You Jelly? – Can Dogs Experience Jealousy?

December 9, 2019


As a dog lover you are aware of the fact that our pooches have feelings, and they are capable of displaying signs of jealousy, but are they really, truly jealous or is something going on?

A recent research has been conducted by psychologists from the University of California San Diego, who adapted a certain psychological test that has been used on human infants, and applied it to canines to see whether they are indeed able to exhibit jealous behavior. The results were rather interesting.

Look at me!

The study involved 36 dogs who were videotaped in order to see how they reacted to their owners completely ignoring them, while paying attention to animated stuffed dogs.

More than three-quarters of the dogs initiated contact and interaction with their pet parents by pushing them or touching them so they would pay attention to them.

The dogs tried their best to make the owners notice them, some even growled at the plush pets. A certain elephant and one Simpsons episode comes to mind, doesn’t it?

Breaking up the Liaison

The leader of the study, Christine Harris, who has been dealing with the phenomenon of jealousy for many years now, had this to say for NPR reporter:

“The motivation that you have when you’re jealous is to really break up the liaison between your loved one and your rival. The fact that these dogs seemed like they were trying to draw their owners away from the stuffed animal indicates that they’re feeling something very similar to human jealousy,” Harris stated.

Marc Bekoff, an emeritus professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and the author of “Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed,” added that “This study opens the door to a lot more research on animal emotion.

So, next time you realize your ball of fur is putting its paw on you or making weird noises at you for no particular reason, it probably means you started neglecting your buddy and it is play time.

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