How do I train my small rescue dogs not to be overly excited?

asked 2016-11-12 11:53:44 -0500

We have two new small male rescue dogs who spent a very long time in the shelters. They get along with each other fine, but compete for our attention. They don't have mean bones in their little bodies. completely non-threatening, but one of them lunges at us for love, physically hurting us. Nothing calms him, and if we use a firm voice to correct him, he cowers and pees all over and rolls around in it. Then we don't want to touch him! We would never be mean to a dog, just a firm voice frightens him. Someone adopted him once but returned him. We would never return him and are willing to do whatever we have to in order to calm and reassure him. The only thing I have found that makes him stop jumping all over us and lunging at us is a squirt gun, which in turn makes he pee all over himself. Our other rescue dog has become more like him, sigh.

edit edit tags flag offensive close merge delete


i didnt know you could adopt a dog and then return him. what state do u live in

Cristina M.'s profile image Cristina M.  ( 2016-11-21 15:29:31 -0500 ) edit

3 Answers

Sort by ยป oldest newest most voted
answered 2016-12-08 02:38:34 -0500

Sometimes shelter dogs need a lot of work, I got my pup about 8 years ago from a shelter and she did some of the things you've said. I'd say until they grow out of this you might want to put belly bands/diapers on them both (as previously said above me). Its totally worth it to stick with the few years of adjustment and to get them to classes/and or training. I stuck it out with my pup through all of her ups and downs and she has been my greatest friend and a complete blessing, you're awesome for sticking it out! Goodluck. Also I think as they get more comfortable it should start to cease a bit. My first few years with my dog consisted of a lot of puppy pads, natures miracle, treats, training, and cuddles! :)

edit flag offensive delete link more
answered 2016-11-12 12:49:01 -0500

This sounds like submissive/excitement urination. This article may be helpful. http://www.petmd.com/dog/training/evrdogurination Some tips include building its confidence by teaching it simple commands (sit, stay, come), and reward your dog after each success and teaching simple tricks (roll over, fetch) with reward and praise after each success.

In a related post, https://www.rover.com/community/quest... Laura R. wrote the following: ... submissive urination is an appeasement gesture. It's pretty common in puppies, and most grow out of it, but some dogs continue to adulthood or develop the behavior later on. Dogs tend to do it when they're nervous, confused, or excited, perhaps to the point of being a little overwhelmed, and want to please you. It's like them bending over backwards to make sure they're showing respect, but unfortunately how dogs show respect is not always socially appropriate around people. Never punish him when he does this - that's essentially telling him "I'm not pleased with your current performance, you'll have to do better" and often just makes the problem worse... Instead, work on building his confidence and give him something to do that will help him feel more relaxed and self-assured. You may also want to try a belly band with him while working on the issue to prevent messes. It may actually discourage him from going in the first place.

edit flag offensive delete link more


You should try ignoring him when he gives you unwanted behavior. If he is lunging at you, when he does turn to the side with your hands up away from him, but don't say anything. Every time he does the unwanted behavior turn to the side and ignore him. Also use male wraps to keep him clean.

Laurie L.'s profile image Laurie L.  ( 2016-11-15 22:29:37 -0500 ) edit
answered 2017-01-02 10:08:19 -0500

Thank you for rescuing. I volunteer at a Husky rescue, and I see constantly see dogs that need good homes. I realize this post was from a couple of months ago, but I thought I would chime in in case others have a similar issue.

It's pretty common for dogs to get really attached to their new human family members. When you have a dog who is that excited to see you, you will want to teach him to remain calm with your arrival. You will also want to avoid physical punishers (such as squirt guns). Rather, train him to respond differently for a greeting.

A common approach is to ask for a "sit" (not in a "firm" tone) instead (this assumes you've taught a sit already). The pup doesn't get any attention until the butt goes on the ground. If you need help keeping him on the ground, use a small food lure (a piece of a slice of turkey about the size of a fingernail normally does it). While he eats the turkey with all four paws on the floor, give him attention. If he jumps up again, ask him to "off", when he goes down, give him a treat and attention, and then immediately ask for a sit (before he gets a chance to jump back up). Reward heavily staying on the floor with a few treats and more attention.

Without seeing the situation, that would be my quick, general advice. Fwiw, as a trainer I do not advocate anything that would cause the dog discomfort (known as "aversives") when training. Rescue dogs need to heal emotionally, and aversives do not help with that.

I hope things are going well for you after a couple of months. Could we get an update?

edit flag offensive delete link more

Your Answer

Please start posting anonymously - your entry will be published after you log in or create a new account. This space is reserved only for answers. If you would like to engage in a discussion, please instead post a comment under the question or an answer that you would like to discuss

Add Answer