Dogs Get Jealous, But We Already Knew That

Science has confirmed what dog lovers have known all along: our dogs get jealous when we spend time with other dogs.

You’ve been out. Maybe you’ve run into a friend who was walking their dog and you gave her a quick cuddle. You can’t help but feel guilty as you make your way home, knowing that you have a furry little friend awaiting your return who will instantly know you’ve basically been cheating on them with another dog.

You hold your breath as you walk in the door and your dog runs up to greet you, only to stop suddenly and start sniffing suspiciously. I don’t know about you, but I feel the need to apologise profusely. And, as it turns out, I am not as crazy as it may seem.

Researchers in the US conducted a study to challenge the idea that jealousy is a human emotion not experienced by other animals. Apparently, it is very much experienced by dogs.

They had pet parents play with three toys in front of their pets. One was a toy dog that barked and wagged its tail, one was a jack-o-lantern pail that they had to interact with as if it were a dog, and one was a storybook that played a song and they had to read it aloud as if reading to a child.

As you can guess, the overwhelming majority of dogs became jealous when their pet parents played with the toy dog. Around 30% of them tried to push their way between the owner and the toy, with eyes desperately calling “no, mum, play with me!” (I might be making assumptions about that last part).

But there you have it. We have long suspected it to be the case, and now science has proven it to be true: our dogs do get jealous.