Possessive Pooches: Dog Jealousy Identified in New Report

Credits: Courtesy of Jacqueline Gross
Coco basks as Rich Michalski pets her.  Meanwhile, Rosie longs for attention. Credits: John Mooney
Credits: Courtesy of Gerri Knego
Credits: Amy Schetelich

FANWOOD, NJ -- A new research study reported in The New York Times seems to confirm what animal lovers have long suspected: man’s best friend can be just as jealous as any man (or woman).

Christine R. Harris and Caroline Prouvost found that dogs exhibited significantly more jealous behaviors (e.g., snapping, getting between the owner and object, pushing/touching the object/owner) when their owners displayed affectionate behaviors towards what appeared to be another dog.

To conduct the study, the researchers adapted a model used in studies designed to analyze emotion in infants.  Dr. Harris observed 36 dogs as their owners ignored them and focused their attention instead on a realistic looking stuffed dog, a plastic jack-o'-lantern or a children's pop-up book. The dogs were then evaluated for aggressiveness, attention-seeking behavior and interest in the owner and object.

Sign Up for E-News

All of the dogs nudged their owners when they played with the stuffed animal, and 86 percent tried to push the fake dog during that stage of interaction.  Since the pets reacted so strongly to a fake dog, the researchers concluded that the data presented a "strong case that domestic dogs have a form of jealousy." 

Local dog owners concur with the researchers.

“The finding is absolutely right.  It’s so obvious to me,” said Gerri Knego, a Fanwood resident. “My dog, Savannah, a Pekinese mix weighing 18 pounds, rules the roost in our house. When our other dog, Benji, a terrier almost twice her size, tries to climb on the bed with us, she snarls and chases him away. However, if another dog threatens Benji, she will back him up.”

Jacqueline Gross, also of Fanwood, says that if she pets another dog, her Shih Tzu, Cookie, gets very jealous.

“If she is inside and sees me petting another dog, she starts barking like crazy,” Gross said.

Rich Michalski, who has three dogs, says that the littlest one can be the most aggressive when it comes to seeking attention. 

“She’s definitely the alpha dog,” he said.  “They fight for attention.  It goes on every day.”

Amy Schetelich of Scotch Plains reports that her dog, Millie, even gets jealous of her husband, John.

“If any of us hugs each other, she barks until she is included. It’s crazy.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Scotch Plains/Fanwood

Three School Buses Involved in Crash at Clark's ALJ High School

June 21, 2018

CLARK, NJ — Three buses collided in the Arthur L. Johnson High School parking lot around noon on Thursday in a chain-reaction crash. 

Students were on board at the time, according to Police Chief Pedro Matos. One driver and two students had minor injuries, Matos said.   

According to a Honeywell alert issued by the Clark Public School District, ...

Let's Talk About Suicide

In our world today, it seems our children, no matter the town, state, education, family unit, socioeconomic background, ethnicity or religion are grappling with complex, confounding and complicated issues not even fit for a middle-aged adult. Sadly, one of these issues is suicide. With mental health gaining more attention, the stigma appears to be dissipating but when a mental health ...

Is Summer Camp the Right Choice for My Child?

Is your child attending camp this summer? Is it their first experience away?  If yes, it can be an experience causing anxiety for you, for the parent and the child. 

This experience can be frightening to your child if it is their first time and it is so important that they do not see your worry or anxiety about leaving home for the first time… especially if it is sleep ...

What Are The Warning Signs of Suicide

The recent passings of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain remind us to take mental illness seriously. 

Many of us feel uncomfortable to ask when someone in distress is suicidal for fear we are putting this thought in their minds. This is not true. It is a myth that asking about suicide increases the risk of suicide. The most common mental illness is depression. Some people are ...


In honor of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's (of righteous memory) 24th  Yahrtzeit (anniversary of his passing) this coming Saturday the 16th.

Excerpts from an address given by Nobel-laureate Elie Wiesel on April 7, 1992, at a congressional dinner held in Washington on the occasion of the Rebbe's 90th birthday.

Some of you are aware of my admiration, not only ...

We Must Address The Unrealistic Affordable Housing Process Now

June 19, 2018

Dear Editor:

I would like to thank all the residents who attended and watched last Tuesday’s Town Hall meeting on over-development and legislative solutions with Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi and I. If you were unable to attend, I encourage you to watch the meeting on SPTV or the Township’s Facebook page at ().

The meeting was a real eye-opener for many of our residents. It ...

Westfield Day Care Center Celebrates 50 Years

June 20, 2018

Westfield, NJ — Westfield Day Care Center staff, parents and alumni celebrated the organization’s 50th anniversary at The Westwood in Garwood.

The evening was a jovial event which also included over 80+ tricky tray and auction items that came as donations from many local Westfield businesses.  The guests congregated around the items while enjoying cocktails and hors ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, June 22, 7:30 PM

Crossroads, Garwood

Benefit Concert

Giving Back

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Terrill Road Baptist Chruch, Scotch Plains

LifeWay’s 2018 Vacation Bible School at Terrill ...

Religions And Spirituality


Mon, July 9, 10:00 AM

Scotch Plains Public Library, Scotch Plains

Join the Summer Jewelry Making Club at the Scotch ...

Arts & Entertainment Health & Wellness Home & Garden