Taming Pet Jealousy - TamarPublished December 15, 2008
Q: What is the best way to deal with a dog that has jealousy issues with other pets in the house?
One of the most common reasons for dogs being jealous of each other is due to the owners' own innocent mistake. I'm talking about treating two dogs the way a parent tries to treat his two children: equally. For dogs, being equal goes against their nature. They live in a pack (if not physically, then mentally) and they have a clear packing order. After all, they spend most of their waking time playing games that establish that packing order such as chase, wrestle, and tug-of-war.
The fastest way to stop the jealousy between two dogs is to see which one is truly the leader, and start giving that dog privileges such as offering him the food first, greeting him first, allowing only him on the sofa, etc. If there are no jealousy issues, there is no need to do the above.
It very hard for owners to favor one dog over the other (particularly if it turns out the leader is the newcomer). Keep in mind that after a transitional period, peace, calm, and pleasant visits to the vet will follow and convince everyone that it is worth it. I had to follow that routine with my own dogs. My newcomer, Duke, is a yellow lab mix that was a "target practice" in Pitbull fighting (they broke his back feet so that he couldn't defend himself properly). He became very jealous of my other dog, Clyde, who is clearly the leader.
After a few close calls and one visit to the vet, I instituted the above changes. After a bit of time, Duke came to accept the fact that he is very loved, but that Clyde comes first. Now there are no more jealousy issues or close calls. It is essential to establish the pack leader of your pets early on to prevent resentful behavior in the future.