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In this article, you will find more information for each of these categories:

To understand jealousy, we need to understand emotions

When a dog is jealous

Signs that your dog is jealous

Do you think your dog has ever shown signs of jealousy?

What do we do wrong with jealous dogs?

Why reassuring human behavior doesn’t work for dogs

How to control jealousy in dogs

How to help your dog adapt to permanent change

Building a solid package

To understand jealousy, we need to understand emotions

Understand that jealousy is a secondary emotion because it is more complex than the primary emotions that are fear, anger, disgust, joy, and surprise. Primary emotions are universal and generally shared by all people. Secondary emotions are more complex because they need to develop on a more conscious level. They are subject to individual social and cultural norms and can express themselves in unique ways.

Stanley Coren, a canine psychologist at the University of British Columbia, wrote an article that appeared in the previous issue of Modern Dog Magazine titled “Jealousy: Dogs and the Green-Eyed Monster.”

In this article you mention a scientist named Friederike Range who did some experiments on dogs to assess their emotions regarding jealousy.

When a dog is jealous

Research has recently shown that dogs can be jealous of other dogs. Through experiments, the researchers studied two dogs in each sample that were next to each other and were asked to perform the same trick, with only one dog getting a reward.

The only dog ‚Äč‚Äčthat receives the prize reward performs the trick consistently and until the task is completed. The second dog that did not receive the award stopped performing the trick after realizing that the dog next to him was receiving a reward for the same action.

True emotion versus behavioral conditioning

Many of the previous tests that were conducted included tests and rewards based on treats. It made me wonder: was it really a true test of emotion? Or is it really a training exercise in operant conditioning, a form of learning that uses rewards and consequences to elicit behavior?

Signs that your dog is jealous

Aggression: biting, pinching, growling at the animal or person or object by which the dog feels threatened

Urine or stool incontinence– Usually sudden and unexplained pee or poop accidents in the house or in areas where the dog has been previously trained not to go. The jealous dog may urinate or defecate on items associated with what or who is causing your dog to be jealous.

Aggressive behavior – Your dog may react clingy and want more attention from you. Your dog can interfere with your approach to who or what is causing the jealousy. Dogs have been known to hug or push another animal that is petted by the owner when they are feeling jealous. It’s common to feel like your dog is herding you when he’s feeling jealous.

Retired – This is a more tame expression of jealousy in some dogs. You may notice that your dog is acting nonchalantly or leaving the room when the object, person, or animal causing the feelings of jealousy is nearby. This type of maladaptive behavior can be passed on as your dog takes time to adjust to the new change. However, if it is not noticed and corrected gently and early, this could lead to your dog feeling depressed.

What do we do wrong with jealous dogs?

Let’s face it: the average person with a dog is not a professional dog handler. They have a companion dog. They have not studied the behavior of dogs for countless hours and they have not devoted their careers to correcting the manners and behavior of dogs. That’s totally fine, because many non-professionals still come looking for answers and wonder how to improve.

So when a typical person feels that their dog is showing possible signs of jealousy, it can indirectly reinforce negative behavior. Because when a dog becomes more aggressive to get attention, more clingy, more demanding, since humans tend to:

Hug the dog

Talk to the dog in a high-pitched, baby-like voice.

Give the dog more attention than usual.

Allow more leniency on rules or limits already set

It’s easy to see why we do one or all of these things. We find it comforting as people. So we assume our dog will find it comforting too. However, behaviorally, these things are not overly comforting to the dog when interpreted by the canine mind.

Why reassuring human behavior doesn’t work for dogs

All that caring and reassuring voice, though useful to humans because we can empathize with the social context of other humans and really understand their words.

A dog does not have that social complexity or the ability to decode our language.

How to control jealousy in dogs

Do you think your dog could be showing signs of jealousy? It’s time to really think about your treatment approach. If you are only trying to elevate your dogs to new jealous behaviors as they arise, you are not addressing the core issue and you are not helping you or your dog to adapt in the long run.

You want to try to analyze the situation to the best of your ability. Why do you think your dog is experiencing these feelings? New pet? New companion? New baby? Some situations are not permanent. For example, you are taking care of pets for a friend or neighbor. Your dog is jealous of the “new” and different pet that he is temporarily caring for. Your dog won’t understand that this is temporary, no matter how reassuring you are. They will only realize it in time.

For temporary situations, you want to keep the current schedule you already have as much as possible. Try not to give your dog too much affection or comfort. Instead of validating their feelings of jealousy for the change, you want them to realize that you are accepting the new responsibility. You’re saying body language to a dog: “I still love you, you matter, but I also have to fulfill these other responsibilities.”

How to help your dog adapt to permanent change

If you are facing a big permanent change, you will need to consider your dog’s schedule and how you want to maintain the routine. Try to groom your dog if you can. And offer him some extra treats for his good behavior, but don’t overindulge in the hugs.

If you can’t keep up with the new doses of attention and fuss, and you shut down with all the treats, hugs, and kisses in 3 days, you will sabotage your plan to make it easier for your dogs to cope with this life change.

Make your changes manageable and consistent and still provide affection.

Prepare your dog if possible – New family pet or baby? Bring home unwashed items that the pet or baby has used, and allow your dog to smell the clothing, fabric, or other items. Than to place the articles or clothes in the newcomer’s area with the “own”, the bed of the new pet or the crib of the new baby.

Feed your dog – both on time and before. This helps show consistency and alleviates your dog’s stress and anxiety, because your dog will know that his survival will be maintained.

Walk your dog – Both on time and before. Again, it helps with consistency so your dog can adapt to new changes.

Find time to pass the time– with your dog that is reasonable. Don’t overdo it. Don’t soften your dog. Make your new schedule realistic. Show your dog what your expectations are. Give your dog an additional 10 minutes a day to relax with you or play a low-key indoor game. Spending time alone with your dog shows him that you still love him and that you still want to take care of him.

take care of yourself – Regardless of what you decide on the schedule, make time for yourself every day. Don’t run out. Taking care of a new pet or a new baby takes a long time. Leave a lot less time for you. So you need to take time to recharge. You can do your best to take care of others when you have also taken care of yourself!

Building a solid package

When you and your dog go through small and big changes together and adapt to the changes, it makes your pack that much stronger. Stay the course and let the challenges become a mere memory as you enjoy the present and others look forward to many better times ahead.

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