Do dogs ever feel jealous?

According to some new research by scientists, they do.

On the face of it, a lot of people would agree. But before you spring forth with your tales of dogs ‘acting jealous’, please – hear me out.

Personally, I don’t believe they do and I’ll explain more about that in a moment. But first let us look at the new research done in the name of science.

The experiment consisted of taking pairs of dogs and getting them to present a paw for a reward. On giving this “handshake” the dogs received a piece of food.

One of the dogs was then asked to shake hands, but received no food. The other dog continued to get the food when it was asked to perform the task.

The dog without the reward quickly stopped doing the task, and showed signs of annoyance or stress when its partner was rewarded.

To make sure that the experiment was really showing the interaction between the dogs rather than just the frustration of not being rewarded, a similar experiment was conducted where the dogs performed the task without the partner. Here they continued to present the paw for much longer.

Dr Frederike Range from the department of neurobiology and cognition research at the University of Vienna, says this shows that it was the presence of the rewarded partner which was the greater influence on their behaviour.

“The only difference is one gets food and the other doesn’t, they are responding to being unequally rewarded.” she said.

The researchers say this kind of behaviour, where one animal gets frustrated with what is happening with another, has only been observed in primates before.

Studies with various types of monkeys and chimpanzees show they react not only to seeing their partners receiving rewards when they are not, but also to the type of reward.

The dog study also looked at whether the type of reward made a difference. Dogs were given either bread or sausage, but seemed to react equally to either. Dr Range says this may be because they have been trained.

“It’s through the fact they have to work for the reward, this confers it with a higher value,” she said.

Source Here

Let’s take a look at this in smaller chunks.

The dog without the reward quickly stopped doing the task, and showed signs of annoyance or stress when its partner was rewarded.

Well of course. Surely we wouldn’t expect anything different here? The dog wants the food and it sees the other dog with the food and it gravitates toward the treat. This is quite logical, nothing ground breaking yet.

To make sure that the experiment was really showing the interaction between the dogs rather than just the frustration of not being rewarded, a similar experiment was conducted where the dogs performed the task without the partner. Here they continued to present the paw for much longer.

Yes, again this surely to be expected? Here we have a dog with no distraction, no food or other dog in the equation and it makes logical sense that most dogs will perform differently in a situation where no distraction – of any kind – is present. This, again, does not prove jealousy as we understand it.

Dr Frederike Range from the department of neurobiology and cognition research at the University of Vienna, says this shows that it was the presence of the rewarded partner which was the greater influence on their behaviour.

Now we’re veering in to some strange territory. Let us imagine this experiment but with some different parameters.

We work with just one dog, no other dog in the area.

The dog gives its paw. Then a person will come in to the room and puts some food on the floor near to where the other dog would have been positioned positioned.

Would the dog now be less interested in giving paw and more interested in food?

In my opinion, yes. Most likely.

Now repeat the same scenario but don’t have anyone put food down.

It’s my supposition that the dog would hold paw for longer.

No other dog present, no jealousy – merely distraction causing reaction.

The dog study also looked at whether the type of reward made a difference. Dogs were given either bread or sausage, but seemed to react equally to either. Dr Range says this may be because they have been trained.

Dogs like different foods. And scientists didn’t know this?

Take my own dog Mia. She loathes banana. My other dog, Chloe, on the other hand loves fruit. So if I’m eating a banana Mia will sit for a while, realise what I’ve got and then go and lie down. Chloe will stay sitting next to me, watching until I’ve finished. I’m not a scientist but I do know this – it’s……wait for it………

……because Chloe likes banana and Mia doesn’t!

Given that Mia is by far the greedier of my two dogs it proves that dogs clearly have different tastes the same as we do, this is – I would guess – pretty universal. Maybe your dog loves a type of food that my dogs don’t. Maybe your dogs go mad for aniseed whereas my dogs love cheese. Just a sec, wait. Not a good comparison – aniseed and cheese are pretty much universal ‘must eats’ on the canine menu (if your dog likes neither, please let me know – in the name of science).

So, if I set out to train Mia with bananas as my choice of reward for her, I’d achieve less impressive results – quite simply because Mia doesn’t like banana. She places a higher value on food that she likes, similarly toys and similarly different ways of being touched – Mia doesn’t like to be stroked on the head, Chloe will take a good head stroking for several hours. So we’ve still not established jealousy in canines with this research based on the report as presented on the BBC site.

Studies with various types of monkeys and chimpanzees show they react not only to seeing their partners receiving rewards when they are not, but also to the type of reward.

OK. Well I’m not a scientist but I do know that monkeys and chimps are NOT dogs. They can and indeed probably do have emotions much more closely aligned to the emotion we recognise in ourselves as jealousy, similarly they have different social structures and are NOT dogs. So the relevance of this is no more apt than saying: “Well humans have jealousy, why can’t dogs?”

Why do I not believe dogs share the emotion we recognise in ourselves as jealousy?

If we think about what jealousy is, if we are logical about what we know about this emotion it is incredibly complex and based on a whole level of social elements.

There are humans who feel jealousy based on widely different factors – is that an innate personality trait in them or is it nurtured? – we don’t really know.

We have humans within the autistic spectrum who simply do not and can not feel jealous and others within that same spectrum who can be wildly jealous. It’s true that even scientists themselves still haven’t universally agreed a definition for what jealously is! That’s how complex this particular emotion is. What does it take to be jealous? It takes two people very, very different reasons to be jealous, even people within the same family who share almost identical genetics. Yet put two people in a room and mimic the ‘paw test’ and we’d never get close to seeing universal results proving jealous responses in people – we’re too different and jealousy is an emotion that does not run through us all in an identical fashion. So why should it in dogs?

I absolutely do not doubt for a single, solitary second that they display behaviour which is very easy for us to compare with the emotion of jealousy that we recognise in ourselves. It could be displayed in acts of resource guarding, it could be manifested by dogs who are particularly greedy, territorial, pack motivated, rank motivated – but jealousy it is not. It is quite possible that I want to get my bosses’ job and sit in his chair, in his office and take home his salary but I am not motivated even in the slightest by jealousy, I simply want to do better for myself. Dogs the same. So a dog going to another dog getting rewarded is absolutely not proof positive – in my view – that we’ve cracked the canine jealousy code, we haven’t even cracked ours yet – and we can SPEAK!

Anthropomorphism is rife. Most of the time it’s harmless but sometimes it’s nothing more than us finding another way to say: “I don’t understand my dog but I’ll bracket a particular behaviour by benchmarking it against my own”. This is, plainly, crazy. And it can lead to problems.

It will be better for dogs and better for us if we make an effort to better understand them. But always, always, always start that voyage of discovery with one overriding caveat: Dogs are no more human than we are Zebra. They are dogs. They ARE unique and we love them for it. They are masters at making us think what they want us to think. Their understanding of human body language is an art we’re not even close to mastering. Take this example:

Person comes home. Dog has wrecked the post (again). There it is, all laid out scattered over the floor.

Owner opens the door.

“Huuuuhhh!!!! What have you done???”

“Oh, look at him. Look at that face. Look how guilty he looks.”

(wait for it)

“He know what he’s done!”

Sound familiar?

Of course he doesn’t ‘know what he’s done’ and he absolutely may ‘look guilty’ but that aint’ guilt he’s showing, that’s him spotting body language and going to fear/survival mode. He’s pretty much saying: “If you want me to look guilty, if that’s the pigeon-hole you want to put me in right now, so long as it means I don’t come to any harm, I’ll do a better guilty repertoire than Laurence Olivier if it makes you happy babe!”

And make us happy it most certainly does. We might feel guilt if we do something that causes someone else to feel bad, but that’s because we have an understanding of how our actions can have a future negative effect on the mood of our human counterparts. Our dog, however, he was just bored and he wanted something to do. Then we come home and we’re – clearly – pretty mad at him. He’s not feeling guilty, he’s feeling plain old scared.

But it makes us happy to think he thinks like us. To quote the chairman of the Kennel Club: “I don’t need no scientists telling me….” that dogs do not, in fact, think like us. They think, surprisingly, like dogs. That’s what makes em’ great!

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So,that’s quite enough about what I think, what do YOU think?

Can dogs really experience the emotion us humans refer to as jealousy?

Add your thoughts using the comment form below. I look forward to reading them!

  1. I believe that animals feel more than we give them credit for. they sense bad moods, excited moods and danger. I believe they get jealous, they get sad, they get confused not on the level we do but in there own ways. I think dogs that attack for no appearent reason due have a reason that we dont see or chose to ignore. If a dog can show fear and happiness then why not jealous or other emotions.

    1. I don’t know if my acts jelious, but she puts up a big fuss when I leave anytime. When people come that she knows, as they come or leave she will bark like everything.

      1. Irma, if your dog makes lots of fuss when you are leaving the house she might be suffering from separation anxiety! Do you fuss around her when you are getting ready to leave? Do you say long good byes?

  2. I think dogs do experience jealousy but in more of an attention-seeking way. For example, if I’m out with Tess and stop to fuss over another dog then she’ll come charging over and nudge me in a way that seems to say “don’t pet that dog, pet me, I’m your best friend!”

  3. My Doberman, Felix is very attached to me. My brother-in-law has a pit bull, Tank that comes and visits sometimes. Felix will be laying down or chewing on a bone, but if Tank comes over to me and I start petting him, Felix will immediately get up and come push the other dog out of the way. It is like he is saying, “This is my human”. I think that he gets jealous when I pay attention to other dogs.

  4. i know of all the dogs i have come across certainly get jealous i have a indoor rabbit and if the rabbit is getting more attention then the dog he will push hiself in but nothing nasty he is very gentle and just lets you know he wants a fuss to

  5. If when visiting my son who also has a doberman, if their dog jumps up on the sofa next to my husband, Diesel will sit and stare at him whilst whimpering and moaning even when someone else starts smoothing him. The minute my sons dog jumps down, Diesel will make a bee line to be beside my husband I think that he is jelous even though both dogs are great friends.

  6. I concur with the second comment. If I show any affection to another dog I am quickly grabbed by the sleeve and pulled away, however, if I fuss my dog and another at the same time it is acceptable!

  7. My dog Alfie gets extremely jealous. If I call my other dog, he’s there first. If I make a fuss of my other dog, he barges him out of the way and takes his place. Nobody else can make a fuss of sweep without Alfie getting there first! I think this shows extreme jealousy.
    If I tell him to leave something or to go and lay down, he actually huffs just like a child.

  8. im convinced my dog gets jealous if i pay too much attention to my grandchildren he always tries to get inbetween us or jumps up me to get my attention or brings me his ball to throw but he wont let the kids throw it for him

  9. I personally think that there is no doubt that dogs feel jealousy. My husband and I always have one or 2 retired Greyhounds at home, and they will openly jostle for affection, if you stroke one, the other will do it’s best to push the other one out of the way, to get the offered affection instead – I think this is jealously – they are not prepared to share affection, but want it all for themselves.

  10. Our collie/spaniel Furby goes loopy if my hubby and I have a cuddle or a snog. He barks and jumps up between us until we stop. Goodbye sex life lol. He also makes a fuss if we pet someone else’s dog. Call it what you want but we call it jealousy (and actually find it quite amusing).

  11. My dog POOH BEAR is a jealous dog! If i pet another dog she will push herself on my lap (all 5 stone) and nudge my hand to pet HER! If my partner kisses me she does too,if he cuddles me she gets in between! She is the same in bed! She gets in between putting paid to any “cuddles”.

  12. I have 2 stafies and as soon as I start to stroke one the other will come over and stick there head right near your hand for strokes too. Angel my girl staffie will push Dizzy my boy staffie out of the way she sort of head butts you to say Im here too.
    You cat give attention to one without the other.

  13. We have just (yesterday) picked up our second dog Meg 8 months, from the Dogs Trust and she and our 18month old dog Jelly (!) have met before and get on outside the home. Once we got her home they played and interacted really well until… meg jumped onto the arms of the chairs between me and my husband, which is the spot that Jelly occupies every evening. Jelly moved away and sat watching and when we called him he turned his back.. eventually he came over, sniffed Meg then snapped at her, she jumped off and he immediately jumped into the space she left. Meg turned and he growled. Now if that’s not jealousy!!

  14. What do you have to say? i do think dogs get jealous , if im stroking one of the other dogs , ( we have four ) they always barge in the way because they want the attention , if i try to throw a toy if have to throw more than one because the others jump on top of the other so that they can not go retrieve it , even if people come to the house the dogs will stay at my side and not let anyone near me they try to keep them away from me ,, but i think this is a way of saying im protecting you , the youngest dog follows me every where even to the toilet and sits by the door , they know when your feeling low and when your happy, they do sense aa lot of things like when your due to come home they sit at the gate no matter how many differant times you come home ,

  15. I have two dogs, Tilly (11) & Barney (9). They have been together for 7 years and Barney accepts Tilly is the boss and never competes with her or shows jealousy towards her. However, when it comes to treat rewards for a good behaviour, I always feed Tilly first, and if I’m too slow in giving Barney his treat straight after he does become agitated, looks at Tilly, looks back at me, looks at Tilly again etc and really does seem to get upset. I do some dog-sitting too, and if I have a guest dog, Barney definitely demands my attention if I pet the guest dog or show it some affection, by nudging it out of the way or pushing in to be nearest to me. Just like small children might do. I’d call it jealous behaviour whether it’s children doing it or dogs. But it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In my experience, my dogs definitely feel emotion (as well as sensing my emotions which is more than I can say for some humans!) as much as they feel pain or pleasure. Dogs are intelligent in ways we obviously still don’t fully understand, for the fact they can live alongside us for their entire lives without ever speaking our language (and we don’t speak theirs), and yet they never hold a grudge and love us unconditionally. Could humans do that if the roles were reversed? I think not. So why bother with this debate and give them credit for the things we don’t understand, and accept they may experience different levels of jealousy and other emotions in their own way?

  16. people see dogs as people at times and make excuses for there bahaviour, they talk to a dog as if it is a human. Dogs do not really relate to sentences and long phrases. Although dogs can remeber in excess of 100 commands they do not really link sentences, If I hug my partner one of my dogs will try and squeeze between us. Is the dog seeking attention, trying to split my partner and I or wants some as well. Is the dog confussed as to our emotional behaviour?
    Our body reactions can give off different scents and emotions that dogs can relate to or be curious over, does this have a bearing on being jealous.
    Is it a pack instinct? if the ‘ALPHA’ is allowing a form of attention to another partner (animal or human) does the dog feel higher in the pack if he/she is being given attention over another member of the pack (canine or human)?
    I dont think there is a difinative for jealous, its how we interpret it into ‘our’ language
    (i wish there was a spell checker on here!!)

  17. Yes i do, i have Rocky, two cats, five hamsters and two rats, as i have no children, they are my babies who i love to bits, even though they all get loved the same, theres a hint of jealousy between them!!!!

  18. What do you have to say?
    Diesel is such a sweet little girl who is also very hyperactive around people, she loves being centre of attention. She will play nip for attention but has never been jealous of anyone or other dogs, it was actually my older dog harley who became very jealous whenever i brought a new dog into the family. He would snarl and bare his teeth until the new dogs decided enough was enough and they was staying, and if he didnt like it he could lump it

  19. When I purchased my 1st Shih Tzu in 1975 from a very well known breeder/judge her words of advice to me were…. The only trouble you will get from dogs is jealousy and she was proven so right, I followed her advice, as a breeder /exhibitor I owned many dogs/bitches inc stud dogs all free range and running together and never any problems. Now as my two remaining shih tzus are brothers they are inseparable never a X word, I treat them both exactly the same ,I pick up one I pick up the other, treats for one, treats for the other and so on what words of wisdom that woman gave me now long since dead but do often think of her.

  20. I think when it comes to your pets everyone likes to think they behave as we humans do, when in reality it is all about hierarchy withing the pack, so for example if you give one dog a reward and thee other nothing for doing the same task it would put them in their place within the pack and you as the giver of the reward the pack leader.

    It doesn’t matter how many dogs you have if they see you as the pack leader then they will have a system in place to show who is next within the pack.

    I have 2 dogs soon to have 3 and I am def the leader amongst my pack however my old english is younger then my jack russell and she is the boss of him and wouldn’t let anyone else near me at all if she had her way lol which of course I don’t allow but she does try her best to have me all to herself.

    kind regards

    Yvonne Browne

  21. Layla definitely gets jealous, when we kiss each other she jumps in between us, if the cats are getting fussed over then Layla wants fussing too!
    Layla certainly shows signs of human traits, but then we have always treated her as our baby!

  22. I have had this discussion with a friend recently. I also do not believe that dogs are capable of the human disposition of ‘jealousy’. In order to understand dogs, we have to keep in mind that they are pack animals with a pecking order and derive from a highly competitive environment of survival of the fittest. Dogs are simplistic in human terms and if they are not seeing a consistent response to reward in an experiment, following an instruction, will be confused rather than jealous.

  23. Absolutely dogs can be jealous. When I buy Jethro and Hunny a new toy, it needs to be the same type and size, etc. Otherwise they both want the coolest toy [in their eyes] and leave the other one. Also, when I pay attention to one or the other, especially if it’s Hunny, Jethro pushes his way in. They both get very jealous if other dogs come near me or if I make a fuss of them.

  24. Dillon showed the first signs of jealousy the other day when I stroked a Great Dane, he actually growled, he’s never done this with other dogs and he’s bigger than the Dane. I actually choose to believe he was jealous and not just being a stroppy alpha male ……………………honest !!!

  25. Sure they are. Dogs have a lot of different emotions like avery being.You can not judge by food incentive only.If only we humans could forget about our superiority
    and open our minds, may be we all could understand more about nature.

  26. My dog Doogle certainly appears to show jealousy when my young grandchildren are around. If one comes on my knee he is nuzzling up to me as if to say `that is my place`. He may be displaying possessiveness which we interpret as jealousy. He is as good as gold and plays with them at other times.

  27. I absolutely agree with your comments. We give our dogs human characteristics but if, instead, we learnt true dog behaviour we would understand them better and be able to train them better. The problem is we love them so much and we can’t stop ourselves from showing them love by treating them like we would children and in doing so we do more harm than good. The theory is easy to understand but hard to practise.

  28. My Rosy definately shows signs of jealousy. When our budgie died, there was no way we could get another one. She wants all the attention for herself only. If we are watching television and see a gorgeous animal on it, wherever Rosy is in our flat, she will come rushing up to us, if we comment on how lovely the animal is. She will paw at us to be picked up and cuddled. She dislikes other dogs, and sulks if I pay them any attention.

    Also, if my partner and I show any signs of affection together, she will appear immediately, and push her way in to get all the attention. My last little Yorkie displayed similar traits.

    Dogs feel pain, grief, happiness etc, so why not jealousy?

  29. Pack ranking, not jealousy, when my dog pushes in between me and my cats. I can take the food from her mouth but if the cats go near her food there are ‘consequences’. Likewise with their access to me. It maybe even resource guarding since I am a resource to my dog after all.

    Submission, not guilt, because dogs recognise angry human mode and want to avoid the effects of our displeasure.

    Houpt & Wolski showed in their studies that a 5 second delay in applying a punisher for undesirable behaviour halves the effectiveness of that punisher. A 10 second delay renders the punisher totally ineffective as they cannot connect their crime to their punishment.

    Dogs live in the moment so punishment needs to be immediate so that they can understand what it is that they are doing wrong.

  30. Our rottie definitely shows jealousy. When my partner cuddles or kisses me she will often come over and nudge and push between us and is only happy when we pet her at the same time! She likes to be included in everything and if she does not she will make a fuss till she is included. She is happy to receive shared attention but will not accept no attention at all! With prolonged no attention she brings over a toy to give us so that she gains notice.

  31. I am not sure if I would call it Jealousy, I do not know what I would call it in doggy terms.

    Jack is a great dog in every way, he never shows interest in chasing balls or fetching sticks, he likes to do his own thing!!!!
    However, when I look after my Sons dog, and I throw sticks for him cos he likes to fetch being a lab., Jack chases after the stick too, he will pick it up, carry it a short distance then drop it and walk away, if I am playing with the Lab at home, Jack nuzzles his way in and makes me take notice of him. It seems quite amusing but if I think about it , it does seem like a human trait, strange. Whatever it is I still love him loads!!!!!!

  32. Wanted to add, and this has nothing to do with jealousy in dogs, but have been asked by Total Dog my views on some doggy issues. Whenever I have tried to email my response it has always been rejected by the ‘system’. Don’t know why.

    Can anyone advise what I can do to get my emails through.

  33. What do you have to say?
    My Dog Tamzin gets very jealous, when my partner gives me a cuddle she has to jump in between us, Also if I am sitting on the sofa, no one else can sit beside me,

  34. My first thought was to say yes dogs do display jealousy–but then I thought about all my babies from the past 40 years.

    No, it’s not jealousy, but a protection for you that they can understand and maybe we can’t.

    Snuff sat between me and my first boyfriend–not giving an inch, but my second boyfriend-to become my husband for the past 38 years she accepted happily, plus his dog old Brucie.

    I have obviously had dogs more since then-all for life.

    Sally the first dog–no jealousy–when our children were born.

    Sherry the best dog anyone could ever want, a cross doderman /alsatian was actually one of the kids-my kids, as she should have been, as my youngest was only one when we got her.
    I would have her back tomorrow if I could!
    No jealousy whatsoever.

    Then came Shandy, and Sherry showed no jealousy, in fact she became her mum–even taking her to the garden for a wee!

    When Sherry died Shandy missed her so badly we had to get another friend—so came Bess, a rescue cross black labrador/dobberman.
    Not an ounce of jealousy in her body.

    Then came our Jack–oh a different kettle of fish—a cavalier king charles cavalier, and recently Popppy a sort of what we do not know–from a rescue puppy.

    They get on very well.

    No, I do not think it is jealousy of such, just a protection for themselves-and them looking after us.

    Dogs know more tham we give them credit for.

  35. This is something that has always fascinated me. I also do not think that dogs are jealous. Its all about competition.

    I have two dogs, both respectful and both know their place within my pack. They vie for my attention and this is where I think some folks confuse competition rather than jealousy. Very easily done.

    Competition between my two JRT’s is something I see often, but one is most definately more dominant than the other, so the other submits eventually, but the thrill of the competition doesnt stop him competing. Its the taking part thats the key, not the sharing – if you see what I mean!?

    Great watching then interact though, absolutely fascinating. Especially when you add more dogs to the equation!

  36. Leo shows signs of jealousy if I hug someone. He jumps up and tries to seperate us. If I stroke another dog, he will bark and try to get inbetween.

    Yes, I believe dogs get jealous.

  37. Next door to us lives a big black Staffie ( Paddy) which hangs over the fence when we are in the garden.He is a big softie and lives with children with no problems.I slip him a treat and stroke him so if he gets into our garden I would be able to return him.I feed both Taffy and the staffy together but Taffy gets jealous and starts barking at me.The staffie is afraid of Taffy who is half his size,

  38. I am pretty sure my dog and my grandma’s dogs get jealous. Whenever I, or my grandma, am petting one of the dogs, another one will come and literally shove its way between the petter and the pettee. Also, when my mom is hugging/snuggling with one of my little sisters, my dog will get up and literally wiggle his way in between them so that HE is the one getting hugged/snuggled.

  39. I guess I would first like some definition of jealousy … some consensus as to what behaviors suggest jealousy.

    All the dogs that I have known have displayed a certain level of evolution far superior to our own , many times .

    They vie for our attention and express happiness upon getting it and vice versa.Their evolution superiority lies in not taking pleasure in their “acts of jealousy” . For example , if a dog tears apart a book that stole his play time with you and if you get sad or angry over the act , dog only feels helpless and not any happy over his act of destruction. (versus the typical human reaction which would be something like “Ha ! You deserved just that..!! )

  40. We have 8 dogs, 6 pugs and 2 other’s (referred to as the ‘Black Bitches) The pugs are our children and have all come from really bad homes where they were dreadfully abused (I run Pug Rescue in Limpopo Province in South Africa) There is very little jealousy amongst the pugs, but a definite ‘pecking order’. The two ‘black bitches’ are extremely jealous of the pugs and create havoc and any given opportunity. They also ‘attack’ them when we have a massed barking exodus, and block the entrance / door, which creates mayhem.
    However, when it comes to jealousy, we have an African Grey Parrot (also rescued) who is insanely jealous of me and if my husband kisses me or hugs me in front of her, she goes over the top, hurling abuse and swearing at me. Initially she was ‘free range’ in the house, but after being attacked several times, she is now only allowed out when I am at work and in the evening she is limited to sitting on top of her cage. If I walt too close to her, she will try and bite me. Am told this is normal with parrots – any comments?

  41. I have a Rottie – who will share his dinner, water, bones, toys in fact anything with anyone and everything – he also assumes all dogs will share with him!! We have a very dog friendly inn (some nights we have 15+ dogs staying) he just comes over to me & sniffs just to see who’s staying, that’s the end of it – no jealousy.

  42. Interesting question. I think that jealousy is a complex emotion and so it is difficult to know whether dogs feel it.

    My German Shepherd, Angel, is definitely protective of me and always involves herself in the group hugs I have with my kids. But I am not sure this amounts to jealousy.

    It strikes me that the scientists’ experiment did not really have much to do with jealousy either. As you say Ryan, more about wanting food/a treat and attention. I think that jealousy is a more extreme emotion which involves emotional/physical pain or angst based on fear of losing someone you love or someone else taking your place. The actions that some humans take when they are jealous can be extreme – like fighting a rival. I am not sure that a dog wanting attention is as much as jealousy – certainly in most situations. Even if we, dog owners, call it that.

  43. Oh dear, what a long road there is to go. I agree with you – dogs are dogs. I might add that what we recognise as human traits in dogs are, in fact, the dog like traits that humans display.

  44. I agree with Ryan! Humans interpret dog behaviour by comparing it with their own emotions. I don’t believe dogs feel jealousy or guilty, especially not guilty.
    I do believe it comes from pack behaviour, establishing and keeping their position in the hierarchy.
    To put it in a human form.
    Dog greets human. Human makes a fuss of dog. Another dog pushes its self between the two. It is saying, ‘I’m ha higher ranking dog than you,’ a lower ranking dog will stand back.
    Where food is concerned there is also the old survival instinct. If it’s edible eat it!
    Dogs always live in the house with me and I’m always fascinated by their behaviour but always aware – they dog me human !

  45. My golden retriever definitely gets jealous, whenever I cuddle up on the sofa with someone other than him, he tries toforce himself in between us or starts misbehaving in order to get attention.

  46. I think dogs do experience jealousy, but in a more attention seeking way than humans do. When my husband and I have a kiss and a cuddle on the settee our dog Cinders jumps up and tries to join in as if to say ‘Hey don’t leave me out!!’. So far we’ve not seen any other signs of jealousy – yet!!

  47. i have two dogs(Louie and Ash), Ash is small and hardy, doesn’t notice much emotion wise, Louie however is a GSD crossed with a pointer and is a huge nervous dog, he notices every mood change i have, he’s hugely protective of his owner my partner but is he jealous? I’m 95% sure it’s not jealousy, he still barks when we kiss, but i think this could be that he knows one of us is gonna leave or he still thinks after 4 years of us being together that i’m gonna harm his owner in some way. Also if my partner or myself are giving attention to Ash then we soon know about it as Louie will push Ash out of the way to get some like he’s starved of it.(we do give our dogs attention honest) I think thats need not jealousy though. I’m not 100% sure

  48. I agree that dogs do not feel guilt even though they can act it! It is a learned behaviour to our reactions and further actions.
    Jealousy is more complicated and I believe that dogs can show it within their pack. I own three dogs of the same breed. When I am cuddling up with one of them the others are trying to take his place by nipping and pushing into his place. Does not matter which dog I cuddle first, they all do it. As I allow my dogs on the sofa, sometimes the need of my attention turns into an male argument as they both want on my lap at the same time. Well, none of them will get any if they argue! As someone mentioned above it could be all related to pack hierarchy as I believe the two boys have not fully established their ranks within our pack. The female is a submissive one and I have to often remind the others that they are dogs and I am the leader and that they do as they are ask to!
    As for the experiments with commands and the food reward – well if I do not reward one of them he keeps looking round at the others as they are eating. I don’t think he is jealous but more like: “is mine coming? Where is it?”

    So are dogs jealous? In their own doggy ways yes. When compared to human emotions? Common..they are dogs with canine emotions not human.

  49. What do you have to say? Well; I would say that from what I have observed….Rikki is the jealous type. And I don’t think she cares who sees it or knows it. Some might call it overly protective….but altho her behavior may have that element; I see it more as a jealous thing.
    Example #1- If I am speaking to friends,strangers, etc. and she is there…in my room or out in a park…after a little while she gets antsy and starts whining to go. That is true even if there is another dog around. Along the same lines….if another dog is around; I have to be very careful not to give it too much attention…or if I am giving it attention; I better stop when Rikki comes by or else she will be none too subtle about trying to get the dog to move away or suffer the consequences.
    The best example is when we went to a friends house and there were about 12 or so people there….and his dog a pit bull male about 85 lbs. Rikki is about 55 to 60 lbs and is a black lab mix w/ pit bull. I had forgotten that when we were at his house a few weeks earlier….she took every oppty to get him away from the group….actually going after him to kick his ass if he didnt leave…luckily he was a male and suffered the indignity of having to stay in another room.
    Anyway its a few wks later and i forgot abt it….but Rikki didnt…..she immed went after him and kept him out on the fringes of the group the whole time. She never took her eyes off of him. I learned a long time ago that Rikki wants all the people for herself….she loves all people…even the mailman(he isnt convinced)I call her the will rogers of dogs…because of that…she does not share……so it would seem that if she is something….jealous would be 1 of the adjectives prominent to use to describe her behavior. Out in the park away from people….she is ok and plays with other dogs. But when they close to us….she looks to keep them away

  50. Not a very effective test they obviously should have tried banana!
    It’s about status and distraction not jealously. Some people think that dogs smile!? We just seem to like humanising them more and more. Dogs are clever no doubt but they’re not human and don’t think like us just have excellent adaptability.

  51. Yes, I do believe they feel jealousy. If I stop to talk to someone on our walks, our dog will stand there & wait for me. However, if I stroke their dog he will start barking, a woo woo woo bark.

    And guilt…..definitely. We have come in & gone to greet our dog & wondered why he’s skulking in his bed & just giving little, feeble wags of his tail instead of the exuberant greeting we normally get………then we see the contents of the bin all over the kitchen 😉

  52. When me and my husband cuddle if its not our daughter getting between us its Rexy our labrador and if we cuddle Bertie (other labrador) he gets very jealous and sulks, also if Rexy gets a cuddle she (yes Bertie is girl) gets very jealous and starts barking.
    So in answer to the question, yes they can feel jealously.

  53. I have 2 dogs and 2 cats.
    All live happily together.
    Tia, a german shepherd 6 years old and Dela a rottweiler who is 4. Stinky a rescue moggy 7 years and Ju a moggy is almost 2.
    My intial thought were yes! they get jealous but after reading all these comments maybe not???

    Tia my oldest (german shepherd) always nudges her nose in to get fussed, if i am fussing the cats and other dog. Which could show jealousy. Dela always nudges past the cats when i stoke them but never with my german shepherd.

    So although we all like think (as they are our little babies/children) that they are jealous like us humans.
    They are probably showing or making their ranking known in the pack.

  54. I believe that dogs do feel jealousy as Jasper who is a Labradinger was playing with his Dad and Sammy who is a Poodle tried to push in and Jasper attacked him and it was a bad one we had to rush Sammy to the vets as he had a bad bite to his front leg he had to have stitches in and a drain in we do not play with them with any of there toys in the house now.
    and have to make sure that if one is getting a cuddle the other one gets one aswell Sandie is old now and has athrites in his back legs so he does not play with toys any more but he likes a cuddle now and again but only if thjere is no one else there at the time

  55. No, I don’t think my dog, Star, gets jealous. We take care of my sister-in-law’s dog (Lily) 2 days a week and Star is very tolerant of her. (Star is 9 and Lily about 2). We make sure we give Star her biscuit/treat first as she is Top Dog to us, but I have seen no sign of jealousy from either dog. They play together, go walkies together etc.
    I would say, however, that dogs can grieve, show happiness, show us when they feel ill/down but I am yet to be convinced re jealousy.

  56. I have 3 dogs and if I fuss one of them, the other 2 come and try to push the first dog out of the way; when I am out walking with them, and a person fusses one dog, the others ARE jealous.

  57. I think human jealousy and canine resource guarding can seem very similar. To a dog any threat to its sense of status or a rival for the main ‘giver of all things’ (ie us) will result in a need to ‘defend’ what it percieves to be important, thereby resulting in frustrated or distracting behaviours in order to regain it’s sense of it’s security.
    The resulting vocal, destructive or defensive behaviours can seem very like our own definition of jealousy and the more an owner loves their dog and believes their dog ‘loves’ them, the
    more ‘ jealousy’ will be attributed to their dog’s behaviour.
    Being human and therefore very prone to ’emotional reasoning’
    makes it very hard to see outside our own perceptions when dealing with our dogs.

  58. What do you have to say?

    My dog Billy j, does get jealous, if me my husband and my son sit on the settee together, Billy tries to get in the middle of us.
    Also if we cuddle up together, he tries to separate us.

  59. yes oscar gets very jealous of dotty when oscar plays with his toys dotty wants you to play to and barks at you if you do not take notice when dotty is on your knee oscar is jealouse and barkes at you so you have to put her down so there is trouth about this dog know how to reacat all the time they are not daft!

  60. If it’s not jealosy,then it’s as close as you’ll ever get !
    Chico will force his attention on me when ever the grandkids come too close,or if I sit too close to the wife,and if we even try to cuddle you can look out.Attention seeking,maybe but it smacks of jealosy to me!!!!!

  61. I think dogs and cats can show they want the attention or they want the food but it doesn’t mean they are ‘jealous’ of the other animal or person receiving it.
    As for the dog who has been skulking on his bed after emptying the bin. He probably remembers the owners response last time he did it but I don’t think that can be construed as feeling guilty, more aware of a situation causing a bad response – I don’t mean any beating or similar but just not the happy upbeat response he normally expects on the owners return.

  62. I’m very sure dogs feel and show Jealousy. Our home is a hotel for 3 cats and 2 dogs all of which can be jealous towards each other.
    Louey our puppy will often whine and bite at our rottweiler if she is having a cuddle and he isn’t, now is this a pack behaviour or jealousy?
    Our cats often behave the same way, our older cat will push the other out of the way to gain affection…
    Who knows 🙂

  63. I think we like to attribute human emotions onto our dogs as it makes us feel we understand them better. With jealousy for example, which I have accussed Lizzie of showing, if our pet is jealous of another getting toy/treat/attention from us then that means the pet values us highly. This pleases us, so we are rewarded for that assumption.

    Same with guilt, if Fido feels guilty at least according to us, then he knows he has done wrong and caused us upset/annoyance. His guilt would mean he feels bad about making us feel bad. Again really valuing us. Feeding our ego.

    Lizzie is a rescue dog and is quite clingy to me. Lots of people have said she is jealous if not getting my full attention. In reality this may be her thinking about her own safety. But I know which I prefer to believe!

  64. Yes they get jealous.I have 2 Border collies and 3 Labs mum dad and son.When i get back after being out for awhile,there are 5 tails wagging and 5 very excited dogs.Bailey who thinks she is mine or i’m hers and that means nobody should be near me except her she will push the others away untill she has had the best stroke,cuddle etc..Then she will let the others see me.They all have there moments of being jealous and they all react differently,having 2 males means they will push and use there strength to get through if they feel left out.The 2 borders both female and old just sit back and wait,but they get jealous of each other.So yes dogs can get jealous

  65. yes my dog does get jealous when my grandchildren come round,he starts to rush about and gets every toy he owns out,he’s never nasty though,after a bit he goes off and refuses to come when called.After everybody has gone he will want lots of cuddles but will turn up his nose at his dinner,he eats it in the end when he knows we are in the other room,he can sulk for England!

  66. Dogs do not feel jealous, this is a human emotion. As much as we would like to think our dogs are just like us and know everything we say, do whatever – I personally believe that we over humanize animals all the time, pets in particular who have learned ways to react to our body language as the piece says.

    Dogs are fully grown functioning adults, they are not human and they are not our babies. Get over it!

  67. Competition, yes. Jealousy, no in my humble opinion.
    Yes, if I’m stroking one dog, another will try and nose their way in. That’s competition for my affection. The one that pushes in and gets ignored walks away and lies down. I don’t view that as jealousy, personally I view that as good manners.

    If you think of the same scenario with a toddler, if a child accepted the answer was no and walked away, we wouldn’t describe that as jealousy would we? No. We’d say Blimey what a calm well mannered child.

    Surely an instinctive animal such as a dog would react to such a strong emotion in a flash with either correction or a bite, not walking away?

    As stated in the article, humans can’t really define jealousy. It’s a peculiar thing that is different for each and every one of us. People act in very different ways when they are jealous, some people will kill, some will maim, some will say nothing and bottle it up. So until we get an actual scientific definition that says when we get jealous chemical A does this, chemical B goes here, there will never be a definitive answer to this question.

  68. I think that people look at dogs behaviour and try and put it into a human ‘box’, i think that dogs definately do behave in a way that we would percieve as jealously, but does this actually mean that they are feeling the emotion?? it is a tricky one especially as i myself definately describe my dogs in human emotive terms i.e. aww look she looks sad, she is sulking etc, but in relaistic terms she is just lay there knowing that if she behaves in a certain way she will get attention, so they could actually be gueniunely feeling the emotion or it could just be attention seeking or perhaps learnt behaviour!! food for thought!!

  69. I would certainly say, Pepe suffers with jealousy issues! he couldnt stand it when we had our pet ferret – he absolutely hated the fact that my two sons would spend time playing with her – and Pepe would actually go up to the cage – and make a really seriously silly noise – and would sulk! and he hasnt changed – he hates my two budgies!! with a vengance! i cannot talk to them, and fuss over them – without him making awful simpering noises! If Pepe was a human being, I would say, he definately suffers with jealousy issues!

  70. My dog definatly gets jealous. My mum has my dogs sister and when we meet up for walks if we give Ruby a fuss for too long Bella (our dog) nudges her out of the way and snaps at her. She then jumps up for her fuss. She is a Yorkie with attitude!

  71. I think dogs can feel jelousy.
    Zeus a a black lab mix and when he was a young puppy I couldn’t pet other dogs. Zeus was just pushing me away if I pay too much attention to other dogs.
    I know we put animals feelings in our perpective as human beings… but this behaviour is very similar to jelousy.

  72. What do you have to say?
    Although we have lost Ted to cancer now I would just like to say that I always thought he was jealous of our granddaughter when she first arrived on the scene. The look on his face the first time he saw me feeding her was one of utter disgust, but whether it was true jealousy or whether he thought his rank in the pack had dropped I don’t know.

  73. What do you have to say? I can’t speak for all dogs but my 2 dogs baileys and capone get very jealous of each other. They often sulk if the other one is getting attention from me and turn there head my I try to stroke them or get them involved. Capone is the younger one and very much the greedier one ( if fact he will pretty much eat anything) but if we give him something that Baileys doesn’t like she will sit there staring at us until she gets some then you can tell she’s forcing it down but she would rather eat something that she doesn’t like than let capone have it

  74. I don’t believe the ‘experiment’ in any way proves that dogs show jealousy. However, I do think my dog, Mya shows jealousy, as when another dog comes over to me Mya will stop whatever she’s doing and pusy herself between me and the other dog with a growl. There’s no food involved and Mya gets ignored for growling but the next time she’s there again making sure she gets the attention and not the other dog. It certainly seems like jealousy to me and I’m definately not one to humanise dogs!

  75. Most definitely dogs experience jealosy. Every single day my two dogs race down the stairs to see who will get closr to breakfast first, who will get out the door to go out first, who will get the first scrap of food in the kitchen when dad’s cooking, who will get the rawhide first….and don’t you know, they always want the one the other one has. They fight over who will get to greet dad when he comes home from work first, and so on and so on!

    According to Wikipedia, at least one meaning of jealousy is “the state of fear or suspicion about losing something or someone important.” Need I say more?

  76. I think dogs do get jealous. My daughter has a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel called Charley. If me or my husband cuddle Sam (our daughter) Charley will try and jump in the middle of us until we have finished our cuddle then he will jump on Sam’s knee and cuddle up to her and lick her face and just looks at me or my husband as if to say “see she’s mine not yours” and sometimes we swear he has a grin on his face. H e has quite a few things he gets jealous about if we are doing anything with Sam, his mummy.

  77. No I don’t think dogs experience jealousy. Once again people are trying to align human emotions with animal reactions . The research is definitely in need of further experimentation, using different groupings and different rewards may well lead to other outcomes. This needs to be tested before sensible conclusions can be arrived at.

    Yes, if i stroke one of my dogs the others will come close and each will try to be the one closest to me but I don’t believe this is a sign of jealousy.

  78. Yes I do think that dogs can get jealous and I have seen this more or less on a daily basis….. I rescued a medium sized dog last year and already had Rebel the gsd/border collie cross. Straight away he showed dominance and proved he was the leader. Since then if i call the name of the other dog, Rebel will come running over to see what it is that I want the other dog for. If I give Toby a fuss and cuddles, then Rebel will come bouncing over to me, and pushes Toby out of the way. It’s the same when I am giving them scraps of food that was left over from the meal, he will push in front to get the food first before Toby can get any. If I get Rebel to sit away from Toby before giving them the food, he inches closer very slowly so he is right next to Toby.

  79. My dog bandit appears to show jealousy, but i think it is probably more to do with doggy pack stuff.

    If my partner and I are sitting on the sofa the dog will come and try to wedge himself between our legs. He will also be quite content snoozing on his bed but as soon as the cat comes in for a fuss he is up and nudging my leg wanting to be fussed to…

  80. What do you have to say?
    i don’t believe it is wise to humanise dogs. i believe they have their own set of emotions, which are similar to ours but not to the same degree. we like to think that our dogs are jealous of attention our partner shows us, of each other getting attention, etc because it makes us feel loved, wanted and special.but are they really? surely if a dog is jumping up between two people who are showing each other affection are they not picking up on the good body language vibes and just wanting some of the action? thats not the same as being jealous. a well socialised dog would not be capable of being jealous as he would have been taught that sharing, being part of a whole is a good thing. jealousy in humans stems from insecurity and a lack of confidence. the same two conditions in a canine would trigger dominance and/or aggression. this could easily be misconstrued as jealousy but i dont believe it is the same thing.

  81. They do behave jealous.
    Joeye, our oldest pitbull female is a very jealous dog. We recently got another pitbull, Dixie, she is about 3 months old, and whenever we play with Dixie, Joeye will push her out of the way so that she can get all the attention. She is very jealous, but she doesn’t get aggressive or anything like that, she will just push her way in so that she can get the attention. So yes, when it comes to giving / getting attention, then they can be jealous. Madox, our male pitbull is not like this at all. he couldn’t care less, he is on his own mission, but Joeye wants to be the centre of attention

  82. I think previous correspondents have covered doggy reactions pretty well, and my dogs fit the pattern already described. I think it’s jealousy, but I’m not a canine psychologist. I just try to treat them both as equally as I can, and enjoy their wonderful company.

  83. we have really got to stop humanizeing dogs, they are dogs if we really respected them or loved them we would take time to understand them and read them. if a boss wants some paper work, being the boss its his every right to have it, if a high ranking dog wants the treat he feels its his every right to have it and as dogs are alway challageing and always asking he needs to keep up to show the other being human or dog that he is still boss = eating food first playing when he wants and attention when he wants. this is why we need to take that pressure of these poor animals treat them as dogs and respect them for it. they HAVE to live in our twisted world and they have adapted to it, lets do something for them and stop treating them as humans. and be a leader for your dog.

  84. Harvey and Isolde
    Yes I do think jealousy is part of the survival instinct that all animals possess. It seems to me to be closely related to maintaining one’s rank in the pack pecking order. By that I mean that if some other member is receiving attention from alpha members, i.e. the human members of the pack; it could be said this threatens the onlooker’s position. Also, when a dog has taken it upon himself/herself to “own” a human, it is quite obvious that any outsider’s attention to that person is met with the dog’s aggrssive protectiveness which I think is fueled by jealousy as well as a strong sense of competition. And finally, depending on circumstances, a dog’s changing deamenour suggests he is feeling specific emotions. So, to me there is no reason why jealousy would not be one of these if the right situation provoking it arises.

  85. What do you have to say? yes i do think dogs get jealous. i have a 2 year old chocolate lab, she gets very jealous if the family cats sits by me or if my partner sits by me . she will nudge cats with her nose to they get off my lap and will keep trying to get between me and my partner . so with what i witness i would say dogs can get jealous!

  86. I agree with many of the above posters that dogs do appear to experience jealousy. We have three and if one is getting attention, the others will want it too. One of them (the most dominant of the three) will try to push the others out of the way so that she gets all of the attention (though we don’t let her).

    Another example is over toys, sticks, etc. One of our dogs and a doggy friend of hers will be completely disinterested in a stick until the other dog wants it and then they will suddenly want it more than anything. When the other dog loses interest in the stick, so do they. The same goes for toys, one of our dogs will always want the toy that another dog has got, regardless of how many she has of her own. They are very much like children.

    As for the guilt complex, I disagree with the article. Our dog acts guiltily before we realise she has done something naughty. It’s often only her behaviour which alerts us to the fact that something is amiss and then we find the evidence (such as the frying pan on the worktop having been licked clean).

  87. i think that george feels somethink im not sure it is jealousy tho, i think it is that when there is someone elses involved that they do not get as much attention, my daughter has just had a baby, when we talk to the baby in a baby voice george immeadiatley tries to jump up on your knee to take the attention away form the baby, i think it is excitment because of the tone in your voice, and the not knowing why your talking that way. i am not sure weather its jealousy of just the way he interprets the tone.

  88. My little Yorkie, Eliot, gets jealous everytime a child sits on my lap. He tries to scratch them away and wont stop til they do. When the child moves away he sits directly on my lap so no-one can sit on me again.

  89. Taffy doesn’t care for Dogs. She will quickly inspect/smell them but they are Not allowed the same privilege. If I speak to another dog while holding Taffy and then speak to her she will turn her face as far away from my gaze as possible and refuses to look me in the eyes until I apologize for talking to the other dog. This is only one of many consistant behaviors she has exhibited since approx. her 1st birthday. Taffy is very well trained by me and our depth of interaction or mutual understanding surprises many. I’ve enjoyed watching many famous dogs over the years, like Skidboot and many others, and I know that repetition in our everyday life reflects in the actions and behavior of our pets. How can you not believe that a dog could learn about jealousy and other normal human traits simply by observing us because you know that they watch every move of every muscle that we make and that’s how they know exactly how we feel at any given time and why they can anticipate our actions. As a disabled person I get to spend much more time with Taffy than I ever could have in my working days so I feel like I have an unfair advantage over most pet owners who go to work every day and that’s another reason I feel so strongly about this subject, There is simply No way for a scientific experiment to assimilate a learned Human behavior in a Dog. That takes a much more personal bond to create and is not as simple as learning to shake or speak? It really depends on the stimuli and the well rounded or happy lifestyle our pets grow up in. If you don’t believe me just ask Taffy!
    If You Only Knew What Your Dog Could Do!
    Sadly most of us never get to see their full potential because we are too busy and that really is A Crying Shame.
    Thanks: Robert & Taffy

  90. trixie my puppy is jealous even at such a young age if my nephew comes with his puppy ,who happens to be trixies sister when i go to pick my nephews dog up trixi comes over and trys to get on my knee also so yes dogs do get jealous.

  91. yes i do think dogs do get jealous our cassie is a daddys girl and if she is up beside him on the couch @ anyone goes near him for a cuddle she nudges her way in between them she is terrible and if he shows any affection to our other dog or cats they get nudged out the road as well

  92. Mitch can get jealous, if my hubby and I decide to have a cuddle on the sofa Mitch always tries to join us, he gets jealous and starts whingeing when he discovers there isn’t enough room for him. He is great with other animals, he will play with anything that has fur or feathers and also tries to play with fish in the neighbours pond. He is great with children, loves playing ball and is very gentle, but he hates it when I cuddle up to hubby or give a friend a cuddle.

  93. Well I have Jude (rotty), Bird (GS) and Libby (whippet) and I would say the only time they get jealous is over their weekly treat and in fact I believe it’s possessiveness not jealousy. Meal times – not bothered, walk times – not bothered, cuddling times – mostly not bothered although Bird is a recent rescue and rather insecure. What does bother them – BONES – you got a bone, I want it, I know I’ve got one but I want yours too………….. anyone with children knows this scenario. End of the day as long as each and every one of your pets receives equal time and effort from you then ‘job’s an good un’.

  94. I think dogs can become jealous but not necessarily over food. For example when we take my dog over to my nans, who has a puppy, he would get frustrated because the puppy would get more attention than he would. But I definitely believe they can feel and express the emotion of jealousy and also a number of other human emotions. I believe that all animals feel emotion in some way or another but not necessarily in the same way that people experience the same emotions.

  95. What do you have to say?

    Of course dogsget jealous, I got 2 German Shepherds dogs, who are 5 years old they are brother and sister from the same litter, we got them since they wee a month old.
    Tammy gets very jealous of Toby if he gets more attention than her, My husband seems to like Toby more thanTammy for some reason he says is because Tammy always pushes Toby away so she can get all the attention. But i have notice that if my husband pays more attention to Toby and send Tammy away while Toby gets the fuss she is always waiting for him in the hall, and waits for Toby as soon my husband finishes fussing Toby he send him away and what happends she grabs Toby by the neck , sometimes is a gentle grab but in other occasion she pulls his hairs. (Poor Toby he is ever so gentle) When i fuss both together at the same time there is no arguments between then two. as i threat both the same i love them so much.

  96. I would say that Mischa is a VERY jealous dog. We are at present staying with my son who has Mischa’s brother, Bailey. If I or my husband show any attention to Bailey, Mischa attacks him. Similarly, when Bailey has a ball, Mischa does everything in her power to take it from him and she will then sit with it between her paws, goading him to try and take it back. We gave them both a chewy bone yesterday and Mischa dropped hers and took Bailey’s off him then went back to her own and sat with them both between her paws.

  97. Well we have a 6month old Staffordshire Bull terrier bitch (Tia) and all i can say is that whenever my husband is giving either one, or both of our children who are 3yrs and 6yrs, a cuddle on his lap, Tia wimpers and tries to jump up as well and push the children off. Whenever we go to my sister-in-laws house, who has a fourch terrier (westie x yorkie) called Yogi, Tia tries to be the centre of attention getting the strokes from all humans in her company. She’s not aggressive if you pay her no attention but she does let you know that she’s not happy by making this wimpery,whining sort of noise and wagging her tail like mad. Now i would say this is like a jealousy type of behaviour but thats because i am human and don’t speak Dog, maybe there’s another explanation for this….who knows.

  98. You know, I wrote a comprehensive answer to this and then had the system say my e-mail was rejected. I’d make this second reply simple: the “scientists” cited are quite worrisome. I don’t know who does a behavioral study about food rewards and calls it a jealousy study. The non-professionals who answered the question here have all hit the question on the nose by giving examples of jealousy over AFFECTION. And, by definition, that’s what jealousy most acutely is: the perception that someone is taking affection you think should be yours. We see it in dogs all the time. What bozo needed to do a study? And then tried to do it with food? Wow.

  99. My opinion is that it’s all about wanting to be part of a pack. The best pack too. Best pack = better food/protection etc. = higher survival rate.

    Dog’s know when they’re onto a good thing. so if they are in a good ‘pack’ in a home environment, they will always be fighting to keep there place. In terms of attention seeking, being ignored instinctively means vulnerability to pack animals. Alone, they have no food, no protection. So when they see others receiving attention, they want to make sure they are not forgotten and will still receive the benefits of the pack. Dog’s don’t live with or help stranger’s as a natural trait.

    Food is the signifier of the leader. Dog’s will fight over food, even if they don’t want it, in the sheer fact to make a point. As for doing tricks for food next to the other dog etc. all I can say about that is BENEFIT, a word I use a lot when talking about the relationship dog’s have with humans. A dog will only do something when it seem’s to be of benefit to themselves. Even if they don’t receive a treat for a trick, there reward is knowing they get to stay in the pack with you, get dinner every night, somewhere dry to sleep, and stay alive and healthy!

    and I can’t believe they compared dogs to chimps lol. where did that come from??

  100. i have been reading your article and all the posts that people have put up and to be honest these “So called scientists” should find a new job….
    I have a bull mastif and he is called lewis, and he gets jelous.. NOT over food.. but over affection. If you are showing another dog, or even another person affection that he is not getting then he will try to push them out of the way until he has your undivided attention.
    Lewis being a bigger dog has always had the ability to push smaller dogs out of they way.. all because they are getting something that he wants… Your love.
    With the whole guilty part., that i do not believe.. Lewis know when he has done wrong, for example:- When he has chewed my favourite cardigan up, i come home and he is already hiding… Its not that he is feeling guilty at all it the fact that i am alpha in my house and he knows that he has done wrong. But i will say that looking at lewis i do see alot of human tendancies in him… Compasion, empathy, with adults and children. etc. but this could be from all the training that he has had or this could just be inside him. who is to tell? But hey i know my dog.. You know yours.. Scientist only know what they think is best!!! or do they?

  101. yes i feel dogs feel emense jealousy as i just experienced it just the other week when my 7 month old nephew came to visit and i have a 4 month old labador Blake. I was nursing baby Noah when Blake was annoyed that i was paying more attentio to the baby rather than him,he came over and tried to sit on top of me even though the bay was still on my knee he whinned and you could see he was jealous,so in the end i give in and passed the child back to his mum and nursed Blake instead.

  102. I believe that dogs DO get jealous. I studied jealousy in dogs as my third year research project as a psychology student in 2006, so the study of jealousy in canines is NOT new!!! My research findings were presented at an international level and were later published. My work involved studying different behaviours in context and included video clips and interviews with 40 dog owners.
    If anybody would like any further details please feel free to contact me via this forum.

  103. my dogs act in a way that make’s me think they do experiance from this emotion. when im feeding them treats one after another and i miss one out the other’s actions changed in a way that makes me think they do.

  104. I have read your article and i find it very intresting. I have a 9 year old Lab called Ingrid, Ingrid is a retired guide dog so she has been trained to highest of standerds. Ingrid shows some jealousy but not over her food or if my partner and myself are sharing a cuddle, ingrid gets jealous over her favourite toy a solid red ball, not only does she not like any other dog to play with it but she also becomes possesive over it. I belive not only dogs can feel emotion but all animals can.

  105. We have three dogs, a Brindle Pit Bull mix, named Hardy, a deaf American Bulldog/Pit bull, named Pinky and a Labrador Retriever pup named Baba Looey. If you are in a room, any room and you pet or scratch one dog, the other two will quickly realize that someone is getting attention and they aren’t. So they come over and butt in to be petted and or scratched. Actual pushing blocking and shoving goes on to get their turn at attention. Another example is Pinky. If any dog other than one of his “brothers’ sits on my lap and I pay too much attention to it, he will get down right nasty and bite the offender and try to get it off of my lap. None of this has anything to do with “rewards”. It’s all about attention and who’s getting it. I firmly believe dogs have feelings and emotions. I agree that some people make the mistake of thinking that dogs think like humans…and therefore get upset when they do something totally doggy like attack and kill that baby raccoon in the backyard. A dog may not think like a human but make no mistake a dog can think. ;o)

  106. Yes, I do believe that dogs feel some type of emotional jealousy. Having worked with animals for 25+ years and having pets of my own I have seen this behaviour many times. My 2 dogs have very different tastes and if I’m eating something that one likes then he or she will stay right by me hoping for a piece while the other one will just go lie down somewhere. But, if I start to pet one dog and show affection then the other one is right in there trying to push his way in. I have seen this happen with the boarding dogs at the vet clinic I work at where the dogs are allowed to be free with us while we are there. If myself or another staff member start to show affection to 1 dog then the whole gang is pushing and shoving to get in on the petting and there is no food involed. So,yes I do believe that dogs feel some type of emotion very similar to what we as humans call jealousy.

  107. Humans feel jealous when someone has got something they want, whether it’s status, power, attention, possessions, achievement etc. I doubt if there is such a thing as human emotion, except possibly idealised romantic love. Our emotions are our animal side. Where we differ from other species is the way we use our brains, our capacity for abstract thought, our outstanding technical ability and capacity for innovation, and our monumental and self-destructive stupidity.

  108. I totally agree with Ryan, jealousy is a human trait and does not manifest itself in dogs. I would add to his comments on the experiment that if the dogs have been fed does the lure of food diminish and therefore disprove the findings of the good doctor. For those who doubt this, look at any dog class. If a dog is hungry it will work for food reward however, if dog is not hungry you will often find the dog will not work. In other words if both dogs are hungry are they not showing a desire to survive by sourcing food and they will display behaviour they believe will achieve that objective. Ryan is also correct when he states that believing this is jealousy is harmless, except if you want to correct or change this behaviour in a dog, you first have to identify the stimulus and the reward the dog is reacting to because it is the manipulation of the stimulus or reward which will correct or change it. So if you mis identify the cause you will not be able to correct the behaviour.

  109. I believe dogs have and show emotion. they do show sadness, they also no when their owners are ill and try to comfort them, I know this from personal experience. I have a pack of four dogs and if I show a brother more affection than the other brother , up goes the hackles and it could cause a full blown fight if I am not on my toes and read the body language quick enough. Sometimes it is just a show of dominance, such as my boy dogs will not allow their sister on the fron porch, so now in retatiation , she will not allow them on the back porch. they both have their territories. Yet when I am outside working horses they will lay in a triangle with their backs turned outward in a very protective mode. they were not trained to do this, but I am their pack leader who is to be protected. If I get hurt , they are the first to come and try to get me back on my feet. They do show emotion and I believe jealousy is a part of it..

  110. Trouble is my 1st rescue dog Feb.14 will be 13 years i have had him, he is not a jealous dog. He was a dump out and he has accepted every dog i have brought home. He is the one thats takes care of all the others….washing their face, getting fleas off,ect…. but i do have some that are jealous of my attention, i do my best to give each one their own attention daily. My german shepherd on the other hand can not rest due to following me everywhere i go…and i mean everywhere, i have 7 dogs and 3 cats and they pretty much all get alone with each other

  111. Observant owners and behaviourists have observed that many (but not all) dogs have an acute sense of “fair” and that they are perfectly capable of expressing dissatisfaction when, as in the example above, the other dog gets a reward or attention while they do not. As you wrote, jealousy is a complex emotion that’s hard to define and even harder to quantify, but at it’s core it could be articulated as an acute sensation of, “not fair!” If you agree with this primary definition of jealousy – then, I argue, some dogs do indeed feel – and express, jealousy.

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