How to stop jealousy and aggression in dogs
Being dog parents, you must have realised that there are many ways in which humans are similar to them. One similarity that we are going to talk about today is the behavioural aspect of feeling jealous if your loved one is paying attention to someone else and seem to enjoy their company. Haven’t we all had times when our dog jumps in between as you pet another dog or tries to seek attention when he feels neglected around you? In most cases, this is better described as a competitive situation where the dog is competing with another individual; human, dog, cat or anything else. It might be amusing to you for a while but jealous behaviour in pets can be an issue that should not be ignored, lest it takes an aggressive turn.
Signs of jealousy in dogs
If you notice your dog showing signs of aggressiveness by biting or nibbling the animal or person getting your attention over him, this could be jealousy. This subsequently leads to their being overly clingy to you and they like to cuddle up close to assert their love from you. Doing anything to seek your attention like peeing or pooping in places they should not, getting into a fight with other pets at home, growling or hissing could also be signs of jealousy in them. They could also crowd up your place like lying down on your work table or sitting on hind legs to get your attention or get destructive to vent their frustration. When you stroke other pets or dogs, resentful dogs would tug hard on their leashes to stop you from petting others.
Causes of jealous behaviour
There could be a host of underlying reasons for dogs to be displaying emotions of jealousy and possessiveness. Just like people, they could be a little insecure about things in life. It could also be triggered by boredom or having nothing else to do other than being cuddled by you. In this case jealousy is just a ploy for attention from their owners. Keeping them busy resolves this problem to a great extent. Engage them in constructive work by getting them a brain stimulating toy or snuffle mats can be a good idea. It could also be due to lack of resources, for example, only one toy for multiple pets, too small a space to be shared by multiple pets, stress or lack of exercise. Genetic disposition too could be a factor for such emotions in dogs. Sometimes the reason is as simple as our pets just wanting us and hence not willing to share us with any other pet or person.
How to stop jealous behaviour
Just like with your children, your fur babies want your undivided attention. If you have multiple pets, make sure you do not care for one more than the other. When you arrive home, hug and pet both of them together and equally so that one of them does not have to wait for its turn.
When you are playing with your kid or spending time with your spouse, try to include your pets too. A pat on their back or a word of appreciation is all they need to be happy all day. If they are being good, reward them with words and gestures and also with treats so that they remember to repeat the good work. Try to give treats to all pets you have equally and simultaneously to avoid any kind of animosity between them.
Make a mental note on the situations that trigger the jealousy feeling in your canine. If you can manage to tackle and make it better, then it is good. If it is beyond your capacity, then share the notes with your vet to understand the psychology of your dog and seek medical intervention.
Our pets want to feel loved and show their assertiveness towards being an integral part of our family. But that doesn’t make up for an excuse to exhibit their aggressive behaviour when they are jealous of others. Timely intervention of any unwanted behaviour is the key to managing it effectively. This helps curb such unpleasant situations before it becomes a habit which is tougher to let go. For healthy mental development of our canines, it is essential to address their emotional needs just as we look after their food and grooming needs. You know best for your fur baby; after all you are the parent. Trust your instincts and be the pet parent that you are proud of. Always there for you, Waggfluence wishes you smiles and fun as you walk along the journey of being a pet mom/dad!