Jealousy & Possessiveness

The jealous dog sees other people or pets as a rival for your attention and love. He tries to force himself in between you and someone else or another pet. He may challenge a spouse when they try to snuggle next to you on the couch or in bed. A jealous dog may attack another pet that gets too close to you. He’ll try to push another pet away so he can get your attention. He’s afraid of losing your love and attention. (quoted from Linda Cole)

Unfortunately, as with other non-accepted behavior, we have taught them it’s ok to act like that.  We even unwittingly reward their actions with attention, even if it is negative attention!    As long as there is a reinforcement for the behavior (sometimes the payoff is that he is allowed to do the behavior), the dog will continue the behavior. Removing the reward is the first step toward changing the behavior.

If you need to change an unwanted behavior, only reward your dog for acting in a way you expect him to act.  Many dogs are under the impression that they are entitled to own everything because everything has been always given to them.  

Jumping up into your lap uninvited is one example of entitlement.  I like Cesar Milan’s “no talk, no touch, no eye contact”.  Simply place him/her back on the floor.  Remy will try at least three times right now because I haven’t been consistent enough.  Occasionally I have let him stay in the past.  Bad mom!  Dogs see as black or white, rules always mean something or never mean anything!  After Remy stays on the floor I will invite him up.  Jump up uninvited-no.  Invited-yes.

When your dog tries to come between you and another person, simply ignore his behavior. If you’re sitting on the couch when he’s trying to get between you, stand up. Don’t say anything, don’t touch him, and don’t look at him – just stand up. Affection is something you give to your dog on your terms, not his. By ignoring his behavior, you’re teaching him his behavior is not acceptable and he won’t get your attention until he’s calm with all four feet on the floor. Using your body language is the best way to teach him because dogs are experts at reading even our body language.

The trickiest part for me right now is to stop Remy from jumping off the chair to threaten one of the cats who are coming to me for attention.   I’m trying to think this out to where he is close enough for me to grab his collar before he jumps down or maybe leashing him when he is sitting on the recliner with me!  By Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, The Dog Trainer

Dog Jealousy: What it is, Why it Happens, and How to Help

Fixing Jealous, Over-Protective, and Possessive Behaviour