Some dogs, for one reason or another, just can’t deal with being anything other than the top dog and feel they must be the center of attention at all times. The type of behavior the dog is exhibiting is jealousy.
Dog jealousy can range from minor annoyance to major behavioral problem depending upon the dog. Even though this type of jealousy can initially present itself as cute, it’s important to correct your dog and resolve this jealousy issue as soon as you recognize it, so it doesn’t escalate out of control.
There are several ways dogs will show off their jealous side and it often appears as vying for attention, such as when another animal or person tries to get between them and their owner. Jealous dogs will often do whatever they can to wiggle their way in disrupting contact and drawing all the attention back on themselves.
As annoying as this can be at times, it is minor compared to other destructive ways jealous dogs can act out. This minor type of jealously is easily corrected by forcing the dog to wait his turn, giving treats to another animal first, and refusing to give the jealous dog attention when he weasels his way in.
Dog jealousy may become a larger issue when it escalates into the perception that another person or pet is a threat to his relationship with his owner and has the potential to get out of control if the dog chooses to act out toward the intruding party.
When training your dog, maintaining your position as pack leader will help your dog stay in his subordinate position. This is accomplished by making sure your dog is receiving adequate time and affection so that he feels secure, while continuing to train him to respond to your basic obedience commands and forcing him to wait his turn.
Direct Signs of Jealousy:
- Your dog pushes in between you and another person or dog when you’re interacting with them.
- He growls, snaps, or barks when you show attention to another person or animal.
Indirect Signs of Jealousy:
- Acting unhappy
- Soiling in inappropriate places or on the belongings of the object of their jealousy
- Excessive grooming
- Clinging to you or family members
- Over and under eating
Resolving the Problem (this will take common sense depending upon the severity of the problem):
- If your dog is jealous and pushes in between you and a new family member, such as a new baby, child, or spouse, the first priority is to establish family safety and boundaries.
- Never leave a jealous dog alone with a child.
- Never leave a dog that has acted out alone with any person or pet who is the object of a jealously induced aggressive episode.
- Correct your dog when he pushes in between you and the other party or tries to get your attention inappropriately.
- Ignore him when he acts jealous and praise him when he stops the behavior.
- Spend one on one time with your dog so that he feels secure and you can reinforce training.
- Involve your dog with the person or pet he is jealous of such as including them in the petting, touching, talking, and play times while giving each of them attention.
- Encourage your dog to interact with the other person or pet one on one, such as throwing his ball, feeding, etc.
- If the dog is jealous of a person in the household (not a child), have the person feed, walk, and otherwise bond with the dog.
- Ensure that the person or the other dog does not take your dog’s toys, tease him, try to dominate or scare him.
- Maintain your dog’s normal routine and don’t make any new changes; where he sleeps, when he eats, his dog bed, etc.
- Firmly establish that you are the leader and your dog is subordinate.
- Leave your dog for short periods of time, don’t be with him 24/7.
- Be consistent and don’t tolerate bad behaviors.
PLEASE NOTE: If your dog is snapping, barking, growling or acting out aggressively or dangerously, call in a Certified Professional Dog Trainer or Certified Professional Dog Behavior Consultant/Specialist.