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Do Dogs Feel Jealousy?

jealous dogs blogIf you own multiple dogs and have ever noticed some “sibling” rivalry, you might not be wrong. Recent findings from the University of California, San Diego study suggest dogs are capable of displaying jealous behaviors.

The study, lead by scholars Christine R. Harris and Caroling Prouvost, examined the reactions of thirty-six different dogs while their owners praised, spoke lovingly, and petted animatronic dogs. The fake dogs barked, whined, and wagged their tails to mimic canine behavior. The real dogs displayed several behaviors indicative of jealousy, including barking, snapping at the robotic canines, and trying to push themselves between their owner and the fake dog.

The study also examined what happened when the owners ignored their canine companions to read aloud from a book. This activity didn’t elicit the same magnitude of jealous responses, suggesting that social interaction is key to triggering jealousy in dogs. It’s not just that dogs don’t like to be ignored, they don’t like their owner’s attention to be on another animal.

Does your dog ever express jealous behavior? Feel free to share your experience in the comments section.

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{ 9 comments… add one }
  • tony paladino October 30, 2014, 8:53 am

    I could have told you this yrs ago. When ever I pet my cat my dog comes over to me, and I say to him, “are you jealous”.

  • Erin Faucette October 30, 2014, 9:18 am

    I have 2 boxers, 7 and 3; and 1 beagle, 8. They portray this behavior constantly, especially when I get home from somewhere. My youngest boxer is the worst. She demands everyone’s full attention at all times.

  • Cc October 30, 2014, 9:29 am

    My dog is terribly jealous. When I hold my grandchild she looks at me with a look of pure resentment. She jumps on the couch, which she only does when grandson is here, and she sleeps in bed with us, which she only does when grandson is here. She is definitely jealous. She also eats 10 times more when he is here. Don’t know that that is jealousy but its something to do with him being here. Funny dogs. With other dogs, she paws at me, puts her head on my leg and pushes me away from other animals. She is so jealous and so territorial. I belong to her and only her according to her.

  • John Michael October 30, 2014, 11:07 am

    Our biggest dog is the oldest by 3 years. The smaller one watches intently while I love up to the big one but waits, then when I step away from the big one she starts banging her tail and rolling over knowing that she is next. The big one will frequently come between me and the smaller dog when she wasn’t praised first. the only temperament to jealously seems to be age dependent hierarchy and dominant strength. In other circumstances the smaller dog will stand up to the big one but not for attention. Observing their behavior is a real learning experience that I would not trade away.

  • ccrow October 30, 2014, 4:09 pm

    Are you kidding? Of course they do!!

  • Mike Zweifel October 30, 2014, 4:14 pm

    My dog gets very jealous when I pet other dogs at the dog park, even the dogs he knows and likes. So only have one dog and one cat the only time the cat can get near me is when Scooby is outside.

  • Anne Harris October 30, 2014, 6:03 pm

    I have two mini bull terriers, when I cuddle with the black one, the white one whimpers. When I cuddle with the white one, the black one howls..when we have a group hug..they are both happy campers 😉

  • catherine davis October 30, 2014, 9:49 pm

    I have 3 dogs and they are all jealous of the other one and each one of them wants my undivided attention. Whichever one I pet, the other two intervene especially Rocky, who was here first. He doesn’t want to share me with any other dog though he is fine with me loving on the cats. For some reason, he feels that’s different than my loving another dog. The youngest one Devon who is almost 3, is just as bad. If I am loving on Rocky, he comes and butts in. The oldest dog and the 2nd in command will sit by and wait for me to call her over. She seems content to let the younger ones get their way though if she doesn’t get her loving soon enough, she will push them out of the way and be front and center. I volunteer with a local animal rescue group and even our foster dogs will snap at another dog that gets near their foster “parent”. Very possessive these furry little loves are!

  • Sally curry November 1, 2014, 7:40 am

    I have 2 cockers. When the younger one cuddles up next to me, the older one tries to get in the middle. He will snarl softly if she doesn’t move over

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