Have you noticed whenever you start working on your laptop your dog gets anxious or annoying? Does he jump on you, and make it impossible to do any work?
We don’t know whether dogs experience jealousy in the same way humans do, but yes, dogs can get jealous. After all, when you’re on your laptop, phone, or talking to someone else, it takes your attention away from them.
What Else Can a Dog Be Jealous Of?
We mentioned a laptop, but this behavior is certainly not limited to this one item. He can be jealous of anyone or anything that divides your attention.
I have found some studies regarding jealousy in dogs, and they’re an interesting read. You can find them at the end of this post in the Resources section.
Signs of a Jealous Dog
• You’re talking to someone while on a walk, and your dog won’t stop whining
• You pet one dog, and the other one comes along and tries to muscle in
• When your dog is on your lap, he’ll growl as someone walks by
• Biting or nipping the dog or person you’re paying attention to
• Growling or “going after” someone you meet on a walk
• Clingy towards you
• Accidents in the house
What Causes Jealousy in Dogs?
It’s often due to a change or upheaval in their lives.
- A new baby
- A new dog
- Someone else has moved into the home
- You moved houses
- A change in schedule or routine – i.e. you went back to work, working longer hours
How to Stop Jealous Behavior in a Dog
• If your dog is having trouble adjusting to a new baby in the home, this article “Why Does Your Dog Go Crazy Around Babies?” will help.
• If your dog is jealous around children, check out this article “Why is Your Dog Afraid of Children? Here’s the Solution.”
• It’s tempting to spend a lot of time fussing over your new puppy, but don’t forget your existing dog! Give him lots of attention and spend alone time together.
• If you have two dogs, don’t treat them as one. It’s nice for them to walk separately sometimes, and that goes for training and play time too!
• I know your dog is trained, but it doesn’t hurt to reinforce that training or teach him something new. A cue like “leave it” would be very helpful.
• Stop rewarding his jealousy! It’s very possible you are unintentionally rewarding him for his behavior. For example: he’s sitting next to you on the couch, growls when your other dog walks by or tries to get on the couch with you. If you scold him or say anything, he’ll consider that a reward. Any attention is good attention!
• Give your dog a treat or attention when he’s calm.
Can’t Figure Out Why Your Dog Is Jealous?
If you can’t figure out why your dog is jealous, the most helpful thing to do is take notes, the more detailed the better!
Include things like:
- When did this concerning behavior start?
- Was anything else going on at the time?
- Does it happen at a certain time of day?
- Is it just around you, or other household members/pets/visitors?
- How long does it last?
Whenever you notice changes in behavior, especially if you can’t figure out the cause or have an older dog, a visit to the vet is recommended. There may be an underlying health issue responsible, and the sooner it’s caught the sooner it can be managed.
If your vet is sure it’s not physical, a dog trainer or behaviorist can help you figure out what’s going on, offer advice, support and a plan to follow. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a little help, it makes you an even better pet parent than you already are!
What if It’s Something Else?
Yes, it can be jealousy, but it can also be resource guarding or separation anxiety.
This refers to a dog that sees (insert person or item here) as his, and guards it because it’s so valuable. You’ll see anxiety and/or aggression, which can manifest as baring teeth, growling, barking, lunging and even biting.
Dogs may guard:
If your dog growls or barks when someone is near his food bowl for example, here are some reasons:
Changes in his environment: You may have recently welcomed a new dog who’s constantly sticking his nose in your dog’s food. His reaction to that will depend on how many times he’s tried to warn him off to no avail.
Evolving behavior: Guarding is normal behavior, and as your puppy gets older it may develop, but not every dog will become aggressive.
Medical issues: Arthritis can make it hard for your dog to stand or reach down to his bowl, and vision or hearing issues may cause him to lash out because he can’t see or hear anyone approaching.
For more information, including tips on what to do about this guarding behavior, this article will help – “The Do’s and Don’ts of Dealing With a Food Aggressive Dog.”
Another reason your dog may be “jealous” when you’re on your laptop or not paying him attention is separation anxiety.
NOTE: This would really only apply if whatever you’re doing is happening in another room from where your dog is.
Crying, whining, incessant barking, chewing on furniture and having accidents in the house, are all signs your dog is likely experiencing separation anxiety. You could be on your laptop, but if you’re in another room he may be anxious because he can’t see you.
It won’t get better on its’s own, so I recommend you check out my article for tips on what you can do to help. “How to Cure Dog Separation Anxiety.”
Have you witnessed any jealousy? How did it manifest, and how are you handling it? Sharing helps others, so please leave your comments below.
Is your dog’s jealousy driving you and everyone else crazy? How is it affecting your dog’s life? Not even sure your dog really is jealous? Book a 30 minute or 45 minute session, and get the tips you need to help. Not ready to commit? No problem! I offer a free 15 minute, no obligation call. It will give you the chance to let me know what’s going on, and I explain how I can help. Leave me a message below, get in touch via my FB page or contact me through my website.