First, I'm glad to hear that you are considering a rescue dog - and this doglet sure sounds like she needs 'rescuing'. I'm very glad to hear that she has won your heart.
But let's put 'heart' aside for the moment, and concentrate on the 'head' part of this decision. The hard question: Can you provide what this dog needs?
If you adopt her you MUST do so with eyes open, with the understanding that you will do whatever it takes to help her overcome this, no matter how long it takes, no matter what the cost may be. And you must adopt her with the understanding that if by chance you cannot conquer the fear/excitement urination that you are still committed to her, that you will find a way to manage and keep her a happy member of the family for her whole life long.
When one adopts a dog, one must go on the principle of 'what you see is what you get'. Yes, one goes in with high hopes and practical plans for rehabilitation - and most of the time, with love, patience, practical training, and understanding one soon overcomes the baggage of past experiences. But one must always keep in mind that some rehab takes a long time - months or years - and some hurdles might never be overcome. One has to be able to say, hand on heart, 'I love this dog just as she is, she is mine for better or worse, she will always have a secure place in our home no matter what difficulties we might encounter.'
So think long and hard - can you make that committment?
Now, climbing down from my soapbox, let's look at the issue of fear/excitement urination.
First, a full medical exam is a must. Yes, from what you have written it sounds like a behavior issue but you nonetheless would be wise to rule out a physical cause first. It is also possible that there are both medical and behavioral issues at play here. So get that checked first.
Second - start with housetraining from scratch, just as you would a puppy. Out every hour, after every meal, after every play session. This is to re-establish now in your house what the dog might (or might not) have learned in her previous home. I've had supposedly incontinent dogs come to me as fosters who turned out simply to be in need of refresher housetraining. So as with the medical check up, you want to rule out lack of housetraining first before going on to more complicated rehab work.
Third - accept that there will be mess while you are working on the problem and do yourself a favor: Incontinence-proof the house prior to the dog's arrival. This puts you in a much more relaxed frame of mind - key to success. If you are tense, worried about the mess, you will communicate that tension to the dog, she will be worried which could cause further loss of control - and pretty soon you have a Teufelskreis on your hands.
To incontinence proof the house, first decide if there are rooms that are off-limits and put baby gates up to restrict access to those.
Take up all rugs. Seriously - you don't want to be steam cleaning every day.
Line all dog beds with an incontinence pad. You can get these at any Apotheke. Get the largest size (60 x 90). Buy the human ones, they are far less expensive than the pet puppy pads. If you can find the washable ones you will save a bundle. Aldi had these a few months ago, they appear every so often.
Cover all furniture with a protective incontinence sheet. Again, the kind for humans. You can get these at Manor, Coop City, etc. Over these, put down one of the incontinence pads, then cover with a fleece.
Yes, your house will look silly for a while, but better than having to steam clean all your sofas.
(Of course you can train the dog not to climb on the sofa, but reality is that she will at sometime be tempted to sneak up for a snooze. Make it easy on yourself and protect the furniture from day 1.)
And consider using a canine diaper when indoors. You can get a good (female) washable one at Fressnapf,( http://www.fressnapf.de/shop/bramton...re-hundewindel
) there is a decent disposable one available at Meiko (these are not on their website, but they are available at the shop in Hünenberg, so I assume at the others as well, call to see if you can order them.) I believe the disposables are also available at Qualipet. You could also use a baby diaper (much less expensive) but you'll have to cut an opening for the tail.
Now you don't want to rely on incontinence protection. The goal is to train out of this. Protecting the house is just a short term tactic,
to give you peace of mind while you work on the problem.
FYI - until you have cracked the problem, you will need to be more aware of hygiene issues. Urine scald is a common problem when a dog is incontinent and can develop into sores, so you have to wash the dog frequently. Dogs also tend to try to self-clean, and constant licking can cause irritation - you need to check the area frequently. If licking becomes a habit, you might have another behavior to train out as well.
To start off, here is a good article from the Whole Dog Journal: http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/iss...n_20452-1.html
And one from the ASPCA Virtual Behaviorist Library http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtua...sive-urination
As with all rehab, key is to understand the 'why'. When a behavior is driven by an emotion, one needs first to address that emotion. Once the dog learns to better handle the emotion of fear or excitement, she will be better placed to learn to control her behavior.
To that end, one needs to understand exactly when the urination occurs. Keep a diary and then look for patterns to help you decide what are the triggers, whether it is a fear-based behavior or one driven by excitement, or by something else. How you approach the rehab will depend on what emotion is triggering the urination.
If fear, you'll likely need to do some desensitization and counter conditioning. This is where you pair something that has a negative association for the dog with something that is so over-the-top wonderful that over time that negative thing (the trigger) takes on an new, positive, meaning to the dog. This article has some good suggestions as to how to go about this. http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtua...erconditioning
Teaching a dog not to be afraid will often stop the urnination, as this is an instictive response to fear.
If excitement, you'll likely need to do some calming exercises and management of the dog's routine. Some good suggestions two incontinence articles linked above.
I would suggest working with a good trainer - probably some one-on-one work in your home would be best. Incontinence is a frustrating issue to work with - having a trainer help you is as much for your moral support as for the specific training techniques.
Rather then droning on longer (than usual
), I'll just leave this as an overview. If you decide to adopt the dog, please come back to this thread with specific questions and we'll be happy to help.
And an FYI, a practical tip for owners of incontinent males:
My former foster poodle Puddle became incontinent following an operation. Neither meds or further surgery were successful to correct the problem. This is not a behavioral issue, rather a pure medical one. So, his owner (having made the commitment above) found a brilliant practical solution to live with a dribbling dog.
As some of you might have found out, most incontinence products on the market are designed for female dogs and these simply do not work with the male canine anatomy. One can get a product (belly bands for male incontinence) in the US, but we tried these out and they were nowheres near absorbent enough. But Puddle's owner came up with a great solution: take human baby diapers and turn them around so the the elasticized leg bits are going around the belly, covering the penis. Close over the back, fold the bit that bunches into a pleat and tape with medical gauze tape - Voila! An absorbent, anatomically correct male canine incontinence diaper. Puddle is a medium poodle, ca. 8.5 kg, and he wears a size 5 diaper. For a larger dog one would need to sew a belly band and then attach a baby diaper as a liner.
The house stays clean and odor-free, Puddle isn't in the least bothered. He has learned that when he comes in the house, he first must wait by the door to have his Windel put on.
Male or female, an incontinent dog needs to be given the opportunity to empty his bladder frequently - that is a must. Puddle's owner lives in a flat without a garden, so - again, referring to the commitment discussion - she has to plan for a quick walk every two hours throughout the day. If her day is such that she can't do that, arrangements have to be made to ensure that Puddle's needs are met. (Puddle comes back to me whenever his owner needs help, as he is still an honorary member of the Muttley Crew.)
If you decide to go ahead, do think through the frequency of needing to go out issue and if your day is structured to allow that. If not, while you are working on the problem could you enlist the help of a friend, neighbor or perhaps a sitter?
I don't want to scare you off - quite the opposite. I'm so very happy to hear that you are considering helping this dog, and applaud you for it. But part of helping is doing some soul-searching to determine if you are fully able to offer the help needed.
If you decide to go forward (and I truly hope you do), then please update this thread with specific questions once you know more about the dog.
Wishing you and the doglet all the very best.
The WDJ article mentions Dr Karen Overall's Relaxation Protocol as one way of helping a dog who is urinating in excitement to learn to cope. A good explanation of the protocol can be found here: http://www.dogdaysnw.com/doc/Overall...onProtocol.pdf