Dogs Get Jealous, Too, Even for Hidden Rivals

April 16, 2021 – Of course your dog loves you and you love them. But do dogs also exhibit some of the negative side effects of deep love, like jealousy?

A study published in Psychological science say yes. The researchers found that dogs would go so far as to show jealousy even though they can only imagine their owners interacting with a potential rival.

The researchers put 18 dogs in situations where their human companion interacted with a fake dog or a polar cylinder. The cylinder served as a control, the false dog as a rival.

The dogs watched as the fake dog was placed next to the owner. Then a barrier was placed to prevent the real dog from seeing the false dog.

The dogs pulled hard on their leash as the owners appeared to pet the fake dog behind the fence. The dogs pulled with much less force when the owners stroked the fleece cylinder.

“The research has supported what many dog ​​owners firmly believe: Dogs exhibit jealous behavior when their human companion interacts with a potential rival,” said Amalia Bastos of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, who was the main author of the article.

In previous research, 80% of dog owners said their pets would display jealous behavior, such as barking and pulling on a leash, when paying attention to other dogs, the study found.

The new study said dogs are one of the few species to display jealous behaviors like a human child would when their mother cares for another child.

“In humans, jealousy is closely related to self-awareness, which is one of the reasons animal cognition researchers are so interested in studying jealousy and other secondary emotions in animals. “, says the study.

Bartos said it was too early to conclude that dogs experience jealousy the way humans do, but “it’s now clear that they are responding to situations that cause jealousy, even if they happen out of sight. .

A 2014 study at the University of California, San Diego found that puppies became restless when their owners showed affection to a stuffed dog that had been designed to convincingly bark, moan, and wag its tail.

This jealous tendency only appeared when the owners were looking after the stuffed dog, not when they were busy with random items.

WebMD Health News


Psychological science: “Dogs act jealously even when they don’t see their rival.”

Public Library of Science, press release, July 23, 2014.

University of California, San Diego, press release, July 23, 2014.

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