If you are tired of your dog being jealous when other pets are around or when you spend time with other people, then you are in the right place. Let the training begin!
In order to teach your dog to not be jealous, you need to recognize the jealous behavior, allow your dog to have a space where they feel safe, and to show your pet how much you love them with praise. By following these steps plus a few more listed below, you can expect a better behaved dog in no time.
While sometimes the jealousy shows itself in forms of pushing or shoving other dogs or people out of the way, it can other times result in your pet going to the bathroom inside your home to show his/her disapproval of not getting your full attention.
The question then remains - how do I train my dog to stop being jealous and how do I know that these steps will work? We have put together a list of ways to eliminate the jealousy in your animal and have researched the best ways to do so. Many dog trainers and vets have stated that dealing with aggression and other outbursts of anger from your dog can be stressful and even harmful to those around you, so it’s best to get started training as soon as possible.
7 Steps to Train & Teach Dog To Not Be Jealous
Do you remember training your dog to sit, shake or “play dead”? If so, then you know that the only way these things were possible was by your dedication and repetition of these particular skills.
Training a dog to not be jealous can be done in a similar way, with a few steps that allow you to get the job done. If your pet does not respond right away, it is okay because learning any new skill is a journey for anyone.
Throughout this process, it will be easy to become overwhelmed and to get angry with your animal, but the best thing you can do for yourself and your pet is to stay as calm as possible, even when things aren’t going as you think they should. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect!
Gather some treats and a notebook and let’s get started with the process of training your dog to not be jealous. Remember, no dog is the same and some animals might respond quicker and better than others, but with focused work, any dog can learn this skill.
Step 1 - Take Notes
Before you begin training your dog to not be jealous, you need to be fully aware of when the jealousy takes place. If it is when you pay attention to other animals, leave a note in your notebook. When you go for a walk, if you talk to others or pet other people’s dogs, write it down if it makes your dog feel uncomfortable.
When you have gathered a few days or a week’s worth of notes, you will be able to see which scenarios make your dog upset and you will be ready to make the first few steps to remedy the jealousy issue.
Step 2 - Focus on Your Dog
When you see another animal, especially if it is a tiny puppy or a friend’s dog, your first reaction is to pet them and show them attention. This is normally a fine thing to do, but if your dog is struggling with jealousy, then they don’t need to see you showing any other animal your attention.
With your dog around, try to only focus on him/her and let her know that you are loyal to them and not to any other pet. While this might seem outrageous to you, just know that your pet craves your full attention and needs you to only focus on them to let them know that you love and care for them.
Step 3 - Make A Safe Space For Your Dog
People find their homes to be their safe space from the world, their safe harbor from the crashing waters of the world around them. It should come as no surprise that pets need this safe space, too.
Allow your dog to know that they are safe when in their kennel or crate and help them find this as a time to recharge and relax. When they have this space, they can be free to not worry about anything and to just simply rest.
Step 4 - Be Aware When You Get Home
For people who own multiple dogs, it can be tempting to show one pet more attention over the other, especially when the exciting moment of coming home from work happens. Usually the pets will meet you at the door with excitement, but if you focus on one dog over the other, be prepared for aggression to take place.
Greeting your pets equally will let them both know that you missed them while you were away and that you genuinely love both of them. This might seem like a super easy step to you, but for your dogs it can be life changing.
If you are struggling to do this step, simply just walk in after work and don’t give either dog any attention. They will be able to calm their excitement down without either one getting offended by lack of attention.
Step 5 - Share and Spread the Love
When you are relaxing on the couch, make sure to spend an equal amount of time petting each dog in order to reduce any feelings of inferiority or jealousy. Focusing on one pet over the other will make them frustrated and think that you don’t love them, thus leading to jealousy.
If you are petting one dog to make the other one mad or jealous, then take a step back and realize that you are creating the problem. Simply split your attention the way you would with multiple children in the house and spend time with each one individually.
Furthermore, when you purchase pet toys or accessories, always be sure to get one for each dog in your house. When you only get one pet, all of the toys and nice new beds and whatnot, the other will see that and instantly feel left out.
Step 6 - Reward Positive Behavior
When you find your pets doing something that you like or want them to repeat in the future, give him/her a treat and praise them. Letting your pet know that you like a particular behavior will encourage them to do that same thing over and over again.
In addition to letting your pet know that you like their behavior, rewarding positive behavior will allow your pet to know that you love them and are proud of them. In the world of a dog, this can go a long way!
Step 7 - Don’t Give Up
There will be days or even weeks when your dog will need more attention than others. If you find them regressing or not behaving how you want them to, then simply increase your focus and your efforts to help them do the right thing.
The bottom line in all of this jealousy-training is to make your dog feel loved. The moment they feel replaced or inadequate, the aggressive behaviors will creep back in and you will find yourself back at square one. When you spend time with your animals equally, they will not have any room for jealousy to creep in.
What does jealousy look like for a dog?
There are a number of things to look for when trying to determine if your dog is jealous. A few have been mentioned before in this article but here is a short list of what to look for if you think your dog is showing this type of behavior.
- Accidents Indoors - Your fully potty-trained dog might start showing signs of incontinence inside the house when you bring home your new dog. This is a sign of needing attention and love, and the only way they know how to show you that something isn’t right in their world.
- Licking Galore - An occasional lick from your pup is to be expected, but when they start licking your hands or your face often, they might be trying to tell you that they need more of your attention.
- Acting Pushy - If your pet is usually very calm and collected, then seeing them act aggressively might be alarming behavior that you are not used to experiencing. If this happens, then chances are your dog is not getting enough attention from you.
- Fighting Other Animals - Your dog might even try to fight the new dog in the house to assert dominance and let you know that they are still there. Simply divide your attention and allow each pet to know you love them to eliminate this aggressive behavior.
- All In Your Space - When a dog wants to get your attention, they will do so without a care as to anything you are trying to do. This means that if you are working at your table, the animal will get all in your space and try to get right in front of you so you can focus on them.
- Performs Tricks Unprompted - Dogs that do tricks without being asked are trying to show off, all with the goal of getting you to praise them and show them attention. When this happens, your dog is more than likely feeling neglected and needing some love from you.
- Aggression - The most obvious outburst of emotion to look for is aggression. This can look like growling or sometimes even biting when another animal gets any more attention. While nibbling or light biting is usually manageable, no one wants their pets biting, especially when strangers or small children are present.
Once you are aware of what aggression and jealousy looks like, you can begin the seven step process to eliminating jealous behaviors in your pet.
Why is my dog acting jealous?
There are a number of factors and reasons why your dog feels jealous. If you recently added another four-legged friend to the family, they might feel replaced or unwanted. If this is the case, then know going in that having multiple dogs will require your heart to grow and love more than when you just had one pet.
How long will my dog take to get rid of jealous behavior?
While it would be ideal to say, “Your dog will not be jealous after X amount of time,” it is impossible to put a time limit on it. Each and every dog is different and it will vary on how long it takes to get your dog to not be jealous. If you spend dedicated time working on this with your dog, then chances are they will be better in a few weeks to a month.
When do jealous behaviors typically happen?
There are specific situations that might cause your dog to show jealous behaviors but below is a list of proven times that make a dog act out.
- Adding a new dog to the family
- Adding a new child to the family
- Change of schedule
- Change of environment (aka moving to a new house)
- Changing Owners
How do I prevent jealousy when adding a new baby to the family?
The last thing you want to do is leave the aggressively-acting dog with your new child. When you do this, you are only setting up a potentially dangerous situation for you new baby. Instead, allow the dog to smell and slowly warm up to the new bundle you have just brought home. This might take time, so do not rush the process as your child might get hurt if you don’t give your pet time to warm up.
What if I followed all of the steps and my dog is still acting out?
In some rare instances, you might need to seek outside help to get your dog to calm down and not show signs of jealousy. If you are in this situation, then a dog behavior specialist is the best option for you. This will allow you to take a few minutes to collect yourself while a professional trains him/her.
Does a jealous dog mean I am a bad pet parent?
Of course not! There are several people who struggle with aggression and jealousy in your pet. The fact that you have recognized the problem and are working towards fixing the problem means that you are a great pet parent because you are involved and trying to make the best of your situation and your time with your furry friend.
How quickly do I need to work on training when I notice these behaviors?
When you notice the aggression and jealous behaviors, it is probably in everyone’s best interest to work on fixing these issues sooner rather than later. The more your dog is allowed to act this way, the more chances of injury are for you or your loved ones.
The moment you realize your dog is struggling is when you need to sit down and try practicing the steps listed in this article.
Does rewarding my dog help or hurt the situation?
If you are careful when you reward behaviors, then it will only help the process. Never reward negative behavior because this will only encourage your dog to act out more. Rewarding with treats or praise helps your dog to know you approve of what they are doing and it will make them want to perform that behavior over and over again.
Will a routine help my dog?
Routines help just about anyone to feel more in control of the day and the situation, so it should come as no surprise that routines will also help your pets. Those pets that are struggling will know what to expect and how you want them to behave if you are consistent from day to day on various things. You will feel more in control when your dog responds as you want them to throughout the day.
Why does my dog leave the room?
If your dog is feeling neglected or left out of certain activities, then you might notice that they simply slink out of a room or go hide in their kennel or crate. This means that they are needing comfort and the only thing they can think of is to go to their safe space.
Withdrawing and leaving the room is usually a good sign that your dog isn’t getting what they need. As a dog owner, this is a great time for you to interact with them and allow them to feel loved and wanted.
Life happens and sometimes it is not possible to show your dog attention 100% of the time, especially when you have a job or a family you are trying to raise. As much as possible, show your pet that you love them and give them extra praise or treats to let them know that you like them being around.
Oftentimes when a pet comes from a pound or a previous owner, they might have some trauma they need help working through. When you spend extra one-on-one time with your animal, they will feel welcomed, loved and wanted in no time at all.
About THE AUTHOR
I have had dogs my whole life and have always trained my own dogs with patience and positive reinforcement. My dogs are my life. My family always had dogs growing up. I've trained dogs for clients while working at a local dog daycare. I hope that my research and experiences are helpful to you as I share them here.Read More About Russell Wright