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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know this is a strange question, but does anyone’s poodle revenge poo inside the house when she‘s upset? We have an 8-year-old trained housebroken toy who revenge poops. If she gets upset or angry, she will immediately revenge poop inside the house and scurry off knowing she should’ve gone on her pad. This has been going on years and happens maybe twice a year. First time was when she got a new toy for Christmas. She goes crazy when she hears squeaky toys. My husband accidentally squeaked the new toy trying to remove the plastic attached to the tag which was proving to be really stuck in the toy. He took it to the garage to remove so he would not cause her more anxiety and frustration. She thought he was taking the new toy away from her and immediately left him a present right by the garage door which he discovered by stepping in it as soon as he opened the door to come back in.

I told my parents to watch out for the revenge poo, and they laughed at me and said that was a ridiculous notion until she did it to them at their house. They’re believers now. Anyone?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I know it sounds unbelievable, but she otherwise goes potty on her pads which are near one of the walls in the living room. Her pads have never been moved around. I trained her within 2 weeks at about 8-9 months when we got her. We dispose of a soiled pad immediately. She never has to poo on a soiled pad. This only happens when she gets upset or angry and each time, her pads were new. Each time it happened so fast, I’m not even sure she had time to plot revenge. We just call it this.
 

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It’s not a revenge poop. Dogs are incapable of plotting revenge. These poops are due to stress and/or excitement.

Normally when she feels the need to poop she has time to go to her potty pad. But this poop is different, she doesn’t have control over it and therefore poops inappropriately.

I hope she is not punished, had her nose rubbed in the accident or spoken harshly to because this increases the stress and may make it worse. You know stress causes it so you can limit when it happens. Identify the triggers and look for solutions to avoid them using desensitization techniques or managing the situation. Desensitization can help with things like fireworks. Management could be planning to give her a squeaky toy shortly after she has peed and pooped.

I, hope you aren’t insulted by what I’m going to say … but you are the adult and most of not all of these mistakes are your fault for not limiting stressful situations. I realize you can’t control everything, your dog feels stress and poops sometime. You can try to pick her up and move her to the potty pad if you can, or else just quietly clean up the mess and don’t show any anger towards your dog. Your dog doesn’t want to poop inappropriately either. Have sympathy for your dog when this happens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We never punish her when this happens. She’s such a great poodle, my favorite of all the dogs I’ve had. It also happens extremely rarely. The reason my husband took her toy to the garage was to de-stress her when it became clear he probably wasn’t going to be able to remove the plastic without accidentally squeaking it again. She gets very anxious when she sees a new toy, especially if it squeaks. Interestingly, she’s not fazed by fireworks or the vacuum cleaner (she loves chasing it, actually), or any of the usual canine stress triggers.
 

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This is from an article written by Dr Stanley Coren, He writes the animal column for Psychology Today although this article is in a different magazine.
Which Emotions Do Dogs Actually Experience? | Modern Dog magazine
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"The Emotions that Dogs Actually Experience
This developmental sequence is the golden key to understanding the emotions of dogs. Dogs go through their developmental stages much more quickly than humans do and have all of the emotional range that they will ever achieve by the time they are four to six months of age (depending on the rate of maturation in their breed).

The important fact is that we know that the assortment of emotions available to the dog will not exceed that which is available to a human who is two to two-and-a-half years old. This means that a dog will have all of the basic emotions: joy, fear, anger, disgust, and, yes, love, but the dog does not experience the more complex emotions like guilt, pride, and shame.

Many would argue that they have seen evidence indicating their dog is capable of experiencing guilt. The usual situation recounted is one in which you’ve come home and your dog starts slinking around showing discomfort, and you then find that he has left a smelly brown deposit on your kitchen floor. It is natural to conclude that the dog was acting in a way that shows that he is feeling guilty about his transgression.

Despite appearances, this is not guilt, but simply a display of the more basic emotion of fear. Your dog has learned that when you appear and his droppings are visible on the floor, bad things happen to him. What you see is his fear of punishment; he will never feel guilt because he is not capable of experiencing it."


I'd read an explanation some years back that put the more complex emotions that we think we're seeing in context.

I walk in the door to see tissues and newspaper shredded all over the floor. My dog looks at me. I give my dog the stink eye. My dog drops his head and actually makes himself smaller or even slinks away.
I naturally see that as guilt because that's what I would feel, but for him, it's fear, possibly mixed with confusion. Normally when I come home, it's a time for rejoicing, not stink eye. He might even be trying to figure out what's not right. Did he not make the pieces small enough? Maybe they should be closer to the door?

Your situation isn't about guilt, a higher emotion. What you see looks like revenge, another higher emotion that dogs can't quite get to.

So of the emotions that a dog can feel, which could that behavior fit? I'd think it would be the most basic, excitement (not always a pleasant emotion) and distress. The others, including anger, don't actually fit. Anger is
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Skylar beat me to it. Stress makes humans poop, too. It's part of the fight/flight/flutter/freeze response and it's involuntary. When your husband took away the new toy, your dog was excited, confused, and stressed all at the same time. Revenge wasn't the reason. Dogs can't comprehend revenge. It's one of the reasons dogs are better than people.
 

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Yep, stress or excitement. Evelyn does something similar when he's in a very exciting or stressful situation and I've learned to plan around it. His stress/excited poops are a different consistency and smellier than his normal poops though. They're also warmer :sick:.

I had to leave him with a friend to run an errand and even though we took him potty right before I left I warned her that he would need to poop again after I left. Well she thought since he had just pooped that he would be ok. They made it all the way up to her condo and he pooped in her foyer. She was a good sport about it though. We're working on his separation anxiety. He'll also do it when I take him to the park. I have to make sure we're on the grass and not on the sidewalk, because when those excited poops come it's an immediate release. Once he gets it out he goes back to his normal manners and steps off the sidewalk to do his business.
 
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My aunt and uncle had a Manchester terrier who certainly was a revenge pooper. If they took a trip, they would board him with their veterinarian. When they returned, the dog would defecate once for every day they were gone. Lucky for them they rarely were gone for more than a week at a time!

I had a greyhound who would express his displeasure about something by urinating. For example, if someone was grilling meat on the barbecue and did not give him a sample, he would pee on the base of the barbecue. If my daughter did something that displeased him, he would pee on the corner of her bed. I finally decided to take him to my friend's kennel rather than leave him at home for my daughter to care for when I took a trip. As I was leaving the kennel, he would glare at me and pee and poop in the kennel run. In spite of all that, I loved that dog dearly - he lived to great old age with me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I’ve read dog articles by Stanley Coren but never seen that graph. So interesting. How do we know a dog’s development doesn’t include more complex emotions? It‘s easy for me to think she experiences complex emotions because she really is very smart. She understands some words in 3 languages.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
My aunt and uncle had a Manchester terrier who certainly was a revenge pooper. If they took a trip, they would board him with their veterinarian. When they returned, the dog would defecate once for every day they were gone. Lucky for them they rarely were gone for more than a week at a time!

I had a greyhound who would express his displeasure about something by urinating. For example, if someone was grilling meat on the barbecue and did not give him a sample, he would pee on the base of the barbecue. If my daughter did something that displeased him, he would pee on the corner of her bed. I finally decided to take him to my friend's kennel rather than leave him at home for my daughter to care for when I took a trip. As I was leaving the kennel, he would glare at me and pee and poop in the kennel run. In spite of all that, I loved that dog dearly - he lived to great old age with me.
Johanna, I think you phrased it better than I could have. It’s possible she was a step away from revenge but the way she does it and then scurries away to glare at us from a distance tells me that she is at the very least making her displeasure known.

So hilarious about the poo per day your aunt and uncle were gone. 🤣
 

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I’ve read dog articles by Stanley Coren but never seen that graph. So interesting. How do we know a dog’s development doesn’t include more complex emotions? It‘s easy for me to think she experiences complex emotions because she really is very smart. She understands some words in 3 languages.
Not at all discounting her intelligence, but there are different kinds of intelligence. I haven't looked further to see if certain types of intelligence might be more closely associated with more complex emotions, or if we're looking at systems that are more separate.

From that same article, the determination is based on similar brain structure, chemistry, hormones...

What We Know about Dog Emotions Now
Science has clearly progressed a long, long way beyond the thinking of Descartes and Malebranche. We have now come to understand that dogs possess all of the same brain structures that produce emotions in humans. Dogs have the same hormones and undergo the same chemical changes that humans do during emotional states. Dogs even have the hormone oxytocin, which, in humans, is involved with feeling love and affection for others.

With the same neurology and chemistry that people have, it seems reasonable to suggest that dogs also have emotions that are similar to ours. However, it is important to not go overboard and immediately assume that the emotional ranges of dogs and humans are the same.

Current studies of Dog Emotions
To understand what dogs feel, we must turn to research done to explore the emotions of humans. It is the case that not all people have the full range of all possible emotions, and, in fact, at some points in your life you did not have the full complement of emotions that you feel and express today. There is much research to demonstrate that infants and very young children have a more limited range of emotions. It is over time that the infant’s emotions begin to differentiate and develop and, by the time they’ve reached adulthood, their range of emotional experiences is quite broad.

Why is such data important to understanding emotional lives of our dogs? Researchers have now come to believe that the mind of a dog is roughly equivalent to that of a human who is two to two-and-a-half years old. This conclusion holds for most mental abilities as well as emotions. Thus, we can look to the human research to see what we might expect of our dogs. Just like a two-year-old child, our dogs clearly have emotions, but many fewer kinds of emotions than found in adult humans.

At birth, a human infant only has an emotion that we might call excitement. This indicates how excited he is, ranging from very calm up to a state of frenzy. Within the first weeks of life the excitement state comes to take on a varying positive or a negative flavour, so we can now detect the general emotions of contentment and distress. In the next couple of months, disgust, fear, and anger become detectable in the infant. Joy often does not appear until the infant is nearly six months of age and it is followed by the emergence of shyness or suspicion. True affection, the sort that it makes sense to use the label “love” for, does not fully emerge until nine or ten months of age.

The complex social emotions—those which have elements that must be learned—don’t appear until much later. Shame and pride take nearly three years to appear, while guilt appears around six months after that. A child is nearly four years of age before she feels contempt.

The Emotions that Dogs Actually Experience
This developmental sequence is the golden key to understanding the emotions of dogs. Dogs go through their developmental stages much more quickly than humans do and have all of the emotional range that they will ever achieve by the time they are four to six months of age (depending on the rate of maturation in their breed).

The important fact is that we know that the assortment of emotions available to the dog will not exceed that which is available to a human who is two to two-and-a-half years old. This means that a dog will have all of the basic emotions: joy, fear, anger, disgust, and, yes, love, but the dog does not experience the more complex emotions like guilt, pride, and shame.
 

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Revenge is not an emotion, but it would stem from the desire to do voluntary harm, which dogs don’t experience. It has been proven time and time again that dogs aren’t capable of generalizing. To do revenge, one needs to use the same base as generalizing, but much more complex. It’s just not happening; as others have said it, your dog’s pooping is caused by stress and excitement.

Humans like to explain life by using their own scheme of reference, which don’t apply to animals. It’s called anthropomorphism.
 

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Seriously, just no... I have a ton of stuff to do today so won't say anything more just now, but I think there is a lot of anthropomorphism being reported here.
 

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Yep, stress or excitement. Evelyn does something similar when he's in a very exciting or stressful situation and I've learned to plan around it. His stress/excited poops are a different consistency and smellier than his normal poops though. They're also warmer :sick:.
Ah yes. The hot poops. Gracie would do this, too, most embarrassingly when we were at someone else’s house, after all the excited hellos. Things would be just calming down and then....the smell.
 

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This only happens when she gets upset or angry and each time, her pads were new. Each time it happened so fast, I’m not even sure she had time to plot revenge. We just call it this.
I think "time to plot" is a key concept in why revenge isn't really the correct word. Revenge is a very complicated path to an end. The dog needs to feel slighted. The dog needs to feel the desire to hurt you as a result of the slight. The dog needs to identify an action that will hurt you; this action isn't necessarily something the dog herself would find hurtful. The dog then needs to wait for the best time and place to dish out the retribution.

I think if dogs were capable of the thoughtfulness and discipline to needed to seek revenge, whatever they cooked up would be a lot more creative than pooping on the rug.
 

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Elroy: Standard Poodle, Born 02/20/21
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I think if dogs were capable of the thoughtfulness and discipline to needed to seek revenge, whatever they cooked up would be a lot more creative than pooping on the rug.
and....I doubt they'd have earned the reputation as "man's best friend" if they were out plotting revenge.
 
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