Can Dogs Feel Replaced?

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Introduction

Whether you are considering adding another pup to the family, a totally different kind of pet, or if you are expecting a baby of your own, it is quite possible that your doggo will feel sad and even replaced at the presence of a new family member. While it is completely possible for dogs to love new additions to the family, it is important to remember that dogs are sensitive, in tune, creatures that have the capability of feeling upset, jealous, or unloved just as us humans do. 

While life can be a whirlwind, it is important to take a time and smell the roses. And by smell the roses, we mean give your furry friend time and attention, so that your pooch feels like a part of the pack.

Signs Your Dog Fees Replaced

Have you ever noticed your dog being terribly possessive of you? Envy may be one of the seven deadly sins, but it is part of our social interaction with others and how we compare the things around us. While dogs generally enjoy social interactions with other humans and doggo friends, some pups may feel a bit jealous or even replaced. 

You can tell how your pup is feeling by paying close attention to their body language. Dogs feeling replaced or sad by the presence of a new family member may try and guard their beds, food or toys. It’s important to really know your dog and even get the right advice before you introduce a new family member into the home. 

There are some clear signs you may witness if your pup is feeling a bit left out. Signs that your pup is feeling replaced can include sleeping the day away, getting into trouble around the home, begging for attention with disobedient behavior, or even having frequent accidents inside the house. If you witness any of these behaviors, it may be an indicator that your furry buddy isn't getting enough attention.

Body Language

There are some tell-tail (haha) signs that your doggo is feeling a bit replaced by the new bodies in their home. Look out for:
  • Growling
  • Barking
  • Lack of focus
  • Dropped Ears
  • Stalking
  • Tail tucking
  • Sleepiness

Other Signs

Other signs may also include:
  • Looking blue, or sad
  • Sluggish behavior
  • Attention-seeking behavior
  • Mischievous behavior
  • Weight gain
  • Disobedient behavior

The History Behind Dogs Feeling Replaced

On an evolutionary level, our furry friends have been re-programmed as they have descended from wolves. Their days in the wild during years of domestication have evolved to align with the needs and desires that come with running alongside humans. 

There is a social hierarchy with dogs and their humans, much like ones we see between work colleagues or our own family members. Feelings of jealousy are something we all experience, especially when our understood alliances are changed.

The Science Behind Dogs Feeling Replaced

One recent study showed just how jealousy in our pooches works. A psychology professor and student at the University of California videotaped 36 dogs in their home environments. The owners of these 36 dogs were told to ignore their pooches in favor of a Halloween bucket and stuffed dog that could bark and whine. 

Dog owners were instructed to talk to both objects as if it were their real dog – while their dogs looked enviously on. The owners were also asked to read from a pop-up book that played music to check out the reaction of the dogs.

While the dogs generally ignored the bucket, they were, in fact, interested in the relationship between the stuffed dog and their human. Around 78% of the dogs pawed their owner when they were talking to the stuffed dog, while 42% were interested in the pail, and 22% were interested in the book. One dog even lost his patience and took his anger out on the toy. 

Ultimately, the stuffed pooch was of the utmost importance, and many dogs tried to push in-between their human and the fake dog. The researchers believe the dogs were jealous the same way kids are when a new baby comes home - linking another human emotion to man's best friend. 

Because we have the power to make our jealous pups feel safe and loved, it's important to play fair with the pets in your home so they never have cause to feel jealous or replaced.

Introducing Your Dog to a New Member of the Family

If you are considering adding a new member of the family, for instance, another puppy, there are ways to easily integrate your old dog and the new dog so that your first "child" is more receptive and does not feel replaced.

  1. It is important to meet outside in a more neutral area. Remember that as of now, your home is your first dog's home. It's easier to introduce new dogs on a neutral ground so that your dog can avoid feelings of jealousy or feeling threatened.
  2.  Make sure you stop all bad behaviors before they get to be a problem. For instance, if one dog growls or snaps, be sure to immediately let it known that bad manners are unacceptable.
  3. Keep both dogs on a leash. It's better to be prepared for anything.
  4. Make sure you remain calm. Dogs are very in tune with human behaviors, and if you are feeling stressed out, your dog will be sure to notice that you are not at ease. 
  5. When you end the greeting, go through your normal house entrance. 
  6. Once inside, act like everything is normal.
  7. It might be helpful to have a crate and a pen set up before you bring the new dog home.
  8. Make sure that your first "child" sleeps where they would normally sleep.

After a few weeks, your doggo should be accustomed to the new presence in the household. Just be patient, and always keep a few treats on hand! The trick is to let your old doggo know that they are just as importent as they always have been by spending some extra special time with just the two of you.

It’s important to really know your dog and even get the right advice before you introduce a new family member into the home. Without the help of a professional, your jealous pooch could create some serious problems. It may be worth enrolling into a training program to help them change their ways.

Safety Tips When Introducing Dogs:

  • Always be prepared.
  • Remember that our doggos just want to feel loved, just as we do.
  • Constant supervision is a must when introducing new family members.