The green eyed monster! People often talk about their dogs or puppies being jealous. But is puppy jealousy really a thing? Have you ever wondered if your puppy gets jealous? Do they seem to get jealous when other dogs come near, or perhaps when you’re talking to someone else? What does this mean?
In this article we’ll cover if puppies get jealous, are some breeds of dog more jealous than others, why do puppies get jealous, and what are the signs of a jealous dog? We’ll also have a look at how to handle a jealous dog.
Download the Zigzag puppy training app, and it’ll be all of your friends jealous of you showing off your amazingly behaved and well-rounded puppy. There’s also a team of professional dog trainers to help you with any of your questions, including do puppies get jealous!
Can puppies get jealous?
It can certainly appear to us that our dogs are acting like they are jealous. But what usually happens is that your dog is trying to protect their resources. This might well be you, or food or toys from another dog, or even guarding you from other people.
Read more in our guide to resource guarding.
Are some breeds more jealous than others?
Certain breeds are more likely to be predisposed to guarding as a result of their genetics, and this may look like jealousy. This is typically in dogs where we have bred them to perform certain jobs like guard dogs, or even companion dogs who are overly attached to their owners.
While genetics and breed tendencies will play a part in your dog’s behaviour there are always going to be individual temperaments, and upbringing, socialisation and early learning are going to be a factor to how your dog responds in certain situations.
If your dog is overly attached to you, and gets stressed when you leave, it’s worth having a read of our article on separation anxiety
Why do puppies get jealous?
Puppies protect resources, which can appear to us like jealousy at times, for a number of reasons. Here’s 4 reasons your puppy might get jealous.
- Not getting enough attention from you
If another dog or another person is getting lots of attention from you, it might make an insecure dog feel like they’re missing out, and cause them to get in-between you, putting their paw on you, or showing other attention seeking signs.
- Not wanting to share food
- Being over attached to toys
- Feeling insecure
Dogs who are secure are often happy to share, whereas dogs who feel scared, anxious or insecure are more likely to feel worried about sharing resources, leading to aggression or resource guarding behaviour.
What are the signs of a jealous dog?
Here are some common signs of jealousy in dogs:
Getting in between people
If your dog is jealous of someone coming near you, maybe for a hug or a kiss, they can often get in the middle of the two of you, as they want the attention all for themselves!
Growling is a common sign of a dog saying they are uncomfortable with what’s going on, and are voicing this with a common distance increasing signal like growling or snarling.
Collecting and hoarding toys
Caching treats, food and chews
If your dog gets jealous of other dogs around food, then they may take food away and cache it, much like a wild dog or wolf might, and save the food for later.
Peeing on things
Dogs will often pee on their blankets, beds, chews or toys to claim them as theirs from other dogs. This is likely a hangover from domestication, and is a form of territorial marking. This can often look like your dog being jealous!
Does your puppy pee on your bed? Read more in our article why does my puppy pee on my bed?
How to handle a jealous puppy?
If you feel like your puppy is behaving in a jealous way, then it’s important to recognise this so that you can help them, and teach them there really is no need to be jealous, or guard things!
Here’s our top tips for handling puppy jealousy and some resource guarding tips too
Provide plenty of resources
Don’t let them practice jealous behaviour
If your puppy is already showing signs of jealousy, make changes including management, so that they’re not exposed to them – this might be as simple as feeding multi dogs in separate areas, so they don’t guard their food bowls, or giving chews in crates or separate areas like playpens, so that there isn’t conflict over resources.
Read more in our guide to crate training if you need to teach your dogs to be comfortable in separate areas.
Teach them to share and take turns
Using positive reinforcement training you can teach your puppy to wait their turn when other dogs are around. Do this by naming treats and handing them out to dogs by using their name when you give them, that way the dog learns to take their treat when they hear their name. It’s also got a side effect of teaching your puppy their name too.
Start early and socialise them well
By socialising your puppy appropriately, you can help to build their confidence and teach them to share with other dogs and people. Introduce other dogs and people in a kind way that teaches them not to see these people as a threat, but that nice things happen when they’re around.
Learn more in our puppy socialisation guide.
Meet your puppies needs
Ensuring your puppy gets regular walks, proper nutrition, enough sleep, and opportunities to just be a normal puppy, will result in a more confident dog that will be behaviourally well and more likely to feel secure. This means they’ll be less likely to feel insecure and need to resource guard or feel jealous.
While using jealousy as a describable dog emotion is not without criticism, dogs do exhibit behaviour which we might interpret to look like they are jealous. This can look like getting in between the thing they want most, and the dog or person coming towards it to warn them off, perhaps even displaying aggressive or other strange behaviours like peeing on it!
If you feel that your dog is being jealous, or showing resource guarding behaviour, consult a professional dog trainer, or even chat to one of our professional dog trainers in the Zigzag app. Getting a professional on board to help you manage your dog’s unwanted behaviour is often easier than trying to figure it out by yourself.
For a full puppy raising programme that will teach your puppy sharing skills like drop and leave it, as well as a full life skills training programme, download the Zigzag puppy training app. There’s a team of professional puppy trainers available 24/7 via our in-app chat to guide you through what can be a challenging time, so do reach out with all of your puppy questions!