The researchers found that a quarter of the dogs went after the stuffed animal when they were jealous. There was no difference in the number of dogs that lowered their tails. Overall, 36% of the dogs snapped and became aggressive toward the stuffed dog in the post-interaction phase when the owner was no longer holding the object. Snapping was only shown by one dog in the other trials. This surprised the researchers because, prior to the tests, the dogs’ owners thought their temperament was not aggressive.
This study also showed that dogs that were attention-seeking and highly focused on their owners when they were jealous were more likely to push or touch their owners and objects.
Most surprisingly, these jealous dogs tried to get between the owner and the object. This behavior is associated with jealousy in humans, and the researchers hypothesized that it was a way to distinguish this behavior from anger or other emotions.
The researchers also hypothesized that the dogs believed the stuffed dog was a real dog because of the aggressive behaviors they directed at it. An analyst of the study indicated that the dogs who did not behave aggressively may have recognized that the object was not a real dog. A high percentage of 86% of the dogs tested sniffed the stuffed canine’s hindquarters throughout the test. Both Dr. Prouvost and Dr. Harris believe that if the stuffed dog had been a real dog, there might have been more aggression.
However, the researchers concluded that the behavior of these dogs was very similar to jealousy in humans. However, only 13.8% of the dogs did not sniff the stuffed dog’s hindquarters.
The researchers believe this is because they were not in a state of jealousy, as they were not trying to get between the owner and the object. Many dogs that did not snap exhibited other jealous behaviors, such as trying to get between the owner and the object. 61.9% pushed their owner and 57.1% pushed the stuffed dog.
So yes, dogs do feel jealousy. According to research published in PLOS ONE, domestication may be the reason for the strong bond we have with our dogs today. According to the researchers, this could also be due to the fact that dogs are able to follow a human’s gaze or see what their owners are focusing on. The researchers also wonder if jealousy in dogs has evolved because the animals need the cooperation of other group members to survive.