My dog pees in the house for revenge because he is alone all day. He pees for revenge.
My dog pees in the house to get even with me for going out without him. He pees for revenge.
Which of the above statements are true?
Here’s a photo of a dog waiting to go outside so you can think for a minute and then scroll past the photo for the answer.
The answer is BOTH ARE FALSE.
When a dog urinates or defecates in a place he normally shouldn’t, a multitude of reasons can cause this, but revenge/spite/trying to anger you are not on that list.
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Dogs React to Us
It isn’t pleasant to step in a puddle of (hidden) cold dog pee saturated deep within the carpet. A typical reaction to this is probably something like “dammit, INSERT NAME HERE, what did you do?”
Yelling, shouting, shaming, or “punishing” a dog for such a behavior is not going to prevent the accident from happening in the future.
A dog’s cowering, hiding, sorrowful eyes, or lowered head when yelling, shouting, or a harsh tone is taken at finding such an accident teaches the dog to be afraid of you. As smart as most dogs are, they aren’t manipulative enough to ponder the art of revenge: That’s a human quality. Do you know how to stop a dog who pees for revenge? You don’t! Dogs do NOT pee for revenge. And do not under any circumstances “rub their nose in it:” This is an antiquated, disgusting, and old wives’ tale and proves only what a bully you are in doing so.
A website, book, and memes galore have been built around the notion of “dogshaming.”
Putting funny signs in front of a dog who looks like he or she did something does not mean the dog actually feels that way. Memes are meant for good humor and laughs. Dogs do not exact revenge on people. It’s just not their way.
Reasoning it Out
Dogs live in the moment. This we know. Dogs don’t ponder what’s going to happen five minutes from now let alone what might happen when their parent leaves for work tomorrow. Dogs might anticipate departure, hence a dog’s reaction when keys are heard jingling or his parent puts a pair of shoes on for a walk. Some dogs love to go for a ride, while others loathe it.
Dogs do have emotions. They do not have the foresight to willingly inflict emotional upset on people.
Ponder this: When a special occasion happens in the family, does a dog plan ahead, act extra nice, or otherwise go out of his or her way to extend himself because it is an extra special day?
A happy dog is just that: happy dog: A joyful pooch who loves nothing more than to be around his pack, whether that means one person or a whole family…. he remains that joyful dog no matter what day it is. That is, unless someone is upsetting to the dog, the dog is sick, or something emotional has happened in the dog’s life.
Dogs don’t have a date planner. Dogs do, however, show emotions with their body language, behavior, and “in the moment” thinking.
For a dog to pee in the house, plan ahead to do so, not know when you will find it, and then know you will get angry and start yelling or scolding them: Well, that takes a whole lot of calculated forward and vengeful thinking. Of all the emotions a dog has, getting even with you is not one of them.
Dogs Who Pee for Revenge
There is no such concept as dogs who pee for revenge. We place human feelings and emotions on dogs, and in many cases, rightfully so: Dogs have a huge array of emotions. If we are happy and celebrate life, our dogs are happy for us. When we are in a bad mood, dogs either try to snap us out of it or hunker down to get through it with you or hide in corner from a loud or irritated voice.
Dogs will pee if they are scared.
Dogs will pee if they have an emotional issue.
Dogs will pee if they are puppies.
Dogs will pee if they are left alone too long.
Dogs will pee because they are marking a spot.
Dogs will pee because they are older and cannot hold it.
Dogs will pee because there is a health problem.
Dogs will not pee out of revenge.
Dogs do not deserve to be hit, nor should they be spanked, slapped, have their nose rubbed “in it” or any similar behavior. This only serves to instill fear, the latter of which is unsanitary, disgusting, and an old wives’ tale that seems to take place in homes across the world. Doing it doesn’t make it right and can actually harm your dog.
Could My Dog Have A Urinary Tract Infection?
Is the behavior associated with any of these symptoms when your dog starts peeing indoors?
- Difficulty urinating
- Pain on urination (squealing, straining, unable to pass much urine)
- Very small amounts of urine come out, and sometimes with blood
- Bloody or cloudy urine
Dogs with a urinary tract infection, bladder infection, kidney stones, or even a tumor may exhibit one or more of the above symptoms.
Sometimes dogs with a urinary tract infection developing may not have symptoms. Never second guess any of this and seek veterinary help.
Double Hack Alert:
- Purchase a pet camera so you can see your dog while you are away. You can monitor his behavior and determine where and when he pees in your absence. Bonus: You can also talk to, hear, and give treats to your dog from wherever you are. Our favorite affordable pet camera is the Petcube Bites 2 Lite.
- Check your dog’s urine at home once or twice a month. I purchase urinary test strips for my dog online. The strips can detect if your pooch has a urinary tract infection when used properly. Not all test strips are created equal, so check reviews and be sure to throw them out when expired.
What to Do When Your Dog Pees Indoors
If you have an adult dog who suddenly starts peeing in the house, it’s up to you, the pet parent, to become a detective and figure out why.
Start with observation and documenting when and where your dog pees in a Piddle Journal.
Here’s help for adult dogs peeing in the house. Fun fact: None of the reasons are for revenge.
When your dog has an accident, write down the time and what happened before that. When was he last outside? Did he drink a lot of water? Is the marking in the same spot? You can begin to spot (pun intended) patterns and even seek the guidance of a positive reinforcement dog behaviorist. If you want to potty train an adult dog, it takes patience.
We created the DogMinder Canine Health and Wellness Journal so you can log these details easily.
If your dog is urinating in the house, any number of reasons exist, but revenge is not one of them. Science says so, too. Some believe that guilt is complicated; we believe that dogs are not (complicated): they simply love us and would not purposely or with calculated intent seek to be punished.
The above applies as much to number “two” as it does number “one.”
Revenge Pee and Revenge Poop Are Fiction
Revenge peeing and revenge pooping are human characteristics some people try and assign to canine behavior or anthropomorphism.
Example: “My dog pees in the middle of the night because I won’t let her sleep on my bed.”
Explanation: Your dog has a health issue or is anxious because you changed her sleeping area or admonished her for trying to get on the bed.
If your dog is peeing (or pooping) in the house suddenly, ask yourself if one or more of the following things have occurred in your dog’s life recently:
- You (or your dog) had a change in routine
- You added one or more dogs, cats, babies, or pets to the family
- You changed their diet
- You moved
- He is bored and/or alone a lot
- Your dog isn’t getting enough physical activity or mental stimulation
- You have a lot of traffic in and out of your house (friends, family, kids with friends, etc.)
- You expect your dog to hold it too long while you are out
- You yell or scold the dog when you come home and find pee or poop. (spoiler alert: Your dog has no clue why you are freaking out after the fact)
- Your dog is nervous or anxious about something
- Your dog is fearful of noises, thunderstorms, fireworks, etc.
Remove the human perception of what is going on and think like a dog. Dogs do not pee or poop out of revenge.
Dogs mark their territory by peeing or pooping. This is a natural, instinctive behavior that dogs do. They love to urinate and defecate, and they communicate by doing so.
But My Dog Looks Guilty When I Yell At Him For Peeing Indoors
Nope! Yelling at your dog may produce a scared, “guilty” look because your dog is sad, upset, or nervous that you are raising your voice and shouting. Maybe your dog runs behind a chair, couch or cowers in a corner? He’s trying to get away from your shouting and ranting.
It’s not just my opinion. One of the smartest canine behaviorists on the planet, Alexandra Horowitz, published a white paper on a dog’s guilty look for Science Daily.
If your dog pees on your bed, he is taking comfort in a familiar scent: YOU! Your bed smells like you, which means your skin cells, sweat, and overall body odor. Your dog smells this and is trying to strengthen a bond, just like wolves do in the wild.
Some dogs feel the bed is a safe place to urinate because it is an area of comfort.
If your bed already smells like dog pee, the smell may not be noticeable to you, but your dog’s amazing nose can tell. He may continue to pee on the bed.
Dogs sometimes communicate to their pack by urinating or defecating. He’s leaving you a pee-mail message that he is sad, fearful, or something is bothering him. It’s not for revenge. Your dog adores you. He isn’t peeing for spite.
Your dog is establishing his mark as “I was here first.” You bring a new baby, dog, cat, or significant other home, and your dog starts peeing indoors, perhaps on the bed. It’s not revenge. It’s nature and common sense.
Our Favorite Products to Clean Up Dog Urine From the Carpet
Accidents happen. Here are our favorite products to get rid of urine odor and stains without nasty chemicals:
Rocco and Roxie Stain and Odor Eliminator: My favorite indoor urine product. It helps to get the stink and stain out without nasty chemicals.
Nature’s Miracle Set-In Stain Destroyer: I have had success with this product for those hard-to-get-out stains and severe, stubborn pet and urine stains.
Skout’s Honor Laundry Booster and Odor Removal Additive: If your dog pees on bedding or furniture covers, throw rugs, or towels, this is a great laundry booster to get the stink and stain out. (bonus: it’s unscented and bleach-free)
Hoover Oxy Pet Urine and Stain Eliminator Carpet Cleaner: The enzymatic formula breaks down organic particles to get the mess out.
Blacklight Urine Detector: Great for hard-to-find urine accidents. I used this when my Cocker Spaniel was housetraining.