Have you been out of the house a little more often than usual recently, perhaps because of the holidays? Is your dog "getting back at you" for all of your away time?
It's easy to think your dog is put out with you for being gone during the day when you arrive home to yet another accident on your cream colored rug. After all, he knows he's supposed to go outside, right? He's just doing it as revenge for your long hours away!
Although your absence can have an effect on your dog's behavior, it's unlikely that he or she is thinking through bowel movements in enough detail to use them as revenge. Here are some facts that may surprise you.
1. Your Dog's "Guilty Look" Isn't What You Think It Is
You open your front door to the smell of dog poop, let out a frustrated sigh, and look over to your canine friend. Her body language is a neon sign that reads "I'M GUILTY" as she slouches behind a chair and gazes at you solemnly beneath furrowed eyebrows. How could she not know she shouldn't poop or pee inside? Well, recent research sheds some light on this classic guilty dog face, and the results may surprise you. Would you believe that your dog's guilty look may be in your head—and in your reaction? A study found that participants were likely to describe a dog's demeanor as "guilty" if they believed the dog to have behaved badly—even if the dog had done nothing wrong. Of course, your dog may cower in the corner if you raise your voice or show signs of anger, but those puppy dog eyes could be a figment of your imagination.
2. Dogs Love to Poop
No, really. Dogs love to pee and poop. It's a natural behavior that they use to mark their territory and communicate with other dogs. Although you can spend a significant amount of time teaching your dog to take care of business outside, that doesn't necessarily mean that he understands not to poop inside. With the strong instinctual drive to do so, he may think he's leaving you a gift. How pleasant!
3. Your Dog Could Be Bored or Anxious
Finally, your dog's poor potty habits could be a sign that something is up. Again, it's unlikely that your dog is implementing a well-planned revenge scheme, but your absence could be part of what's going on. Your dog could be trying to tell you that she:
- Is anxious
- Is bored
- Has excess physical energy
With this in mind, the best solution may be to get your dog outside more, even while you're gone. Consider signing your pup up for a doggy day care to make up for your time away, or just getting out for regular long walks and jogs. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about your pet's health and behavior, we're here to help—just give us a call.