Dogs can be jealous

Scientists reveal that dogs show jealousy and envy when their owner pays attention to other dogs

Dogs can also feel jealous, and it is not surprising that they feel vulnerable and even envious when their owner takes care of another dog or devotes more attention to it. Those who live with these animals have always suspected this behaviour, but now scientists have corroborated it. According to an interesting recent research that is explained below, jealousy is not exclusive to humans, since dogs are capable of experiencing it, and can show it with barking, growling, wagging its tail in an ostentatious way and even trying to get between the beloved person and potential canine rival.

Jealousy is a dog thing, too!

Dogs can be jealous when their owner cares for another dog.

The revelation will not surprise those who share their life with a dog : dogs (yes) can feel jealous, an emotion that is usually linked more to human feelings, sibling rivalries and even the third party in a love triangle. Dogs engage in typically jealous behaviours and may even try to break the connection between their owners and potential canine rivals , when they detect it as a threat.

The scientists were able to verify that the dogs feel indifferent when their owners read aloud a book with pop-ups (three  dimensional, designed for human babies), which emits noises and melodies. However, their behaviour tends to change dramatically when their owners’ attention is directed towards stuffed animals in the shape of dogs. When the owners pretend to take care of this stuffed animal, their dogs bark, wag their tail ostentatiously, and some even growl or try to get between the doll and its beloved human companions.

The dog may be jealous for us

We can’t really speak for dogs, but it seems that with this behaviour, the dog seeks to protect a social relationship that is important to him – the same feeling that motivates jealousy.

Dogs exhibit more jealous behaviours (growling, barking , getting between their loved one and their potential canine rival, pushing while competing, etc.), when their owners show protective attitudes towards what appears to be another dog (80%), than when they do it with inert objects such as a book that emits noise (12%).

The dog can feel jealous for its master : envy for fear of becoming the third in a peculiar love triangle, with canine and human vertices. Jealousy appears when attention is paid to another dog perceived as a competitor, a sentiment that suggests dogs may have a more complex emotional life.

Can dogs be as jealous as some people?

This possibility of experiencing strong emotions, moreover, could dismantle the idea that jealousy is only experienced by the most sophisticated humans : dogs, like many people who share their lives with them already suspected, can become very jealous.

I do not doubt that the feeling of jealousy in humans is a complex emotion, but knowing that dogs are also jealous makes us understand that this feeling has to do with the existing bond with the loved one , with trying to break the connection between her and the one who is perceived as a rival.

So can dogs be jealous the same way people can? Just as we no longer doubt that mammals that share the same neural base with dogs feel complex emotions, such as shame or guilt , it is interesting to know that dogs can also feel jealous.

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