How To Stop Jealousy & Aggression In Dogs?

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We see our dogs in all of their glory: good, bad, and ugly. But have you ever noticed your pet get grumpy? Dogs, like humans, can be envious of toys, food, other pets and even the attention of their owners. If not treated properly, jealous dog behaviour can soon escalate into dog aggressiveness. Though dogs may exhibit human-like jealousy, it is only in response to a perceived social threat. ‌Dogs are adept at reading and responding to human signals. This implies that they are aware of social cues and can follow pointing and eye look. 

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Your dog might not feel "jealousy" in the same way as humans. They may be being assertive, pushy, or impolite rather than jealous. That is how your dog establishes social hierarchy. This was discovered in a study where canines used human social cues to find hidden food. Some canines can sense that they aren't being rewarded or complimented as much as their counterparts by observing our social cues. If unattended, jealous dog behaviour can spiral out of control, causing problems for pet owners. 

So, if your gorgeous dog seems irritated every time your new spouse, baby, or pooch comes into the room, it's probably not your imagination! Certain indicators suggest jealousy in dogs, but don't panic; everyone can be taught to get along just fine. Let's take a look at the indicators of jealousy in dogs, from reinforcing behaviours to positive reinforcement to the need for more attention.

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  • Aggression: Whether it's new pets or how you're spending time with a new love interest, your dog may often show aggressiveness towards the object of their envious gaze. This aggressive behaviour can take many forms; whether it's biting, barking, nipping, or jumping, you need to make it clear that it's unacceptable without demonstrating hostility yourself. It's critical to note that the dog has no personal animosity toward the pet or human; they simply don't like them. They're simply concerned that this visitor may jeopardise their standing in the house.

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  • Guarding of Resources: Most people think that jealous dogs begin with some sort of resource guarding. They get their food, drink, and toys from your house. If a new person or animal enters the scene, your dog's basic brain warns them that they might take away these prized possessions. When the object of envy is around, they may gather their toys and hide them, or they may act suspiciously around their eating place. When their owners seemed to stroke other pets or dogs, resentful dogs would tug hard on their leashes. Whatever the case may be, a jealous dog will alert you when anything is wrong.
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  • Destructive Behaviour: In addition to displaying anger, your dog may vent their frustrations on your furniture. In some cases, a dog that is normally well-behaved may become disobedient out of jealousy. When an animal does not receive the attention it needs, they may resort to destruction to gain attention.

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  • Pushy Attitude: Jealousy is manifested by a possessive dog or forceful behaviour. There's a glaring problem if you and your lover are snuggling up to watch a movie or TV series and your dog persists in butting in between you. Whining, staring longingly at you, and clambering onto your lap at any opportunity are all indicators that your dog has an envy problem.

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  • Toileting Misconduct: Jealousy might lead to inappropriate toileting. Indoor peeing or pooping can be aggravating, but it's a clear sign and a way of communicating that your dog feels jealous. As your dog can't communicate or write about what's bothering them, they come up with novel techniques to grab your attention. While this could be a symptom of a health problem, it's more often than not a behavioural issue that has to be addressed.

  • Avoid interaction: When the target of a dog's envy enters the room, the most polite method for it to show jealousy is to leave the room. They, like humans, turn their backs on individuals they don't want to see. Dogs are very social animals, and withdrawal is an indication that something is wrong, so don't dismiss it. Following them from room to room will just reinforce their bad behaviour. Instead, wait for them to return and bestow gifts and attention on them when they perform nicely.

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  • Over-Grooming: If your dog appears to be constantly cleaning itself, it's a sign that it's agitated. It uses grooming to self-soothe when they feel losing out on caressing and love that you appear to be giving to another person or pet. Frustration, boredom, and stress can all cause your dog to clean itself excessively.

How to stop jealousy in dogs?

There are a variety of ways for a dog to demonstrate jealous dog behaviour, so pay attention to it and make sure you've addressed the issue correctly. If it's envy, there are a few things you can do

  • Keep track of the factors that lead to envy or hostility. You can share the list with your veterinarian or a professional animal behaviourist if you notice habits that you can't handle on your own.
  • Pet both animals. Don't pay more attention to one pet than another.
  • Make your dog feel secure and at ease in their box so that it becomes their place. Allow cats to have their room as well.
  • Feed pets separately to avoid mealtime conflict. Give your pets the same number of goodies as you do.
  • When you go home, make sure that you don't give one pet more attention than the other, or that you wait a while before giving attention. This will reduce their aggressive behaviour.
  • When walking two dogs at once, use a leash on each of them and consider using a gentle leader to maintain control.
  • All toys and beds should be at least two per furry child, although food-based toys should be avoided unless they are monitored.
  • Take advantage of your pets' good behaviour. When they are acting calmly and not jealously, pay attention to them and reward them.

If dog jealousy is a persistent problem in your home, don't be reluctant to seek help from a behaviour specialist, a veterinarian, or a trainer. Even if you hire help, you're still a fantastic pet parent. Recognizing that you and your dog require assistance makes you a strong and self-aware dog parent. Go for it!

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