Jealousy is a natural feeling in dogs as much as it is for humans – only dogs don’t have any way to tell you what’s on their mind. So, if your dog is jealous, then that may cause some unwanted behaviours.
Sometimes it’s difficult to differentiate jealousy from a dog simply being protective or possessive. But, we’re here to show you the warning signs of a jealous dog – and how to make sure it is jealousy you’re dealing with.
How do we know dogs get jealous?
If the acting out isn’t a good enough indicator, then there’s plenty of studies that show jealousy can be a real motivator for your pup. Dog trainers even use jealousy as a training tool.
In a study by the University of California, researchers found that jealousy is not unique to humans. Domestic dogs exhibited jealous behaviours when their owners displayed affection toward other dogs. These behaviours varied from aggression to attention-seeking or even whining.
The owners stated that the behaviour was consistent with emotions the dogs had displayed in the past.
Jealous Behaviours in Dogs
Dogs can show jealousy in different ways. It will depend on your pup’s personality, their general demeanour and also your interaction with them while they’re displaying these behaviours.
But here’s some behaviours that are most common in jealous dogs:
Growling or barking at other dogs and people
Probably the most worrisome problem for owners is their dog growling or barking at others. We’re always worried about the next step. But dogs will growl or bark to show their disapproval with the situation, or even to get attention away from the other person and back on themselves. Or it can be done as a method to scare off other dogs, pets or people. This is often more common with strangers or people they aren’t familiar with.
We’ve already mentioned this once, but it is one of the more common signs of jealousy. This can include aggression towards yourself or the object of your affection. Whether it’s biting, fighting or nibbling, it can all be a sign of your dog’s jealousy.
If your dog is feeling jealous, then there’s a good chance they’ll be looking for any excuse to spend more time with you. They’ll cuddle up closer to you, follow your throughout the house or garden, crowd your space and even lick your hands or face.
Doing their business inside
This is another method of attention-seeking that allows a pet to express their feelings in a more physical way. If you see your pup pooping or peeing in a place that they know they’re not supposed to, you may be dealing with a jealous pet.
It’s a little harder for dogs to do this than it is for humans. But, you’ll know when they are. It’ll be difficult for you to act and move freely, without your dog influencing your actions or taking charge of the situation.
Doing tricks unprompted
Another way dogs may attempt to get your attention is by doing a trick. Your dog understands that they get rewarded when they do tricks – with treats and with attention. So, what’s a more logical conclusion than to do the trick without being asked?
A dog may also try and give you the cold shoulder when they’re feeling jealous. This is a polar opposite of what we’ve talked about so far, but dogs have their own personalities as much as we do. Sometimes, if our pets are particularly upset with us, they’ll withdraw and avoid us.
How to Stop Jealous Behaviour in Dogs
There’s a few ways you can approach addressing your dog’s jealous behaviour – but you’ll need to be prepared to put some effort in. We need to fully understand our pets before jumping to conclusions.
But, if you’re looking to give it your all, here’s some tricks from us:
Keep a journal
It’s a good idea to keep a diary or journal of your dog’s behaviour. This will help indicate what you need to look out for. It will also provide a good starting point for any vets or trainers you’re in touch with.
Training is an important part of your dog’s well-being. This should be occurring from their puppy days, but should also be enforced throughout their adulthood. Things like crate-training or introducing your puppy to dogs and people early can have a huge impact in helping your dog feel safe and unthreatened.
Make your dog feel special
Part of the issue with dogs and jealousy is your dog feeling like they’re not getting enough from you. So, if you’re giving another dog or person attention, you should seek to involve your dog in the interaction. You should also consider not fussing other pets too much in front of your own. Maybe even give them a great tasting dog treat to make it up to them *wink.
Jealousy in dogs can become a much bigger problem when you own more than one. In these cases, we recommend feeding pets separately, ignoring your pets when you first arrive home, and having multiples of all toys. This will help your dog know that you don’t have a favourite and you’re treating them fairly.
Dogs will get Jealous
It’s clear that dogs can experience jealous. So, it’s important as owners that we ensure we’re providing them with the right amount of stimulation and treating them fairly.
It’s important to establish boundaries with your dog from an early age. Doing so will help avoid any serious bouts of jealousy.
But remember, jealousy will happen regardless of how well trained your dog is. The important part here is ensuring that it is mitigated as much as possible and that it isn’t rewarded.