How Convince Dog?
July 16, 2019 8:07 PM   Subscribe

Our 6-month-old poodle has developed the habit of peeing a little the moment we put a leash on her. She does it if we put her harness on, or if we just clip the leash onto the harness. She does it if she's in an elevator, in her crate, or on a sofa. She just did it when I was just scratching her under the chin on the sofa. She does it if Mrs. musofire clips on the leash, or I do. How do I train her to stop?

It doesn't seem to be straight up incontinence (though she had a UTI recently). She can hold it all night. Correcting her when she does it seems to have no effect. I'm not sure she's making a decision to do it. She doesn't empty her bladder, she just squirts a bit.

She developed this habit after spending nine days in a cage-free kennel because we had to go out of the country. Before that she was close to house trained.

Obviously we give her treats when she pees outside, but that doesn't seem to relate to what she's doing inside.

I'm confused how to convince or encourage her not to do something that doesn't seem intentional? Is it a submissive thing? (She is an exceptionally fearful dog, even though she's from a reputable breeder. In the dog park she spends most of the time on the bench. Our daughter says she doesn't do it with her.)
posted by musofire to Pets & Animals (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Try talking to your vet about Proin. It strengthens the bladder control, especially in older females. My dog was leaking while she was sleeping. She'd wake up in a damp spot and be completely confused about why it was wet. The Proin fixed the problem. Now she only pees when she wants to.
posted by irisclara at 8:20 PM on July 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Assuming the UTI is all cleared up (I'd check with a vet first), this could be submissive urination or excitement urination, depending on how she is acting when it happens. It's pretty common in puppies and most grow out of it. Either way the best way to deal with these in the mean time is not to punish her or scold her, and try to train an alternate behavior that you want her to do when you want to put her leash on. This gives her a job to do and will help replace the urinating behavior. For a dog that lifts their leg to pee, asking them to sit is a good replacement behavior. For dogs that don't, a down can be a replacement behavior.
posted by muddgirl at 8:31 PM on July 16, 2019 [14 favorites]

She knows that the leash means going outside and she pees because she's excited. So break that association. Put the leash on her and don't take her out right away. Vary the amount of time you wait, and sometimes don't take her out at all but rather call her to you a and calmly take the leash off.
posted by kindall at 10:11 PM on July 16, 2019 [8 favorites]

What worked for us was making sure that the pup emptied his bladder before any exciting events. After a couple months, he grew out of it. Just making sure your pup pees more often may help as a preventative measure.
posted by hotchocolate at 10:57 PM on July 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

This sounds like classic excitement peering. Most pups that get it grow out of it. Check the UTI has cleared up just in case. Then as others have said, change the excitement trigger by putting and taking the lead on and off at random times during the day and not going anywhere. Rewarding the dog when it stays calm with a treat and lots of praise. Scolding will make it worse or at least won't help and will just confuse the dog as is not doing it on purpose.
posted by wwax at 5:30 AM on July 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

As others have said, this is probably transient but may require a bit of time (to fully recover from the UTI plus to grow out of the excitement peeing). Something you can try, along with putting the leash on at odd times, is put her through one or two command-treat steps before the leash. So if she knows "shake" (or teach her that one), have her shake for a treat, then sit for a treat, then the leash. It should mitigate the excitement of the leash and keep her focused on whether there's another command/treat coming.

One weird thing to watch for: some dogs will submissive pee when you stand directly over them. Try sitting down and calling her over to get her leash on and see if it makes a difference.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:29 AM on July 17, 2019

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