How To Stop Dog Jealousy Aggression: What To Do If Your Dog Is Jealous


We see our pets in all of their glory: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Have you ever noticed the little green monster in your pets, though? Dogs, like humans, can be envious of toys, food, and even the attention of their owners. It’s hard to change a dog’s jealous behavior, and if you don’t, it can quickly turn into aggression.

Anthony Newman, CPDT-KA, founder of Calm Energy Dog Training, explains the three types of jealous dog behaviors that can lead to dog aggression, as well as how to train your dog to be less reactive in these situations.

How to Train a Dog Against Moderate Guarding: Jealous Dog Behavior

When a dog is guarding an item, such as a bone, dog bed, or bowl, and lunges, barks, snaps, or tries to scare you or the “threat” away, Newman recommends a combination of two exercises: forcing the dog to leave the item and removing it.

The first item is to start the dog away from the item by attaching a light leash to a PetSafe Martingale dog collar and leading him away with the command “leave it.” Reward him with a treat as soon as he abandons his post and redirects his attention, then drop the leash and use an “ok” command to let him happily return to the resource. Newman warns against doing this exercise more than once or twice a day because it can make your dog anxious.

Second, once you’ve mastered the first exercise, practice taking the item from your dog and repeating the reward routine of treating him and returning the item when he doesn’t react. When you’ve mastered the combination of exercises, you can begin incorporating the training when your dog is provoked by situations that might provoke his jealous dog behavior.

When You’re the One Guarding Your Jealous Dog

Aggressive dog behavior can be misinterpreted as guarding when, in fact, you are guarding him. “It’s not him guarding you, but you’re allowing and promoting the aggression by (unintentionally) guarding your dog!” says Newman. What exactly does that imply? If your dog barks at the doorbell or lunges at a passing dog, and you pull back, your dog may interpret this as his aggression having caused the perceived threat to vanish. “The aggression worked!” your dog thinks, and he feels compelled to repeat the behavior.

So, how do you train your dog to pass by in a safe manner? “Nine times out of ten in these cases, if you take control of your dog and the situation, start leading your dog up to the threat—not being dragged by your dog, but you in front, leading, [he] starts to learn that his aggression isn’t needed and starts to be calmer in “trigger” situations,” says Newman. While this may appear counterintuitive at first, it is most effective when dealing with leash aggression, such as your dog barking at other dogs, kids on bikes, skateboarders, or when he is guarding your home when a visitor or guest comes over, or even when the mail carrier comes by. If your dog is generally friendly with other people in other situations and isn’t aggressive, he probably just needs to be reassured that he isn’t in danger.

Newman explains, “He’s succeeded so far in convincing you (and others) that he’s aggressive; by doing so, he’s manipulated you into protecting him from his perceived threats and from the consequences of his reactivity.” “In these cases, if you don’t let the aggression work and instead take control and approach, submissiveness will result.” The best way to successfully execute this exercise is to ensure that your dog is calm in his environment or out on a walk. Protect against environmental stress and reactivity with Zuke’s Enhance Calming Chicken Formula Dog Treats and Vet’s Best Comfort Calm Soft Chews Dog Supplement. Spray ThunderEssence Dog Calming Mist on his martingale dog collar or his dog harness before a situation that might trigger him. This will help him stay calm during the exercise.

Food Aggression That Is Serious

Food aggression, also known as full-fledged resource guarding, can apply to a variety of resources. While this type of dog behavior is uncommon, it can range from mild to severe, and it can be a difficult problem to solve. “I always start by telling owners up front that genuine resource guarding is something that can’t be fixed,” says Newman, who has worked with aggressive dogs of all sizes, ages, and breeds for over 15 years. No matter how much obedience training you do, your dog’s reactivity threshold will not diminish if someone approaches their food bowl, rawhide chew, tug toy, stick, squeaky ball, or even dog bed.

Even though full-blown resource guarding is usually ingrained in a dog’s behavior, it doesn’t mean there’s nothing that can be done about it. While a dog will continue to react when he believes the object he is guarding is at risk, the best way to avoid and prevent jealous dog behavior is to avoid the situations that cause it.

Don’t give up hope if this sounds like your dog! According to Newman, the best way to manage a true resource guard is to leave them access to items they consider valuable in the presence of potential threats. “In some cases, this means that you won’t be able to go to the dog park at all.” “Don’t leave food bowls out at home with visitors, kids, or other dogs,” says Newman. “Often, it means not bringing a squeaky ball; even more frequently, it means not bringing dog treats.” Chews and dog toys should not be left out.”You can reduce the risk of dog aggression by removing items that your dog may become protective of.”

The best way to learn how to safely handle your dog, act around him, and keep others safe is to work with a certified dog trainer. Keep in mind, though, that some resource guarding reactions can be very dangerous and can be triggered by things that don’t seem to have anything to do with the dog or you. So, always be careful around you and your dog.


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