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Jealousy in dogs: understand and fix it

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Posted on November 15 2018

Are our dogs jealous? If so, how can you prevent them from getting hurt or becoming aggressive?

Our dogs are so close to us, and we are so attached to them that sometimes we tend to attribute them to our own characteristics. This anthropomorphic approach is certainly a good feeling, but it can deceive us about the actual behavior of our animals.

The jealousy is one of those feelings we often lend our 4 legged friends. Rightly or not? Opinions are divided . Be that as it may, it is obvious that our dogs are uncomfortable with our displays of attention and tenderness towards other animals or people . It is important to respondappropriately to prevent the behavioral problems that may arise.

Can dogs really feel jealousy?

Are dogs really jealous? No one, except the dogs themselves, can know for sure. Opinions are very different on this subject. On the one hand, some people think that our dogs display attitudes similar to those we show when we are jealous, but without giving them that feeling. On the other hand, there are those who think that our doggies are just as jealous as we are.

The first thus admit that dogs can, certainly, have a bad eye on the arrival of a new being in his family , whether it is a congener, an animal of another species or of a human (a newborn, for example). The fact that all the attention of the family focuses on the latter causes reactions of frustration , even aggression in the dog. But this one is not jealous so far. Not the way we feel jealousy. This is the thesis defended by this "camp".

It should be clear, jealousy is a feeling for Man, because it requires a capacity of mental production that the dog is not able to do.

Some theories think that the dog is really jealous ...

For some, dogs feel jealousy just like us humans. They can also rely on their reasoning on an American study published in July 2014 in the scientific journal PLUS ONE . Led by a team of psychologists from the University of California at San Diego , it was based on observations of 36 dogs. Each of these "guinea pigs" watched his master play with 3 different objects: a fake dog, a Halloween lantern and a musical book.

In examining the reactions of the dogs, it was found that 78% of them pushed their master when he was playing with their fake congener, compared to only 40% for the pumpkin lantern and 22%for the pumpkin lantern. musical book. According to Christine Harris , the psychologist who was at the head of this research, the reaction of the dog seeking to attract the attention of his master can only be the manifestation of jealousy or a similar feeling.

How to cure it?

Whether it is jealousy itself or another feeling, it is important to react appropriately to prevent this type of emotion giving rise to undesirable reactions . It will be a question of finding a balancebetween the necessity of not complying with the will of the dog and that of understanding it and reassuring it .

It will not be necessary to drown the animal under the caresses and the rewards, because this one must understand that it does not have the exclusiveness of your attention and your affection. The other members of the family are entitled to it just as much as him. At the same time, it should not be deprived of your kindness, because it would only exacerbate the problem. Just get used to the presence of the new dog, cat, baby or other likely source of frustration for your 4-legged companion. Give him time to familiarize himself , while giving him enough attention, especially during walks and care (brushing, etc.), which are moments of exchange and privileged privileged .

If, despite all your precautions, the attitude of your dog becomes unmanageable (aggression, sadness), you can seek the services of a dog behaviorist , who will help you to solve this problem.

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