Tuesday, July 29, 2014

NorthStar Pet: Do Dogs Get Jealous?


There is a news story on the radar right now about a study that may illustrate that dogs get jealous. And, I know from reading comments associated with the study results, many pet owners agree that dogs and cats can display jealousy. 

Everyone's experience is their experience, results not typical!

I have my own opinion of the study - that includes asking the question as to why such a small sampling with this construct and methodology would be given so much credibility and draw so many far reaching conclusions - such as jealousy is a primordial emotion. This study was completed with a small sample (36 dogs) in a brief period of time and it measured a dog observing human interaction (their human) with an animatronic dog, a book, and a plastic pumpkin in a dog's home environment.  I see a lot of preconceived assumptions in this study, including the sort of insulting assumption that like the animatronic dog, a dog is a dog is a dog.

Any dog/cat 'parent' can tell you one size does not fit all. 

Like any study that can be subjectively interpreted, I think that we will see the results we want to see, here.

Is this a fact or is it a belief? I still say belief and not fact. I think we have to look at how a dog's behavior is intrinsically informed. What's in it for the dog from his/her point-of-view, psychology, DNA, needs, age, physical condition, instincts, environment, and so forth.

And, what concerns me here is that a study like this can potentially inform how we love, train, and raise our pets.

I'm not big on anthropomorphizing the behavior of animals we share the earth with - they have their own way of navigating their world in which we all co-exist.

My own opinion - No, dogs don't get jealous. And, this video from Cesar Millan offers a good explanation.

Jealousy, along with shame, deceit, sloth, and contempt, are human constructs and human attributes. Dogs and humans share versions of the following emotions: excitement/arousal, distress, contentment, disgust, fear, anger, joy, suspicion/shyness, affection/love.

Humans and dogs share their home-life, but we are two different species who have learned to coexist in a beneficial, very big way.

Animals are indeed sentient beings. Dogs absolutely love and are absolutely real in every moment. In their brief time on earth, I don't believe they have the capability or need to take on our trifling ways!

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