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Do dogs feel jealousy?

Started by PopeyesPappy, July 25, 2014, 10:55:16 PM

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Animal emotions are a complex and not particularly well understood subject. Especially when talking about move complex emotions. Simple emotions such as fear and anger are easy enough to see in other species. It is hard to tell about more complex emotions such as jealousy. Many pet owners will just say yes they do based on personal experience, but others often counter with arguments that those observations are biased and may not be true. There is a new study out though that suggests that dogs do indeed get jealous.

QuoteNew research suggests that dogs can exhibit jealousy, a human emotion usually ascribed to squabbling siblings or the jilted third of a love triangle.

A study by scholars at the University of California, San Diego found that dogs showed jealous behaviors when their owners displayed affection toward an animatronic stuffed dog that barked, whined and wagged its tail. The dogs snapped at and pushed against the stuffed dog and tried to get between it and the human.

This may come as no surprise to any owner of multiple pooches who has seen them jostle for space on someone's lap. And it's not unusual for people to assign human feelings to their dogs, whose baleful eyes seem like deep pools of emotion when compared with those of, say, cats.

But animal-behavior experts say the study is a significant step forward in understanding our dogs' emotional lives. "This is the first study I know of that directly asks this question: Do dogs get jealous?" said Marc Bekoff, author of "Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed: The Fascinating Science of Animal Intelligence, Emotions, Friendship, and Conservation."

The study by Christine R. Harris and Caroline Prouvost was published Wednesday in PLOS One, a peer-reviewed online scientific journal. For their research, the authors videotaped 36 dogs individually at their homes while their owners ignored them and interacted with a series of three objects: the fake dog, a children's book and a plastic jack-o'-lantern.

CNN Article:

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I definitely agree. My dog certainly has.


Oh yea. They'll get no argument from me, but many still cling to the humans are special little snowflakes hypothesis and refuse to acknowledge that we aren't as far removed from other organisms as they would like to think. 
Save a life. Adopt a Greyhound.


They sure seem like it to me, and some are more jealous than others.


My last dog, Lucy, was notoriously jealous. When she first met her primary attention rival, all I had to do was acknowledge his presence with a simple pat and the two of them would go at it for half an hour. She always hated it when I gave attention to any other dog and made her feelings in the matter obvious. Anyone who thinks dogs don't get jealous hasn't spent much time around them.
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We've had our Rat Terrier since birth, basically, and he is now 10 years old. Twice in that time we have tried to adopt rescue dogs, but our dog would have none of it. If he was not the sole center of attention he wouldn't allow us to even pet the other dog.


I think this topic is very prone to being one over arguing the definition of what we mean when we say "jealous" rather than whether or not dogs are capable of the emotion. We may very well have to redefine the word itself to include non-human behavior types.
I don't know whether or not dogs can actually display jealousy, but I do know that dogs are pack animals that always seek to establish a pecking order.
Having one dog and adopting another is one thing, but just wait until you have a breed of dog that tends to be dominant to begin with, and then you have a kid. More often than not there WILL be issues if the dog is not made to understand that your kid is your offspring and comes first before your dog no matter what. That will lead to said dog to display aggression towards the child.
Our Westie tends to be dominant when there are other dogs around, and she CONSTANTLY tests the limit around my kid. For example when I come home and my kid runs to me, she will try the damndest to "be more cute" than the kid so that I give her more attention. Consistency is key, so I always push her aside to wait for her turn, as second.

I regard jealousy to generally be "the negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, and anxiety over an anticipated loss of something of great personal value, particularly in reference to a human connection" as outlined by Wikipedia. I realize there are many variations out there.
By that definition I would say that the dog does not display jealousy  but rather dominance.


I disagree from my experience, because I have two dogs that are gay, and one dog that is very docile, but not gay. When I pet any of them the one small dog pushes them out of the way, and if the larger dog gets near his docile lover, the very small dog goes nuts. Even when I pet the small dog or docile dog, the bigger dog puts his head on my shoulder wanting to get the attention. He doesn't go after the other dogs, you can tell he his hurt and jealous. Two of my other dogs, one a female, could care less. Solitary
There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.


I have (had) two boxers, both female, when the kid moved back she brought hers, a strapping, bull-head boxer of 80 pounds of fucking solid muscle compared to my smaller 50 lbs girls. When I am giving some attention to either of the older ones and she comes into the room they are growling, and they get louder the closer the big one comes, but comes she does. The oldest and the new one have had several spats with the new one quickly pining the older one down due to brute strength, but then the pissed off come into gear and the old one blows up and all hell breaks loose. Do I think dogs can get jealous, oh hell yes!

edit: I have never heard of a gay dog.
A humans desire to live is exceeded only by their willingness to die for another. Even god cannot equal this magnificent sacrifice. No god has the right to judge them.-first tenant of the Panotheust


It's very easy to identify pecking order behavior for jealousy. What they care about is to be second in command after the alpha male. That is, unless they are pushing the limits to become the pack leader themselves. My dog also sometimes pushes the limit to see how much she gets away with. If she does, she continues to do it until she goes overboard. It's what they do. It's how they identify weak leaders and replace them.
It's little every day behavioral stuff that matters, like they eat after you do, walk out the door behind you and on a leash by you and not leading you, not allowed to jump up on furniture whenever the hell they feel like it (for small dogs anyway), no such thing as "their toy". My kid can reach in my dog's bowl and she submits. That kind of stuff that signals to them that they don't come first. Small dogs are almost always badly trained and think they're the shit around the house because they are treated as being small dogs, so they get away with a lot.


Dogs exhibit a myriad of emotions not just jealousy. I think spending time with dogs can give you insight on dog psychology. Yes I said dog psychology. It's the ultimate way to train a dog get inside the mind of a dog. Psychology works well on humans too.


My dog definitely has tried to jump in from of me for my attention whenever I would pet another dog while walking so, I think they're on to something !