How to Stop a Dog Who Pees for Revenge

dog peeing

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.

dog urination

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 some along the lines of “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 antiquated, disgusting, and old wives’ tale and proves only what a bully you are in doing so.

How to stop a dog who pees for revenge

Dogshaming

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.

Planning Ahead

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?

No.

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.

dog peeing behavior

Dogs Who Pee for Revenge

There is no such concept as dogs who pee for revenge. We place human feelings and emotions on dog, 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.

What to Do

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.”

Our Favorite Products to Clean Up Dog Urine From the Carpet


Comments

  1. This is something I learned when reading the Decoding Your Dog book. I would still swear that Shiner will occasionally pee for “revenge” or out of spite for something, but I know that this is not true and scientifically proven. I don’t punish her and I don’t make her “feel bad” about it. It rarely happens and when it does, it is just one occasion out of the blue.

    • THAT is a great book, and we have read it. I totally believe that dogs do not do peeing or pooping for revenge on us.

      • Great post, Carol.

        I’ve just recently finished reading the Decoding Your Dog book. I think the potty training chapter was actually one of my favorites! It was very well written and full of good information.

        I loved the one example where the owners thought the dog was acting “guilty,”
        But then later on when they got a new puppy, the dog would act the same way when the puppy had an accident. And then it really sunk in for the owners that the dog was just responding to their body language and emotions, because the dog knew the humans would react to the puddle on the floor.

    • I totally agree with the revenge peeing. If my dog does not want to do something …example go out side to pee. She runs and lays down and pees right then and there. This just about the only time she has done this except two other times when she was had worms when we got her..
      I had a dog who every time. Left the house she defecated everywhere! And yes I did cage her along with other doggie options . It done NO good.

  2. The only place a dog takes revenge is in movies! Very informative article, now hope those that think they are peeing for revenge will wake up and realize NO, they are not!

  3. One of the biggest things I’ve learned the past year in nose work and tracking courses is how dogs are not at all doing things for reasons we think. They see things in their own way and we humanize it all which is what messes things up and doesn’t get to the root of a behavior.

  4. The article is very informative. But BJ did show his displeasure when I brought in a foster dog. He peed in the house. As soon as the foster was out of the house, he stopped.

  5. My Mama and Papa like to joke that I make accidents happen “out of revenge/spite,” but they understand that it is not premeditated. That said, I do it 1. When I am left alone for awhile, but also 2. When I am left alone for a very short while… sometimes as little as 5 to 10 minutes. I get anxious being separated from the pack.

    We agree with your argument, but we’d like to see more of “What to Do;” would you consider updating the last section to include some suggestions for how to improve this behavior using alternative methods?

      • Please give us ways to stop it. We call them Protest Poops.

        MY dogs have two doggie doors. one is always available. Often times when I come home from work or even just being gone for an hour, I come home to a pile of poop in front of the door I leave and return from.

        She knows what she is doing. She uses the outside all the time!

  6. Great post! It always boils my blood when I hear someone say “my dog did that to spite me for doing this/that”. No, they didn’t! That’s not how they think.

    • We honestly do not know ho animals think.
      If they could not think in terms of revenge then why do they do things they know will get them in trouble? I am sure they know exactly what they are doing. Because when caught they look guilty and hunker down or run lol.

      • We do know how animals think. There are scientific journals galore and studies at top veterinary universities. Dogs look guilty as you say because you are scolding them or verbally unhappy. Humans are the only ones who have revenge in them.

  7. I do agree most dogs are not revengeful, but I feel my parents’ (spoiled rotten) cocker spaniel was an exception. Years ago, my dad had to put her in the garage for about two hours. The very next day, she pooped on his side of the bed. Something similar happened a few years later–she got mad and pooped on my parents’ bed.

  8. Yall crazy if you think dogs dont pee out of spite. Especially if they only do it when you tell them to move cause they want to play and be rubbed on. When she spite pees its clear regular urination is darker. She does it cause she wants attention.

  9. I’d love to hear anyone’s take on this as not being a case of spite peeing and pooping.

    My girl friend’s adult dog that she’s had for about 4 years is very bright and has a great personality, but is really sassy too.

    If she doesn’t get what she wants–a hand out, you make her go outside when she doesn’t want to or don’t let her outside when shes wants to (she will hold it for a surprisingly long amount of time), she doesn’t get to go on the couch or a bed that she wants to, etc.–she will run to another room the moment you turn your back. When she returns to where you are looking all proud of herself, you’ve got a big old mess to clean up.

    I understand the idea that dog’s aren’t really capable of planning per say, but that seems to be an action/reaction scenario that can only be viewed as some type of “revenge”, even if it is a little more amorphous than the human conception of such.

    Regardless, we’re struggling with ways to get her out of it, any ideas would be welcomed and appreciated.

  10. My dog pees if I leave him longer than 5 hours (yes, I had him tested), which if you work for a living, happens often. So I invested in a good deep cleaning carpet cleaner. I guess you can say, I suck it up.

    • That is really good that you do this and are aware. I know some dogs can’t hold it and 5 hours for many dogs means accidents.

  11. I’ve read all the comments but I still don’t have a clue as what to do about it.
    I don’t see them as “accidents’…My cat’s litter & food is in my master bedroom so we keep the door opened just a crack for the cat…however, Jake, my daughters dog, sneaks in there & poops & pees whenever he sees the door a little more opened.
    Jake has gotten into the litter box, pees next to me toilet bowl & poops in front of my
    armoir.
    My daughter & I are besides ourselves & don’t know what to do…can you please help us?

  12. Solutions are needed! This is so frustrating! Our boys just started this last year. No medical issues, and usually not left alone for more than a few hours. Driving us crazy!???

  13. So if the dog or in my case puppy doesn’t pee for revenge then what is it considered when your puppy knows he is in trouble because you yell at him for what he did then pees while looking at you and shows no fear and just anger because he is growling at you? This has been going on for a while and we don’t know how to fix it any suggestions?

  14. I have an 18 month old Maltese who only recently started peeing indoors, he doesn’t run to another room, he doesn’t hide, he doesn’t wait until he’s alone, he’s quite proud, no fear just lifts his leg & pees in front of you, I don’t know why he’s started this, he has constant access to the garden alongside our female Shih tzu who is spayed, she never ever done this, it’s getting frustrating as there are no health issues, he’s neutered & is never alone longer than an hour – 2 hours max, the door to the garden is open he even follows our Shih tzu & does go in the garden, we praise both dogs when they go outside & have done this always, so why would he start this behaviour ? He looks straight at us when he does it, most importantly how do I stop it ?

    It’s easy to think because he looks straight at you when he does this that’s its for attention but one thing my dogs are not starved of & that is attention & affection, I’m tearing my hair out as to why this has started out of the blue

    • Oh honey,lol; Maltese, Havanese, Bichons, all in that “Havanese family” are truly slow to housebreak if they do at all. We have a Maltese and a Havanese. I wish we wouldve known this. They never truly get it; our Maltese is now 15 and our Havanese 13; its been a long road, filled with cold pee puddles, pooping as way of greeting new people who come into the house (the Havanese) ,etc. They all do this; getting them spayed/neutered helps, but even then, its no fix for these smaller breeds. Best advice? Get hardwood, and pray for patience,lol.

        • Carol,

          You are dead wrong when it comes to saying that a dog will never spitefully pee in your house. My wife and I have a male Papillon who, regardless of what you say, will pee out of spite or retaliation for something he doesn’t like. In particular, if he hanging out around the kitchen trying to mooch a snack and we tell him to move, he will walk to his own crate or under our dining room table and stand there and pee. If he’s barking or woofing and told to stop, he’ll do the same thing. My wife and I are retired and home with this dog most of the time but, if we go out without him for any length of time we will let him out to pee right away. He’ll pee outside then he’ll come in many times and pee right in front of my wife. He definitely has some dominance issues related to my wife but, we have worked on those issues together. He has been medically tested and cleared. My wife and I have had a variety of different dogs and never had any problems with them peeing in the house. So, when this dog only pees in the house when he is told to do something he doesn’t like and he will stand there glaring at us while he pees an enormous puddle, if its not a form of revenge or spite then tell us what it is and how to correct it please. We have a female Papillon too and she never pees in the house. Both dogs are fixed. She’s 15 years old and he’s 8 years old and despite all of our efforts, he’s getting worse everyday.

          • I completely disagree. People have spite, and dogs do not. It could be a marking behavior, a scent marking, or one of any other things. However, spite pee is not something a dog does. She is 15? Well having had a 15 year old dog, incontinence is an issue and you need to have that checked by a professional.

  15. I took my puppy from a dog foster home about a year ago. I love him to bits; he has a great personality, and I feel that he loves our family so much. BUT, whenever I leave him at home he pees in the house: on the carpet, on the bed, on flowers..
    My husband and I were thinking about taking him to ‘doggy school’, but then again, it’s extremely expensive, and the nearest ‘doggy school’ is far away from us. Maybe you have some advice? THANK YOU!!!!

  16. This morning, when my dog saw me putting my jacket on she ran out and peed right on the door. She does this every time she notices I’m going out. How do I prevent this? It really looks like she is trying to prevent me for going out. She is 4 month

  17. My wonderful, lovely puppy 10 mnth, has taken to peeing beside his food dish. Can’t think what it is due too. He is walked, fed, hiked, loved, pampered. Getting frustrating for us. We carefully trained him, only positive reinforcement but suddenly he has started this issue.

  18. This was a great article with some grey areas and no solutions on this behavior. Our 3.5 month old Frenchie is potty trained. We are currently trying to train her to lay in her bed while we work or study. After a few minutes of rejecting her requests to be on our laps, she will go to the same spot in the house and pee to express her frustration. This would fall under “emotional issue.” It may not be what we would consider premeditated revenge, but that is just semantics.

  19. But what if you let your dog out for ten minutes before you go to the grocery store and come home to find he has peed on the garbage can? Or you let him out before you go to bed and wake up to find a turd at the bottom of the stairs in the middle of the night? Also the poo only happens when you’re boyfriend sleeps over?

    • I am so glad you asked this. Dogs do not think in terms of revenge. A dog is basically a nose with a body attached. I just finished reading an amazing book called “Being a Dog” – following a dog into a world of smell. The author is Alexandra Horowitz. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CO34JHU/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

      I gained so much more info on that. Dogs are always in sniff, mark, repeat mode.

      So let’s use your example:

      Grocery store: He knows that if you are present, that the behavior is a no no. He is smelling something in the garbage with his amazing nose receptors and is marking it. He is not trying to tick you off.

      The turd in the middle of the night: Like people, nature calls, and when you gotta go, you gotta go. How else can he tell you he needs to go out if you are sleeping?

      The boyfriend one is easy: Your dog is marking his property. There is a new person in the house. That new person is your boyfriend. He has a distinctive scent. You may not even smell it. Your dog does. Your dog marks his territory when your boyfriend sleeps over.

  20. How then do you explain taking a dog outside, standing with them for 5-10 minutes (to no avail), and then bringing them inside and having them look into your face as they pee on the floor?

    • It is not revenge. Dogs do not have the capacity, fortitude, nor thought process to plan nor exact revenge. That is a human characteristic. Try a different training method. Revert back to maybe what you did to train the dog as a puppy. I used to have piddle pads down, when my dog peed on them I would take the piddle pad outside and my dog and show him outside and praise him. With time, I would see him run to the piddle pad and then pick it up and take it outside. I would praise so much. I had a verbal party for him outside. Eventually he knew that outside was the place to go. Maybe just standing with the dog teaches the dog to just you know, stand. Are you associating a verbal reward or maybe even a small treat when he or she does pee outside?

  21. You people are stupid. “Because science says so” Where does a scientist say so? Where is the extensive researchand published article that I can look through to see their experimentation with a hypothesis? There isnt one because there is no way to properly correlate anything to do with dog brains or emotions. Every dog is different, just like people. And as far as I recall from Psychology 101, there is not even a proper breakdown of the human psyche as of yet, or at least not one that can be completely verified. Sure we can get schematics from breaking down where everything is via autopsy, but there is no defined system on how or why human emotions work as they do. So how can we say that dogs do as well? What about the Russian scientist who combined two dogs together? Do you believr that second dog head, with a fully functioning dog brain, was really living in the moment? Unaware of its dilipatadated condition? I call BS. Also look at the DSM, we have an “understanding” of emotions but we have an entire book of exceptions.

    So you are telling me that my dog has not turned into the most jealous piece of crap dog ever, because my brother got a cat? Despite her constant theft of cat food and water, her now “daily” habit of shitting in the living room everynight, depite the fact that she is let out 30 times a day or more, because of this issue. She is ten years old, never had this issue before.

    She also hates the outdoors, which is how she is punished, by being locked up in a pin outside. She whines, cries, and barks constantly while out there, aware of what she did wrong. Until the neighbors complain about the barking, I dont know what else to do. Vet recommends taking her to a “Pet Psychologist” no joke. What kind of BS is that? My Uncles dog got put on stronger Xanax than my Grandmother, seriously?

    I just dont get you people and your obsession with animals like they are children. Most of you would rather help a poor hungry animal than a human child living in poverty and an abusive environment. Why? Idk maybe you can tell me.

    • Please give your dog to a loving home, Salazar. Dogs should not hate outdoors, kept outdoors as punishment, and IDK why you “believr” (your word, not ours) that is normal. Yikes.

  22. This is the most ridiculous thing I ever read. My dog DOES pee or poop out of spite. Today He was left in his cage all day while we were out. We immediately took him out and he peed. Came inside and within 10 minutes the dog went into my room, got on my bed and peed all over my bed. How can you say this was not spite? If he had to go out and couldn’t hold it he would’ve peed in front of the door like he has in the past. He has NEVER peed on my bed before. Also, 2 times prior when he had been left at home and was upset, he pooped on TOP of the couch. As is where your head rests. He NEVER goes up there. And those times he was taken outside also. So I can tell you 100% without a doubt my dog pees and poops on furniture out of SPITE.

    • Dogs do not have the capacity nor the thinking mechanisms to feel and emit spite. It is a human quality and not a dog quality. While dogs have emotions and complex thought processes, a dog’s reasoning is different from a human’s. Our dogs can tell when we’re upset with them, even though they have no idea what might have caused our angry expression or tone of voice. Your dog’s behavior is anxiety and not spite.

  23. I have a very clever 5 year old boston terrier. Picks up tricks within an hour and can respond to countless commands. Will pee on command outside of the house, in the yard, and will even respond when I say potty in our room by running downstairs and outside in the rain to go potty before bed. Smart and attentive little sucker.

    Leave him at home with access to the back yard (and with a our other dog for companion) for AN HOUR and he’ll go find my purse or my camera bags to mark on them. I put those away and he jumped on the dining room table and peed on the centerpiece (and all over the table). Instantly guilty when I walk in the house and puts himself outside until I call him in.

    If he’s not revenge marking then what do I call this behavior?!?

    • Now, in thinking this through. Knowing the dog is going to be put outside when you come in, why would he do it? He is probably marking his spot on your items. I bet this is a boy dog…and yes, you said “leave him at home” so he is a boy. I call this marking. Not revenge. Dogs do not pee for revenge.

  24. Wrong. If a dog can feel positive emotions like joy or love, they are perfectly capable of feeling negative emotions like spiter frustration. They aren’t robots and they aren’t saints. They are animals like the rest of us.

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