How to Deal with a Jealous Dog
This is a problem I see quite often with my dog training clients so I thought I would write an article about how to deal with a jealous dog.
We value our dogs for many reasons, including the close relationship we can enjoy with them. Dogs are loyal, devoted, and loving. They are often our best friends. So, it’s not surprising that many dogs can be very attached to one person even when that person is part of a couple. You may find yourself asking at times why your dog is jealous of your spouse.
Your dog can be jealous of your spouse for many of the same reasons that a child would be. Your dog can feel bonded to you. He may feel that you are his “special person.” He may look upon you like a substitute mother or, at the very least, as a pack leader. Any other relationships that you form threaten to distance your dog from you and reduce the amount of time you spend together. Your other relationships may reduce the importance of your dog in your life and your dog instinctively knows this.
If you prefer more concrete reasons for your dog’s possible jealousy, your dog may be jealous of your spouse for reasons as simple as the time that your spouse spends with you. It could also be because your spouse gets the best place on the bed. Maybe your dog used to be able to sleep on the bed before you were married and now he’s not allowed to do so anymore. Your dog may be jealous of your spouse because he sees you lavishing affection on your spouse and your dog feels left out.
Although it can be a bad idea to anthropomorphize your dog too much, when it comes to jealousy, it’s likely that your dog gets jealous for many of the same reasons that people do. He may look upon you as someone special to him, and him alone, and he doesn’t like to see your spouse intruding on your relationship together.
There are plenty of tales about jealous dogs and how they can act out in the home. They range from dogs that may ignore your spouse to dogs that may pee on your spouse’s belongings. Some dogs may set out to destroy things that belong to your spouse. In extreme cases a dog may wage a battle with your spouse for your attention, inserting himself between the two of you both literally and figuratively. He may try to sit between you on the sofa, for instance, or interrupt kisses by jumping up on you. If your dog is jealous he will probably give some not very subtle clues about his feelings so your spouse knows that he or she is not welcome.
If your dog is jealous it can make things difficult in the home. Your spouse may try to win your dog over but, depending on the dog, this may or may not be successful. Some dogs may become friendlier to the spouse but some dogs won’t. With time most dogs will eventually accept that the spouse is not going to go away and some kind of détente can be worked out.
Why does my dog bark at my husband but not me?
If your dog is jealous of your spouse you should support your spouse and let your dog know that you expect him to respect your spouse in the home. For instance, if your spouse wants to sit down and your dog is occupying the space next to you, it’s a good idea to back your spouse up and make your dog get down. You want to send your dog the message that he needs to obey the spouse, if for no other reason than because you say so. The same goes for your bed. Make sure that your dog understands that your spouse belongs there and has a higher status than the dog.
On the other hand, you should also make time to spend with your dog. Do not ignore him or leave him out. Make sure that he gets plenty of your time and attention. His role may be different with your spouse in the house but he should still feel loved and wanted. If you find ways to include your dog in your activities, along with your spouse, then you will have fewer problems with a jealous dog.
Do you have any jealous dog stories to tell us about? Use the comment area to tell us about your experiences.