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My daughter is moving back in to save some money, and she currently has a 2-year old Husky/Shepherd mix. He is constantly piddling when he gets excited. I am not familiar with these breeds, nor have I ever had a dog with this much energy.  I'm looking for ideas on the best way to train him to stop peeing when excited.

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Many dogs, especially puppies, urinate when they are very excited - either positively excited by the return of a loved one or negatively excited by a reprimand or fight for dominance. This behavior is called submissive urinating.

It's important to understand that this behavior is a dog's way of saying "I want to be your friend, I'll accept you as the higher ranking individual without opposing or fighting you". Even if the dog pees right on your shoes, you must not become angry and reprimand him for this gesture that is really submissive and a precautious peace offering. The dog doesn't do it to annoy you, so please don't be annoyed.

There's a very good article by WebMD that lists several possible causes and ways to train a dog not to do it. First rule out any medical reasons like urinary tract infection.

What to Do About Submissive Urination

  • If possible, greet your dog outside.
  • Toss a handful of small treats or a few favorite toys in the direction of your dog as he runs up to greet you.
  • Ignore your dog when you first come home and walk through the door. Wait until he has completely calmed down before interacting with him. When you finally greet your dog, do so calmly. Look off to the side instead of straight at him. Sit on the floor or squat down—and avoid looming over your dog as you bend toward him.
  • Teach your dog to perform a behavior, such as sit, when he greets people. First, practice the sit behavior outside of the greeting context, in a calm place, without other people around. To learn more about teaching your dog to sit, please see our article, Teaching Your Dog to Sit.
  • When you pet your dog, touch him under the chin or chest, rather than on top of his head or ears.
  • Keep play sessions with your dog low-key and play games with him that focus on toys rather than bodily contact.
  • If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) or a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB) for assistance. To find one of these qualified experts in your area, please see our article, Finding Professional Help.

What NOT to Do

  • Do not look at your dog, touch him, bend over him or speak to him if he starts to submissively urinate or if you think he might.
  • Do not hug your dog or pat him on the top of the head when greeting or interacting with him.
  • Do not scowl or frown at your dog, especially in response to submissive urination. You should even avoid making frustrated comments, as doing so might make the behavior worse.
  • DO NOT VERBALLY SCOLD YOUR DOG OR PUNISH YOUR DOG IN ANY WAY. Scolding and punishment are likely to make the problem worse. The more you yell at your dog, the more he’ll feel motivated to submissively urinate in an attempt to make you less angry.
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On top of submissive urinating, it's critical that Husky has a fixed, stable routine. They are the Top Dog when it comes to bending the rules, constantly pushing the boundaries and looking at you with a galaxy full of guilt.

I walk my Husky 5 times a day. A -50 °F (-46 °C) blizzard is not an excuse to stay inside.
Sometimes, she needs to go more often, so she stands against the wall in front of me, signaling me, she needs to go (outside of the 4-hour interval).

It's important those signals are acknowledged, otherwise they quickly learn it won't help them and go straight to peeing.

However, peeing is merely cosmetic problem. Huskies are, primarily, a danger to themselves:

  • I hope you already know that they have genetically evolved to have a horrible recall (Chukchi only took care of them for half a year. They other half, they had to fend for themselves - so they had to be constantly aware of their surroundings and potential food).

  • Do not let him off leash unless it's an enclosed area which is husky-proof.

  • Regular metal fence will be climbed without any trouble whatsoever in a matter of seconds.

  • Fences 6' (1.8 m) short will be jumped over.

  • Fences higher than 6' will be dug under.

  • Do not tie it out on long leash outside. A rouge leaf falling off the tree might trigger the prey drive and it might break its own neck trying to catch the offensive leaf.

  • When walking, I realized it's much less work to put my whole hand through the leash, so it's locked above my elbow (instead of trying to hold it with your hand). Then you can use the strength of your whole upper body (and back and shoulder) to hold Husky should its prey drive kick in. Which it will.

As far as the energy expenditure, the best thing for a Husky is a daily run around the Doggie park. 90 minutes are enough for most. If that's not available, then it's possible to do exercise inside. I rotate between the following:

  • squeaking ball - I kick it high, she jumps and tries to catch it mid-air. She then throws it from her mouth towards me. Rinse and repeat for 30 minutes. Remove any furniture and electronics from the room.
  • I crouch on my knees and try to touch her paws (just don't actually grab them - she would pull back at full force and could hurt herself) - she will jump left/right constantly trying to avoid being caught, expending great deal of kinetic energy.
  • when she's in playful mood (that happens only when she doesn't sleep), I flip her 360 degrees while she's lying on her back. They're a bit heavy, so this might not be easy in the beginning, but she loves being flipped constantly like on a merry-go-round.
  • chase the Husky. We literally do it every single day. She never gets tired of it. From one room to another. Careful with their forward momentum. I'm 6'3" (191 cm) but she knocked me out few times. Getting hit by their leg feels like being hit with a baseball bat, at that speed. Including bruises or deep scratches (imagine their nails pushing against your foot at full speed - it will go through :) ).

Most importantly, and this happens roughly every other day, during chase she suddenly flips a switch and starts running around like crazy - just by herself - at super high-speed. She will tire herself within 2-3 minutes and literally knock herself off to sleep. Give her belly rubs and she will fall asleep like a baby in 30 seconds.

And just like baby, in 2 hours she will be up for round two...

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