All Things Dog

Do Dogs Misbehave Out of Spite?

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As dog owners, we tend to attribute a lot of human emotions to our canines. And spite is one of them. You've probably heard about more than one vengeful dog that chewed up a pair of Italian leather shoes because he was angry about being left alone.

The truth is, dogs don't misbehave out of spite. They just aren't capable of that emotion. Humans are the only animals that can understand and act out of revenge. While dogs do feel emotions, most experts agree that they aren't wired to plan ahead-they live completely in the moment.

That's why the only time to correct a dog for naughty behavior is when you catch him in the act. Dragging your dog back to the scene of the crime doesn't help because he doesn't remember committing the crime. So, yelling at the dog when you find poop on the rug only communicates that you're angry, not what you're angry about. Your dog doesn't associate the feces-or the fact that he defecated on the rug-with your anger.

If you've accused your dog of "spiteful" behavior because he misbehaves when you're gone, it's time to rethink the situation. Your dog isn't trying to get back at you for leaving him alone. His bad behavior is probably just the result of his anxiety and stress about being alone, or his boredom.

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