A feeling of unhappiness or rage brought on by the worry that another likes someone you care about is known as jealousy. It also refers to the desire to possess something someone already has. But do dogs, however, feel jealousy the same way that people do?
Any dog can be jealous. Although some breeds are more prone to separation anxiety or the instinct to protect their pet parent as if they were a possession, jealousy is not breed-specific.
Can Dogs Feel Jealous?
Dogs do experience jealousy, and their feelings are remarkably human-like.
You may be able to read your dog’s emotions, such as joy or sadness, through their body language. Jealousy has always been viewed as a complex emotion in the study of human psychology, with subtexts of several different feelings, and it is shaped by experience. Researchers from all over the world have discovered that dogs, like humans, experience jealousy.
There are numerous theories about the origins of jealousy. According to some psychologists, jealousy is a survival trait. Siblings compete for resources, while romantic partners protect their partners by ensuring the continuation of their line. Other researchers believe social factors are at work, with certain cultures or households encouraging jealousy.
This debate applies to dogs as well. Some researchers believe that certain dogs are predisposed to jealousy from birth. Others believe a dog’s environment and interaction with pet parents promote jealousy.
Are Some Dog Breeds More Jealous than Others?
Jealousy can affect any dog. While some breeds are more likely to experience anxiety issues or find it difficult with the instinct to protect their pet parent as if they were a possession, jealousy is not breed-specific. No current peer-reviewed research supports some dog breeds being more jealous than others.
How to Spot a Jealous Dog?
Some jealousy symptoms in dogs are overt, while others could be slightly more subdued. The following are possible indicators that your dog is feeling jealous:
- Putting a barrier between you and another person or pet.
- Whining while paying attention to a different animal or person
- Pressing their body against you, rubbing up against your leg, or attempting to get close
- When you are displaying affection for someone, growl.
- Barking, doing tricks, or acting in a way that attracts attention
- Using an indoor restroom
How Can You Tell If Your Dog Is Jealous?
In a 2014 article published in PLOS ONE, Dr. Caroline Prouvost and Dr. Christine Harris of the University of California, San Diego, investigated this issue by asking dog owners to tell stories about times when their dogs were jealous.
According to a new study published in PLOS ONE, Dr. Harris and Dr. Prouvost tailored a test that can detect jealousy in six-month-old babies, which is the first technique for assessing jealousy in dogs.
This study does include 36 dogs who were subjected to three different tests. The research team videotaped these dogs inside their homes, capturing their owners ignoring them in favor of a stuffed animal, animated dog, or jack-o-lantern pail.
In this case, dog owners have been required to treat objects as if they were dogs. They spoke to them and gently touched them as if they were real pets. The owners were then required to read a pop-up book that included music for the fictitious dog. Two independent researchers then rated the videos for various forms of aggressiveness and other jealousy-related behaviors.
What Causes Dogs to be Jealous?
A dog may become jealous in a variety of circumstances, usually when your focus is diverted elsewhere. Typical causes of canine jealousy include:
New Pet Introduction
Bringing a new puppy or adult dog home can make your dog jealous and cause them to act aggressively toward the newcomer. In order to protect you or your new furry family member, your dog may growl at the other dog, sit on your lap, or attempt to get in the way.
When you show your new dog affection, this could get worse. If the newly adopted dog is another of the same sex or the two dogs have conflicting personalities, the aggression might be worse.
Your dog might feel threatened by the new dog’s presence in the home, and it will receive less of your love and attention.
New Human Family Member
Your dog might become jealous of new human family members.
Your dog might feel as though all the attention they used to receive has been divided or entirely redirected toward the newborn baby. When introducing your dog to a new partner, you might also catch your dog acting jealous. Your dog might not want to show your new partner affection, which would cause him to act out.
Environment Change inside the Household
Any time your dog’s environment undergoes a significant change, it may feel uncertain and jealous.
Cleaning and packing your belongings for moving to a new house probably takes up most of your time. Your dog might be worried because they don’t know why things are changing and are worried about your disinterested attention.
They might be jealous of you for focusing on other things and changing the focus of your life away from them. Routine changes, such as a change in your work schedule or the start of the school year for your children, can also bring upsetting and uncertain feelings.
Being the New Pet
If you get a new dog, you may notice that they become jealous as soon as you take them home. Finding a new loving, and forever home can be an emotional experience. A newly adopted dog may become jealous since they seek your attention, touch, and tone as a source of comfort during this transition period. They may also believe that shared attention means you will consider replacing them with another dog, and they are afraid of losing their new home.
Interaction Between a Pet Parent and Another Pet
Dogs show jealousy by attempting to stop their pet parent from paying attention to another pet. While some dogs are only jealous if they believe their relationship with you is in jeopardy, other dogs are less secure and are jealous of all other people or animals.
What Are the Behaviors of Jealous Dogs?
It’s not certain whether dogs and people feel jealousy the same way, but certain actions are signs of jealousy or a dog’s natural discomfort when something is out of place.
Aggression brought on by jealousy can take many different forms, such as growling, lunging, biting, and attacking. People or animals may be the target of this behavior at any time.
A jealous dog will frequently squeeze into the middle of people or press onto your lap in an attempt to get your attention. This may start out innocently and sweetly, but things can get out of hand if the dog isn’t taught its limits.
Using the Internal Bathroom
If your trained dog suddenly has trouble using the restroom indoors, take into account whether his routine or environment has changed. You should make some adjustments if you notice other jealous behaviors.
Your dog is likely to dislike the attention you give them if they growl inexplicably or at other people. Please increase the number of times you interact with your dog, and give him the treat to cheer him up.
How to Deal with Jealousy Issues in Your Dog?
It’s simple to feel overwhelmed when dealing with a serious dog behavior issue. Keep in mind that you are not the first or only person to experience the training problem; you are also not alone. Breathe in profoundly and deeply!
Divide and Conquer
It’s perfectly acceptable to focus on just one undesirable behavior at a time if you are experiencing multiple issues concurrently or if your dog’s jealousy is resulting in additional undesirable behaviors.
Exercise, containment, and resource management are the three cornerstones of dog management. Most daily dog issues can be resolved by following a routine, creating separation when necessary with crates or baby gates, and making sure humans always have control of valuable resources.
Hold Your Ground and Be Consistent
You can lessen your stress and tension by allowing yourself to live with a “perfectly flawed” dog, which will also lessen your dog’s stress and anxiety. Dogs are masters of tone and facial expression, even though they may not understand everything
When Should You Seek Help?
What can you do about your dog’s jealousy if you’re sure it exists? It’s not as if you can have a private conversation with an envious spouse. Showing your dog that they have nothing to be jealous of will suffice instead of telling them otherwise. Here are some easy remedies you can try to lessen your dog’s jealousy.
Take Away the Prize
Being the center of attention makes a jealous dog happier than anything else. They believe their actions are worthwhile if you look at them or touch them. Your dog needs to see that acting up won’t get them what they want.
When someone enters the room while they are sitting on your lap and growling, gently take them off your lap and take away their treat. Maintaining this training program is essential. Only if you repeat your message repeatedly will they be able to understand it.
Involve the Entire Family with the Training
When a dog forms a strong attachment to a particular family member, jealousy is frequently a result. The individual who devotes the most time with the dog is superior to everyone else in their world. While it’s okay to bask in their devotion briefly, the dog must understand that all people, not just their favorite, are necessary if the family is to remain calm.
To prove this, other family members must participate more actively in training. Even dogs who have graduated from obedience college still need regular training sessions. To avoid confusing the dog, ensure everyone trains the same way.