Possesive puppies: Jealous behaviors in dogs
Emotion researchers have been arguing for years whether jealousy requires complex cognition. And some scientists have even said that jealousy is an entirely social construct — not seen in all human cultures and not fundamental or hard-wired in the same ways that fear and anger are.
A current study by UC San Diego professor Christine Harris is the first experimental test of jealous behaviors in dogs. The findings support the view that there may be a more basic form of jealousy, which evolved to protect social bonds from interlopers.
“Our study suggests not only that dogs do engage in what appear to be jealous behaviors but also that they were seeking to break up the connection between the owner and a seeming rival,” Harris said. “We can’t really speak to the dogs’ subjective experiences, of course, but it looks as though they were motivated to protect an important social relationship.”
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