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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-25-2014, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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Jealousy in dogs

Just saw this article and want to know if anyone has experienced jealousy with their Havs...

Dogs Experience Jealousy
Jealousy appears to be a primordial emotion seen not only in humans, but in other animals as well
Jul 23, 2014 |By Charles Q. Choi and LiveScience
Jealous Dog

New findings support the view that jealousy is seen not only in humans, but in other animals such as dogs as well.
Credit: patchattack via Flickr

Man's best friend does not like anything muscling in on that friendship. The first experimental test of jealousy in dogs shows that canines nip even at stuffed pooches when these fakes take away the attention of the dogs' owners.

This new findings support the view that jealousy is a primordial emotion seen not only in humans, but in other animals as well, researchers said. The results also show that jealousy does not require especially complex minds, the scientists said.

Understanding jealousy is an important matter, because of the damage this emotion can trigger. "Jealousy is the third-leading cause of non-accidental homicide across cultures," said lead study author Christine Harris, an emotion researcher at the University of California, San Diego.

It is commonly assumed that jealousy is unique to humans, in part because of the complexity of thought the emotion entails, such as gauging what threat a rival poses to a relationship. The vast majority of research on jealousy concentrates on romantically linked jealousy over potential or actual infidelity. [Lie, Cheat & Steal: The 10 Most Destructive Human Behaviors]

However, scientists have argued for years over whether jealousy does require complex minds. In addition, researchers have noted jealousy is not always about sex, with the emotion frequently concerning siblings, friends and even co-workers. This suggests jealousy, at its most basic level, evolved to protect any social relationship from interlopers. All in all, this hints that jealousy might exist in other social animals; indeed, Darwin suggested that jealousy might exist among dogs, in particular.

Harris saw evidence of such canine jealousy first hand. "I was visiting my parents, who have three border collies, and I was petting two of them, and they both wanted to knock my hands off the other dog so that I was petting them with both my hands, not just one," Harris said. "They wanted exclusive attention. That got me to thinking about jealousy in dogs."

Dogs rear their green heads

Since no prior experiments investigated jealousy in dogs, the researchers adapted a test used with human infants. A number of studies have found that infants as young as 6 months of age can demonstrate jealousy — for example, when their mothers interacted with what appeared to be another infant, but was actually a realistic-looking doll.

The scientists worked with 36 dogs in the dogs' own homes, videotaping the canines while their owners completely ignored their pets in favor of three different items: a stuffed animated dog that briefly wagged its tail, barked and whined; a jack-o'-lantern; and a pop-up children's book that played melodies. The researchers chose relatively small dogs, ones less than 35 pounds (15.8 kilograms) or shorter than 15 inches (38.1 centimeters), since smaller dogs would be easier to control in case their jealousy got out of hand. [What 7 Dog Breeds Say About Their Owner's Personality]

The owners were instructed to treat the fake dog and the jack-o'-lantern like they were real dogs, by petting the objects and talking to them sweetly. When it came to the book, the owners were asked to read the text out loud.

The scientists found dogs acted far more jealous when their owners displayed affection to the stuffed dog compared with the other items. The canines were nearly twice as likely to push or touch the owner when the owner was playing with the fake dog compared with the jack-o'-lantern, and more than three times as likely to do so when compared with the book. Furthermore, about one-third of the dogs tried to get between their owners and the stuffed toy. And while one-quarter of the dogs snapped at the fake dog, only one did so at the jack-o'-lantern and book.

"These weren't just aggressive acts they carried out. They tried positive things like being more affectionate to regain their loved one's attention, to try and gain their relationship back," Harris said.

These findings suggest the dogs believed the stuffed toy was a rival. Eighty-six percent of the dogs even sniffed the toy dog's rear end during or after the experiment.

"Many people have assumed that jealousy is a social construction of human beings, or that it's an emotion specifically tied to sexual and romantic relationships," Harris said in a statement. "Our results challenge these ideas, showing that animals besides ourselves display strong distress whenever a rival usurps a loved one's affection."

The reason for jealousy

These findings also challenge the notion that only humans, with their complex thoughts, can experience jealousy, the researchers said.

"This supports the idea that one can get jealous without needing complex cognition about the meaning of interactions between a rival and a loved one," Harris said. "All you need is losing the attention a loved one gives to a rival."

Interestingly, "not all dogs showed what we would think of as jealous behaviors," Harris said. "It's possible these are not very bright dogs, who didn't even realize these items were something to be jealous over, or maybe they were very bright dogs who were not fooled by these inanimate objects. Another possibility is that the bond may not have been very strong with the owner."

Future research might experiment with stuffed dogs that don't bark, whine or wag their tails, comparing them with ones that do, or experiment with other kinds of stuffed animals, such as fake cats or dolls of humans.

"My guess is that there are going to be two factors contributing to jealousy in dogs. One is the amount of attention and affection a thing is shown, and the second is whether that item is something that looks like another living being," Harris said. "My guess is that dog jealousy is not going to be limited to something that looks like a dog."

Future studies might also test if other animals get jealous. The researchers suggested examining species in which offspring vie with each other for attention, affection, care and food from their parents, and species in which animals bond in mating pairs. Domestic cats might be an interesting choice for analysis, since they bear litters of kittens that might compete with each other, but do not bond in mating pairs.

Harris and her colleague Caroline Prouvost detailed their findings online July 23 in the journal PLOS ONE.

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-25-2014, 02:23 PM
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Studies have shown the fact that jealousy and envy in dogs is not quite as complex as it is in human beings. It's thought that dogs likely experience a primitive form of envy. Resource guarding is a more primitive reaction. The experiments that have been done saying they do experience jealously are often argued by others . It's one of those grey areas. But a lot of behaviorists, and I'm talking CAAB /DACVB 's don't buy the idea totally . Who knows , we're still learning. Decide for yourself, but here's a quote from Patricia McConnell..."There is much more controversy and confusion over what are called the “secondary emotions” in animals, which are generally argued to exist only in humans, and are believed to require complex cognitive abilities often uniquely attributed to us, including self awareness and what’s called “theory of mind.” These emotions, like jealousy, empathy, pride, guilt and shame can be further categorized as “self-conscious emotions” like jealousy and “self-conscious evaluative emotions” like guilt and shame. The “evaluative” modifier refers to the requirement that the experience of guilt or shame is based on evaluating a behavior against a rule or standard that is understood by the individual experiencing it.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-25-2014, 05:02 PM
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I dont know if it's exactly right to call it "jealousy", but in training, we sometimes use a strategy called, "Feed Fred". If your dog losses connection with you and doesn't come back to you either during heeling, or on a recall or whatever, AND YOU ARE SURE THE DOG KNOWS WHAT HE SHOULD BE DOING, you lean down and start "feeding Fred", the "good dog" who has stayed with you and done what was expected. Along with pretending to feed the imaginary dog, we tell the dog what a good, wonderful dog they are, all the while making sure our eyes are on the imaginary dog, never looking at the real, wandering dog. It's really funny to watch. Most dogs immediately run over to the handler to see who's getting their cookies. At that point, you stand up and say, "Oh! Do you want to play too? Let's go!", and give your dog another chance to succeed.

If you don't use this too often, and the dog really knows the exercise, it is pretty amazing how much harder they will try with a little competition. You can also do this with another real dog, but most trainers suggest NOT doing it with dogs who live together, because it can set up real rivalry between two dogs that you want to get along with each other.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-25-2014, 07:17 PM
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We have lived in a multi dogs household for the majority of my adult life. Typically 3-5 dogs at a time. When we pet, talk or play with one, others will often nose their way in between us and the one we were paying attention to. We have even had a couple that would run to the window and bark to draw the other dogs away then run back to get attention. Don't know if one would call it jealousy but it could be interpreted that way.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-25-2014, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Pucks104 View Post
We have even had a couple that would run to the window and bark to draw the other dogs away then run back to get attention. Don't know if one would call it jealousy but it could be interpreted that way.

Piper does that to Riley and he falls for it every time!

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-26-2014, 12:00 AM
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I also read this article today and found it interesting. If "everything is mine" can be interpreted as jealousy then my dogs sure are. I had an owner surrender Hav I fostered for 3 months and I saw a change in my owned dogs. They never accepted the new girl, not one of them. It was strange as I have dogsit for friends Havs and never saw them behave this way before. They would not play or share toys with her, didn't want her around them nor we humans. A few times I had the above mentioned visitors over and they didn't like her either. Oddly the final week we had the foster for the seven days she was recovering from her spay before she went to her forever home they were better with her. Resource guarding makes sense though too because "everything is theirs" it seems as far as they are concerned but it's a group share and they all get along.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-26-2014, 09:02 AM
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Bailey never wanted me to give any attention to Tyler. When Tyler came over and put his paws on my knees, Bailey would leave whatever he was doing, come over and push Tyler out of the way. Likewise if Tyler was on my lap, Bailey would bark and bark until I put Tyler down, then a big fight would start between the two of them. It always appeared to me to be jealousy on Bailey's part as he was top Hav for a year before Tyler joined us. We did also have a Bichon at the time who was here first, but Bailey never seemed to mind him.

Mary (miss you, Bailey-1996-2011 and Tyler-1997-2015)
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