Pet Tips

Tip 74 – Jealousy and dogs – Is my dog a jealous dog?

Despite the fact that jealousy is a human emotion, many dog owners can attest to the fact that their dogs seem to exhibit jealousy related behaviours. Usually this occurs when a new person enters a dog’s household and spends time with the dog’s owner. Classic examples are new boyfriends or girlfriends and of course the arrival of a new baby. These new ‘intruders’ take away the precious alone time that the dog had with its owner(s) and subsequently they can feel neglected. These intruders are also invading what the dog feels is the family’s territory.

Dogs that feel jealous can exhibit behaviours that were previously unseen by their owner. Depressive behaviours such as social withdrawal, inactivity and loss of appetite are common. Occasionally a jealous dog can exhibit previously unseen signs of aggression.

It is important to spend extra time with your dog during this period of transition. Give the dog some extra treats, extra petting and maybe some extra exercise.
ROUTINE is extremely important during these periods of transition. Walking, playing, and feeding your dog at the same time each day is a great stress reliever. If it is a boyfriend or girlfriend that is making your dog jealous then occasionally, under your supervision, have THEM give the dog a treat or play fetch. Include the dog in normal daily activities. If you’re watching TV for example, call the dog over and pet the dog while the new person is around. Don’t force the issue though, if the dog doesn’t want to, let the dog be. He/she should come around eventually.

A new baby is a more delicate matter. At the beginning don’t allow the baby to use the dog’s toys or sit where the dog usually sits. Get your dog a crate or kennel and allow the dog to have a safe space away from the baby that is accessible at all times. Once the baby starts crawling and moving in a jagged manner it may be seen as prey by the dog so be on the lookout for any aggressive behaviour. Most importantly NEVER leave the 2 of them alone. Even when it seems the dog has accepted the baby, all the baby has to do is take one of the dog’s toys or food, or pull its tail and the dog will use its body language to tell the baby to back off. Since the baby cannot understand ‘dog speak’ the dog can lash out.

You are the best judge of your dog’s behaviour so eventually under your direct supervision, allow the two to meet. Get on the floor with your dog and pet the dog in the baby’s presence. It goes without saying that you need to be extra aware of the dog’s body language. Any aggressive behaviour such as growling should be met with immediate withdrawal of attention. If you are in any doubt whatsoever, talk with your vet or ask for a referral with a trainer or canine behaviourist.

8 Responses to this Article, So Far

  1. Avatar lucy says:

    hello i have to dogs now bombon and nicolas there both males . nicolas just came to my house my boyfriend gave it to me :) ! but bombon has lost apetite and also he has begining to be agresive with he gets close to the other dog nicolas and to me . but sometims he Humps nicolas wish bothers him alot , it will be helpful if you can tell me what to do thanks

  2. Avatar atie says:

    Hi i have a mixed breed she looks like a black retriever
    i got her when she was just a puppy, the litter was dropped at a campground were i work.
    She is now about 18 months ,she is a sweet happy dog and also good with my 7 cats and 2 old little dog,s shih tsu ,s ,but lately she is changed she lounged at 1 of my cats out of the blue ,they were both behind me ,when i was behind the computer.,and whit food and treats she gets really possesive !! she start out with staring with her head low ,ready to lounge out!!! She NEVER did this before ,i always have there food side by side on the floor ,hers is up higher because she is bigger!
    They all eat slow ,so there is always food in there bowls. This really scares me ,because my 2 little shih tsu,s are so small and 11 years old!! and i don,t want her to hurt them!![or worse] the few times this has happend i was rite there,and grabbed her on her collar and said NO NO and smacked her mouth and told her to go in the bathroom[were she always have to go when she misbehaved.
    Please can you give me some advise how to solve this problem??

    • Avatar Marko says:

      First off NEVER hit a dog!!!!!! It can wreck your relationship.

      IF you see the dog in the process of attacking the cat a LOUD “No!” should do the trick.

      BUT THIS IS A SERIOUS SITUATION AND IF THIS WERE MY DOG, THE DOG WOULD NEVER EVER EVER BE LEFT ALONE WITH THE CATS. Your dog has now reached sexual maturity and this is likely playing a part.

      Some dogs have a strong predatory response and act instinctively. This dog could KILL your cat when you are not around. I’ve heard of it happening more than a few times. The dog is not doing this out of malice but out of instinct, in the SAME way a cat will hunt a mouse. Sometimes the cat will kill the mouse, but often it just wants to catch and play with it. This is a hardwired behaviour. It can likely be cured with PROFESSIONAL advice from a trainer.

      Good luck.

  3. Avatar Leanne says:

    We have a year old puppy who has spend half his life around an adult cat. She passed away about a month ago. Last week we got a new kitten. We are making sure not to pay super extra attention to the kitten but to give both the same attention. The past two days, our pup has been acting really strange… he is nudging her hard with his nose, chewing on electrical wires, and just 5 minutes ago, peed on the bed with no signs of needing to go out side. Our assumption is that he is jealous and is anxious about the kitty. What can we do to improve this situation?

    • Avatar Marko says:

      I might try swapping smells to see if that may help. Rub down the kitty with a towel and leave it near where the dog sleeps. I’d also post this on our pet forum to see what others may suggest.
      Good luck.

  4. dogs can be jealous.. having four dogs in one home can be a problem… you carry one, the three others will jump and ask to be carried…

  5. Avatar Darck says:

    Hi, i have a shih tzu cross bichon frise, and today i got two new hamsters. A few minutes ago she was acting really strange, she was yapping, jumping around, and nothing else seemed to interest her. If you know of anything that will help, please tell me! And, we have 3 cats and another dog, she gets on really well with them, its just the hamsters. Thank you!

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