5 Ways to Tell If Your Dog is Jealous and What to Do About It
Many people who live in multidog households have noticed that their dogs seem to exhibit jealousy. Dog behavior experts have been split on whether dogs truly experience jealousy, or whether this behavior is more closely related to other instincts, such as resource guarding. However, some recent research suggestions that dogs do in fact experience jealousy.
While it might be nice to know that your dog is so attached to you that they want you all to themselves, jealousy can cause a lot of fighting and unpleasantness in your household. You will likely want to take some steps to ease the tensions in your multidog household.
Here are some ways to tell if your dog is experiencing jealousy.
5 Signs Your Dog is Jealous
- Misbehaving in New Ways
When your dog truly desires your attention, but doesn’t feel like he or she can easily get it, they don’t necessarily care whether it is positive or negative attention. He or she might discover that misbehaving is the fastest and easiest way to get your attention, and that will cause your dog to act out in ways you don’t expect.
- Getting Pushy
Have your ever had your dog try to squeeze in between you and another person or dog? Or even forces their way into your lap when you are talking with someone else? This kind of pushy behavior is a sign of jealous.
- Getting Aggressive
When pushiness is taken to the extreme, some dogs can get aggressive towards anyone, a person or pet, that they see as a competitor towards the affection they want. Some signs of aggression are snapping, lunging, growling, and biting or nipping.
- Performing Tricks
If you spend a lot of time teaching your dog tricks, they may start to see tricks as a way to get your attention. You may catch your dog performing every trick they can think of, from begging to playing dead, if they desire your attention but can’t get it.
- Withdrawing from a Room
Some dogs may not wish to put up a fight if they are not getting the attention they crave. Those dogs will communicate their jealousy by withdrawing from the room.
How to Improve Jealous Behavior
Now that you’ve determined your dog is exhibiting jealous behavior, the next step is to make a plan to fix it. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as sitting your dog down and talking through their feelings. It will take some practical methods and a bit of time to get your dog
Include Everyone in Training
Dogs can get jealous when they form a very strong bond with one member of the household. Usually what happens is this one person spends the most time with them, and this person becomes the dog’s favorite. This can cause tension in the household because the dog comes to expect an enormous amount of attention from one person.
One way to defuse jealousy in the household is to make sure that all people in the household are spending an equal amount of time with the dog. One way to do this is to have daily training sessions with your dog, and rotate which person is doing the training on a daily basis.
These daily training sessions can be as simple as reinforcing known behaviors, such as ‘sit’ or ‘stay,’ or teaching new tricks to your dog. By rotating the person doing the training, your dog will improve their bond with all members of the household.
For some training ideas, check out the following video:
Invert their Perspective
If your dog has developed jealousy, they see certain people or pets as their competition for affection. One way to change their attitude toward their target of jealousy is to make it so that their favorite things only happen when this other person or dog is around.
For example, if your dog gets jealous when your spouse sits next to you on the couch, reserve their favorite treats for couch time. When your spouse sits down, quickly give your dog their favorite treat before they have a chance to act out.
Perhaps your dog has developed jealousy towards the newest doggie member of the pack. In this case, only take your dogs on fun adventures in the park and trails when the dogs are together.
In either case, it may take a few tries before your dog’s behavior improves. But being consistent is the best way to change their behavior.
Remove the Reward
The biggest thing a jealous dog wants is attention. Attention may be you looking at them, petting them, scolding them, or praising them. The single best way to combat jealousy is to remove the reward they are looking for. If your dog starts acting out, calmly and quietly remove them from your lap, stop petting them, and silently ignore them for a few minutes until they calm down. In this case, consistency is key to letting dogs know that bad behavior isn’t going to get them what they want.
Those are just a few ideas for how to improve your dog’s jealous behavior. Got some more? Share them below!