A new research study is lending support to the idea that dogs may get jealous similar to the way that humans do. The report has been printed up in the most recent edition of the scientific journal PLOS ONE. The inkling for such investigation came when a University of California psychology professor happened to notice her family’s border collies were exhibiting some interesting behavior.
Dr. Christine Harris explained that as she was petting her dogs, she noticed that one of the border collies would push the other dog’s head out from out underneath her hand so that both her hands were on him, and it was not just one of the collies that did such behavior. They were not content to be sharing attention. There was something about this exclusiveness which made the doctor think she was seeing basic jealous behaviors.
In order to conduct the research study, Dr. Harris revised a model used in studies that had been designed to evaluate emotions in babies. Nearly 40 dogs were witnessed as their owners ignored them and instead put their attention upon stuffed dogs, plastic Jack-o’-lanterns or children’s books. The canines were then assessed for interest, aggressiveness and attention seeking behavior in both the owner and also object.
The pooches appeared to have more interest in the fake dogs, which were able to bark and wag their tails, than in the books or Jack-o’-lanterns. All of the pups pushed at their owners when they were playing with the stuffed animals, and nearly 90 percent attempted to push at the fake dogs during that phase of interaction.
Dr. Harris and her research team wrote that they discovered that the dogs showed considerably more jealous behaviors such as getting between owner and items, snapping and/or pushing object/owner, when their owners exhibited caring actions towards what seemed to be another canine as compared to nonsocial entities. Such results definitely bring more backing to the theory that jealousy has a possible prehistoric form that exists in human infants and also at least one other species in addition to human beings.
Most of the pooches were seen sniffing the behinds of the stuffed dogs, so the researchers deduced the dogs most likely thought the toys were real. With the pups having such a strong reaction to a fake dog, the study group decided the information presented a very strong example of domestic dogs having a type of jealousy. This primal method of the emotion was hypothesized on the idea that it happens without any complex cognition. That means the dogs do not have to reflect on themselves to feel the sensation.
Dr. Harris explained that most human beings assume that jealousy is a social structure of human or that it is an emotion precisely tied to romantic and sexual relationships. Their research study results ended up defied such ideas, showing instead that animals also can show distress when a competitor seizes a loved one’s affection.
This study is not the first suggestion proposing that animals experience jealousy or other kinds of emotions. Primates are widely thought to go through jealousy, and prior research advises that horses do too. Dogs now apparently are going to be added to that list.
The most current study does not officially prove that dogs feel jealousy but if successive research continues to show that canines are capable of feeling jealousy like humans do, it will certainly go a long ways in saying they do so.
Laurie Santos, who is director of the Canine Cognition Center at Yale University, stated that either the emotion of jealousy itself is less complicated because animals are able to show it, or animals are much more complex than humans believe. Due to the new research study lending support to the idea that dogs may get jealous similar to the way that humans do, it is most likely that animals are more complicated if truth is known.
By Kimberly Ruble