“Oh, he gets jealous!” is a phrase we’ve probably all heard as we’re petting a dog and the other one squeezes its way in for pets and attention. What we perceive as jealousy in dogs isn’t necessarily how dogs perceive it. A dog who squeezes its way in for attention is asserting dominance on the other dog and often on the person giving the attention. While we may think it’s cute as all of the dogs in the family jump on us for attention when we only sought out to give one attention, this is a behavior that can cause problems to arise if left to continue. Jealousy within multiple dogs is the want to control which dog is getting attention and when.
As we are petting Max, Stella squeezes her way between the two of us. Stella is asserting dominance over Max and is controlling who we are petting. The issue that can happen is Max will eventually get sick of being bullied by Stella in moments of receiving attention and lash out. And then we think to ourselves, “Oh no! Max is the bad one! He snapped at Stella!” But in reality, Max is the one who has been bullied many times by Stella, and he has reached his breaking point. So what can we do to help with this behavior in multiple dog households before it becomes a problem?
When having multiple dogs in a household, it is important to make sure one dog is not getting favored over the other. Try to have control over treat giving, feeding times, going out doorways, jumping in and out of the car so that one dog isn’t always going first, and the list can continue. Working on name recognition with commands can help with this as well! If one dog is always eager to be the first one, have them wait for your command!
Remember that proper daily exercise is crucial in removing energy from our furry friends. The less mental energy they have to expend on each other, the fewer issues can arise. Having a good schedule of exercise, training, and relaxation time can help tremendously. Not only in getting our dogs physically tired but mentally as well. Keeping with a schedule routine and turn-taking of which dog goes first in different situations will help tremendously with “jealousy” between your pups!