Problem Urination in Dogs

By Dr. Becker

If when you arrive home your excited, delighted dog leaves a little puddle of pee at your feet (or even on your feet), it could be your furry family member is dealing with a submissive or excitement urination problem.

It’s important to understand your piddling pooch has very little control over the situation, so it’s pointless, unkind and confusing to punish her for the behavior.

The first thing to do is make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out a physical cause for her random peeing. Urinary incontinence is a disorder with similar symptoms but very different causes.

These can include a birth defect, central nervous system trauma, damage to the pudendal nerve, bladder stones or a urethral obstruction, age or hormone-related incontinence, or a disease of the kidneys, adrenal glands, or the bladder (including infection).

Many causes of urinary incontinence are serious and require medical intervention, so it’s essential to rule all those things out before deciding your dog’s dribbling problem is behavioral in nature.

Once your veterinarian gives your pet a clean bill of health, the next step is to determine the trigger for his inappropriate urination.

Excitement Urination

Generally speaking, if your dog doesn’t pee when you look him in the eye, bend over him, or greet him face-to-face – in other words, when you’re in what canines consider a dominant position – he’s an excited rather than a submissive dribbler.

His triggers are probably playtime and when family members come home or guests drop by. If he’s still a puppy, he’ll quite likely outgrow the problem if addressed correctly, so the challenge is to avoid as many triggers as possible.

Managing Excitement Triggers

Take playtime outdoors whenever possible, and when it isn’t possible, make sure your dog has had a chance to relieve himself before engaging in play. Prepare an area of your floor with newspaper or puppy pads before play begins.

This should help keep accidents to a minimum, but when he has one (and he will), don’t discipline or punish him.

The best approach is to simply stop the action, grab some treats, and take him outside to his potty spot (or to his puppy pad). Give him lavish praise and treats the second he pees where he should. Once that’s done, clean the floor without making a fuss.

If your dog tends to leak when you come home, make sure to keep greetings on your end very low key. Move around quietly and speak in a calm, soothing tone.

If that doesn’t alleviate the leaking, try ignoring him when you first arrive home to help him learn to calm down on his own. Once he’s relaxed and if he hasn’t peed, offer him praise and treats.

Boosting a Submissive Dog’s Self-Confidence

Submissive peeing is most often seen in timid, nervous, shy dogs. Common triggers for these dogs include being greeted or approached by someone, or being yelled at or disciplined. Many pets with this problem have a history of receiving harsh punishment for peeing accidents.

If your dog has a submissive urination problem, it’s extremely important to avoid scolding or punishing her when she has an accident. This will only increase her anxiety and make peeing mistakes more likely.

A much better approach is to give your dog plenty of affirmative, high quality attention to build her confidence. Use positive reinforcement behavior training to teach her basic commands like sit, stay, come, and drop it, as well as simple tricks. Lavish her with praise each time she does what you ask.

The goal is to give your dog tons of opportunities to succeed and earn praise, while avoiding situations that trigger submissive peeing.

How to Approach a Submissive Dog

It’s also important to approach a submissive dog using non-dominant body language, which means you should:

·     Avoid direct eye contact

·     Approach from the side vs. head-on

·     Lower yourself to your dog’s level

·     Scratch her under the chin vs. the top of the head

When your shy dog has an accident (and she will), as I mentioned earlier, it’s extremely important not to raise your voice or punish her. Instead, handle the situation as I outlined above for dogs with excitement peeing.

Calmly get a few treats and take your pup outside to her potty spot (or to her puppy pad). Praise her like crazy and offer treats the second she pees where she should.

If she tends to dribble when you arrive home, make sure to keep greetings low key. You can also try ignoring her when you first come through the door to help her learn to self-soothe. Once she’s calm and as long as she hasn’t peed, give her some loving attention and treats.

Additional Suggestions

Something else to consider is a wrap (belly band) for male dogs or bloomers (I call them hot pants) if your dog is female.


You can put it on before indoor playtime or when you’re expecting guests. It’s important to remove it once the situational trigger has passed, since you never want to leave urine against your dog’s skin.

A wrap or bloomers will not only save your floor, it may also help gently remind your pup that if he pees, he won’t be able to walk away from it. Canines are naturally disinclined to soil themselves. I have clients whose dogs have been completely cured of excited or submissive urination after a few weeks or months of wearing a wrap.

It’s also important with a leaky dog to continue to offer lots of praise and treats whenever he pees in his outdoor potty spot and on walks.


My Moment


Do you ever get down in the dumps?  Feel like life is going nowhere or that it is not what you planned or expected?  We’ve all been there.  Life can be a real downer sometimes.  I am not going to sit here and tell you that there is a silver lining and that you should count your blessings but I will tell you how I handle those set- backs in my life.  I remember.


It came to me as I was convalescing from a terrible accident that caused me to have three operations and forced me to stop doing one of the things in life that brought me my greatest joy—horseback riding.  I have had horse for 42 years and now I am horse-less thanks to this accident.  In order to try to bring sense to my life I pondered on what gave me joy.  I am truly blessed with a wonderful family, friends and I am retired from my 9-5 banking job.  This freedom enabled me to concentrate my talents where my heart always led me all my life—to animals.


So then I thought, what has been my defining moment in my life?  Was it my wedding? No, I am happily married to a wonderful man, who I love with all my heart, but that was not a defining moment for me.  Was my moment when I gave birth to my pride and joy –my son?  No, although I have been blessed to have a great child who is the one of the biggest blessing I have in life– his birth was not my defining moment.  Was it the 35 years I spent in banking, working myself up from entry level to being in charge or over 50 people?  Definitely not!  That was what I had to do to survive. It was a career, not just a job, but I wasn’t doing what I longed for–what made my heart sing.

You know what I mean by defining moment—when you are so proud of what you, yourself, have accomplished, on your own, using your own talents? Then I closed my eyes and thought what have I done that made me proud to be me?  Then it came to me—I saw myself, standing up behind a podium talking at my book launch party about the book I had written.  A Tail of Hope’s Faith was an accumulation of years of learning, practicing and working with animals.  It defines who I am deep down inside—it is who I am and who I will always want to be and what I believe in my soul. 

So when I get down in the dumps, when I think life is not as interesting without my precious horses in it– I picture myself behind that podium.  I smile and tears come to my eyes as I remember that moment.  I am so very proud that I was able to change someone’s life, to bring comfort and healing to an animal and her family and then to document it for anyone else who may be going through the same experience of a terminally ill pet.  That’s my moment—that’s what I am proudest of! 

What is your moment?  We all have one.  Think about it and then recall it whenever you need a reminder that you are freaking awesome and no one can take that away from you!

Tips On Walking Multiple Dogs

Tips On Walking Multiple Dogs 

by Chamois Beal Lopez

Featured in Animal Wellness Magazine ~ Vol. 16 Issue 1


Walking two or more dogs at once is fun, but can be difficult and even dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Linda has three dogs – a Rottweiler, retriever and a feisty border terrier mix. She walks all of them twice a day, at the same time. One afternoon, she found a lost shepherd mix in her office parking lot, and welcomed the stray into her household until she found her a permanent home.

All four dogs adapted relatively well to one another. Then, Linda took them out for their first walk as a pack. Things progressed smoothly until the shepherd mix laid eyes on another passing dog. Suddenly, she lunged at one of her fellow pack mates with shocking aggression. An experienced multi-dog walker, Linda was able to bring the situation under control, but in other hands, it could have been disastrous.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, approximately 43 million households have more than one dog. And caring canine parents want to exercise those dogs. When time is at a premium, as it so often is, walking two or more dogs at once seems like a great idea. But it can pose some problems if you’re not prepared. J.D. Antell, dog walking expert and author of The Dog Walker’s Start-up Guide, says that before a multi-dog walking experience, you need to make a plan that includes training, safety and proper equipment.

Training is paramount

Walking several untrained dogs at once can pose a danger not only to you, but to innocent bystanders as well. Training techniques should start as early as possible in a dog’s life. “It’s preferable to walk one dog at a time, particularly in the beginning stages of training, because having more than one dog around can be distracting while teaching,” says Mychelle Blake, a dog training expert and President of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. She adds that training allows you to acclimatize to each dog’s temperament and agility.

Although training should be consistent for satisfactory results, it doesn’t need to be elaborate. “Sit” and “stay” commands should be included, and a game called “no pull” can be very useful –if the dog walks forward and causes the leash to tighten, stop until he returns to walk at your side.

Gear for pack walking

When you’re walking multiple canines, choose proper collars, harnesses and leashes for each dog’s specific needs and temperament.

Collars – Look for sturdy, quality materials, and ensure that collars are neither too tight nor too loose on the dogs’ necks. If you have one or more dogs that insist on pulling, a harness might be a better bet. Do not use choke chains.

Harness – Again, durable quality products are safer and more comfortable for the dog. A harness relieves neck pressure and avoids choking dogs with weak windpipes or respiratory problems.

Leads – Choose a strong lead approximately 4’ to 6’ feet in length to provide reasonable security for a multi-dog walk. “Do not walk multiple dogs on fl exible leads,” Mychelle says. “It’s a recipe for trouble.”

Coupler – This nylon extension (designed for multidog walking) divides in two to separate each leash and reduce tangling.

Reconciling differences A multi-dog walk may include canines of any size, age, personality and activity level. The idea of walking two terriers and a German shepherd together may tempt you to think twice, but these differences shouldn’t deter you. Nevertheless, it’s important to gauge each dog individually, as well as how he relates to the others in his pack. “Age is not so much a factor except when we are talking about puppies versus mature dogs,” says Antell. Puppies are generally more energetic than older dogs and their differences might create an alarming conflict unless the dogs have already adapted comfortably within the same household. “In most cases, you will be able to group dogs together by activity level,” Antell says. For instance, if a couple of dainty Pomeranians are going to walk with a Rottweiler and a Doberman, put the needs of the least physically able dog first. “Assuming they are social and friendly with each other, the specific method is to cater to the least physically capable among the group. Of course, this means the younger or more physically active dogs will not enjoy as active a walk as they might like, but you have not compromised the health of the most vulnerable dog either.”

Safety first

Safety is a top priority when walking multiple dogs, and you must factor in your own capabilities, such as fitness level, vigilance and speed.

• Physics play a major role in keeping a pack under control. For example, a 120-pound woman should think twice about walking two 150-pound English mastiffs simultaneously. The weight of the woman compared to the dogs’ combined weight means they could easily drag her off her feet on a wild pursuit after a squirrel or rabbit. In a case like this, it is best to ask a partner or friend to walk one of the dogs.

• If any of your dogs become easily agitated or even aggressive, scan the environment continuously during your walk. Go for walks during off-peak hours when there is less traffic or other dog walkers, to minimize your own dogs’ excitability.

• “If you feel apprehensive about walking more than one dog at a time, I would suggest recruiting another person to walk with you as a backup,” says Mychelle.

It doesn’t matter whether you have two dogs or six. If they’re trained, sociable and well behaved, and if you have the right gear and are keeping everyone’s safety and comfort in mind, it can be a wonderful way for you to step out together. Best of all, no one has to be left at home!


Is It Normal to Talk to Pets?

Is It Normal to Talk to Pets?

by Dr. Elfenbein

I talk to my dog. I also talk to all the other dogs at the dog park. I may not be a “normal” person in all respects, but I don’t think this is one of my questionable character traits. I think it’s totally normal to talk to animals—and not just to ask if they want to play fetch.


From the time I was a little kid, I talked to my dog. I could tell him anything, and he wouldn’t judge me or tell me what I should do. As I’ve grown up, the contents of the conversations have changed, but I still turn to my animals to say things that I can’t or don’t want to tell another person. Sometimes we just need to say what’s on our minds, and cats and dogs lend a willing ear. There is no need to hold back what we say for their sake.


Pets Can Recognize Human Emotion


Some people say that talking to my pets means I am anthropomorphizing them, or assigning human characteristics to non-human entities. I disagree. Dogs and cats have evolved side by-side with humans for tens of thousands of years to understand human emotion. Much of that is probably based on our body language, but the tone of our voice also tells our furry family members how we feel. Those clues tell our dogs and cats what we need from them.


I don’t think that my dog knows what I’m telling him, but he knows the way my voice sounds when I’m sad, tired, or frustrated, and he tries to make me feel better. There were many nights during veterinary school when I put my head next to my cat to listen to his purr as I cried to him about feeling overwhelmed. Talking to my pets helps me feel better and, bigger picture, it’s a way to strengthen our bond.


On the flipside, your dog will learn to understand more words than just “sit” and “dog park.” Be consistent when you are talking to your pet with the intention that they learn the meaning of what you say or take an action as a result of the word. For example, “off” and “down” might mean the same thing to you when your puppy jumps, but you might also use “down” to mean a laying position. That can be confusing for your pup, which can slow down the training process.


Pets Offer Unconditional Love


We invite dogs and cats into our family for their unconditional love—their willingness to listen to all of our complaints and tolerate all of our bad habits and love us anyway. In my opinion, anything we can do to make our pets know how important they are is a good thing. Talking to them, unlike giving them treats, won’t cause side effects like weight gain. Pets are meant to be spoiled, and including them in conversation is one way to express how much we love them.


Talking to our dogs and cats is also key to the science that says pets are important for mental and physical health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pet parents are less likely to feel lonely than those who live without pets. I think part of that is having someone who always listens. There is also research that shows that talking in a happy tone if you are feeling sad or angry can actually help you feel happier—just like fake laughing can turn into real laughing.


My dog is my companion. He goes on walks and runs with me, he hangs out with me in the apartment, he drives with me to work, and he’s always ready for an adventure. With that much time together, I can’t imagine not talking to him about all the things that happen in between our cuddle sessions.


Dr. Elfenbein is a veterinarian and animal behaviorist located in Atlanta. Her mission is to provide pet parents with the information they need to have happy, and healthy, and fulfilled relationships with their dogs and cats.


How to Treat Dog Wounds at Home

by Dr. Jennifer Coates

Let’s talk about how to treat minor scrapes or cuts on your dog at home … emphasis on the minor! Any injury that fully penetrates the skin (e.g., a bite wound) and/or involves a large portion of the body or an especially sensitive area should receive immediate veterinary attention.

 We are talking about the equivalent of a scraped knee or shallow cut here. Even minor wounds should be dealt with promptly, before infection sets in. If the skin around the wound is inflamed or pus is visible, more aggressive treatment than what you can provide at home is probably needed.

 If you have any doubts as to the severity of your pet’s injury, play it safe and make an appointment with your veterinarian. Only attempt wound care if you are confident that a pet will not react aggressively to the procedure. If need be, recruit an assistant to help with restraint, and use a muzzle.

Supplies Needed

 ·         Water-based lubricant (e.g., KY jelly – not Vaseline)

·         Electric clippers, scissors, or razor

·         Warm water

·         Clean towels (paper or cloth)

·         Antiseptic solution

·         Antimicrobial ointment

 How to Treat a Dog Wound

 ·         Place a small dog on a table or counter in front of you or get down on the ground with a large dog. Have a second person gently restrain the pet if necessary.

·         Cover the wound and surrounding area with a water-based lubricant. This makes removing shaved hair from the wound much easier and decreases contamination.

·         Use electric clippers to shave the hair from around the wound. Scissors or a disposable razor can be used with extreme caution to avoid cutting the skin.

·         Wipe the water-based lubricant and hair away with a clean, dry cloth or paper towel.

·         Wash the area with warm water until all visible debris is gone, then pat dry.

·         Apply a non-stinging antiseptic solution to the area. Chlorhexidine is cheap, extremely effective, and readily available. I prefer a 2% solution to limit tissue irritation but 4% solutions are also widely used. Chlorhexidine is ideal because it kills the types of bacteria and yeast that are most commonly associated with skin infections in dogs and cats.

·         Apply an antimicrobial ointment to the wound. Traumatic injuries are best treated with a broad spectrum topical antibiotic like those containing bacitracin, neomycin, and polymyxin B. If yeast is of primary concern, for example in dogs with allergies that develop moist dermatitis, miconazole ointment is a good choice.

·         Prevent the pet from grooming the ointment off its skin for at least ten minutes; longer is even better. Take a dog for a walk or sit with a cat in your lap but do not apply a bandage over the area.

·         Two to three times a day, clean away debris (if necessary) and apply the antiseptic and ointment until the skin is healed.

·         If the wound worsens at any time or fails to resolve within a week, consult a veterinarian.




Do Dogs Experience Grief?

By Samantha Drake is a freelance writer & editor in the Philadelphia area who writes about pets, business & general interest topics.

Comments by animal communicator, Diane Weinmann

Dogs’ loyalty to their human companions is the stuff of legends. But do dogs really experience grief?

Sentimental tales of dogs grieving for their departed owners once inspired statues. There’s the story of Greyfriars Bobby, the Skye Terrier who maintained a vigil at his master’s grave at the Greyfriars Church yard in Edinburgh, Scotland for 14 years, until his own death in 1872. A statue was erected in the dog’s honor in 1873, and his story was also popularized in the 1961 Disney film “Greyfriars Bobby: The True Story of a Dog.”

Today, photos of canine mourning go viral on the internet. In May 2016, for example, the family of Abraham Martinez, who had died in a car accident, tweeted a photo of his dog lying in front of a memorial set up in the family’s home.

Because of these stories, scientists, animal behaviorists and dog lovers alike all have their own thoughts on canine mourning.

Do Dogs Grieve?

Many scholars think that dogs and other animals experience emotions like grief, says Laurie Santos, director of the Comparative Cognition Laboratory and the Canine Cognition Center at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

“People report that dogs grieve after similar events that might cause grief in humans, such as the loss of a loved one,” she says. “But it’s always hard to know what an animal’s inner emotional life is since they don’t have language to tell us. There aren’t many direct studies on this, in part because it’s hard for scientists to test what a dog’s inner feelings are really like using our normal scientific tools.”

Dogs have been companion animals throughout human history, and we have thousands of years of co-evolution with them, says Barbara King, the author of “How Animals Grieve” and emerita professor of anthropology at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, so it’s no surprise that dogs are very in tune with humans. The question is, are we just as in touch with the feelings of dogs?


How to Determine if a Dog is Grieving

Animals, including dogs, tell us what they feel by how they behave, King says. Grieving animals may exhibit changes in behavior that are similar to the way grief manifests in humans. This can include withdrawing socially, experiencing altered sleeping patterns, and displaying changes in their affections and expressions, she says.

Experts suggest a few ways to help a dog that you believe is having a difficult time. “In lots of ways, you can help a grieving dog like you’d help a grieving human—be sure to give lots of extra affection and try to provide some distractions,” says Santos.

King says that adding a new animal into the home may help as well. Pairing a grieving dog with a younger pet can help rejuvenate and distract the older dog by bringing out his or her nurturing instinct, she says. A new playmate may also help the depressed dog get more exercise.

Dog Grief: A Matter of Perception?

Dog owners shouldn’t jump to conclusions about their pet’s behavior, says King. Dogs may experience emotions like grief differently than humans, and it could manifest for a variety of reasons, such as missing a human loved on or experiencing a change in routine. Pinpointing the cause is unlikely, since dogs cannot put their problems into words.

Animal lovers also like to anthropomorphize animal behavior and label certain behaviors as grief, King adds. The media is particularly guilty of making assumptions about dog behavior. For instance, a photo of a German Shepherd that had dug a hole under a gravestone in Serbia made the rounds on the internet in 2015. Publications initially reported that the dog was mourning her departed owner, but in reality, news organizations eventually revealed that the stray dog had dug a hole to protect her four puppies in the best place she could find.

Even the heart-tugging story of Greyfriars Bobby has its skeptics. According to Dr. Jan Bondeson, a professor at Cardiff University in Wales, two terriers actually lingered at the gravesite, with the second dog appearing after the first one died, and neither belonged to the man buried there. The Daily Mail newspaper reported that Bondeson theorized the dogs were strays fed by the cemetery’s curator and people simply assumed the dogs were mourning their owner. As the story spread, visitors to the graveyard increased, as did church donations and food for the dogs. The curator and surrounding businesses had little incentive to dispel the story, the Daily Mail report noted.

Still, many examples of a dog’s devotion can’t be explained away.

During devastating flooding in Rio de Janeiro in 2011, the photo of a dog lying beside its owner’s fresh grave for several days captured the world’s attention. While it’s easy to believe that people see what they want to see in such photos, it’s also not difficult to believe that the relationship between a dog and his or her owner constitutes a strong and enduring bond, and that humans and canines feel and express the loss of the other in his or her own way.

As an animal communicator, I have had many human clients call regarding the depression/grief of their pet based on their actions or lack thereof!  Pets just like people display many of the same responses to depression and grief from moping, not eating, their zest for life is diminished, need for reassurance/cuddling, or lack of interest in things they previously found enjoying, for example, car rides.

Several scenarios can cause this from the death or a friend or companion pet to a divorce, house change, debilitating illness or change in household such as a student going away to college.  So how do we fix this??  I can talk with them, provide a custom Bach Flower Essence treatment (holistic remedy) or recommend an essential oil that will help them deal with the feelings of abandonment and sadness.  I have had great success over the years with these methods and highly recommend that you contact me to learn more about them at  After all, our pets can’t got to a physiatrist so I’m the next best thing!







Dog’s that Slip


There are many products that will help you pet not slip on your floors.  I can tell you my husky will not chase his toys into our kitchen because of the wood floor.  He’s a smart cookie because he understands he can hurt himself.  Here are some alternatives to make your pet more comfortable and self-assured in walking/running in your home:

Dog boots. You can purchase boots for your dog’s paws online or at your local pet store that both prevent skidding and provide stability for older dogs.

Soft paws. “Soft paws” – temporary rubber nail caps for your dog – are sold at They stop dogs from both scratching the floor and from slipping. They last 4-6 weeks, then fall off, at which point you trim their nails and put new ones on.

Paw maintenance. Be sure to keep your dog’s nails short and the fur on their paws trimmed which will help cut down on slipping.

Paw wax. There are a variety of paw waxes widely available at pet stores and online that you can apply to your pooch’s paws which can provide some traction.

Plastic runner or throw rug(s). Consider laying out a plastic or non-stick runner or throw rugs (with rubber backing!) in the rooms with slick flooring to keep him from slipping.