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Dogology: Pet Problems, Jealousy Between Dogs and Pets Health Care

Updated on February 22, 2011

Dogology: Pet Problems, Jealous Dogs and Pets Health Care

Successful Pet Care – Our Wonderful Dogs and their Jealous Moments

What is in this article:

· Do animals have emotions

· Scientific research on jealousy and dogs

· Signs of Jealousy in dogs and pet problems

· What you can do about dog jealousy and pet care

· Can dogs be jealous?

You bring home a new pet and your dog snarls, growls and becomes aggressive towards the newest addition to the family. You bring home the person you have been dating for a while and your dog nuzzles in between the two of you, trying to make sure you can’t be close to each other. You bring a new baby home and your dog’s behavior turns lethargic and refuses to eat. You become concerned about your pet’s well being. What do these scenarios have in common? Your canine companion is showing signs of jealousy.

Dogs Have a Fear of Losing Their Place in the Family

Scientific Studies

Scientific research has proven that dogs are jealous beings. It was once thought that only humans and chimpanzees could experience jealousy because, it was believed that only primates could feel complex emotions. In recent years, there have been two separate studies, one by a psychologist, Dr. Paul Morris, and the other by a neurobiologist, Dr. Frederike Range. Dr. Morris and Christine Doe showed that dogs feel love and dogs feel jealousy after they did a study involving 1000 domestic pet owners. 80% of the dog owners over and over again reported jealous reactions by their pets. Often dog owners stated that their canine friends intentionally invited themselves between the couple when they were together. Dr. Morris stated that “dogs tended to try to get their owners away from a new lover in the early days of a relationship.” It was originally believed that pets only had primary emotions like love, anxiety, anger, and surprise. Examples of secondary emotions include embarrassment, jealousy, empathy, and guilt. Secondary emotions take a certain amount of intelligence to process these feelings. Erroneously, it used to be believed that dogs did not have this additional level of emotion. But now studies have shown that emotionally healthy pets have a range of emotions.

Dr. Morris’ research showed proof that there is a big span of emotions including jealousy, pride, and guilt in domestic animals, including rabbits, sheep, cows, cats, pigs, horses, and hamsters. He stated “animals have rich emotional lives. He believes dogs feel the emotion of jealousy more often and with greater intensity. Cats too, will elicit signs of jealousy. If a new baby arrives in the family, it has been noted that the family cat will attempt to sleep on the baby’s furniture and try more often to sit on the owner’s lap than they previously had done before.

Dogs have fears of losing their place in the family

Dogs don’t like to share their “family” with anyone else and consistently invited themselves to create a love triangle when the two were sharing a romantic moment. Basically the dogs did not want to share their owners with anyone else, probably out of fear of being displaced. This fear of displacement can be seen when a new pet enters the home also. Pets rely on stability and routine. When a new pet enters the home, they don’t understand why the pet is there, and what is going to happen to them. They feel as though their place in the pack is threatened and they will defend their position, their territory and their family. This defense will bring about aggression, anxiety, and even depression in the pet. These changes affect the emotional stability and mental health of the pet. Dogs also noticed when they are treated unfairly involving another dog, as the study by Dr. Range proved. In this study, pairs of dogs were asked to give their paw and were rewarded. The other dog watching was asked to give their paw and was not given a reward. Eventually the dog who was not given a reward, stopped giving their paw. This experiment showed that dogs will exhibit signs of resentfulness when another dog is being treated differently from them. These could be attributed to similar feelings humans have, and some believe dogs have picked these traits up from cohabitating with man for century after century. Dogs have shown to lick and scratch themselves under stress when attention was given to another pet or person, and they openly demonstrate attention getting behavior when another person or pet in the household is getting affection they want for themselves.

Jealous Dogs

Successful Pet Care – Our Wonderful Dogs and their Jealous Moments

Signs of Jealousy in Your Dog

· sulking

· snarling

· growling

· fighting and biting

· being lethargic

· loss of appetite

What you can do:

· maintain routines

· keep the same habits before the new pet or person arrived

· give extra attention and positive interaction

· reward good behavior with the new arrival

· be the leader of the pack and use discipline and reward as necessary

· be empathetic, patient, and understanding that your dog’s world has changed without notice for them

· be loyal and affectionate towards your dog

Jealousy is different for dogs

Dogs showed intense feelings of jealousy and animosity when in a triangle involving the person who cares for them and another individual or another pet. It is believed that although dogs feel and exhibit signs of jealousy, their jealousy is different from that of humans. Dogs live more in the moment. Their feelings are probably more primitive, but emotions are a hard thing to measure on any animal, human, or pet. The scientific community acknowledged that Dr. Morris’ study is accurate in believing that jealousy is an emotion that these animals have. It is also believed that Dr. Range’s experiment of the dog’s behavior shows the close relationship between humans and canines. Many behavioral experts are in agreement the many social species would share similar attributes of emotions. These experiments are important to understanding the evolution of emotions in people also. There is still much more to be studied and learned.

There is no doubt the domestication of dogs has bonded us for thousands and thousands of years and there will always be a strong tie between humans and animals. The compassion they show for their human counterparts has made us loyal partners from the dawn of time. We care for our dogs and want them to be happy healthy pets. Some people believe dogs can’t be jealous. Some people think it is not jealousy, but an insecurity they show. Some people believe we attribute too many human characteristics to our canine companions (called anthropomorphism). Some people believe dogs are really furry people.

* Send us a comment and tell us what you think. *

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