Does Your Dog Get Jealous?

Does Your Dog Get Jealous? - Photo credit : REUTERS/Vasily FedosenkoThe first thing you learn when introducing a new dog to your household is that they all expect to be treated the same. I have had multiple dogs in my house most of my adult life and can attest that dogs do get jealous if you don’t treat them all in the same way. According to Brandon Griggs in a recent CNN report, “New research suggests that dogs can exhibit jealousy, a human emotion usually ascribed to squabbling siblings or the jilted third of a love triangle.”

Anyone with more than one dog could have told you that one!

All of our dogs seek attention from us and everyone in the house shows each dog the same level of affection. The dogs all get along because of this. Even if you have favorites, you can’t show it.

Apparently this scholar’s study used real dogs and stuffed toy dogs to illustrate jealousy. I don’t think my dogs would have fallen for that one. I’d like to see another study to show that male dogs are much more needy then females. Ask anyone with boy and girl pooches and they’ll tell you that is true. Bill, Jack and Rocky are always looking for love where as the girls would rather take a nap. Boy dogs exhibit jealousy more then girl dogs!

The report goes on to say that “animal-behavior experts say the study is a significant step forward in understanding our dog’s emotional lives.”

It is said that dog lovers tend to assign human feelings to their dogs. Studies are always trying to prove things, that to a dog owner, are pretty obvious. Do dogs get jealous? Yes, they do.

My pack of beloved canines gets along because I know that they expect to be treated fairly all the time. When it’s treat time, they know that they will each get the same amount of chicken or the same chew toy. When it’s time to all sit together, they each have a spot of their own on the couch with my husband and I. If you don’t treat them the same, they will notice and then you can create behavior issues.

“Dogs are really keen social observers” says Professor Marc Bekoff, author of ‘Why Dog Hump and Bees Get Depressed’

Dogs have different personalities but they all exhibit jealousy from time to time. It is so important to love all of your dogs whether you have a favorite or not.

“Research has shown that dogs do understand when they’re being treated fairly.” according to the study.

Whether it seems obvious or not, this study raises awareness. If your dog is acting jealous, and having issues, then why? Are you treating him the same as his roommate?

Dogs are social creatures and they should get along. Treat them fairly and pay attention, they sure are. And as I always say; sharing a little chicken makes everything better!

More from Dr. Christine Harris, who was co-authored the study cited in the CNN report, can be found from her interview with Audie Cornish on NPR. See “If Dogs Feel Jealousy, It May Run Deeper In Us Than We’d Thought.”  She and Caroline Prouvost were also published in the peer-reviewed online scientific journal, PLOS One.

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