Dogs get jealous!

The only reason my jaw failed to fall to the floor in amazement last night was because I was in bed at the time I came across an article on the BBC website which reports that dogs experience jealousy:

Scientists in Austria say they have found a basic form of jealousy in dogs.

The Vienna-based researchers showed that dogs will stop doing a simple task when not rewarded if another dog, which continues to be rewarded, is present.

Writing in the journal PNAS, the scientists say this shows a sensitivity in dogs that was only previously found in primates.

I don’t know what I find more astonishing. That the researchers got the money to “prove” something that any dog owner could have told them – or that the BBC article failed to contain the phrase “well, d’uh”…

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Granny Anne on 9 December 2008 at 8:28 pm

    It always amazes me when the “experts” pronounce from their “think tanks” something which most people took for granted anyway and hadn’t needed public money and years to “discover”
    I wonder how you get into these think tanks, could be a nice supplement to my pension.:)

  2. What a waste of money, I wonder who thinks up these ‘research’ projects. They only have to be in our house where we have two pampered cats and a spoilt dog to see what happens if one gets more attention than the others.

  3. Granny Anne, when you find out, let me know!

    Margaret, thanks for your comment 🙂
    I agree completely – and you should see how jealous the pigs get if another pig (or one of the dogs) gets a fuss, not them!

  4. Lol, isn’t that just it: that they pay someone to ‘research’ what any dog owner can already tell you! It is crazy this reluctance to see animals as equal to humans, equal but different…I don’t get it–aren’t we ‘humans’ actually animals too after all? Why do we afford ourselves some ill-deserved higher status? Yes, those cows we eat, guess what, they have feelings, and jealousy is probably one of them, too!

    I don’t know if you have experienced this too Jo, but I certainly have found that it is almost MORE difficult to run a farm, butcher the animals and eat them, now that I know how similar they are to us with respect to their emotional life. Not that I’m going to stop doing it, but I had to work through that personal mental trajectory first in order to continue doing it. We are the top predator on the food chain, but, I believe, we are not better or more complex because of it. We simply have not figured out how to ‘measure’ their intelligence and consequently are lulled into (and/or justify) believing they are somehow ‘less’ intelligent.

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