Often times pet owners will find urine or feces around the house and believe their pet is soiling because he or she is mad or spiteful. Dogs and cats do not soil to be spiteful or because they are mad.
Let’s think about this for a minute. If pets soiled out of spite, that means they would have to perceive urine and feces as something gross. This is a human perception of urine and feces, not a dog or cat’s perception. For them, there is nothing gross about elimination. In fact, they often investigate other animal’s urine and feces to learn more about that animal. If the dog or cat seems to look as if they know they did something wrong when they have soiled it is simply because they have learned that soiled areas PLUS the presence of the owner means bad things ( e.g. punishment/scolding).
So, can animals soil for underlying emotional reasons? Yes! The most common emotional state underlying soiling is anxiety. This is the number one reason why punishment should not be used for soiling issues. If your pet is house soiling, you need to figure out WHY the animal is soiling so an appropriate plan can be put in place.