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2 year old boston terrier



I know a lot of terrier people think they can be spiteful but I just don't think dogs think that way. Definitely stubburn and have a mind of their own though.

What are you doing/not doing that you think is ticking her off?

Originally Posted by Digging Fool

We got a 2-year old Boston(spayed female) a little over a month ago. She's very intelligent and she's a pretty girl. She has been in several homes prior to us getting her from someone who didn't give us her "issues" when we got her. She doesn't suffer from separation anxiety, but if she gets mad at us for not doing certain things with her, she then will tear-up a paper, magazine, OR pee or poop in the floor. She's house-broken, and she has a doggie door to go outside through. She's SPITEFULL! If she wants to go riding on the golf cart, and you don't take her, look out! We can be gone all day at work, and she won't mess with anything, but when we come home, we can go outside for only a few minutes, and if she's inside alone, she WILL do something to get "even". We're certain that this is why her former people have gotten rid of her. Funny thing is, she just recently got MUCH worse with this behavior. It's like the more attention we give her, the worse she is. We want to get her through this if at all possible, without re-homing her as others have done. I can't post a pic, because I don't know how here, but any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Rick

Originally Posted by Digging Fool

We got a 2-year old Boston(spayed female) a little over a month ago. She's very intelligent and she's a pretty girl. She has been in several homes prior to us getting her from someone who didn't give us her "issues" when we got her. She doesn't suffer from separation anxiety, but if she gets mad at us for not doing certain things with her, she then will tear-up a paper, magazine, OR pee or poop in the floor. She's house-broken, and she has a doggie door to go outside through. She's SPITEFULL! If she wants to go riding on the golf cart, and you don't take her, look out! We can be gone all day at work, and she won't mess with anything, but when we come home, we can go outside for only a few minutes, and if she's inside alone, she WILL do something to get "even". We're certain that this is why her former people have gotten rid of her. Funny thing is, she just recently got MUCH worse with this behavior. It's like the more attention we give her, the worse she is. We want to get her through this if at all possible, without re-homing her as others have done. I can't post a pic, because I don't know how here, but any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Rick

Everything you've said here points to mild separation anxiety.

Dogs don't do anything out of spite, spite is a human emotion. Dogs have a very different idea of 'ownership' in terms of objects than we do. In the dog world, an animal only 'owns' something as long as it is in direct physical possession of it (that means holding it or standing near it). When you leave the room, anything that you were touching/holding becomes fair game again. So you see, the dog can't be destroying things to 'punish' you, the dog doesn't even associate those objects as belonging to you. Destroying objects is either fun or a stress reliever for the dog.
As for the soiling, either she is not fully house trained or this is due to anxiety. Access to a dog door is great, but she may need to learn that going outside is more rewarding than the instant gratification of going where she pleases. Also remember, dogs actually like urie and feces (ever had your dog add "cologne" on a walk? ), it wouldn't occur to them to use it as a 'weapon.'

Given her other behavior though (her attachment to your wife, destroying things when you are home but she can't get to you) I'd say it's more anxiety.
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Originally Posted by millitantanimist

Everything you've said here points to mild separation anxiety.

Dogs don't do anything out of spite, spite is a human emotion. Dogs have a very different idea of 'ownership' in terms of objects than we do. In the dog world, an animal only 'owns' something as long as it is in direct physical possession of it (that means holding it or standing near it). When you leave the room, anything that you were touching/holding becomes fair game again. So you see, the dog can't be destroying things to 'punish' you, the dog doesn't even associate those objects as belonging to you. Destroying objects is either fun or a stress reliever for the dog.
As for the soiling, either she is not fully house trained or this is due to anxiety. Access to a dog door is great, but she may need to learn that going outside is more rewarding than the instant gratification of going where she pleases. Also remember, dogs actually like urie and feces (ever had your dog add "cologne" on a walk? ), it wouldn't occur to them to use it as a 'weapon.'

Given her other behavior though (her attachment to your wife, destroying things when you are home but she can't get to you) I'd say it's more anxiety.
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Thanks for that reply! I am convinced, however, that highly intelligent dogs are capable of spiteful behavior. I've seen it too many times in my 50 years of having dogs. It may be a "rare" trait, but dogs are not predictable, mechanical objects. They have personalities and are quite capable of reasoning.

Join Date: May 2011

Location: Southern Ontario

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I'll buy frustration, but not spite.

I'm curious, if dogs do not understand ownership in the abstract (dogs have no concept of permanence) how do you explain spiteful destruction?
That's equivalent to you walking out to the yard without the dog, picking up a stick she played with an hour ago and snapping it in half to punish her for ignoring you inside. What connection would the dog make? She likely woulnd't even notice.
Obviously you notice, but a magazine and a stick are equally valuable to a dog - which is not very valuable at all.

Dogs use urine and feces to communicate and (occasionally) as a food source. Neither are negative. How does something a dog likes, that has no intrinsic negative quality, turn into a punishment for you?
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