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Does My Dog Ever Feel Jealous?

Jealousy can be defined as a set of negative emotional and behavioral responses when a rival receives something one wants for oneself (Harris and Prouvost 2014). We can never know exactly what dogs are feeling, but there have been many studies done that have observed and documented feelings of jealousy.

Dogs have been shown in these studies to feel jealous of a perceived other animal. For example, a stuffed animal. Some dogs would even try to get themselves between he person and the toy in order to redirect the attention back to them. Each dog is different when it comes to what makes them jealous. It could be a new partner, a baby, or another pet. You will need to pay close attention to your dog's body language in order to determine their feelings.

Signs of jealousy may include:

1. Aggression. Biting or nipping at the person or other animal that is getting more attention than them.

2. Toileting Indoors. Peeing or pooping indoors is a way of telling you that they are displeased and jealous

3. Giving extra attention to their owner. Your dog may start licking your face or hands, cuddling, or nudging you in order to gain more attention from you.

4. Being pushy. This could be sitting or standing in between you and the person or animal that is making them jealous.

5. Doing a trick. Doing a learned trick is very simply your pet trying to get your attention by doing something they know you like or reward them for.

6. Leaving the room. Some pets that take a strong disliking to a person or pet may just get up and leave if they get that overwhelmed.

7. Growling, barking, or getting into a fight with another pet. Your pet may feel as though they need to compete for your attention if you have many pets. Be sure to act quickly if this happens to keep everyone safe.

8. Trying to scare off strangers. If pets see you being happy with another person, they will want that happy affection to. They may then try and scare them away with growling or barking.

What can I do if my dog is feeling jealous?

  • Avoid giving too much attention to one pet and not the other. They need to feel equal!

  • Create a relationship with the person that makes them jealous. Take this slow so that your pet has time to adjust.

  • Crate train your dog so that they have a safe space to relax when they need to have some time for themselves.

  • Be sure to feed pets separately to avoid conflict or fights during meals.

  • Create a routine to avoid overexcitement. Ignore your pets for the first 5 minutes that you arrive home so they don’t feel like one is getting more attention than the other.

  • Have at least two of all toys and beds to avoid conflicts.

  • Only use food-based toys when supervised as these are the most likely to cause an issue.

Keeping a diary of situations and actions your dog takes when they become jealous is a great tool if you need to consult a vet or behaviourist. This way you can together pick up on patterns and come to a solution that is specific to their needs.

We hope this post has helped you understand dog jealousy and what you can do about it. Give us a like and share on our Facebook and Instagram! Our other blog posts can be found in the blog section of our website.

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