Dog Urinates when Scolded or Praised
Our 1 1/2 year old un-spayed German Shepherd female tends to urinate whenever we pet and praise her as well as when she is scolded. She's extremely submissive and often seems sad. My friend who has a litter mate does not have this problem with her dog. Do you know of any way I can help her to stop urinating?
This sounds like a frustrating problem both for you and your dog. The signs you describe can be due to behavioral reasons and/or physical reasons. First, make sure there is no active urinary tract infection/problem which can be a factor and which will need to be treated. If there is no physical abnormality, then the problem is most likely behavioral, and there are ways to help your dog.
Urinating when being petted, praised or scolded is typically called "submissive urination" and is usually accompanied by the dog assuming a submissive body posture, and maybe even squatting. Urinating while greeting people and running around or even jumping on the person is termed "excitement urination". These syndromes are treated differently.
The description of your dog sounds more like submissive urination, where the dog is trying to appease the person by urinating to avoid punishment and/or showing that she is not a threat. To help this dog, make a list of all the triggers that cause her to urinate, and then stop doing them. Make petting very quiet and calm and stop before she urinates or the second that you notice any submissive behavior. Some submissive urinators automatically roll over on their backs to greet people--this is a very submissive behavior. If you pat your dog or give her any attention when she does this, the submissive behavior becomes rewarded and therefore stronger. So try to avoid this, and pat your dog as long as she is sitting or standing. Scolding or punishment needs to be absolutely avoided, especially if she does urinate; punishment will condition your dog to urinate more frequently. Avoid body postures that your dog may perceive as being threatening, such as leaning over her, staring at her, reaching a hand over her head etc. Instead, talk quietly to her, reach under her chin to pat her, stand sideways to her and do not stare at her--these are good starts to help her build her confidence. Teaching your dog to sit for attention will help to give her a behavior structure that she gets rewarded for and that she can do to get attention in a more confident way.Dogs who are highly anxious may also benefit from anti-anxiety medication so they can learn alternate behaviors. Please be sure to discuss this option with your veterinarian.