Dog Envy: How to Handle a Jealous Dog

Jealous dogs tend to dominate households. Some dog owners just tolerate the behavior. However, by promoting negative behavior by tolerance this could potentially allow the jealousy to continue. Find out what steps you can take to lessen envy within your dog.

Dogs have become a major part of most families. With so much love and attention to receive, dogs sometimes have a tendency to become jealous of anyone or anything that shares in receiving this love and attention.  This jealousy is a form of dominant behavior from the dog and a natural instinct.  A jealous dog can become defensive when jealous and may growl at or bite at whoever or whatever is invading their territory. But how do you cope with a jealous dog? 

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The first step is pinpointing what is driving the dog’s jealousy.  Dogs like things to be done in a routine.  If a common routine is interrupted, dogs become stressed out and what seems like jealousy could actually be stress.  A routine can often be interrupted when something new is introduced into the household. Look for key indicators such as a low stance to ground, tail in a downward position or even tucked between the hind quarters, dilated pupils, and excessive barking.  If your dog is stressed out then it would be best to remove the animal from the situation temporarily to allow it to calm down to prevent injury to itself or others. 

If the addition is a new pet then allowing sufficient time for your dog to get use to the new pet can decrease jealousy.  Dogs are very territorial and are most often found in pack societies in the wild.  New dogs to a pack normally go through an initiation period where they are accepted but are closely watched by the pack.  After some time they are fully accepted as part of the pack. The same principle still applies to domestic dogs so allowing time for your dog to accept the new pet will allow your dog to be less jealous. 

Giving treats and toys to dogs especially when there are multiple dogs or pets in the household should be done to ensure equality between your pets.  I, personally, always ensure that if I am giving my dog a rawhide bone then all my other dogs gets one, too.  Dominant dogs will have a tendency to try to hog all the treats or toys which is a natural “survival of the fittest” instinct.  Telling the dominant pet who exudes this type of behavior “no” and removing the item and giving back to rightful owner will allow the dominant pet know that you do not approve of this behavior. Do however, reward good behavior. Sometimes dogs have to be reminded of who is in charge which is a natural behavior of the alpha dog in the wild. 

When giving attention to your dog ensure that equal displays of affection are distributed among multiple pets or other family members.  If the jealous pet tries to push its way in, turn away from the jealous animal.  This allows the dog to see again that you are in charge and that the attention you give is on your own terms. When it comes time for the jealous animal to receive attention, do not allow any other pets or people to intervene to show the jealous dog that its attention and affection is just as important as others.  Again, do not condone bad behavior but reward good behavior to reinforce that waiting your turn is okay and there is a positive reward for doing so. 

In conclusion, allowing jealously to persist can act a means of condoling negative behavior and should not be allowed.  Rewarding your dog for good behavior only can produce behavior patterns which are more desirable.  Also, allowing sufficient time for your dog to get adjusted to changes in routine can ensure that jealously is only temporary.

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  1. great post!!! this should be useful.

  2. Hi,

    My one year old poodle is very jealouse of our new puppy. They are the same breed and I thought it would be great company for him when I’m at work however he keeps on trying to bite and attack the puppy. The puppy doesn’t want to socailise with the 1 year now as he is afraid.

    Can you please advise how I should go about this? Further, should I be feeding them both together at the same time?

    They also sleep in the bed with me and I’m trying to keep them separated- Is that a bad idea?

    Kind regards,
    Danielle

  3. Hi, I have 2 dogs. My first, arnie we had him for about 8 months. We then got our second dog baby. Baby gets very jelous of arnie, which is strange as you would think he would. When we got her she was 3 months old she is now roughly six-seven months. When we walk in the house she jumps up terribly and she is going to be a big dog so we don’t no how to stop this. Luckily arnie doesnt copy. She jumps up even worse and makes almost a muttering sound with her bark if you give arnie attention. Then she will bite him! With food we will give them equal amounts, baby will hog hers and when she is done she will stare at arnie and try and get his. Sometimes she doesn’t succeed but when she does there is a fight. The fights weren’t often and luckily arnie doesn’t react he just pins her down with his paws while she his trying to go for his face. There are more and more fights and I fear one of these days arnie will not pin her down and he will react. What can I do? I’ve tried everything. It’s so hard to get them to stop fighting the only thing that works at the moment is a very high pitched scream.

  4. Hi, I have 2 dogs. My first, arnie we had him for about 8 months. We then got our second dog baby. Baby gets very jelous of arnie, which is strange as you would think he would. When we got her she was 3 months old she is now roughly six-seven months. When we walk in the house she jumps up terribly and she is going to be a big dog so we don\’t no how to stop this. Luckily arnie doesnt copy. She jumps up even worse and makes almost a muttering sound with her bark if you give arnie attention. Then she will bite him! With food we will give them equal amounts, baby will hog hers and when she is done she will stare at arnie and try and get his. Sometimes she doesn\’t succeed but when she does there is a fight. The fights weren\’t often and luckily arnie doesn\’t react he just pins her down with his paws while she his trying to go for his face. There are more and more fights and I fear one of these days arnie will not pin her down and he will react. What can I do? I\’ve tried everything. It\’s so hard to get them to stop fighting the only thing that works at the moment is a very high pitched scream.

  5. Hi, I have 2 dogs. My first, arnie we had him for about 8 months. We then got our second dog baby. Baby gets very jelous of arnie, which is strange as you would think he would. When we got her she was 3 months old she is now roughly six-seven months. When we walk in the house she jumps up terribly and she is going to be a big dog so we don\\\’t no how to stop this. Luckily arnie doesnt copy. She jumps up even worse and makes almost a muttering sound with her bark if you give arnie attention. Then she will bite him! With food we will give them equal amounts, baby will hog hers and when she is done she will stare at arnie and try and get his. Sometimes she doesn\\\’t succeed but when she does there is a fight. The fights weren\\\’t often and luckily arnie doesn\\\’t react he just pins her down with his paws while she his trying to go for his face. There are more and more fights and I fear one of these days arnie will not pin her down and he will react. What can I do? I\\\’ve tried everything. It\\\’s so hard to get them to stop fighting the only thing that works at the moment is a very high pitched scream.

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