Can Dogs be Jealous?

  • Home >
  • The Daily Wag! >
  • Senses >
  • Can Dogs be Jealous?
0 Stories
0 Votes

Introduction

Have you ever tried to add a pack member to the family? We all know that jealousy is almost certain between dogs at first. There is an adjustment period while the dogs get used to each other being around, and during this time you will see some not so good behavior and maybe even some fighting. 

The trick is to let your old doggo know he is as important as he ever was, by spending some extra special time with just the two of you. At the same time, however, you must also welcome your new pup into the pack with open arms.  It is a fine line to walk, especially if you are a single person caring for more than one dog - but you can do it! We have faith in you!

Introduction of Can Dogs be Jealous?

Signs Your Dog May be Jealous

Look Fido - meet Fifi! Isn't she cute? GRRRRRRRRR, Bark BARK BARK (translated into human as I don't like her mommy; she can't come into MY house.) Your dog might be exhibiting some tell-tail signs of jealousy toward a new dog, cat or other pet.  

For those of us who have been through this before, we all know the drill.  Some dogs fear they are being replaced by the "new" dog so they act out, much like a toddler does when they get a new sister or brother. 

Have you noticed your dog maybe sticking like glue to your side? Has your dog ever taken a toy away from the new dog while you and the new dog are playing? Does your dog sleep on the new Dog's bed or destroy their new bed or toys? Does your dog growl when the new dog comes near them?  

Don't even be surprised if your dog chews up your shoes or pees or poops in the house when they are perfectly potty trained - this is your dog on vitamin J - the old green-eyed monster!

Your dog, depending on how big they bring the drama, may even stage a hunger strike. This is a sure sign they are not happy with you bringing in a new dog. 

Be sure to spend extra special one-on-one time with your "old" dog and assure him that he is still your fur-baby! If your new dog and old dog are near each other, watch for the fur on the back of their necks (their hackles) to go up; this is a sure sign of danger - the danger being that someone is stressed by the other Dog's presence and may strike out. 

Keep a close eye on them if this should happen or remove the stressed dog from the equation by taking them for a walk alone or giving them extra special cuddles.  Here is a trick I always used to get my dog used to another furry face; I rub the newcomer's scent on a toy or a blanket and I place that in my "old" doggo's bed.  This way, the "old" dog is getting used to the new dog's scent without even knowing it.  Score one for the humans!

Body Language

Here are some of the typical signs your dog will show if he's feeling jealous:

  • Panting
  • Pacing
  • Ears drop
  • Jumping up
  • Guarding
  • Whining
  • Barking
  • Staring
  • Growling

Other Signs

Here are some other signs that a jealous dog will be showing:
  • Depressed
  • Aggressive
  • Loss of Appetite

The History of Jealous Dogs

History of Can Dogs be Jealous?
Charles Darwin, the famous evolutionary biologist, noted in his 1871 book Descent of Man: "...everyone has seen how jealous a dog is of his master's affection, if lavished on any other creature."  

You hit the nail right on the head, Chuck! You are their person; you are their everything. They have no desire to share your attention. 

Since Fred Flinstone dared to pet another pet in front of Dino, jealousy in our dogs has been apparent. Their is a social hierarchy with dogs and their people, much like it is between boss and worker, sister and brother, mother and daughter and so on.  Feelings of jealousy are something we all experience when our understood alliances are changed.

The Science Behind Jealous Dogs

Science of Can Dogs be Jealous?
Scientists have been studying dogs for the effects of jealousy for years.  During one such study, they had an owner read to a stuffed dog and ignore their own pet. Their pet would either kneel over the stuffed pet or guard his human to get cuddles and attention. Nearly 86% of dogs would sniff the anal region of the stuffed animal just to try and figure out what this dog had over them.  

As with humans, all it seems to take is a rival to pop up and feelings of jealousy begin. Dogs have a very basic instinct to show their displeasure when their person is showing an over-abundance of attention or affection to another human or pet.  

Remember grade-school recess, when who you thought was your best friend played with another person you didn't even know? It's kind of like that.  

A dog's love for their person is unconditional; they are fiercely loyal and when another pet or person enters into the equation, things can get confusing for them.

Training of Can Dogs be Jealous?

How to react when your dog is exhibiting jealous behavior:

  • Play a game where both dogs can earn treats when they sit, stay, and follow other basic commands.
  • Ignore them - even if they are giving you their best "I am sad" puppy dog eyes.
  • Reward them for showing positive behavior to the other animal.

Safety Tips When Dealing with Jealous Dogs:

  • Do not scold your old dog for gently correcting a new pup; they need to learn the rules of the house.
  • Do not reward your pooch for bad behavior like swiping the new dog's toys or destroying the new dog's bed.
  • Give your old dog some special cuddles and assurance that he is loved and tell them how great of a big brother or sister they are going to be.
  • Tell them firmly "no", but NEVER spank or hit them.
  • Remove the stressed dog from the room.

Tell Us About Your Jealous Pooch!