How to Deal with a Jealous Dog

Dogs, just like humans, get jealous sometimes. They want to be the center of their owner’s world, and when a person or another dog threatens that position, the dog fights back to reinforce his apparent right position. I remember dealing with such a dog when I first my my husband-then boyfriend. The dog’s name was Dusty, and she just totally disliked me. We later became good friends, but it took time.

The best way to deal with a jealous dog is to prepare in advance. Train your pet in basic commands such as ‘sit’, ‘stay’ and ‘no’. Also, spend enough time with him so that he always feels loved and does not have to fight to get your attention. Most importantly, make sure he knows who the alpha in your household is. When your dog recognizes your authority, he knows that anything you say goes because you are the pack leader.

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Signs your dog is jealous range from mild ones like always coming between you and the person or dog causing him to be jealous, to aggressive ones such as snapping at the person or dog, barking, growling and even biting. Other signs include over-grooming, overeating or under eating, depression, and excessive clinginess to family members.

When you notice these signs, don’t punish your dog; ignore him instead. If he pushes between you and the person or dog making him jealous, tell him to ‘stop’ and continue giving attention to the other party. Give your dog attention later, but only when you are done with the other dog or person.

If your dog’s jealousy leans towards aggression, call in a canine behaviorist to help you with the problem. In the meantime, don’t ever leave your dog with the person he is jealous of alone, especially if it’s a baby; it’s better to be safe than sorry. Gradually encourage your dog and the object of his jealousy to interact so that they can bond.

If it’s another dog he is jealous of, take them for walks and exercise them together so that your dog sees the newcomer is not taking his place, but is simply a new addition to the family. Feed them in separate bowls and provide different toys to play with, thereby avoiding preventable causes of conflict.

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Lastly, never give in to bad behavior just to keep the peace. For instance, if your dog pushes between you and a new family member and you pet him just to avoid conflict, you are reinforcing that behavior and he will see no point in stopping.

How to Deal with a Jealous Dog

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