Does your dog behave differently when you are in contact with your husband, friends or any other pet? If so then there is definitely a feeling of jealousy in your dog. We humans are somehow responsible for this behavior. We often try to treat our dogs like humans for example we dress our dogs in sweaters; we paint their nails, we play ball games with them and try to let them sleep in our arms. In this way their canine behavior is attributed by emotions of human beings. Researches show that dogs can also have the feeling of guilt, embarrassment, affection and love just like their owners.
According to a recent research conducted in California, dogs can also get jealous like human beings. This study or research was done by engaging humans with different objects or props. These activities are performed in front of dogs. Objects include: plastic lantern, moving toy dog and some books. Owners were also allowed to have a conversation with their mates in order to avoid the dogs. When dog owners were trying to pay attention to these provided objects, dogs became more engaged in showing some behavior like biting, barking, whining and touching their owner. They tried to get attention of their owners. It was also observed that this behavior of dogs was not dominant with any other object.
In 1871, Charles Darwin wrote a lot about jealousy and dogs. That helped the owners of dogs very much. He did an experiment in this regard. Thirty six dogs along with their owners were involved in another same experiment. Owners are commanded to have an animated or artificial dog with them in front of their real dogs. Observers wrote down all the useful information regarding dog’s reaction. When real dogs saw their owners playing with other dog which is in reality a fake dog, they showed the signs of aggression. This behavior of dogs is same like the behavior of infants when they see their mother playing with any other baby. According to many scientists or psychologists, jealousy like anger or fear is also an innate emotion present in humans as well as in different animals like dogs.
So this was some general information about feeling of jealousy among dogs. Let’s discuss this matter specifically:
How Was the Study About Dog and Jealousy Performed?
A study published in PLOS (online scientific journal) about the relationship between dog and jealousy, was conducted by Caroline Prouvost and Christian R Harris. They chose small dogs or puppies in order to control their undesirable behavior easily at any time. All the dogs are less than 35 pounds and shorter than round about 15 inches. All of them are placed in a situation where their owners are playing with some other dogs and also doing other activities. They do not bother their dogs at all. That situation creates the feeling of jealousy in dogs and they start to behave differently.
How Did the Study About Dogs Determine Whether They Exhibit Jealousy or Not?
Behavior shown by dogs was consistent with the feeling of jealousy. They tried to take the robotic or fake dog away from their owner. Owners gently pet and praise the fake dog which invoked jealous response from their real dogs. According to this study, social interaction is considered to be the key stimuli and element for jealousy in dogs. Their jealousy behavior is more aggressive in front of fake dogs as compared to other inanimate objects like lantern or children story books, etc. There are also some other prominent experiments conducted on this matter. In San Diego, A very reputable psychologist from California University, also did a lot of study work on dog’s emotions like jealousy. He also did experiment in such a way that the dogs got jealous of other artificial dog and tried to push that away from their owner.
This finding can also be compared to human beings. Six months old babies or infants show jealous behavior when their parents especially mother is paying attention to any other family member. Same sort of experiments has been done in this regard with dogs also.
Biological Basis of Jealous Behavior among Dogs
As now we know, humans are not the only beings on earth that may have feelings of jealousy. Now the question arises whether this feeling of jealousy has innate basis or learned basis? Many psychologists worked on this. Some concluded it is learned behavior and others concluded it is innate emotion. Provost and Harris’s study states that: “Studies support a hypothesis that behavior exists only in human infants and one other species that is dog”.
How to Deal with Jealous Dogs?
Sometimes this jealous behavior of dog becomes dangerous for both (the dog and owner). We should treat our dog in order to reduce this feeling. It is very necessary for the owners to keep some points in mind.
• First of all try to avoid those things or objects which can cause jealous behavior in your dog.
• If you have any other pet like cat, parrot, etc then try to keep your dog away when you are in contact with these pets.
• Try to develop good relations between your dog and other pets. Create a situation in which both the pets are engaged with each other. They will play with each other and a good relation will develop between them.
• In case where all the pets are present, try to pay some extra attention to dog as compared to other pets. If you give more attention to other pets then your dog will get jealous of other dogs. In this way, he/she can cause harm to them by pushing them away from you. Hence one should not interact more with other pets in front of dog.
Yes a dog can definitely feels jealousy if you try to avoid him/her. Therefore try not to do such things in front of your dog which become the cause of jealousy.