We have all heard kids getting jealous and shouting, “It’s not fair.” when they don’t get their way. But, what about your fur babies? Do they too detect unfairness? What can pet guardians do to work through it? Dogs depend on humans to meet their physical and enthusiastic needs, so their jealous behaviour is very obvious. Like humans, dogs are also very protective and they do feel envy. They always want that umbrella of love, open exclusively for them. They also feel like guarding what they consider to be their territory. Sharing the love - especially of their owners’ - is not their thing.
What causes dog jealousy?
Remember the time when you greet your family member with a big hug, but then you hear that adorable whining sound of your dog. Or, as you give all your attention to one of your dogs, then your other dog pushes it out of the way. Ring any bells? You might be familiar with some of these behaviours. When asked, a lot of people shared with us their experiences. Vishal saw evidence of canine jealousy first hand. He says, “I was visiting one of my relatives, who has three labradors, and I was petting two of them, but both of them wanted to knock my hands off the other dog so that they don’t have to share the love. They wanted exclusive attention. That got me thinking about jealousy in dogs.” While on the other hand, Harshita shared an altogether different experience. “I was ignoring my dog and was paying attention to a stuffed pooch. While I was playing with it, my dog tried to push it and growled at the soft toy.” Further, according to veterinarian Deepak Kumar from Canine Connections, “Envious behaviour in pets typically suggest fatigue or a ploy for attention from their owners. Just like humans, dogs do feel insecure. They need individual attention, lots of snuggling, and activities to keep them occupied and assured of their importance in their owner’s lives.”
Signs that your pet is jealous
• To claim authority, dogs show their aggression in the form of biting or nibbling the person who is getting the attention. They are also seen barking at the new pet hanging around in the house.
• Animals cannot express their thoughts and feelings in words, so instead, they sometimes communicate their feelings through actions. If your dog all of a sudden tears and chews on things or acts unusually wild in the house, in such a scenario you need to introspect.
• Animals may change their eating habits in response to the change in the household that is causing the jealousy. Dogs that have ready access to food may overeat or some may even stop eating.
• Your dog may start snarling or barking at you, particularly when you are giving your attention to the object of jealousy.
• A hint of green is also seen in pets towards babies. They might get a little violent every time you pick up your baby. If that’s the case, you need to talk to a veterinarian or an animal psychologist.
What to do about a jealous pet?
• Give your pet the attention that it needs. Your pet may simply require a bit of extra love and you ought to be a responsible and considerate pet owner.
• Try not to stand for bad conduct. This doesn’t imply that you should let your furry friend rule the house with their bad behaviours. Implement whatever disciplinary techniques you normally use when your pet begins snarling, barking, destroying things or otherwise acting out.
• Keep a diary to record circumstances that indicate signs of jealousy or aggression. This will help you comprehend what to look for. It can be useful for behaviours that you can’t oversee on your own, as you can share the list with your vet or an animal behaviourist expert.
• If you have two dogs, take them on regular strolls together. Try different things with various tricks, treats, and timing. Eventually, the dogs learn that calm compliance is the most rewarding behaviour of all.
• Take responsibility for supervising your pet amid any changes. Ensure that you are present in the house when bringing another pet. You might want to get angry at the pet for their jealous behaviour, yet in all, it is your obligation to ensure that your home remains sane and stable.