They give you love every day, but they expect you to clean up after them. They make you laugh and smile, but they are quite demanding, too. They give you kisses and make you feel special, but they expect your attention to be entirely on them at all times.
No, we aren’t talking about your ex… we’re talking about your dog! A new study was conducted to see if animals can feel complex, human-like emotion (which most puppy parents will agree they can and do.. all the time). In this study, pet parents were asked to pay attention to three things: a book, a bucket, and an interactive stuffed dog. UC San Diego researchers took out their cameras, invited 36 college students and their pups to participate, and sat back to watch. What did they find?
Dogs get jealous, too. Or at least they feel threatened. For a very long time, it has been assumed that complex emotions such as jealousy and envy apply only to human beings. Dr. Christine Harris, who led the study, has been examining these emotions for a long time, but never in canines. “The motivation that you have when you’re jealous is to really break up the liaison between your loved one and your rival,” she says.
The “rival” that provoked the biggest reaction from the pups was the stuffed animal. We all coo and make silly noises at our pets whether we notice it or not, and by acting that same way to an imitation, the participants got a reaction out of their dog. Pushing, biting, growling, and whining were all common reactions when the toy animal was getting all the puppy love that should, of course, be given solely to the actual pets.
These behaviors may be interpreted as simply wanting attention, but the other toys and the pups’ reaction towards them made this study more interesting and thought-provoking. The vast majority of the dogs that participated reacted negatively against the stuffed animal when it received love and care in the real dog’s stead. Less than half of those dogs then displayed envy towards the bucket. Only one dog reacted negatively towards the book.
Just like any other relationship in your life, you have to make sure that you pup feels special and wanted – always. Paying too much attention to other animals or even animalesque objects may result in Fido acting out. Make sure that both Scruffy and Fido get one-on-one time with you: their favorite person in the whole wide world. Spread the puppy love around, but remember who really matters most, in their big, brown eyes at least.
How can you do that? The very best way to make your pup feel loved is to show your love. Spend quality time with your pooch and communicate in a positive tone to strengthen your bond. If you have multiple pets, make sure to spend one-on-one time with each one, as this is so vital to their relationship with you. They would go to the ends of the earth for you, so why not let ’em know they’re special? Give them treats and take them to exciting places to play and socialize! When it comes time to wind down and relax, cuddle up with your pooch, and the hormones released by petting them will help both you and Fido feel less stressed and anxious. Bow wow!