What you need to know about jealousy in dogs
You may think only human experience jealousy, but you’ll be amazed at how your pooch can get jealous when you try to share your love for them with another pet or human.
Many studies have shown that dogs do get jealous. One study conducted at the University of California San Diego made a dog owner engage with three different objects — including a plastic jack-o-lantern, a book, and a stuffed dog that looks real.
The result of the study showed that when the dog owner paid more attention to the fake dog, their real dog displayed several signs of jealously, such as trying to get in between them, trying to touch their owner, biting, barking, and whining. Interestingly, the dog wasn’t bothered when the owner played with other objects. This study clearly showed that dogs do experience jealousy.
But how much do you really know about jealousy in dogs? There are several reasons why your dog may become jealous and they often express this feeling in many ways. Relax, in this article, we shall discuss all you need to know about jealousy in dogs. Let’s dive in!
Why do dogs get jealous?
It’s no more a debate that dogs experience jealousy, but the reasons was not fully understood until researchers made extensive studies to fully explore this human-like feeling in dogs.
Ask yourself this question, “Why do I get jealous whenever I see my lover giving more attention to someone else in my presence?” Most of the time, we humans behave in that manner because we’ve become attached to our loved one and we always want to be treated special. Well, the same thing happens in dogs.
When your furry friend has bonded so well with you, they naturally become jealous when your attention is diverted from them. More so, dogs have a natural instinct to covet what they feel is theirs and they feel betrayed when you act like they need to share your time and attention with someone else.
Do dogs get jealous of other pets?
Dogs naturally are loyal pets, and that’s where their jealousy stems from. So, when you interact physically with other pets, especially dogs like them, they feel betrayed and tend to show signs of jealousy.
Now, you don’t have to get worried when your dog has a problem with you meeting other dogs and interacting with them. What do you do when your lover gets jealous? Most times, we want to reassure them that we love them sincerely, right? That’s what you also need to do when your pooch gets jealous.
When you make some moves like making them sit on your laps, cuddle them, or use other languages that they understand as a show of love, it may help them feel comforted and reassured of your love.
However, if your dog becomes overly jealous when you’re around other dogs, you may consider rewarding them with a treat whenever they behave properly.
So whenever they lay on their beds or mind their business as you play with other dogs, try rewarding them with a nice treat they enjoy. This can teach them to stay calm and be more accommodating.
What about being jealous of people?
Dogs do not really get jealous when you talk to other people along the road. But when you bend down to pet a strange dog along the sidewalk, then they might show signs of jealousy.
However, when you have someone coming into your dog’s space constantly, they might begin to feel jealous, especially when you spend more time with the stranger and pay little or attention to them during playtime or feeding time. Many dogs find this offensive and they might attack the stranger someday.
Do dogs get jealous of newborns?
Of course, there would be a time when you would welcome your newborn home and your furry friend would have no choice but to co-exist with our baby. But do pooches get jealous of new babies?
The simple answer is “Yes,” your dog could become jealous of your newborn as you tend to pay more attention to your baby. But do not forget that dogs too love to be babied. And there’s a chance of them getting along well if only you would take purposeful action to acclimate them to your newborn.
So you may consider having your pooch close as you take care of your little one. Give your dog attention also, and with time, they will get used to their new family member.
Also, allowing them come close to your baby while you’re there gives them a chance to get familiar with the smell of the newborn as they sniff their clothes and toys. Be careful here and do not leave the baby and your dog all alone, until you’re very confident that they’ve accepted their co-habitation and split of attention.
The good part is that once your dog gets used to your baby, they may become very protective of the child and this often leads to a strong lasting bond.
That said, here are the most common causes of jealously in dogs:
- New pets
- Incompatible attention
- Change in Routine
- Not enough attention or exercise
- New people or babies in your home
Common signs of jealousy in dogs
Dogs may not express themselves like humans when they are jealous, but there are some common signs they often display to let you know their feelings. These signs include:
When a dog feels jealous, they may push onto your laps or squeeze in between you and the pet or person taking your attention. This may seem cute and harmless, but it may be dangerous, especially when your pooch is not taught their boundaries.
A jealous dog may growl, bite, or sometimes attack their contender. This behavior may come very fast and when you least expect, so you better watch out when you’re with a strange pet or person.
Using areas outside their litter box
When dogs become jealous, they may go to the bathroom indoors or outside their litter box. So whenever you see you four-legged friend pee or poo in places where they shouldn’t, they may be letting you know they’re jealous of your divided attention lately.
Crowding your space
Your dog may lie down on your workspace or sit up on their hind legs to beg for your attention. Sometimes, they may cuddle up extra-close to you and lick your face or hand. This is a sign that they need your attention.
Tricks to stop jealousy in dogs
Although I have mentioned a few tricks earlier, I will highlight some smart measures to reduce jealousy in your furry friend especially when a new addition comes into your home:
- Don’t give more attention to one pet than the other.
- Feed your pets separately but make sure it’s the same amount of treats.
- Pet your pets equally.
- Reward them whenever they behave calmly and not showing any signs of jealousy.
- Take note of what makes your dog jealous and share with your veterinarian if you can’t handle the situation on your own.
It is important to manage unwanted behaviors in your pets and helping them enjoy a good mental health. It is your responsibility as a dog owner to cater to your dog’s physical and emotional needs. Keep in mind from today that dogs do get jealous, just like humans (if not even more).
They are possessive in nature and wouldn’t appreciate a divided attention. But the measures above are sure to help you deal with jealousy in your dogs.
Lastly, always remember your dog just wants to feel loved. So make sure you keep them in mind no matter who comes newly into your home, be it a new pet, a new baby, or a visitor staying for some hours or even days.