A new study shows that dogs can feel jealousy:
A study by scholars at the University of California, San Diego found that dogs showed jealous behaviors when their owners displayed affection toward an animatronic stuffed dog that barked, whined and wagged its tail. The dogs snapped at and pushed against the stuffed dog and tried to get between it and the human.
“These results lend support to the hypothesis that jealousy has some ‘primordial’ form that exists in human infants and in at least one other social species besides humans,” the study said.
Although most animals clearly demonstrate primal emotions such as anger or fear, studies have been less conclusive in determining whether dogs are capable of more complicated feelings such as guilt or shame, Bekoff said.
But research has shown that dogs do understand when they’re being treated unfairly, he said.
“Dogs are really keen social observers,” Bekoff said.
I think anyone who has owned (or owns) a pooch of their own probably knew this long before this study was published. My dog (Dexter) doesn’t even have to witness the contact of another dog, before he sniffs me and gives me the eye. He also tries to interject himself between me and my wife if we cuddle too long without including him. We will sit on the couch and eat dinner, which is fine with him. He’ll lay on the floor and watch us. After dinner, he will leave us alone for maybe ten minutes, before trying to fit his fat ass up on the couch with us. My wife usually takes the brunt of it, as she tries desperately to remove herself from beneath the dog.
You see, there is a natural order to things, according to Dexter. The one side of the couch is his. He’s always laid there and when I share the couch, he often lays on my chest. He’s done this since he was small enough to almost fit in the palm of my hand.
No one else can lay there unmolested – including his mommy.
If one of the girls try to sit there, he will try to get up on the couch and continually press his wet nose to the side of their face. He’ll give them the puppy eye or try to make them uncomfortable enough to leave.
For me, it’s sort of humorous to watch, but it’s a form of jealousy in my opinion. Dexter wouldn’t hurt a fly, but that doesn’t stop him from making his feelings known.
We also have two cats, and they don’t exhibit the same sort of behavior. I wonder if cats are capable of jealousy. I’m thinking they might be capable of it, but less prone to feeling or acting on the emotion.
Do you have any stories about your pooch acting jealous? Or any other animal for that matter?