Do Dogs Get Revenge on Their Owners?

Do dogs purposely have accidents or misbehave as “revenge” for us leaving them alone?

By: The Dog Daily Experts

If your dog has gone to the bathroom on the floor while you were away from home, you might be wondering if it was deliberate.

Believe it or not, humans are not the only things that plot revenge on others.

“Widespread in the animal kingdom is the behaviour of returning injury for injury,” Stephen Beckerman, a Penn State anthropologist, says. “Animals as varied and as far from us as blue-footed boobies, elephant seals, side-striped jackals and European moorhens are called punishers. They regularly respond to injuries by attacking the culprit who has injured them.”

Is this why your dog out by doing something you hate? Not at all!

Although dogs have good memories, they live more in the moment. When you come home and find the mess, your body language before you even say something to your dog may reveal your anger and cause your dog to react. Your dog, however, isn’t getting satisfaction that it got a reaction out of you.

That behaviour is tied to a phenomenon known as “theory of mind,” which requires a complex ability to understand and possibly even to predict the thoughts of others.

The simpler answer is that your dog is either stressed out or has no appropriate place to go to the bathroom without your guidance. Of course, if this problem happens suddenly with a housebroken dog, be sure to visit your vet to rule out any health problems first.

Some owners crate their dogs during the day, but that’s more of a last resort. Try to reinforce bathroom training. If your dog is not very big, try installing baby gates to prevent access to certain areas of your home — it lets your pup roam around the house, but keeps it out of certain areas. Dog bathroom mats can also help. They often have the look and feel of grass, but keep the waste contained for easy disposal.

If possible, you should also consider getting a dog walker, pet sitter or someone else to look in on your pet during the day. Boredom can lead to anxiety and then to bathroom issues in dogs. If your dog stays active and social, those problems are less likely to surface.


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