Do Dogs Experience Jealousy?

16 Responses

  1. Ali Isaac says:

    Fascinating post! I have always felt convinced that dogs experience similar emotions to humans, as I’m sure most pet owners would agree, so why not jealousy too? I also remember reading somewhere that the average dog possesses the same level of intelligence as a two year old child, although I don’t know if that’s true.

  2. You’re right, Ali! According to psychologist and leading canine researcher Dr. Stanley Coren, dogs’ mental abilities are comparable to those of a human child that is two to two and a half years old. Dr. Coren says the average dog can learn 165 words and some can learn as many as 250 words. Dr. Coren has also noted that dogs can count up to four or five, can learn how to operate mechanisms such as latches, and are capable of deliberately trying to deceive other dogs and people in order to get rewards.

  3. valsilver says:

    From my experience, dogs appear to feel many of the same emotions we do. My Lou used to get jealous when I’d show affection to anyone other than him – dog or human. It was fine if he was included in the hug or on the lap, but otherwise he’d bark and carry on.

  4. Thanks for sharing, Val!

  5. I find this very interesting. I studied under Andrew Leuscher, DVM, PhD, Director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at Purdue University until sixteen months ago when he retired back to Scotland.

    In one of his lectures, he stated that dogs do not know jealousy – they know order much the same as wolves in a pack. Believe me, he was challenged when he made this statement in the lecture. He stated that many studies have been done on wolf behavior and there are many of these behaviors that are still in the domestic dog today. He also stated that when there are multiple dogs in a family, then one of them is going to be the alpha. Sibling rivalry in dogs in the same house is when the alpha dog is challenged when another dog gets out of the pack hierarchy/order.

    I see many dogs with sibling rivalry and when we teach the owners how to manage a pack, the rivalry frequently subsides. I hope you all find this interesting.

  6. Thanks for sharing, Donna. You are right that there is an alpha dog and an order in a wolf pack. However, in the San Diego study they were researching whether dogs could experience the emotion of jealousy at all, since it is usually considered a “complex” emotion requiring the cognitive ability to evaluate and assess a potential rival to an important relationship. In the San Diego study, the important relationships being potentially threatened were the dogs’ relationships with their owners. And they were evaluating the dogs’ responses to potential rivals other than dogs (a jack-o-lantern pail and a book) as well as to other dogs (a stuffed toy dog which was perceived as a real dog).

  7. Emmadog says:

    Oh yeah, we have some jealousy going on here between myself and my little sister, also a challenge of the alpha positions since she turned into a total teenager.

  8. Jen Jelly says:

    This study is fascinating. It’s great to know the more clinical research we do into dog’s emotions the more complex we’re finding them. It seems like it reinforces the anecdotal evidence us dog owners have had for so long. Dogs really are much more emotionally complex than some give credit for.

  9. Thanks for your comments, Jen. I agree – I found the study to be very interesting, too.

  10. They do feel and will let us know about it. I actually think that dogs are much more emotional that what we think and are very attentive to what we do. As a child we had a big dog and I remember she was surely our protector and would get jealous when we would play and not include her.

  11. Mr. N “met” a toy dog that barked and moved. He sniffed the rear end of the toy and then proceeded to knock it over. I have a Youtube video.

  12. Sharon S. says:

    Very interesting post. It looks like science is confirming what pet owners have known for years, that dogs get jealous.

  13. Harley has shown me on more than one occasion when he feels as if he needs some extra TLC. He’s not aggressive with it, but he definitely will make his intentions known to both man and beast. He’s a comedian …

  14. Jodi says:

    Oh, I know for sure my dogs get jealous. Delilah will push her way between you and Sampson and Sampson will often times come up and put his head on your lap after you’ve been petting Delilah.

  15. I certainly think dogs feel jealousy. Happy Thoughtless Thursday!

  16. I have 3 huskies and 3 cats, so there has definitely been some jealousy here too.