Jealousy in Dogs
Most dog owners have witnessed their dogs displaying what we regard to be jealous behavior. Indeed, dog trainers have long used jealousy as a training tactic by removing unresponsive dogs during training and allowing the dogs to observe their handlers handling another dog nearby.
For many dogs, this appears to be a tremendous motivation. Do dogs, on the other hand, feel jealousy? Researchers have debated whether dogs may develop jealousy because this needs complicated reasoning.
Why Do Dogs Get Jealous?
It is natural for humans to feel jealous when someone they have grown connected to spends time with someone else or does not give them the attention they are accustomed to receiving. Similarly, dogs experience the same phenomenon. When a dog and its owner have built a devotion and attachment, it is natural for them to crave what they consider theirs when it is momentarily severed.
How to Test If Your Dog Gets Jealous?
Dr. Caroline Prouvost and Dr. Christine Harris of the University of California, San Diego, explored this problem in a 2014 article published in PLOS ONE. In this study, dog owners were asked to tell stories about times when their dogs were jealous.
Dr. Harris and Dr. Prouvost adapted a test to detect jealousy in six-month-old babies, according to a new study published in PLOS ONE. This is the first test for measuring jealousy in dogs.
This study included 36 dogs who took part in three different examinations. The researchers videotaped these dogs inside their houses, capturing their owners ignoring them and focusing on a toy, animated dog, or jack-o-lantern pail.
In this situation, the dog owners were required to treat objects like dogs. They gently touched and talked to them as if they were real pets. The owners then needed to read a pop-up book that played tunes to the fictitious dog. Two independent researchers then rated the videos for various forms of aggressiveness and other behaviors related to jealousy.
What Behaviors are Seen in Jealous Dogs?
Although it is not certain that dogs and people experience jealousy in the same manner, certain behaviors are recognized as a dog expressing envy or a natural discomfort when anything is out of place.
Jealousy-related aggression can manifest in various ways, including growling, lunging, biting, and attacking. This behavior can occur anytime and can be directed at humans or pets.
A dog seeking attention may frequently press onto your lap or squeeze in the middle of people, indicating jealousy. This might be sweet and harmless, but it can quickly escalate if the dog isn’t taught its boundaries.
Going to the Bathroom Inside
If your trained dog is suddenly experiencing problems going to the toilet indoors, consider whether something in his routine or environment has changed. If you notice other indicators of envy, you may need to make some changes.
If your dog is growling for no apparent reason or at other people’s, they are most likely to resent the attention you give them. Include your dog in more of your interactions and make him happy in the present with a treat.
Do Dogs Get Jealous of Babies?
Your dog, like new puppies, may get envious of a new baby in its environment, and it will take deliberate activity on your side to acclimate your dog to this new infant. Your dog will quickly notice that someone else is receiving all of the love and attention in the room, so be sure to involve them when you’re around the youngster.
It may be advisable to let your dog become acquainted with their smell by allowing them to sniff their clothes or toys. Do not leave the infant or the dog alone until you are confident that they have adjusted entirely and accepted the division of attention.
Once you’ve mastered this, your dog will be highly protective of your child and will undoubtedly form a lifelong attachment with him.
How to Manage Your Dog with Jealousy Issues?
When you have a significant dog behavior problem, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Remember that you are not alone and are not the first or only person to face the training problem. Take a long, deep breath!
Divide and Conquer
If you have any problems simultaneously, or if your dog’s jealousy is causing secondary undesirable behaviors, it’s entirely acceptable to concentrate on just one behavior at a time.
Control Like a Pro
Remember the three pillars of dog management: exercise, containment, and resource management. Daily routine, separation where required with crates or baby gates, and ensuring that humans are always in charge of high-value resources help alleviate most daily dog difficulties.
Maintain your Composure and Carry On
Allowing yourself to share your life with a “perfectly flawed” dog can minimize your anxiety and tension, reducing your dog’s anxiety and stress. Dogs may not understand all we say, but they are masters of tone and facial expression.
When Do You Need to Get Help?
You’re certain your dog is envious, but what can you do about it? Things are not like you can quietly talk it out with a jealous spouse. Instead of telling your dog that there is no cause for them to feel envious, show them. Here are a few simple things you may do to help your dog’s jealousy.
Remove the Reward
Nothing makes a jealous dog happier than being the center of attention. They believe their acts are valuable if you gaze at them or touch them. You must demonstrate to your dog that incorrect behavior will not bring them what they want.
If they’re sitting on your lap and growling when someone goes into the room, gently remove them from your lap and deprive them of their reward. It’s critical to stick with this training strategy. They’ll only understand your message if you repeat it every time.
Involve Everyone in Training
Jealousy in dogs frequently occurs when they build a solid attachment with a particular individual in their household. Everyone else in the dog’s world pales in contrast to the person who spends the most time with them. It’s fine to revel in their devotion for a minute, but the only way to maintain a calm family is for the dog to recognize that all humans are essential, not just their favorite.
Other family members must be more active in training to demonstrate this. Even dogs who have already completed obedience school require frequent training sessions.
Make sure everyone trains the same manner, so the dog does not become confused. Spending time with other individuals teaches the dog that every human in their life is worthy of respect and a spot on the couch.