herald

Saturday 21 October 2017

Jealous streak found in man's best friend

Dogs suffer from jealousy, scientists have discovered, confirming the long-held suspicions of owners and backing up an observation first made by Charles Darwin.

Experiments by researchers revealed that dogs exhibited jealous behaviour such as snapping and pushing when their owner displayed affection for a stuffed dog that barked, whined and wagged its tail.

The University of California study used an adapted test for six-month-old babies to monitor the reaction of 36 dogs in their own homes when their owners ignored them in favour of the stuffed dog or a bucket with a Halloween design. In a third scenario, owners were asked to read aloud a pop-up book that played tunes.

The dogs were filmed and the video rated for a variety of aggressive, disruptive and attention-seeking behaviour.

The study found the dogs were around twice as likely to push or touch their owner when he or she was petting and talking sweetly to the false dog as when the owner was displaying the same behaviour towards the bucket.

Even fewer pushed or touched their owner when the book was being read aloud.

hnews@herald.ie

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