Dogs are the best friend of man and a new study has found that just like humans these animals also envy those who take away their owners’ attention.
According to the scientists, the very common emotion of jealousy is primal and is not only limited to humans. For being jealous, there is no requirement of complex minds. But the main thing is better understanding of this dangerous emotion.
Lead author Christine Harris says, “This dangerous emotion has been named as the third-leading cause of non-accidental homicide across cultures.”
Harris works at the University of California, San Diego, as an emotion researcher.
Harris first came across any such evidence of canine jealousy in dogs. “I was visiting my parents, who have three border collies and I was petting two of them. Both of them wanted to knock my hands off the other dog so that I was patting them with both my hands not just one,” Harris said.
Harris stressed that both the animals wanted an exclusive attention as if they were jealous.
This made me think of jealousy in dogs, Harris said.
For the study, the researchers involved 36 dogs in their own homes. Only small dogs which were approx less than 35 pounds or shorter than 15 inches were chosen for the study. Researchers say smaller dogs were considered for the study as they were easier to control during the experiments.
All dogs were videotaped and each reaction by their canines were recorded when their owners completely ignored them for a jack-o’-lantern, a stuffed animated dog wagging its tail, barking and whining and a pop-up book of children that played melodies.
Following the study, the dogs were found to be more jealous of the stuffed dog in comparison to all the mentioned distractions when their owners displayed affection to their artificial counterpart.
The canines were nearly two times as likely to touch the owner, who was playing with the artificial dog. One-third dogs tried to seek attention by getting a place between their owners and the stuffed toy. One-quarter of them snapped at the artificial dog. Moreover, only one did so at the book and jack-o’-lantern.
The findings of the study were published online on July 23 in the journal PLOS ONE.