Some dogs show their emotions more overtly than others, but there are signs of envy that you’ll easily recognize. Your pet may push themselves between you and another person when you hug; or they may start whining when they see you petting another dog. It’s not a coincidence, but do dogs get jealous like humans do?
The Study that Proved Dog Jealousy
In the 2021 study, titled Dogs mentally represent jealousy-inducing social interactions, owners of 18 dogs were given a fake dog or a fleece cylinder to interact with. Their pets saw the object being placed next to their owners. Then, a barrier was put so that they couldn’t see the fake dog or cylinder anymore.
The owner was instructed to stroke the toy behind the barrier. And guess what happened? The dogs pulled harder on their leash when they thought that their owner was petting the stuffed dog, as opposed to the cylinder.
This study proves that dogs do feel jealous. Jealousy, in this case, is defined as an emotion that arises when a dog perceives that someone or something else is trying to take away their valued social relationship or resource.
Why Do Dogs Get Jealous?
Now that we know dogs feel jealousy, you might be wondering why. Well, there are two schools of thought on this.
- They understand that the object of their affection is being taken away from them.
- They’re programmed to do so – it’s a behavior that’s deeply ingrained in them.
No matter which explanation you subscribe to, it’s clear that it does happen. And if you think your pup is feeling green with envy, there are a few things you can do to help them feel better.
Signs Your Dog Is Jealous
If you’re not sure whether your dog is feeling jealous, there are a few signs to look out for. These include:
- pushing themselves between you and the other person or dog,
- whining, growling or barking when they see you interact with someone else,
- following you around constantly,
- staring at you while you eat or drink with another person,
- trying to get your attention by pawing at you or jumping on you.
If you notice any of these behaviors, it’s a good idea to talk to your veterinarian or a certified animal behaviorist to get some tips on how to help your pet feel better.
Interrupt the Jealousy Cycle
The immediate step is to interrupt the jealousy cycle. This means that as soon as you see your dog starting to act jealous, you’ll want to do something to break the pattern.
One way to do this is to redirect your dog’s attention. This could be as simple as asking them for a trick or giving them a toy to play with. By interrupting the jealousy cycle, you can help your pet feel less anxious and stressed.
Make sure you’re giving your dog plenty of attention. This means quality time – not just feeding them or taking them on walks. Dogs need mental stimulation, so take some time to play with them every day. And when you’re spending time with other pets, make sure to include your furry friend in the action.
If Your Dog Gets Jealous Often, Ignore Them
This may sound counterintuitive, but if your dog is acting jealous all the time, it’s best to ignore them. Dogs are smart, and they quickly learn that certain behaviors get them the attention they want.
So, if you give your dog attention when they’re being jealous, you’re actually rewarding that behavior. Instead, wait for a calm moment and then lavish your dog with love and attention. This will help them learn that good things happen when they’re not being jealous.
Do Dogs Get Jealous of Other People?
It’s not just other dogs that your pet may be jealous of – they can also feel envy towards people. If you’re spending more time with your partner or a friend than usual, your dog may start to show signs of jealousy.
Again, the best way to deal with this is to make sure you’re giving them plenty of attention. But you may also want to try and include your dog when you’re spending time with other people. This could be as simple as having them sit next to you while you’re chatting with a friend.
What to Do if Your Dog Acts Jealous of a Baby?
If your dog acts jealous of a baby, the best thing to do is keep them separate. Dogs can be protective of their owners and may become aggressive around babies. That’s why it’s important to socialize your dog with children as early as possible. This will help them learn that babies aren’t a threat to them.
Why do dogs get jealous of babies? For the same reason that they may be jealous of a new pet – suddenly, you’re paying attention to someone other than them. They may need some time to get used to the new family dynamic.
Do Dogs Get Jealous of Food?
You may have also noticed that your dog acts jealous when you’re eating. This is because they see food as a valuable resource, and they don’t want to lose out on their share.
One way to deal with this is to feed them before you sit down to eat. This way, they’ll know that they’re not going to miss out on anything. You can also try and give them their own special treat while you’re eating. This will help them feel like they’re part of the action and not being left out.
Nip Your Dog’s Jealous Behavior in the Bud
So, do dogs get jealous? Envy is a complicated emotion, but it’s one that dogs definitely experience. If they start acting bothersome and straining your relationships with other people, they may need training to overcome their jealousy.
Do you have any tips on how to deal with dog jealousy? Let us know in the comments!
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