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Can Dogs Really Be Jealous? (Let’s Look At The Facts)

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Do dogs ever feel jealous?

According to some new research by scientists, they do.

On the face of it, a lot of people would agree. But before you spring forth with your tales of dogs ‘acting jealous’, please – hear me out.

Personally, I don’t believe they do and I’ll explain more about that in a moment. But first let us look at the new research done in the name of science.

The experiment consisted of taking pairs of dogs and getting them to present a paw for a reward. On giving this “handshake” the dogs received a piece of food.

One of the dogs was then asked to shake hands, but received no food. The other dog continued to get the food when it was asked to perform the task.

The dog without the reward quickly stopped doing the task, and showed signs of annoyance or stress when its partner was rewarded.

To make sure that the experiment was really showing the interaction between the dogs rather than just the frustration of not being rewarded, a similar experiment was conducted where the dogs performed the task without the partner. Here they continued to present the paw for much longer.

Dr Frederike Range from the department of neurobiology and cognition research at the University of Vienna, says this shows that it was the presence of the rewarded partner which was the greater influence on their behaviour.

“The only difference is one gets food and the other doesn’t, they are responding to being unequally rewarded.” she said.

The researchers say this kind of behaviour, where one animal gets frustrated with what is happening with another, has only been observed in primates before.

Studies with various types of monkeys and chimpanzees show they react not only to seeing their partners receiving rewards when they are not, but also to the type of reward.

The dog study also looked at whether the type of reward made a difference. Dogs were given either bread or sausage, but seemed to react equally to either. Dr Range says this may be because they have been trained.

“It’s through the fact they have to work for the reward, this confers it with a higher value,” she said.

Source Here

Let’s take a look at this in smaller chunks.

The dog without the reward quickly stopped doing the task, and showed signs of annoyance or stress when its partner was rewarded.

Well of course. Surely we wouldn’t expect anything different here? The dog wants the food and it sees the other dog with the food and it gravitates toward the treat. This is quite logical, nothing ground breaking yet.

To make sure that the experiment was really showing the interaction between the dogs rather than just the frustration of not being rewarded, a similar experiment was conducted where the dogs performed the task without the partner. Here they continued to present the paw for much longer.

Yes, again this surely to be expected? Here we have a dog with no distraction, no food or other dog in the equation and it makes logical sense that most dogs will perform differently in a situation where no distraction – of any kind – is present. This, again, does not prove jealousy as we understand it.

Dr Frederike Range from the department of neurobiology and cognition research at the University of Vienna, says this shows that it was the presence of the rewarded partner which was the greater influence on their behaviour.

Now we’re veering in to some strange territory. Let us imagine this experiment but with some different parameters.

We work with just one dog, no other dog in the area.

The dog gives its paw. Then a person will come in to the room and puts some food on the floor near to where the other dog would have been positioned positioned.

Would the dog now be less interested in giving paw and more interested in food?

In my opinion, yes. Most likely.

Now repeat the same scenario but don’t have anyone put food down.

It’s my supposition that the dog would hold paw for longer.

No other dog present, no jealousy – merely distraction causing reaction.

The dog study also looked at whether the type of reward made a difference. Dogs were given either bread or sausage, but seemed to react equally to either. Dr Range says this may be because they have been trained.

Dogs like different foods. And scientists didn’t know this?

Take my own dog Mia. She loathes banana. My other dog, Chloe, on the other hand loves fruit. So if I’m eating a banana Mia will sit for a while, realise what I’ve got and then go and lie down. Chloe will stay sitting next to me, watching until I’ve finished. I’m not a scientist but I do know this – it’s……wait for it………

……because Chloe likes banana and Mia doesn’t!

Given that Mia is by far the greedier of my two dogs it proves that dogs clearly have different tastes the same as we do, this is – I would guess – pretty universal. Maybe your dog loves a type of food that my dogs don’t. Maybe your dogs go mad for aniseed whereas my dogs love cheese. Just a sec, wait. Not a good comparison – aniseed and cheese are pretty much universal ‘must eats’ on the canine menu (if your dog likes neither, please let me know – in the name of science).

So, if I set out to train Mia with bananas as my choice of reward for her, I’d achieve less impressive results – quite simply because Mia doesn’t like banana. She places a higher value on food that she likes, similarly toys and similarly different ways of being touched – Mia doesn’t like to be stroked on the head, Chloe will take a good head stroking for several hours. So we’ve still not established jealousy in canines with this research based on the report as presented on the BBC site.

Studies with various types of monkeys and chimpanzees show they react not only to seeing their partners receiving rewards when they are not, but also to the type of reward.

OK. Well I’m not a scientist but I do know that monkeys and chimps are NOT dogs. They can and indeed probably do have emotions much more closely aligned to the emotion we recognise in ourselves as jealousy, similarly they have different social structures and are NOT dogs. So the relevance of this is no more apt than saying: “Well humans have jealousy, why can’t dogs?”

Why do I not believe dogs share the emotion we recognise in ourselves as jealousy?

If we think about what jealousy is, if we are logical about what we know about this emotion it is incredibly complex and based on a whole level of social elements.

There are humans who feel jealousy based on widely different factors – is that an innate personality trait in them or is it nurtured? – we don’t really know.

We have humans within the autistic spectrum who simply do not and can not feel jealous and others within that same spectrum who can be wildly jealous. It’s true that even scientists themselves still haven’t universally agreed a definition for what jealously is! That’s how complex this particular emotion is. What does it take to be jealous? It takes two people very, very different reasons to be jealous, even people within the same family who share almost identical genetics. Yet put two people in a room and mimic the ‘paw test’ and we’d never get close to seeing universal results proving jealous responses in people – we’re too different and jealousy is an emotion that does not run through us all in an identical fashion. So why should it in dogs?

I absolutely do not doubt for a single, solitary second that they display behaviour which is very easy for us to compare with the emotion of jealousy that we recognise in ourselves. It could be displayed in acts of resource guarding, it could be manifested by dogs who are particularly greedy, territorial, pack motivated, rank motivated – but jealousy it is not. It is quite possible that I want to get my bosses’ job and sit in his chair, in his office and take home his salary but I am not motivated even in the slightest by jealousy, I simply want to do better for myself. Dogs the same. So a dog going to another dog getting rewarded is absolutely not proof positive – in my view – that we’ve cracked the canine jealousy code, we haven’t even cracked ours yet – and we can SPEAK!

Anthropomorphism is rife. Most of the time it’s harmless but sometimes it’s nothing more than us finding another way to say: “I don’t understand my dog but I’ll bracket a particular behaviour by benchmarking it against my own”. This is, plainly, crazy. And it can lead to problems.

It will be better for dogs and better for us if we make an effort to better understand them. But always, always, always start that voyage of discovery with one overriding caveat: Dogs are no more human than we are Zebra. They are dogs. They ARE unique and we love them for it. They are masters at making us think what they want us to think. Their understanding of human body language is an art we’re not even close to mastering. Take this example:

Person comes home. Dog has wrecked the post (again). There it is, all laid out scattered over the floor.

Owner opens the door.

“Huuuuhhh!!!! What have you done???”

“Oh, look at him. Look at that face. Look how guilty he looks.”

(wait for it)

“He know what he’s done!”

Sound familiar?

Of course he doesn’t ‘know what he’s done’ and he absolutely may ‘look guilty’ but that aint’ guilt he’s showing, that’s him spotting body language and going to fear/survival mode. He’s pretty much saying: “If you want me to look guilty, if that’s the pigeon-hole you want to put me in right now, so long as it means I don’t come to any harm, I’ll do a better guilty repertoire than Laurence Olivier if it makes you happy babe!”

And make us happy it most certainly does. We might feel guilt if we do something that causes someone else to feel bad, but that’s because we have an understanding of how our actions can have a future negative effect on the mood of our human counterparts. Our dog, however, he was just bored and he wanted something to do. Then we come home and we’re – clearly – pretty mad at him. He’s not feeling guilty, he’s feeling plain old scared.

But it makes us happy to think he thinks like us. To quote the chairman of the Kennel Club: “I don’t need no scientists telling me….” that dogs do not, in fact, think like us. They think, surprisingly, like dogs. That’s what makes em’ great!


So,that’s quite enough about what I think, what do YOU think?

Can dogs really experience the emotion us humans refer to as jealousy?

Add your thoughts using the comment form below. I look forward to reading them!

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Comments
  1. I think dogs do experience jealousy, but in a more attention seeking way than humans do. When my husband and I have a kiss and a cuddle on the settee our dog Cinders jumps up and tries to join in as if to say ‘Hey don’t leave me out!!’. So far we’ve not seen any other signs of jealousy – yet!!

  2. i have two dogs(Louie and Ash), Ash is small and hardy, doesn’t notice much emotion wise, Louie however is a GSD crossed with a pointer and is a huge nervous dog, he notices every mood change i have, he’s hugely protective of his owner my partner but is he jealous? I’m 95% sure it’s not jealousy, he still barks when we kiss, but i think this could be that he knows one of us is gonna leave or he still thinks after 4 years of us being together that i’m gonna harm his owner in some way. Also if my partner or myself are giving attention to Ash then we soon know about it as Louie will push Ash out of the way to get some like he’s starved of it.(we do give our dogs attention honest) I think thats need not jealousy though. I’m not 100% sure

  3. I agree that dogs do not feel guilt even though they can act it! It is a learned behaviour to our reactions and further actions.
    Jealousy is more complicated and I believe that dogs can show it within their pack. I own three dogs of the same breed. When I am cuddling up with one of them the others are trying to take his place by nipping and pushing into his place. Does not matter which dog I cuddle first, they all do it. As I allow my dogs on the sofa, sometimes the need of my attention turns into an male argument as they both want on my lap at the same time. Well, none of them will get any if they argue! As someone mentioned above it could be all related to pack hierarchy as I believe the two boys have not fully established their ranks within our pack. The female is a submissive one and I have to often remind the others that they are dogs and I am the leader and that they do as they are ask to!
    As for the experiments with commands and the food reward – well if I do not reward one of them he keeps looking round at the others as they are eating. I don’t think he is jealous but more like: “is mine coming? Where is it?”

    So are dogs jealous? In their own doggy ways yes. When compared to human emotions? Common..they are dogs with canine emotions not human.

  4. What do you have to say? Well; I would say that from what I have observed….Rikki is the jealous type. And I don’t think she cares who sees it or knows it. Some might call it overly protective….but altho her behavior may have that element; I see it more as a jealous thing.
    Example #1- If I am speaking to friends,strangers, etc. and she is there…in my room or out in a park…after a little while she gets antsy and starts whining to go. That is true even if there is another dog around. Along the same lines….if another dog is around; I have to be very careful not to give it too much attention…or if I am giving it attention; I better stop when Rikki comes by or else she will be none too subtle about trying to get the dog to move away or suffer the consequences.
    The best example is when we went to a friends house and there were about 12 or so people there….and his dog a pit bull male about 85 lbs. Rikki is about 55 to 60 lbs and is a black lab mix w/ pit bull. I had forgotten that when we were at his house a few weeks earlier….she took every oppty to get him away from the group….actually going after him to kick his ass if he didnt leave…luckily he was a male and suffered the indignity of having to stay in another room.
    Anyway its a few wks later and i forgot abt it….but Rikki didnt…..she immed went after him and kept him out on the fringes of the group the whole time. She never took her eyes off of him. I learned a long time ago that Rikki wants all the people for herself….she loves all people…even the mailman(he isnt convinced)I call her the will rogers of dogs…because of that…she does not share……so it would seem that if she is something….jealous would be 1 of the adjectives prominent to use to describe her behavior. Out in the park away from people….she is ok and plays with other dogs. But when they close to us….she looks to keep them away

  5. Not a very effective test they obviously should have tried banana!
    It’s about status and distraction not jealously. Some people think that dogs smile!? We just seem to like humanising them more and more. Dogs are clever no doubt but they’re not human and don’t think like us just have excellent adaptability.

  6. Irma, if your dog makes lots of fuss when you are leaving the house she might be suffering from separation anxiety! Do you fuss around her when you are getting ready to leave? Do you say long good byes?

  7. Yes, I do believe they feel jealousy. If I stop to talk to someone on our walks, our dog will stand there & wait for me. However, if I stroke their dog he will start barking, a woo woo woo bark.

    And guilt…..definitely. We have come in & gone to greet our dog & wondered why he’s skulking in his bed & just giving little, feeble wags of his tail instead of the exuberant greeting we normally get………then we see the contents of the bin all over the kitchen 😉

  8. When me and my husband cuddle if its not our daughter getting between us its Rexy our labrador and if we cuddle Bertie (other labrador) he gets very jealous and sulks, also if Rexy gets a cuddle she (yes Bertie is girl) gets very jealous and starts barking.
    So in answer to the question, yes they can feel jealously.

  9. I have 2 dogs and 2 cats.
    All live happily together.
    Tia, a german shepherd 6 years old and Dela a rottweiler who is 4. Stinky a rescue moggy 7 years and Ju a moggy is almost 2.
    My intial thought were yes! they get jealous but after reading all these comments maybe not???

    Tia my oldest (german shepherd) always nudges her nose in to get fussed, if i am fussing the cats and other dog. Which could show jealousy. Dela always nudges past the cats when i stoke them but never with my german shepherd.

    So although we all like think (as they are our little babies/children) that they are jealous like us humans.
    They are probably showing or making their ranking known in the pack.

  10. I believe that dogs do feel jealousy as Jasper who is a Labradinger was playing with his Dad and Sammy who is a Poodle tried to push in and Jasper attacked him and it was a bad one we had to rush Sammy to the vets as he had a bad bite to his front leg he had to have stitches in and a drain in we do not play with them with any of there toys in the house now.
    and have to make sure that if one is getting a cuddle the other one gets one aswell Sandie is old now and has athrites in his back legs so he does not play with toys any more but he likes a cuddle now and again but only if thjere is no one else there at the time

  11. No, I don’t think my dog, Star, gets jealous. We take care of my sister-in-law’s dog (Lily) 2 days a week and Star is very tolerant of her. (Star is 9 and Lily about 2). We make sure we give Star her biscuit/treat first as she is Top Dog to us, but I have seen no sign of jealousy from either dog. They play together, go walkies together etc.
    I would say, however, that dogs can grieve, show happiness, show us when they feel ill/down but I am yet to be convinced re jealousy.

  12. I have 3 dogs and if I fuss one of them, the other 2 come and try to push the first dog out of the way; when I am out walking with them, and a person fusses one dog, the others ARE jealous.

  13. I think human jealousy and canine resource guarding can seem very similar. To a dog any threat to its sense of status or a rival for the main ‘giver of all things’ (ie us) will result in a need to ‘defend’ what it percieves to be important, thereby resulting in frustrated or distracting behaviours in order to regain it’s sense of it’s security.
    The resulting vocal, destructive or defensive behaviours can seem very like our own definition of jealousy and the more an owner loves their dog and believes their dog ‘loves’ them, the
    more ‘ jealousy’ will be attributed to their dog’s behaviour.
    Being human and therefore very prone to ’emotional reasoning’
    makes it very hard to see outside our own perceptions when dealing with our dogs.

  14. What do you have to say?

    My dog Billy j, does get jealous, if me my husband and my son sit on the settee together, Billy tries to get in the middle of us.
    Also if we cuddle up together, he tries to separate us.

  15. yes oscar gets very jealous of dotty when oscar plays with his toys dotty wants you to play to and barks at you if you do not take notice when dotty is on your knee oscar is jealouse and barkes at you so you have to put her down so there is trouth about this dog know how to reacat all the time they are not daft!

  16. If it’s not jealosy,then it’s as close as you’ll ever get !
    Chico will force his attention on me when ever the grandkids come too close,or if I sit too close to the wife,and if we even try to cuddle you can look out.Attention seeking,maybe but it smacks of jealosy to me!!!!!

  17. I think dogs and cats can show they want the attention or they want the food but it doesn’t mean they are ‘jealous’ of the other animal or person receiving it.
    As for the dog who has been skulking on his bed after emptying the bin. He probably remembers the owners response last time he did it but I don’t think that can be construed as feeling guilty, more aware of a situation causing a bad response – I don’t mean any beating or similar but just not the happy upbeat response he normally expects on the owners return.

  18. I’m very sure dogs feel and show Jealousy. Our home is a hotel for 3 cats and 2 dogs all of which can be jealous towards each other.
    Louey our puppy will often whine and bite at our rottweiler if she is having a cuddle and he isn’t, now is this a pack behaviour or jealousy?
    Our cats often behave the same way, our older cat will push the other out of the way to gain affection…
    Who knows 🙂

  19. I think we like to attribute human emotions onto our dogs as it makes us feel we understand them better. With jealousy for example, which I have accussed Lizzie of showing, if our pet is jealous of another getting toy/treat/attention from us then that means the pet values us highly. This pleases us, so we are rewarded for that assumption.

    Same with guilt, if Fido feels guilty at least according to us, then he knows he has done wrong and caused us upset/annoyance. His guilt would mean he feels bad about making us feel bad. Again really valuing us. Feeding our ego.

    Lizzie is a rescue dog and is quite clingy to me. Lots of people have said she is jealous if not getting my full attention. In reality this may be her thinking about her own safety. But I know which I prefer to believe!

  20. Yes they get jealous.I have 2 Border collies and 3 Labs mum dad and son.When i get back after being out for awhile,there are 5 tails wagging and 5 very excited dogs.Bailey who thinks she is mine or i’m hers and that means nobody should be near me except her she will push the others away untill she has had the best stroke,cuddle etc..Then she will let the others see me.They all have there moments of being jealous and they all react differently,having 2 males means they will push and use there strength to get through if they feel left out.The 2 borders both female and old just sit back and wait,but they get jealous of each other.So yes dogs can get jealous

  21. yes my dog does get jealous when my grandchildren come round,he starts to rush about and gets every toy he owns out,he’s never nasty though,after a bit he goes off and refuses to come when called.After everybody has gone he will want lots of cuddles but will turn up his nose at his dinner,he eats it in the end when he knows we are in the other room,he can sulk for England!

  22. Dogs do not feel jealous, this is a human emotion. As much as we would like to think our dogs are just like us and know everything we say, do whatever – I personally believe that we over humanize animals all the time, pets in particular who have learned ways to react to our body language as the piece says.

    Dogs are fully grown functioning adults, they are not human and they are not our babies. Get over it!

  23. Competition, yes. Jealousy, no in my humble opinion.
    Yes, if I’m stroking one dog, another will try and nose their way in. That’s competition for my affection. The one that pushes in and gets ignored walks away and lies down. I don’t view that as jealousy, personally I view that as good manners.

    If you think of the same scenario with a toddler, if a child accepted the answer was no and walked away, we wouldn’t describe that as jealousy would we? No. We’d say Blimey what a calm well mannered child.

    Surely an instinctive animal such as a dog would react to such a strong emotion in a flash with either correction or a bite, not walking away?

    As stated in the article, humans can’t really define jealousy. It’s a peculiar thing that is different for each and every one of us. People act in very different ways when they are jealous, some people will kill, some will maim, some will say nothing and bottle it up. So until we get an actual scientific definition that says when we get jealous chemical A does this, chemical B goes here, there will never be a definitive answer to this question.

  24. I think that people look at dogs behaviour and try and put it into a human ‘box’, i think that dogs definately do behave in a way that we would percieve as jealously, but does this actually mean that they are feeling the emotion?? it is a tricky one especially as i myself definately describe my dogs in human emotive terms i.e. aww look she looks sad, she is sulking etc, but in relaistic terms she is just lay there knowing that if she behaves in a certain way she will get attention, so they could actually be gueniunely feeling the emotion or it could just be attention seeking or perhaps learnt behaviour!! food for thought!!

  25. I would certainly say, Pepe suffers with jealousy issues! he couldnt stand it when we had our pet ferret – he absolutely hated the fact that my two sons would spend time playing with her – and Pepe would actually go up to the cage – and make a really seriously silly noise – and would sulk! and he hasnt changed – he hates my two budgies!! with a vengance! i cannot talk to them, and fuss over them – without him making awful simpering noises! If Pepe was a human being, I would say, he definately suffers with jealousy issues!

  26. My dog definatly gets jealous. My mum has my dogs sister and when we meet up for walks if we give Ruby a fuss for too long Bella (our dog) nudges her out of the way and snaps at her. She then jumps up for her fuss. She is a Yorkie with attitude!

  27. I think dogs can feel jelousy.
    Zeus a a black lab mix and when he was a young puppy I couldn’t pet other dogs. Zeus was just pushing me away if I pay too much attention to other dogs.
    I know we put animals feelings in our perpective as human beings… but this behaviour is very similar to jelousy.

  28. What do you have to say?
    Although we have lost Ted to cancer now I would just like to say that I always thought he was jealous of our granddaughter when she first arrived on the scene. The look on his face the first time he saw me feeding her was one of utter disgust, but whether it was true jealousy or whether he thought his rank in the pack had dropped I don’t know.

  29. What do you have to say? I can’t speak for all dogs but my 2 dogs baileys and capone get very jealous of each other. They often sulk if the other one is getting attention from me and turn there head my I try to stroke them or get them involved. Capone is the younger one and very much the greedier one ( if fact he will pretty much eat anything) but if we give him something that Baileys doesn’t like she will sit there staring at us until she gets some then you can tell she’s forcing it down but she would rather eat something that she doesn’t like than let capone have it

  30. I don’t believe the ‘experiment’ in any way proves that dogs show jealousy. However, I do think my dog, Mya shows jealousy, as when another dog comes over to me Mya will stop whatever she’s doing and pusy herself between me and the other dog with a growl. There’s no food involved and Mya gets ignored for growling but the next time she’s there again making sure she gets the attention and not the other dog. It certainly seems like jealousy to me and I’m definately not one to humanise dogs!

  31. Most definitely dogs experience jealosy. Every single day my two dogs race down the stairs to see who will get closr to breakfast first, who will get out the door to go out first, who will get the first scrap of food in the kitchen when dad’s cooking, who will get the rawhide first….and don’t you know, they always want the one the other one has. They fight over who will get to greet dad when he comes home from work first, and so on and so on!

    According to Wikipedia, at least one meaning of jealousy is “the state of fear or suspicion about losing something or someone important.” Need I say more?

  32. I think dogs do get jealous. My daughter has a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel called Charley. If me or my husband cuddle Sam (our daughter) Charley will try and jump in the middle of us until we have finished our cuddle then he will jump on Sam’s knee and cuddle up to her and lick her face and just looks at me or my husband as if to say “see she’s mine not yours” and sometimes we swear he has a grin on his face. H e has quite a few things he gets jealous about if we are doing anything with Sam, his mummy.

  33. No I don’t think dogs experience jealousy. Once again people are trying to align human emotions with animal reactions . The research is definitely in need of further experimentation, using different groupings and different rewards may well lead to other outcomes. This needs to be tested before sensible conclusions can be arrived at.

    Yes, if i stroke one of my dogs the others will come close and each will try to be the one closest to me but I don’t believe this is a sign of jealousy.

  34. Yes I do think that dogs can get jealous and I have seen this more or less on a daily basis….. I rescued a medium sized dog last year and already had Rebel the gsd/border collie cross. Straight away he showed dominance and proved he was the leader. Since then if i call the name of the other dog, Rebel will come running over to see what it is that I want the other dog for. If I give Toby a fuss and cuddles, then Rebel will come bouncing over to me, and pushes Toby out of the way. It’s the same when I am giving them scraps of food that was left over from the meal, he will push in front to get the food first before Toby can get any. If I get Rebel to sit away from Toby before giving them the food, he inches closer very slowly so he is right next to Toby.

  35. My dog bandit appears to show jealousy, but i think it is probably more to do with doggy pack stuff.

    If my partner and I are sitting on the sofa the dog will come and try to wedge himself between our legs. He will also be quite content snoozing on his bed but as soon as the cat comes in for a fuss he is up and nudging my leg wanting to be fussed to…

  36. What do you have to say?
    i don’t believe it is wise to humanise dogs. i believe they have their own set of emotions, which are similar to ours but not to the same degree. we like to think that our dogs are jealous of attention our partner shows us, of each other getting attention, etc because it makes us feel loved, wanted and special.but are they really? surely if a dog is jumping up between two people who are showing each other affection are they not picking up on the good body language vibes and just wanting some of the action? thats not the same as being jealous. a well socialised dog would not be capable of being jealous as he would have been taught that sharing, being part of a whole is a good thing. jealousy in humans stems from insecurity and a lack of confidence. the same two conditions in a canine would trigger dominance and/or aggression. this could easily be misconstrued as jealousy but i dont believe it is the same thing.

  37. They do behave jealous.
    Joeye, our oldest pitbull female is a very jealous dog. We recently got another pitbull, Dixie, she is about 3 months old, and whenever we play with Dixie, Joeye will push her out of the way so that she can get all the attention. She is very jealous, but she doesn’t get aggressive or anything like that, she will just push her way in so that she can get the attention. So yes, when it comes to giving / getting attention, then they can be jealous. Madox, our male pitbull is not like this at all. he couldn’t care less, he is on his own mission, but Joeye wants to be the centre of attention

  38. I think previous correspondents have covered doggy reactions pretty well, and my dogs fit the pattern already described. I think it’s jealousy, but I’m not a canine psychologist. I just try to treat them both as equally as I can, and enjoy their wonderful company.

  39. we have really got to stop humanizeing dogs, they are dogs if we really respected them or loved them we would take time to understand them and read them. if a boss wants some paper work, being the boss its his every right to have it, if a high ranking dog wants the treat he feels its his every right to have it and as dogs are alway challageing and always asking he needs to keep up to show the other being human or dog that he is still boss = eating food first playing when he wants and attention when he wants. this is why we need to take that pressure of these poor animals treat them as dogs and respect them for it. they HAVE to live in our twisted world and they have adapted to it, lets do something for them and stop treating them as humans. and be a leader for your dog.

  40. Harvey and Isolde
    Yes I do think jealousy is part of the survival instinct that all animals possess. It seems to me to be closely related to maintaining one’s rank in the pack pecking order. By that I mean that if some other member is receiving attention from alpha members, i.e. the human members of the pack; it could be said this threatens the onlooker’s position. Also, when a dog has taken it upon himself/herself to “own” a human, it is quite obvious that any outsider’s attention to that person is met with the dog’s aggrssive protectiveness which I think is fueled by jealousy as well as a strong sense of competition. And finally, depending on circumstances, a dog’s changing deamenour suggests he is feeling specific emotions. So, to me there is no reason why jealousy would not be one of these if the right situation provoking it arises.

  41. What do you have to say? yes i do think dogs get jealous. i have a 2 year old chocolate lab, she gets very jealous if the family cats sits by me or if my partner sits by me . she will nudge cats with her nose to they get off my lap and will keep trying to get between me and my partner . so with what i witness i would say dogs can get jealous!

  42. I agree with many of the above posters that dogs do appear to experience jealousy. We have three and if one is getting attention, the others will want it too. One of them (the most dominant of the three) will try to push the others out of the way so that she gets all of the attention (though we don’t let her).

    Another example is over toys, sticks, etc. One of our dogs and a doggy friend of hers will be completely disinterested in a stick until the other dog wants it and then they will suddenly want it more than anything. When the other dog loses interest in the stick, so do they. The same goes for toys, one of our dogs will always want the toy that another dog has got, regardless of how many she has of her own. They are very much like children.

    As for the guilt complex, I disagree with the article. Our dog acts guiltily before we realise she has done something naughty. It’s often only her behaviour which alerts us to the fact that something is amiss and then we find the evidence (such as the frying pan on the worktop having been licked clean).

  43. i think that george feels somethink im not sure it is jealousy tho, i think it is that when there is someone elses involved that they do not get as much attention, my daughter has just had a baby, when we talk to the baby in a baby voice george immeadiatley tries to jump up on your knee to take the attention away form the baby, i think it is excitment because of the tone in your voice, and the not knowing why your talking that way. i am not sure weather its jealousy of just the way he interprets the tone.

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