Do Dogs Feel Jealousy?

If it seems like our dog is giving you the cold paw after you’ve shown some love to another dog, it might not be your imagination according to Research has shown dogs feel love and affection, but more complicated emotions like embarrassment and guilt aren’t easy to do. But, scientists have found evidence suggesting that dogs could actually feel jealousy.

A recent study done at the University of California, San Diego suggests that dogs feel jealousy. The study was performed by having humans engage with three different objects in front of their dogs: a children’s book, a plastic jack-o-lantern, and a realistic looking stuffed dog that moved and made sound reported The results show that, when the human was paying more attention to the fake dog than their dogs, they were much more engaged and more likely to show behaviors pushing their owner or the stuffed dog, trying to get in between them, barking, biting, and whining. These behaviors were not as shown as much with the other items.

“The dogs acted jealous when their owners petted the stuffed dog and talked sweetly to it as if it was real, although they displayed less such behavior when the owner showered attention on the pumpkin or read aloud from the children’s book, which had pop-up pages and played melodies.” reported CNN. The study suggests, the dogs’ jealousy was triggered by social interaction and not merely by their owners’ ignoring them for an inanimate object.

“Either jealousy is less complicated because animals show it, or animals are more complicated than we thought,” stated Laurie Santos, director of the Canine Cognition Center at Yale University, Connecticut.