How to Handle an Overly Jealous Dog

Sitting and staying are commands every dog, especially jealous ones, should know.

Sitting and staying are commands every dog, especially jealous ones, should know.

In your dog's mind, giving attention to someone or something else is absolute blasphemy. And if you dare talk to or touch another animal or person, he's right there to bring your hand back to him. A bit of training and plenty of rewards can help toss his jealous behavior aside.

Curb any redirected excitement that your jealous dog demonstrates. Redirected excitement happens when your dog gets so excited in reaction to something else, such as another dog who's all riled up, that he directs that excitement toward a person or animal. This is often confused for jealousy, but it's just a case of your dog getting too worked up and not being sure how to handle it. Look at what made your dog excited, and try to put a stop to it or tone it down a notch. For example, if you have two dogs and one gets really crazy when you enter the house, and if that makes your other pup excited, start training your dog to sit and remain calm when you enter the house.

Practice basic obedience and use it to deter jealousy. Telling your pup to sit, stay or lay can prevent a bunch of commotion and jealousy when your partner or another animal walks over to you. Rather than petting every animal at the same time, or trying to fit your pup's head under your arm while your partner is snuggled up against you, tell your dog to stay. Release him after you've given the other person or dog a bit of attention first. If he doesn't listen and he fights for your attention, ignore him until he's calm, and then immediately pet him. The idea is to send a message to your little guy that he will get his attention, but only if he behaves.

Separate multiple dogs if basic obedience doesn't fix the problem. If your dog can't seem to help himself and he rushes for your attention regardless of being told to sit or stay, it might be time to separate your dogs throughout the day to give special attention to each one individually. Distract one with a bone outside, and pet and praise the other one inside for five or 10 minutes, and then switch.

Keep the same routine. Dogs love having a routine, and any sudden interruption of it can cause them to act out. Suppose you just started a new job with long hours and you haven't been walking your dog as frequently as usual. He might clamor for your attention when other animals or people are around more. This isn't necessarily out of jealousy as it is out of boredom or frustration. If you ever have to change your dog's routine, do it slowly so he can adjust to the change.

Make great things happen when whatever he's jealous of is around. This is especially important if you just brought home a new fur ball or have recently moved in with your partner. Rather than shunning your dog if your new cat jumps on your lap, give him a treat as soon as it happens. And when you move in to give your partner a hug, throw your pup a treat.

Have your significant other control the dog's resources. If your pup's jealous of your partner, it's time to show him that there's nothing to be jealous of. Let your partner form a deeper bond with your dog by feeding him, taking him for walks and playing with him regularly.

Items you will need

  • Treats

Tip

  • Remember to give your dog the same attention he's always had, even if you bring something new into the house. It's easy to forget that you're giving a new puppy most of your attention.

Warnings

  • Be careful with rewards. If your dog appears jealous at any time, do not reward him. You're rewarding his jealous behavior. If he barks while you hug your partner, wait until he's calm, and then reward him.
  • Don't yell at or physically discipline your dog if he becomes jealous.
 

About the Author

Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.

Photo Credits

  • the girl with dogs image by Vladimir Konjushenko from Fotolia.com