If you own a dog, you probably would have noticed it portraying human emotions. Perhaps one of the most debated is whether or not a dog feels jealous. We may observe it, but is it actually scientifically proven? Do dogs actually feel jealous?
Charles Darwin wrote in The Descent of Man that “everyone has seen how jealous a dog is of his master’s affection, if lavished on any other creature.” This statement was made in 1871 and has since been the subject of scientists’ arguments.
This led to the University of California to study once and for all if dogs do get jealous. And the answer is a resounding yes.
The researchers discovered that dogs were far more likely to snap and push at their owners if they felt that they didn’t have their owner’s affection. Lead researcher Professor Christine Harris says, “Our study suggests no only that dogs do engage in what appear to be jealous behaviours but also that they were seeking to break up the connection between the owner and a seeming rival.”
“Many people have assumed that jealousy is a social construction of human beings – or that it’s an emotion specifically tied to sexual and romantic relationships,” she adds. “Our results challenge these ideas, showing that animals besides ourselves display strong distress whenever a rival usurps a loved one’s affection.”
The study used an adapted test for six-month-old babies. It monitored the reaction of 36 dogs in their own homes when their owners ignored them in favour of a stuffed dog which could bark and wag its tail.
Read the full report on The Telegraph here.