I was asked by a new dog owner if dogs could be jealous and while I immediately said, “Yes, Of course,” I then had to stop and think about it.When one of my dogs tried to get between myself and the dog I was petting, was that jealousy? To me it seemed like it. But was it really?
Video footage showed that when owners petted the stuffed toy, which barked and wagged its tail for effect, their dogs growled more and sometimes snapped and forced their way between the toy and their owner. A quarter of the dogs snapped at the stuffed animal, while only one snapped at the book and the bucket.
“It was striking how much more they tried to do things like get between the owner and the stuffed object,” Harris said. “Jealousy was very rare with the other two things.” The study is published in the journal Plos One.
Giorgio Vallortigara, a neuroscientist at the University of Trento said: “It is an interesting study that provides some empirical support to the idea, quite widespread among dog owners, that these animals possess some sort of equivalent of jealousy behaviour.” If the underlying mechanism is ancient as the authors suppose, it could be sparked by anything that seems to be living, he added.
In her study, Harris ran two tests simultaneously. The first looked at jealous behaviour in the dogs, like growling, snapping, and getting between and pushing the owner and object. The second measured the amount of attention the dogs were giving the object and owner.
Harris said that while anecdotal accounts tell of dogs being jealous of partners, cats and babies, the animals jealousy is thought to be primordial and similar to that seen in babies. Her study was inspired by previous work that suggested six-month-old babies got jealous when their mothers paid attention to a life-like doll, but not when they read a book.
Paying extra attention to you (being “clingy”)
According to Dr. Broderick, clingy behavior from a dog or cat can come across as a pet cuddling up extra-close to you and suddenly licking your hand or face. “This is a sign of affection, and they are trying to get your attention,” he says.
Dr. Magda notes that this often comes in the form of a pet “inhibiting another person or animal from moving freely on a regular basis, or pushing their way into a situation, demanding the attention of their owner.”
Why Is My Dog Jealous?
The old precept that cats and dogs don’t get along is so strong that the of squabbling pets is found in everything from cartoons to everyday idioms. You might catch yourself saying the phrase, “They fight like cats and dogs,” when describing the behavior of rival siblings or politicians debating on TV. The truth is, however, that it is pleasantly common for cats and dogs to get along just fine.
Not only can they live harmoniously in the same house, some feline/canine duos even form strong friendships. A budding closeness or mutual tolerance, however, can be disrupted by one strong emotion: jealousy. Here’s what you need to know about jealousy and cats.
Jealousy is described as a feeling of “discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.” Jealous people covet what others have, and it’s an unfortunately strong emotion that can be difficult to control. For cats, however, jealousy seems to be a bit different.
Animal behaviorists aren’t convinced that cats are capable of feeling jealousy in the same form as humans. Pet owners love to give their cats human qualities, but we have to remember that our feline friends are a completely different species. Their brains are wired differently, and they don’t always think and feel in the ways we’d expect.
In general, it is believed that cats can feel jealous, but the emotion is slightly different than human emotions. Instead of feeling resentment toward a dog because they wish they had something the dog has, experts believe cats feel territorial, possessive, and insecure.
When it comes down to daily life, these strong emotions aren’t much different than genuine jealousy. They cause the same kind of stress within a relationship and bring up similar conflicts within the home.