Do dogs get jealous?

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Most people who have dogs have seen some manifestation of jealousy, it usually occurs when they feel that their owners are paying attention to other dogs, children, objects, among others.  Jealousy requires complex brain systems that are unique to humans, but can also present in a more basic form in dogs.  Human jealousy is often a very complex emotion, involving a social triangle that appears to threaten the relationship (Harris et al 2014).

Dogs feel this emotion in a more basic way than humans, the way they show it varies but it is always very evident.  Some of the most common reactions are: attacking the other being that is being affected, standing between the owner and the other, drawing a lot of attention from their owner through damage, barking, jumping, among others, they can also show pride in front of them. To their owner this means that they will no longer be so accommodating to their owners for a short time because they feel betrayed (Harris et al 2014).

Dogs having such an old relationship with people began to have an affective bond unlike other animals that only have a bond for basic resources such as food and housing.  For dogs, an effective relationship with their owners is very important.

Dogs belong to packs and have hierarchical levels.  For a dog that lives with people, people are the pack, when a new dog or member of the pack arrives it is quite a challenge, because they do not know what role they have or if they could be a threat to their well-being or that of their owner, it is important to know that the dog views social interactions differently.  Owners have to learn to understand their behavior in order to have a balanced herd.

 Some advice for people who have jealous dogs at home due to the arrival of another pet: introduce pets outside the house, since dogs are territorial and their space is everything, in other places they tend to be less aggressive, it is important to make a neutral and calm presentation without giving priority to anyone.  Inside the house, spaces such as the bed and food and water containers must be delimited.  Never leave two dogs that have just met alone, always under supervision, while accepting and respecting each other.

In the case of babies, which is another common case of jealousy, since when a baby comes home all the attention is for the baby, and they forget about the pet, it is important to make the presentation from the gestation stage, dogs have a very good sense of smell, and they understand when a woman is pregnant, which is why they should be allowed to approach the womb so that they can smell and understand.  When the baby arrives at the house, you have to introduce it and let it smell it, share the entire stage of the baby with the pet so that it understands that it is a new member of the pack.  Do not leave the dog’s routine for the baby, this means hours of walks and meal times, for dogs their daily routine is very important.

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  •  Harris CR, Prouvost C (2014) Jealousy in dogs.  PLOS ONE 9(7): e94597.

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