taking her everywhere, letting her experience new things, etc. and she is a completely different dog. Still on the submissive side, but with much more confidence and no more peeing submissively. It's just going to take time, in my experience.
 

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Wow, thanks for the quick responses and info. I try to interact with her as much as possible and it does get frustrating at times so I step away so as not to hinder the process. I also try different exercises on the leash with her and though I don't currently do the 'treats' method I have read it works well. I will also look into some training classes, I had it in the back of my mind when I first adopted her but I figured I could turn her around seeing as I had done it before but she seems to be a special case. I also thought of getting her a playmate, she's currently the only dog, because I know that GSD's want to be with someone/ another dog and it may boost some confidence if she sees the other dog doing what she may be afraid to do.
 

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She is a grown dog and probably intelligent. I don't see why you can't tell her NO and bring her right outside when it happens then praise her like a puppy when she pees outside. That is not being mean, it is letting her know that is not acceptable. Since she is peeing already it can't get any worse. I am betting on her eagerness to please will put an end to it. Call me Pollyanna.
 

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Hmmm...Riley was not at all housebroken when I got her, so there was that hurdle, then the submissive peeing thing on top of it. I didn't tell her "NO!" if she urinated inside during the housebreaking, I just brought her outside. The really difficult thing was that she would take forever to go in the yard and refused to go on walks, it was so weird. I would walk her for miles, literally, and she would not poop or pee. I have no idea how I finally housebroke her, but she will not go to the bathroom in the house now, haha. I also used treats with her all the time. She was scared of nearly everything. She wouldn't walk through doorways (I think she was left outside and when she tried to come in she was kicked/yelled at), she was scared of cars, people, dogs, I couldn't even walk her without her being skittish and looking around like something was going to kill her. So every time she go near a car without peeing outside of it, she got a treat. Then when I got her in it, treat. Near a dog, treat. New situation, treat. Etc. I only had her at the time, so no other playmates to boost her confidence, just a lot of new situations, meeting people, dogs, places, etc., always with positive associations (Food, treats). As I said, in about 6 months time, she was completely different. A world of confidence, no more peeing, and now about 2 years later, that confidence still reigns supreme. She's still on the submissive side, but she's nowhere near where she was...

Hope some of that helps.
 

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She is a grown dog and probably intelligent. I don't see why you can't tell her NO and bring her right outside when it happens then praise her like a puppy when she pees outside. That is not being mean, it is letting her know that is not acceptable. Since she is peeing already it can't get any worse. I am betting on her eagerness to please will put an end to it. Call me Pollyanna.
If you do this to a submissive peeing dog you will only make matters worse, this is NOT the right thing to do in this case.
 

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If you do this to a submissive peeing dog you will only make matters worse, this is NOT the right thing to do in this case.
I'm no expert, but as I said, I did not at all raise my voice to Riley. I was calm, loving, patient, and it worked very well. So, I'd have to agree with Vat, I don't think yelling, for any reason, would be productive. In fact, even with a non-submissive peer, I don't think that method works. Dogs don't associate being yelled at with urinating in the house, they just know you're angry for some reason or another. The best thing to do would be ignore the accident, clean it up, then praise like heck when she goes to the bathroom outside.
 

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I'm no expert (either), but I wonder if she's moved into a new phase with you. Maybe she's starting to really like you but still has concerns. I know how hard it is to not get mad when this stuff happens. How about just keeping these interactions outside and keep working with her. Do you do any obedience training with her. I'd stay away from the clicker, because I think it might scare her, but you can still do positive training and it will help build her confidence.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I don't like to yell at the dog because, like Vat says, it makes things worse and the set back is greater.

She doesn't just pee all over the place in the house. She does this every day outside as she lays on the pavement near her dog bowl when I feed her. She won't pee in the house just to pee, only when I try and walk her outside if she doesn't listen when I tell her it is time to go outside. When she is outside she pees and wags her tail, flinging the urine in all directions and she will lie there until I walk away from her then she follows me. It is weird. She also runs into her doghouse (not scared) most times I come outside but you can hear her tail wagging as it hits the side of the doghouse and she pops her head out as if she is playing a game.

I am looking into training but I am afraid she will pee all over the place during that time as well and may pee while in the car.

Thanks again for all the help, I will try anything at this point as long as it's positive.
 

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If you do this to a submissive peeing dog you will only make matters worse, this is NOT the right thing to do in this case.
I don't see where I said anything about yelling. I simply said tell her NO. You people think your dogs are so fragile. How can she learn without instruction and direction. You don't have to yell.

sheeeeeesh

My dog did some submissive peeing and she learned (without me yelling) that it was not desirable and stopped. She is a very happy dog. (She told me so)
 

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I don't see where I said anything about yelling. I simply said tell her NO. You people think your dogs are so fragile. How can she learn without instruction and direction. You don't have to yell.

sheeeeeesh

My dog did some submissive peeing and she learned (without me yelling) that it was not desirable and stopped. She is a very happy dog. (She told me so)
I did not mean it that way. It is just that I had a dog like this and speak from experience. You can not even tell them no it will backfire, if you look at them wrong they will pee. It is a whole different way of training than you are used to with a normal dog. Once you have worked them past this issue then it is normal training all the way. :D
 

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I've been to 2 trainers for my 13 month old submissive peer. It is better but not perfect. First things first. It cannot be corrected out of her,but the situation can be fixed over a long period of time. It must be ignored and that means training yourself to not exhibit any reaction at all,try to not even feel frustration. She's saying "You're the Boss",it's only a problem in the human world. Bond with one on one walks-long walks on leash. If you only bond with distractions such as ball play or games it won't work. The dog needs to calm down in a non distracted one on one relationship with you. I usually have a treat ready on greetings or in the situations that I know results in peeing. I try to avoid those other situations so they are not repetitive and memorized by the dog. They must be forgotten. Train train train,about 20 minutes one on one a day with praise but not gushing-keep it upbeat and fun,let her fail,let her succeed,praise success and ignore failures. Watch body language (yours and hers) and no eye contact. No bending and leaning towards the dog,take circular routes,ignore her at times,practice down stays with you approaching from many angles. Lots of patience and ignoring-had me in tears-but it is better.
 
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