Dog jealousy stems from your pet’s survival instincts. Food and companionship are crucial to a wild dog’s survival, as they hunt and live in packs. So it’s no surprise your dog turns into a green-eyed monster if he thinks you’re ignoring him or have a new best friend.
Understanding Your Dog
Start a dog diary. Every day, note down the major goings on in the home and how your dog reacted. For example, he may have become whiny or attention-seeking if a new love interest comes by. If there’s a new dog visiting, he may become aggressive or surly. If you’ve recently changed your routine, for example a new job means you have walk him at night rather than the morning, he may pester you in the mornings for his walk.
The Happy Dog
Play with your dog one on one and observe his behavior and body language. He will be at his happiest and most relaxed when he is getting your undivided attention, so note down what it looks like when your dog is in this blissful state. He’ll probably be wagging his tail and displaying an alert expression. You can use your understanding on how he behaves when content to measure his mood.
The Solitary Dog
Observe your dog on his own. This will give you an idea of what he behaves like when relatively unstimulated. His default demeanor depends on breed and his personality, but dogs typically revert to sleeping, playing with a toy or grooming themselves when there’s nothing else going on.
Changes to Environment
Monitor his reactions to specific stimuli. If you suspect the person you’ve been dating is causing the jealousy, have them come and sit right next to you. If he attempts to get your attention by nudging you, barking or whining, it is probable that this is the source of jealousy. In more severe cases, your dog may take to urinating in the house to mark his territory.
The Distressed Dog
Look out for physical manifestations of jealousy. Chewing his own fur, not eating and hiding away are all classic signs of canine jealousy.
Monitor his reaction when you show him attention while he is acting jealously. For example, if you are cuddling up to that special new someone and your pooch is playing up, see how he reacts if you start to stroke him. If he relaxes or becomes obviously happier, this is a strong sign that your dog is jealous. However, it’s important not to encourage jealous behavior by repeatedly giving your dog attention when he acts out. He has to learn that you make the rules, while understanding that his place in the family is secure.
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.