Is Your Dog Green With Envy?

A new study reveals dogs do indeed get jealous

By Brian Reynolds

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It is probably no surprise to most dog owners but now you’ve got the science to back it up; your four-legged friend can get green with envy. That’s right, your dog can experience the primordial emotion of jealousy.

On July 23, the scientific journal PLOS ONE published a study from the University of California with the conclusion that dogs experience jealousy.

In the experiment, 36 owners were told to ignore their dog while performing three different tasks: giving affection to a stuffed animatronic dog, giving the same level of affection to a ‘jack-o-lantern’ pail, and reading a children’s book aloud. The owner treated the pail and stuffed dog in the same manner to try and provoke jealousy from their real dog. Reading the children’s book was used a control condition for the dog’s behavior in the experiment.

About 40% of dogs snapped at the animatronic stuffed dog during or after the owner played with it. Of those aggressive dogs, all of them pushed at the owner and 86.7% of them pushed at the stuffed dog. For the non-snapping or non-aggressive dogs, 61.9% of them pushed at the owner while 57.1% pushed the animatronic dog. 86% of dogs even sniffed the ‘rival dog’ (stuffed animal) between the legs.

While it’s not very shocking to any owner that  dogs get jealous it’s nice to have empirical evidence to support what you’ve known all along: Your dog loves you and doesn’t want to share you.