PLOS ONE recently published an article entitled “Jealousy in Dogs”. The owners and dogs were chosen from a pool out of the University of California, San Diego. Those chosen received partial course credit. Fun, right? Receive course credit for just showing up with your dog. 😉
Of course, the dogs they chose were of a specific criteria: under 35 pounds and shorter than 15 inches (in part for safety reasons). I wonder what the results would yield for larger canines. I know from personal experience that all of my big dogs have been, well, big babies vying for my attention. The sample size was relatively small at only 36, with an equal number of female vs male canines. The owners were asked to interact with 1) a stuffed dog that barked, whined and wagged it’s tail., 2) a jack-o-lantern, 3) a book (reading it aloud).
The conclusion? Could there be a primordial form of jealous seen in canines similar to that in humans? They found the dogs were more likely to push or touch their owners when the owners’ attention was on something other than them.
When I spend time with my dogs, they both compete for my attention. While Raven craves the activity of fetching, Duke is happy to remain (or heavily lean) at my side. And at any time that I fail on my part to give them the love they greatly desire? Raven barks, sometimes jumps as if to say, “Hello! I’m here. Here I am! Pick me! Play with me!” While, if I fail to give Duke the scratches that he wants, he’ll sit on me or slap a heavy paw, nearly knocking me unconscious. It isn’t purposefully…he just doesn’t know his own strength.
Or does he…
So have you found this to be true?
Has your dog shown hints of jealousy that you might not have recognized?