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Understanding and Dealing with Jealousy in Dogs | Expert Tips

Dogs, much like humans, can experience complex emotions, including jealousy. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the canine emotional world and provide expert tips on identifying, preventing, and treating jealousy in dogs.

The Science Behind Canine Jealousy

A study conducted by Christine Harris, a psychology professor at the University of California, San Diego, revealed that dogs can indeed experience jealousy towards other individuals. The study observed 36 dogs as owners interacted with objects simulating other dogs, objects, and even melodies in a book.

The results showed clear signs of jealous behaviors when owners directed affection towards objects representing other dogs. These behaviors included attempts to get between the owner and the object, nibbling, touching, or pushing the object or the owner.

Expert Tips on Dealing with a Jealous Dog

If you suspect your dog is showing signs of jealousy, especially when introducing a new pet or dealing with aggression, follow these expert tips:

Identifying Jealousy Symptoms in Your Dog

Barking: Excessive barking when approaching certain people or animals.

Indoor Peeing: A potential sign of marking territory, stress, or seeking attention.

Possessiveness: Refusing to be away from the person or animal they want to monopolize.

Rapid Mood Changes: Dogs may show aggression and then return to normal quickly.

Object Destruction: Destructive behavior, indicative of anxiety.

More Behavioral Changes: Changes in eating habits, hiding, crying, or licking paws.

Aggression: Aggression towards the perceived threatening person or animal.

Types of Jealousy in Dogs

Dog Jealousy towards Babies

Dogs, known for their sensitivity, can experience jealousy when a new baby arrives. Learn how to address and prevent dog jealousy towards babies for a harmonious living environment.

Jealousy and Shift

Imagine being a dog that has enjoyed all the attention and affection from its owner, and suddenly, an adorable but noisy baby arrives to steal the spotlight. This dynamic can evoke jealousy in dogs, who feel displaced and, being so sensitive, perceive that they no longer have a special place in the heart of the home.

Manifestations of Jealousy

Jealousy can manifest in various ways, from negative behaviors to adverse physical reactions towards the baby. It's crucial to understand that neither the baby nor the dog is at fault; it's an automatic dynamic that must be handled with sensitivity to avoid disconnection between them.

Preparation Before the Change

Dogs are sensitive to changes, and the arrival of a baby involves adjustments to the routine. Preparing the ground in advance, avoiding abrupt changes, and allowing the dog to explore the baby's space help reduce anxiety and curiosity when the baby finally arrives.

Persistence of Jealousy

In many cases, dogs continue to show jealous attitudes as they feel more isolated. Addressing this issue involves analyzing the dog's behaviors and adjusting human behavior to offer quality time, respect the dog's space, and encourage a gradual transition.

Practical Tips

Separate Toys: Keeping the baby's and the dog's toys separate prevents conflicts and encourages individuality.

Aromatic Oils: Rubbing oils like coconut or almonds on the dog's toys can associate those smells with their belongings.

Supervised Interaction: Allowing the dog to gradually smell and see the baby, without isolation, builds a positive connection.

Care and Hygiene: Keeping the dog clean and healthy increases confidence when near the baby.

Individual Time: Dedicate exclusive moments to the dog to strengthen the bond and alleviate potential jealousy.

Dealing with dog jealousy towards babies requires patience, understanding, and ongoing efforts. Integrating the dog into the new family dynamic naturally will promote harmonious living among all members, both human and canine.

Jealousy Between Cats and Dogs

Our pets, whether cats or dogs, can feel jealousy when introducing a new pet to the home. Here are some considerations to improve their coexistence:

Avoiding Disputes Over Food

A common source of disputes is food. Providing each pet with their utensils and separate eating areas can prevent jealousy and food-related fights.

Offering the Same Care and Attention

Although cats and dogs have different needs, it's essential to provide them with the same amount of care and affection. Respecting individual differences will prevent conflicts due to jealousy.

How to Address Jealousy in Dogs

It's essential to understand that your dog is not a child and needs rules at home. Establishing social boundaries and being a good role model will contribute to harmonious living between dogs and people.

If you ever have doubts about your dog's behaviour, don't hesitate to consult an ethologist or animal behaviourist to receive the necessary tools.

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Alberto Pardal, As an expert in the dog world, I provide valuable information about dog breeds. With years of experience, I offer informative articles to help owners better understand their pets and promote a healthy bond