How to Deal With your Dog’s Jealous Behavior
Jealousy is a term you probably hear quite often amongst people in society. It is the emotion that resembles thoughts and feelings of insecurity, concern, resentment, envy, and fear. Now, as popular as it is in the human world, dogs do, in fact, get jealous from time to time as well. There have even been studies done, such as this one, to prove this notion. It is a reality that is inevitable, and one that is healthy to an extent. But if you find that your dog’s jealous behavior is more prevalent than not, then you might just have to work on intervening. In order to help you with managing your dog’s jealousy, here are some tips you can try to get them to reach a much healthier state of mind.
No Rewarding for Jealous Behaviors
Never reward your dog for their inappropriate behavior, even if sometimes their jealousy is downright adorable and makes you feel loved. All you are doing is reinforcing it, and that is countering your managing efforts. Even laughing or reacting excitingly is enough to give them the attention they crave, keeping the behavior alive.
Instead, address their jealousy by training your dog to react more calmly when they are trying to guard or protect a particular item. You can do this by either making your dog leave the item or removing it yourself. Start by sending your dog away and detaching with the command “leave it.” When they leave, reward them for abandoning it. Do this only once or twice a day, and once they get comfortable with that, upgrade to taking their item away while treating another dog. If your dog does not react, then give their item back and praise. Doing these exercises will help your dog diminish trigger situations where jealousy can be provoked.
Tip: The same goes for attention with other dogs. Only pet and praise the non-pushy dog, and when your other one shows calmness, reward them (both treats and verbally) for their non-jealous reaction.
Dealing Aggression Jealousy
Jealous dogs often feature aggressive behaviors, especially when they feel like they are guarding and protecting you from others. The best thing you can do here is to not unintentionally promote them to do this, meaning do not let your dog lunge at other dogs passing by or bark at the doorbell. If you let them, they think that the aggression worked and will continue to do it.
Instead, lead your dog up the “threat” and show them that their aggression is not needed. Once you practice this in a safe setting, they will begin to realize that they do not have to be triggered every time someone comes close to you in the park, or need to guard the home against visitors. They simply just need to be reassured that there is no real threat going on.
Just about every dog in every breed can demonstrate signs of food aggression, ranging from acute to severe. The more severe it is, the harder it will be to address. For starters, if your dog has been like this for most of their life and the food aggression has never been addressed, it will be very challenging to fix. However, if still a puppy or on the younger side, you can reverse through obedience training. You can do this on your own, but having a trained professional is likely to have a much more favorable outcome. Plus, they will be able to be around other dogs and people, which can really show them that food aggression is not valuable.
You can also take extra precautions to get rid of triggers altogether, such as not leaving food bowls out when people or other dogs are over, eliminating the need to feel aggressive in the first place.
Conclusion – Taming Jealousy
As noted earlier, sometimes jealousy can be seen as a good thing. It can evoke motivation, entice you to learn about empathy, and can even allow you to see how much someone else cares about you in a relationship. But, that positive side is only beneficial for so long before it begins to do more harm than good. And though humans can communicate and work on controlling themselves, dogs need a bit more support. By trying out the tips above, you will guide your dog to a better mindset that influences less jealousy and helps them reach a healthier state. Just stay diligent in your methods, be patient, and over time you should start to witness your dog reacting less possessively, proving that your taming strategies are finally paying off.