Meet Dinky, a Great Dane who throws a hissy fit when he sees that his dog buddy is getting some love from their owner. This spoiled Great Dane demands his own back scratch!
Dinky seems to be jealous, but can dogs feel this emotion? It seems obvious, but what does science say?
A recent study done at the University of California San Diego claims to show that dogs do feel jealous and envious. The experiment was performed by having humans engage with an animated stuffed dog. When the owners petted the stuffed animal, which barked and wagged its tail as response, their dogs growled, snapped and even forced their way between the toy and their owner.
Christine Harris, who led the study says “The motivation that you have when you’re jealous is to really break up the liaison between your loved one and your rival. The fact that these dogs seemed like they were trying to draw their owners away from the stuffed animal indicates that they’re feeling something very similar to human jealousy.”
One commonly observed manifestation of jealousy in dogs revolves around the relationship between a mother dog, her puppies, and their owner. Puppies are, of course, very cute so it is natural for them to receive a lot of affection from the people in the house. The mother dog sees that the attention is being diverted away from her and toward the puppies and becomes jealous. She may begin ignoring the pups and this can potentially escalate to the point where she might become aggressive towards her puppies or even towards her owner.
So be sure to show mama dog some love too! She’s earned it.