How to Cure Dog Jealousy

Canine jealousy stems from pack instincts.

Canine jealousy stems from pack instincts.

Dogs are social animals and thrive on interaction. Disruptions to the pack dynamic, such as new babies and large changes in routine, can cause your dog to become jealous. You can cure dog jealousy by showing your dog that he is still a valued member of the pack.

Monitor your dog’s behavior. Observe how he responds to certain stimuli, such as visitors arriving at the house, feeding a baby or you and your partner snuggling on the couch. Look out for signs of distress, such as whining and signs of disruptive or attention-seeking behavior, such as pawing at you and aggression toward perceived “interlopers,” such as a new boyfriend.

Note down jealousy triggers. Keep a record of every situation or stimulus that causes your dog to behave jealously. Once you understand what triggers jealousy, you can train the dog out of his unwanted behavior.

Create a jealousy trigger, for example by interacting with the new dog or holding hands with your new boyfriend. Before your dog has time to respond jealously, issue a treat. This helps to neutralize the trigger by making the dog form positive associations with it. If you holding hands with the perceived interloper results in a food treat, your dog will eventually see that as a good thing.

Discourage jealous behavior. Create another jealousy trigger, but don’t issue the treat. Wait for the dog to demonstrate signs of jealousy, then actively ignore this behavior by turning your back or leaving the room. The trick is to help the dog learn that responding negatively to a trigger has no positive outcome.

Reward positive behavior. As soon as the dog becomes calm or stops his jealous behavior, issue a food treat or toy, whichever motivates your dog most. By ignoring him when he behaves jealously and lavishing him with attention when he behaves calmly, you teach the dog that acting jealously has a negative outcome and acting calmly has a positive outcome.

Perform basic obedience training drills. Spend around 20 minutes a day with your dog in an environment free from distractions. Put him on a leash if necessary and run through the basic commands, such as “sit,” “stay” and “come.” The combination of attention and mental stimulation will further demonstrate to your dog that his place in the pack is safe.

Items you will need

  • Food treats
  • Toys
  • Leash

Tip

  • If you’re bringing home a newborn baby, help the dog adapt by giving him a blanket or toy that has been near the baby and issuing a treat at the same time. Your dog will detect the new scent and associate it with the positive feeling of receiving a treat. This will encourage your dog to form positive associations with the baby.

Warning

  • Never use a young baby or child when creating a trigger. Instead, use clothes or toys belonging to the baby.
 

About the Author

Simon Foden has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He began his writing career after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in music from Salford University. He has contributed to and written for various magazines including "K9 Magazine" and "Pet Friendly Magazine." He has also written for Dogmagazine.net.

Photo Credits

  • walking the dog image by Wendi Evans from Fotolia.com