Training Dogs And Humans For A More Enjoyable Life Together

By Susan Smith, East Valley Dog Training

Answers to questions are based on the information provided. It’s always a good idea to have your pet thoroughly examined by a veterinarian when having behavior problems. Although I can give general information and management suggestions on serious behavior problems such as aggression, issues such as these can be a very serious problem and a certified dog trainer should be consulted.

I have a pointer mix, 7 months old. She still pees when she’s scared, or happy and anytime she sees a leash. If I try to put the leash or harness on her she throws herself on the ground and refuses to move. My question is, how do I train her to stop peeing all the time and how do I train her to go on a walk? 

Last week, we discussed your dog’s submissive urination issues. This week we’ll work on getting her harness on so you can go for a walk.

From your e-mail, I can’t tell if she’s throwing herself on the ground because she doesn’t want to go for a walk, because she doesn’t like the harness, or because she’s being submissive, so I’ll briefly address each. Regardless, for now, I’d be putting the harness on outside, if possible. It’s unlikely she’ll stop submissively urinating any time soon, so this prevents a mess you have to clean up. 

If she doesn’t want to go for a walk, that’s a bigger issue that really can’t be addressed here, and you should probably consult a trainer. However, it’s possible walks simply aren’t fun for her. I know from your original e-mail that you have small children, so it may je chaotic for her and not fun. For anyone with small children, you can’t train your dog and worry about the kids at the same time – you need to set aside time where you can concentrate on training.

If she doesn’t like the harness, try putting it on her early in the day, leave it on for a couple of hours, then remove it, gradually increasing the amount of time she wears it. This will allow her to get used to having it on and will hopefully help with putting it on. The harness should not be left on when she is alone, as it can get caught up on objects, which would result in scaring her more. 

While putting on the harness, keep in mind the issues discussed last week – putting a harness on usually includes a lot of looming and reaching over your dog, which can cause submissive behavior. You can do it in increments, rewarding the dog and making her look forward to the harness, as well. An example of a couple of first steps might be:

  • Pick up the harness, give the dog a treat
  • Let her sniff the harness, treat
  • Lay the harness over her back, treat
  • And so on, just doing a little bit at a time, and repeating until she looks comfortable

If you have questions for the trainer, please send them to:

Susan Smith, CDBC, CPDT-KA, is a dog trainer in San Tan Valley, AZ, specializing in pet dog training as well as cat and parrot training—from obedience behaviors to serious problems such as aggression. She can be contacted at:

Sue is also the owner of Raising Canine, LLC which provides professional education to animal trainers.