Do you think dogs/pets feel the emotion "jealousy"?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by thebritt, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. thebritt

    thebritt Songster

    Mar 5, 2009
    Humboldt County
    We've recently (2 1/2 weeks ago) added a now 13 1/2 week old puppy to our family and pack of 5 (now 6) dogs. He's really a great little guy and seems to get along with everyone. He's easily "put in his place" by our older dogs. My DD and DH think our Pom is "jealous", as they say he seems broody and withdrawn. But the Woo (Pom) has always been what DD calls "emo" (emotonal). I almost always bring Woo and Solomon (pup) to work with me, but didn't yesterday because I had too many things going on after work that were not dog-friendly. When I got home, I asked DH "How's Woo?". He said "Obviously depressed", so I called Woo outside. Solomon came too, and the other dogs were out. Woo barked his happy bark and ran around, even play-bowing to the pup. Our GP and the others joined in, with Blue (12 yr old beagle/heeler) doing that goofy tucked-tailed gallop in circles around us, with Solomon in hot pursuit. It was all hilarious! Woo was as happy as he gets.
    So what do you think? Do dogs/pets get jealous, or is there some other term or description for that emotion?

    BTW - I've taken college level courses in human psychology and ethology (animal behavior), and both disciplines seem to lean towards "no such thing" in animals, but I'm one of those people who is open to the debate.
  2. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    I don't know that they truly feel the emotion, but they DO obviously recognize when another pet is getting the attention that they want so they act out somehow to get back in the limelight.

    When I'm playing fetch with my Lab, the Chow will go rub on DH to demand attention that she's not getting from me. We say that she's jealous, but spoiled is probably more acurate. [​IMG]
  3. bock

    bock Songster

    Oct 10, 2008
    Northern CA
    I think they do get jealous. When I am sitting with my wiener dog mix on the couch, my lab mix sometimes just stares with those puppy eyes as I give Sabrina a good petting. Then I call Sugar over, and she seems very happy, as long as you pet her constantly. [​IMG] I think Sugar is jealous of Sabrina because little dogs are allowed on the couch, big dogs are not. I wish so much I could let Sugar come up, but my mom HATES dog hair. So I think Sugar will just have to live with her jealousy. [​IMG]
  4. Brindlebtch

    Brindlebtch Songster

    Apr 15, 2009
    Yes. I think mammals experience a wider range of emotions than we give them credit for.
  5. Ema

    Ema Songster

    Jun 4, 2010
    N. Ontario CANADA
    I am going to say absolutely yes....we've got 5 dogs and we have dealt and still deal with this, in fact its at the point we are not sure how to deal with it anymore. Its just one dog that is like that and its like he doesn't know how to share. We used to have a pom and when we had a baby he got super jealous, and would just lay on the couch and stare at us while holding the baby and he would huff and puff, it was almost so he learned to accept it, and he was great up until he passed away. but with this one well we are thinking if it doesn't get better soon he might have to be put down, he shows it with kids, other animals and adults alike, I don't know, the vet says to give him more time, buts been a year and half now...and it only seems to be getting worse. I have been told repeatedly that eventually it will turn to agression and he is not a small boy 130lbs and he is still underweight keep that in mind. He is a King sheppard st. bernard mix, he listens to me, but he does nto listen to the kids or my husband at all. So I can imagine if he got agressive it would not be with me but with either the kids, another animal in the house or my husband. So I have been watching him very closely. I love him to death, he is super sweet with me, but way too protective of me aswell, which most of the time I would say its a great thing, but in this case not so much!!
  6. thebritt

    thebritt Songster

    Mar 5, 2009
    Humboldt County
    Quote:I agree, I'm just not sure about jealousy. In a pack situation, everyone wants positive reinforcement from the leader, but I don't know if the low animal not getting the attention, or food, or toy is actually "jealous" so much as just recognizing it's not getting what it wants because it's lower on the totem pole [​IMG] . When the other dogs are around, I'm sure to pet and recognize them first. Solomon sits back and pretty much waits his turn. If he tries to horn in on the others, he gets a lifted lip and a little growl from whichever other dog is offended and he backs off.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
  7. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer Premium Member

    May 11, 2010
    Of course they feel jealous emotions. That is how they defend their position in the pack/flock/herd. I try to recognize the order and distribute food and attention according each member's status. All members of my pack/flock/herd respect my status/space as I am number one. Try giving food first to the lowest member of the pack/flock/herd and you will have a fight on your hands!
  8. BC_Farms

    BC_Farms Songster

    Jan 20, 2010
    Enfield & Chaplin CT
    I think it's more of a pack thing than the human feeling of jealousy.
  9. bock

    bock Songster

    Oct 10, 2008
    Northern CA
    Quote:I have never had to deal with a dog like yours, but I think he just needs some training. Try reading Cesar Mulans book, he can rehabilitate just about any dog. I hope your dog can get better! [​IMG]
  10. Jamie_Dog_Trainer

    Jamie_Dog_Trainer Songster

    Jul 8, 2008
    Washington State
    Quote:I think it's very easy to term behaviors to our own emotions because we are comfortable with the terms. Sometimes it is, for example, easiest to say "my dog is spiteful" because he or she chewed up the remote or a pair of underwear while you left for the day. Or "my dog is jealous" when pack structure is changed suddenly.

    We all understand what jealousy feels like and looks like, we all understand spiteful feelings. Because a dog's behavior can seem jealous or spiteful doesn't mean that it is. WE are ONLY seeing the outward and most obvious signs of the problem. Most people are too unobservant to see the scenario as a whole.

    I don't think that dogs get jealous as a normal emotion. I don't think dogs are spiteful. However...LOL I will say I have seen dogs, in certain situations, have reactions that I cannot explain other than with those good old familiar terms. I think that there are some dogs who may feel these things from time to time. Though I don't think it is normal or common.

    Dogs are very uncomfortable, for the most part, with change in pack structure. A new dog in the house is usually more traumatic than a new human. Dogs, being individuals, will always react in some way. Sometimes dramatic behavior changes sometimes in ways we don't even see. Some dogs are naturally comfortable with their leadership and dont' take too much "offense" to a new dog in the house. While other, more insecure dogs, will take a huge notice and act out of character, more "needy" and controlling to the regular members of the pack.

    Dogs will manipulate humans to get what they need. Does your dog need security? Yes, well he might start to act sickly or lethargic because in the past that has gotten him needed attention and therefore, control, over an uncomfortable time. Your dog might be reacting to you more or less friendly because they sometimes just try and get closer with their older pack members. Its easier to glom onto something familiar than to deal with something new.

    I think that I take issue (not with the OP personally) with the idea of these feelings because in explaining away behavior with those terms we fail to really address the problem. Its easy to say "yeah my dog just chewed my remote because he was angry at me for leaving him" than to say "why did my dog do this and what can i do to make sure it doesn't happen again?". Making the dog take responsibility for the so-called emotion takes the responsibility off our shoulders. People do this with children to. [​IMG]

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