People who raise at least two dogs are really faced with so-called pet jealousy. Many owners will tell you which dog is more jealous and which is „more liberal“, although it is generally accepted that jealousy is a unique human trait. Still, research shows that dogs really feel jealous. In this article you will find out what you can do if your Aussie suddenly shows jealous behavior.
Researchers divide emotions into two categories – primary and secondary:
- Basic emotions like fear, anger, disgust, joy or surprise are considered universal.
- And secondary ones like guilt, shame, or jealousy require more complex cognitive processes.
Being Jealous – What Does That Actually Mean?
Jealousy can have many different forms. It usually caused by a mixture of feelings, such as fear of loss, mistrust, frustration and insecurity. Jealousy usually arises when another animal or human receives something that the dog would like to have itself at that moment. This can be food, toys, cuddle or just attention. It is often the case that owners face this problem when they get another pet, the new partner or a baby.
When a dog is jealous, it usually tries to attract the full attention of its beloved owner. This can be done by barking and howling, but also by continuously licking or jumping up. The supposed competitor (human or animal) is either completely ignored or kept at a distance by growling and other threatening gestures.
How Do Dogs Show Jealousy?
Dogs are characterized by jealous behaviors such as squatting, pushing or barking at an opponent. Such a persistent attempt to „show up“ is more common when the owner interacts with another dog than when reading a book or talking on the phone. In addition, dogs may attempt to break the connection between the owner and a potential competitor (usually expressed by subtle or more pronounced signs of dissatisfaction with such an interaction).
Some dogs, barely seeing the other dog get the attention, try to intervene between him and the owner. Others try to divert attention – carrying a ball, barking or running. The third sits down and touches the person, trying to show that „this person is mine, stay away“. Sometimes there are attempts to encircle or bite an opponent.
How Do You Stop a Dog From Being Jealous?
There are number of ways to deal with dog jealousy, but the choice of punishment is not recommended. Physically correcting a jealous dog‘s behavior can provoke an attempt to defend himself or a directed bite. Also, if a jealous dog knows he will be punished when he approaches another, he is even more worried about the other dog‘s presence.
So how to behave best?
- It is useful to train both dogs to lie down after the command. This dissipates tension, is a good control workout, and helps prevent problems in homes where multiple dogs live.
- Another way is to remove the thing that the jealous dog wants for the most, in example the attention of the owner. As soon as the animal somehow subtly expresses envy, the owner stands up and leaves. When the owner‘s attention is lost, the dogs will have nothing to compete with. After a while, the jealous dog will realize that his behavior is leading to a loss of attention from the owner and episodes of jealousy should decrease.
- Another way is to get used to the jealousy that good things happen when another dog approaches (he gets attention, treats, toys). If there is no other dog nearby, the jealous is ignored.
Obviously, if dogs have tried seriously to fight for human attention, they will have to be kept separate and work with professionals. Although research suggests that dogs have basic, primary forms of jealousy, the data are not yet definitive. What seems to us as jealousy or elementary storage of resources may be something else.
It is important that you never reward jealous behavior. If your Aussie acts disrespectfully seeking your attention, for example by barking excessively or jumping, you must ignore this. Disregard him if he does not adhere to the rules of conduct that have been established. In such situation, it‘s best to send him on his blanket or to his place. Only when he has calmed down you can invite him.
Jealousy Between Two Dogs
Jealousy between two dogs – how to create harmony at home? Well, if you decided to get a second dog, jealousy problems can arise. Many dogs react jealousy to the addition of the new family member, because they do not want to share the love and affection of their owner with anyone else. Therefore, make sure to pay the same amount of attention to both animals right from the start.
The first meeting of the two dogs should take place in a neutral place. To get to know each other, it can be very helpful to spend a few enjoyable hours in the fresh air with both animals. It is best to take the animals for a long walk. Make sure that both animals can really let off their energy and get to know each other before going home. There may still be some small, mostly harmless fights over the rating in the coming days. However, it is your duty to introduce them properly from the beginning and to show that they are both equal, there are rules at home and they must follow them.
Are Dogs Jealous of Babies?
Yes, sometimes this happy moment of bringing a new family member home could put your Australian Shepherd in a stressful situation. He is confronted with many new noises and unfamiliar smells. Understandably, you now have a little less time to spend with your dog. However, some people make a mistake as soon as they bring the newborn home, they do not allow the dog anything. They no longer spend time with the dog, no games anymore and doesn‘t pay attention at all. And this is a mistake, so if you have a newborn, do not forget about your dog and his needs, you should love him like you did before, otherwise he may become jealous of the baby.
Make it clear to your dog that the baby is no competition for them
Here are couple examples:
- Spend some time together, take your baby and dog for a walk every day.
- Speak loving words to your pet and throw them a treat from time to time while you hold your child in your arms.
- The baby is asleep and you can enjoy a few minutes? This is the perfect time to give your dog a short mental training!
Just prove your dog that there is no reason to be jealous and that he will not have to fight for your attention in the future. If you follow this advice, a wonderful friendship between baby and dog will develop within a few months!
Dealing With Undesirable Behavior
Pets that are constantly bored often shows undesirable behaviors such as jealousy or even aggression towards other dogs or people. Therefore make sure that you give enough exercises and mental challenges for your Aussie.
In addition, dogs must understand the rules for the coexistence of humans and animals. That is why most veterinarians suggest to start training from early age. With attention the same, puppies should understand that they cannot be the focus of attention all day. Let him know that there are times when you do something with other people without him being here.
And do not encourage this behavior. For example, do not allow your puppy to bark or even push in between you when you are cuddling other pets. You should enforce these rules of conduct with loving consistency so that jealousy does not even become an issue.
Owners who do not know the problem from their own experience may smile about it. But it‘s true, dogs can also be jealous. Make sure to not encourage this behavior and if there is a new family member – love him like you did before!