In 2014, psychologists undertook a study on dog behavior to find out whether dogs are capable of being jealous.
Previously it was thought that true jealousy was only something humans felt. The study concluded that dogs are capable of feeling jealous and displaying jealous behaviors.
But what does this mean for the canines in your household?
Is one dog barging another out the way to get to you? Does one dog whine while the other gets attention?
If these sound familiar, then you could be facing a jealous dog problem. Continue reading to find out what you can do about your jealous dogs.
Before we dive into how to help jealously, let’s take a look at what our 4-legged friends do to show that they are jealous.
Aggression is a big indicator that there is a problem in your house. Especially if this aggression is only circumstantial, and the dog is usually a friendly, cuddly companion.
Aggression is shown in behaviors like biting, or a threat to bite such as teeth-baring.
2. Unusual Toilet Habits
If your dog is toilet trained and has started toileting inside, it’s a good indicator that they aren’t happy about something in their environment.
Dogs are unable to verbalize their thoughts, so they will often show us instead.
Urinating in certain spots may be a scent marking behavior as your dog will try to eliminate the scent of the other dog.
3. Paying Attention to Owner
If your dog suddenly starts paying close attention or doing tricks without being asked, they are likely wanting your attention. It is a sign of affection.
4. Pushy Behavior
This happens when you are cuddling one dog, and the other dog pushes it out the way to get your attention.
5. Fighting with Each Other
This is common in multi-pet households if all animals are not satisfied with their resources and how much of each resource you give them.
Resources include food, water, social interaction, beds, toys and anything else they deem interesting.
How to Stop Dogs from Being Jealous
The first and most important thing is to keep a diary of any and all behaviors that could be deemed as jealous behaviors.
Note things such as what the pet is doing, what happened directly before, what happened after and the location. Should you need the help of a professional behaviorist, this information is vital to help them assess the best course of action.
Always ensure that each dog has separate access to the things they need. They should have their own toys, bed, water bowl, food bowl, rest area and time with you.
Feed the dogs separately, in different rooms with the doors closed so they don’t have access to each other at mealtimes.
When you are out walking, if one dog has to be leashed, both dogs should be leashed. It’s not fair for one dog to be leashed and one to be free-roaming.
When you arrive home, ignore both dogs, so one doesn’t feel like they are getting less attention than another. Always give your dog’s attention and praise when they are being good and showing correct behavior.
Never give one dog attention over the other. If both dogs are in sight of each other, you either give attention to both at the same time or ignore both of them.
Invest in baby gates to section off the house if you need to. Keeping the dogs separated during certain times of the day may give them the space they need to fully relax. Ensure that you don’t spend time in either of these spaces to avoid attention jealously.
If your dog’s jealous behavior continues, it’s worth a check-up at the vets to ensure they aren’t in pain or are sick. Dogs can’t speak, so they can’t tell us if something is wrong. A vet visit is particularly important if these behaviors are out of character for your dog.
The vet will have some ideas to share with you to help the jealousy.
If all else fails, and you have tried everything you can think of, then it’s time to get professional help from a certified animal behaviorist. They will take a full history of both of your dogs and watch the behaviors‘ in action’.
A behaviorist will be able to identify the triggers, the problems and the solutions to the behavior your dogs are displaying. They will prescribe a full re-training program to incorporate into your household. It will be tailor-made for your individual circumstances and time commitments.
If you are introducing a new dog or puppy to the household then consider having a friend or family member stay to pay attention to the resident dog. Naturally, the new dog or puppy will be taking up a lot of your time and nearly all of your attention.
Exercise both dogs together with another person, so the dogs have their own space but can enjoy a walk together.
Help Your Jealous Dogs Today
Your dogs will get along in no time if you follow our tips for jealous dogs above. Dogs are social animals and just want to be around their human companions. Give your dog’s equal love and attention and the jealous behaviors will soon disappear.
For more information on dog behavior, check out the other articles on our blog.