Do Dogs Get Jealous?

September 17, 2014 in Aerowood Animal Hospital

There are plenty of pet owners who would say dogs clearly show a range of emotions including jealousy, but there are some who would argue this is simply anthropomorphizing.  To help resolve this dispute, a team of researchers now have empirical evidence demonstrating that dogs get jealous. Researchers observed the behavior of 36 dogs while their owners performed three tasks:


  1. Demonstrating acts of affection to a fake, animated dog
  2. Demonstrating acts of affection to a plastic Halloween pail
  3. Reading a children’s book aloud and ignoring their dog


Approximately 80% of the pups physically pushed their owners when they were showing affection to what appeared to be another dog in task one. The number was only 40% when the owners were interacting with the Halloween pail and dropped to 20% when reading the book aloud. In addition, the researchers found that 25% of the dogs showed aggression toward the animated, competing pup by barking at it and even trying to bite it.


“Dogs do engage in what appear to be jealous behaviors,” says study author Christine Harris, a psychology professor at the University of California, San Diego where the research was conducted. The researchers believe that the dogs may be motivated to protect an important social relationship with their owner.


As a pet owner, try to show ample attention to all of your pets. This is especially important when introducing a newborn baby or another pet in the family.


Source: Harris C, Prouvost C. Jealousy in dogs. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (7): e94597. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094597

Dogs Jealous

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