Some thoughts on submissive urination

Submissive urination…ah yes. You’d be surprised how many puppies do this but if you understand why it makes more sense. Puppies in their first two weeks of life are physically unable to eliminate on their own. The mama dog has to stimulate them to do so as she cleans them. This makes sense when you think about how the mama has to keep the den site clean to avoid predators, it is easiest for her to just ingest the waste. So one theory is that puppies have a “hold over” response from those early days and when they are feeling unsure or want to tell someone they are truly submissive, they will pee a little. This can become a problem for dogs when the owners see it as a reversal of house training and punish the action. Think of it from the puppy’s point of view – they are trying hard to show good manners by telling their big strong owners that they are no threat, they are ok with their submissive position in the pack. And as a result of this they are punished! It must make them SO confused and of course it just intensifies the behavior as the puppy tries even harder to convince the person of their willingness to be submissive.


Advice on problem dog behavior

I got a request for “advice’ recently that I wanted to post. It is important to always remember that this sort of advice can not be as thorough as that given by someone directly involved with the family or the dog. This advice should also not be used in place of veterinary care or professional dog training.

Hi Kristin,

We adopted Jessa three months ago…she was a stray wandering the streets of Aurora. We don’t think she was a stray for very long, as she didn’t really have any physical or emotional scars. She’s incredibly friendly to all people and other dogs. She loves kids. She’s a very happy and lovely dog. The vet says she’s about a year old, give or take a month or two.


Pups on the mend

puppy play July 21, 2009Well, things are a little less messy over here these days, thanks to the marvels of modern medicine. I don’t remember if I wrote about how the pups and Willow ALL came down with a nasty case of squirting diarrhea over the weekend but they did….yikes. The vet, as you can imagine, wanted to see the whole group and I simply said I would not do that. I said, “We have to figure something else out, I am not willing to bring the entire litter to the vet’s office again.” Yeah for me!

So, I compromised and brought the sickest pup, the smallest, and the largest (to get a weight range) and I was surprised to find out that the range went from 7 to 10 pounds at only 5 weeks!!! These pups are big ones! Anyway, the nice people at Meadow View Veterinary Clinic (Geneva, IL) fixed the group right up and now, just two days later, things are looking up. In fact, I am just now going to go into the room for the final clean of the evening…wish me luck.

Franklin impresses again

I have been going to the vet a lot lately, dealing with the Kennel Cough coursing its way through my pack. On this particular day I was feeling bad about leaving Franklin home alone again so I decided to bring him along. He loves car rides, getting all fluffy as the wind blows him from the open windows (I transport him in his bedtime cage).



Anyway, he was very sweetly sitting on his opened cage as the vet was listening to Bella‘s heart. He was taking extra long because he thought he heard a murmur but then decided he hadn’t. As he was bending over her, listening through his stethoscope Franklin was watching intently, head cocked. Then I hear the unmistakable sound of him mimicking a heartbeat! The first time I heard that sound was after I was cuddling him close to my chest a month or so ago. He was lying his head on me as I scratched his neck. As I pulled him away and brought him up to my face to talk to him he looked me right in the eye and made an unmistakable heartbeat sound! I figured he had heard my heart as I scratched him. So, at the vet when he made the sound I was shocked…could he really have understood what was going on?? He has never made that sound randomly, only when mimicking me or when he hears my heart. Very very weird. He may be WAY smarter than I realize. Good ‘ole Frank Frank.

July 11, 2009 • Tags: , , , • Posted in: behavior, bird, Franklin • No Comments

Kennel Cough

I was at the vet (again) with another one of my dogs who has caught Williow‘s kennel cough. Now, I am embarrassed to admit this but I have not had my dogs vaccinated for kennel cough. I feel stupid now but had my dogs not gotten it (like they haven’t for the last few times mamas with kennel cough have lived with us) I would be feeling validated. I guess I always knew I was taking a risk but it seemed worth it to avoid over vaccinating them. Anyway, I have changed my mind. I will now vaccinate Hermes and Bella routinely, every 6 months like recommended. They are the two who go everywhere with me and it seems only fair. As for the other two, I may vaccinate them again when we are preparing for another mama. But since I am greatly anticipating a break from puppy rearing that can wait a bit.

Poor dogs, everyone is hacking up a lung over here. All except for Lollie…hmm. She has such a strong immune system I wonder if she’ll succumb? As a puppy, she lived with a littler mate who had Parvo (a very serious case of it, requiring 16 days in intensive care in the hospital to overcome it) and she was fine. Never caught it. We will see.

July 11, 2009 • Tags: , , , , , • Posted in: health, Willow • No Comments

A Trip to the Vet

Today was a stressful day for everyone. All eight puppies and Annie went to the vet for their checkup and vaccinations. Getting everyone into their crates (two in one crate, three in the other two) and those HEAVY crates into the car was a task for little ol’ me! Then the drive was stressful. There are two or three puppies that are really barkers – sharp, piercing, gotta-make-them-stop-NOW kind of barks. I understand how sound can be used to torture…plus my mommy instincts made me even more susceptible – puppy barks are a lot like little baby cries, just tugging at you to see what’s wrong and help them feel better. (more…)

December 30, 2008 • Tags: , , • Posted in: Annie, pups • No Comments