Has your dog ever displayed a behavior that you swore resembled jealousy? If so, there is new research showing you may have been on to something. On Wednesday PLOS One published research conducted by Dr. Christine Harris that may be further proof that dogs can show signs of jealousy.
The report outlines the parameters the study as well as the findings. In the study researchers tested the reactions of 36 dogs who weighted no more than 35 pounds, and who were shorter than 15 inches tall. The size restrictions were reportedly put in place because of the possibility of aggressive behavior caused by jealously in the dogs. All of the dogs, 31 females and five males, were reportedly between the ages of four months and 11 years old, and had lived with their current families from one month to 11 years.
The dogs were subjected to three different scenarios with their owners present. In the first scenario owners were given a stuffed dog that barked and whined, and were instructed to interact with the stuff dog as if it were a real dog. In the second scenario owners were given a jack-o'-lantern, and told to follow the same instructions as with the stuffed dog. In the last scenario owners were given a child's book that played music and popped-up, and told to read it aloud as if they were reading to a small child.
The results of these scenarios, all of which lasted around eight seconds, may surprise you. Researchers say that 36% of the dogs tested snapped at the stuffed dog once it was put down. Some of the dogs also sought attention from their owners by trying to put themselves between the object and their masters.
Researchers say these tests do not prove that dog do in fact feel jealousy. However, the findings from this study reportedly point to the possibility of there being some primordial form of jealousy in dogs, which researchers suggest may stem from domesticating them.