Your dogs can get jealous too

Canines vie for their owner’s attention in the presence of a potential rival
By Pets Team
Published on Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Has your pooch ever snap, bark or paw you when you play with other pets? They are actually jealous! While many dog owners can see it in their pooches, some scientists are arguing that envy is a human emotion that dogs do not experience.

A study done by the University of California has shown that dogs do experience envy just like us. Being very loyal and dedicated companions, it is no surprise that dogs thrive with attention. 36 canines were involved in the study and they were tested under three situations: owners ignoring their dogs and displaying affection for an automated stuffed animal, a bucket and a book. The pooches exhibited the most jealousy when their owners paid attention to the stuffed toy. The toy dog was able to bark and wag its tail like a real dog just by a touch of a button. Only a few pushed or even touched their owner when they read a book and played with the bucket. Some dogs did push their owners when the book was being read aloud. The dogs got agitated when the affection they used to receive was switched to another dog or animal. Some of them even actually sniffed the bottom of the toy dogs, showing that they thought the toy was real.

One researcher, Professor Christine Harris shared, “Our study suggests not only that dogs do engage in what appear to be jealous behaviours but also that they were seeking to break up that connection between the owner and a seeming rival.” “We can’t really speak to the dogs’ subjective experiences, of course, but it looks as though they were motivated to protect an important social relationship,” she said. Dogs do treasure the connections they have and are adamant in maintaining them. It is important for further research to be done on jealousy as it could have fatal consequences such as murder. 

 

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