I love a good study of something that can’t be measured, which is why I fell immediately for some sparkling new research I saw yesterday about jealousy in dogs. It is even more wonderful than another obscure bit of science that I used to love about contagious canine yawning.
It’s not that I’m fickle, but after caring so much about what dogs must think when I yawn at them, I do need something fresh to occupy my mind and keep the excitement alive.
This latest experiment is just so charming.
Researchers emotionally provoked thirty six dogs by having the owners, in the presence of their pets, give attention to three different things – a book, a moving, barking toy dog, and a pumpkin-shaped Halloween candy bucket.
The book was read aloud. The toy dog and the bucket were talked to and petted like they were real animals.
The actual dogs were not interested in their human’s interaction with the book, but had a negative reaction when their owners coddled the fake canine.
A certain amount of butt-sniffing was done with regard to that toy dog. There was no similar behavior around the Jack-O-Lantern bucket because neither dogs nor science can tell us where a pumpkin’s butt is located. Is it on the bottom or at the stem? Time to fund another study.
At any rate, the canines showed a significant amount of alarm when it seemed like there was a new (phony) dog on the scene.
The conclusion: Dogs get jealous.
An alternate conclusion: Dogs get embarrassed for you when you act like a plastic bucket and a scentless stuffed dog are really alive.
But if dogs do get jealous, they will need songs to soothe them through their pain. My nomination: Marvin Gaye’s “Heard It Through the Grapevine.”
No one loves you like I do
You’re my man, and I’m “Old Blue”
But then you picked up a new dog at the store
Between me and that pup
You know I loved you more.
So it took me by surprise when I snuffed
and found out your new pet was stuffed
Don’t you know that no turd means it’s not canine?
Fundamental to the design.
Let me tell you no turd means that’s no canine!
That’s the news that comes from behind.
Honey Honey, yeah.
What’s your favorite song about betrayal?