Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dogs get jealous; do horses too?

Several weeks ago, Michael emailed me this story, which talks about a study that found that dogs are capable of jealousy.

It makes me laugh that it actually requires a scientific study in order to "prove" this. I see jealousy in our dogs on almost a daily basis. Emma (our first dog, and for the first five years our only dog) gets jealous all the time when Grace (who we got a year and a half ago) plays with her rope. Emma looks very uncomfortable and worried while Grace plays, and as soon as Grace drops the rope, Emma gets it and lies down with it.

I've also seen clear demonstrations of jealousy from my horse, and I'm sure most other horse owners have too. One day last summer, I stood for about an hour and talked to a woman who leased one of the horses at our old barn. She had the horse in the cross ties, and since Panama's stall was directly behind the wash rack, he could see me petting the other horse while I talked to my friend.

For a long while Panama just stood there and glared daggers at me. When that didn't work, he started to act out, misbehaving in ways he wouldn't normally because he knew they were bad: chewing on the stall wall, kicking the wall with his front foot, basically anything he could think of to try to reclaim my attention. He was apparently still sulking when my friend left and I finally got him out of his stall, because he continued to behave badly even then.

So no, it doesn't surprise me that they have suddenly "discovered" that dogs can feel jealousy. Those of us who live with animals and pay close attention to their behaviors already know this anyway. But I guess in the name as science, they should probably run the same study on horses, so that they can also "discover" equine jealousy!

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5 Comments:

At January 17, 2009 at 9:57 PM, Blogger Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Ever since I fell off my horse and haven't been able to spend time with her for the past 3 weeks, she's been breaking into the barn and getting into mischief. I believe she's bored and misses me and is seeking out ways to get attention.

Lisa

 
At January 19, 2009 at 4:29 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Ha! It sounds like it. Do you keep her tack and things in the barn? Maybe she's trying to send you a message. :o)

 
At January 19, 2009 at 4:29 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

P.S. Are you okay??? I need to check your blog for updates, obviously, so please forgive me for not knowing the full story.

 
At June 11, 2009 at 10:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

my old horse would beat up my new horse when i put him back he would chace him off so i would give him more of everything after a while my new horse started to run away from me and i would have to chace him on my old horse bareback halter and lead and get him to come over and after we gave my old horse back he would still run away thinking he would get hurt if he came close to me or if i did anything with him it got ahrd tring to train and ride him even groom him or play with him too

 
At June 11, 2009 at 11:54 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Anonymous, thanks for your comment. Do you get on your old horse when he chases the new one? I'm at a new barn now, and I've discovered that I have to discipline the alpha when he chases my horse with me there. Horses need to know to act respectful of you. When you're there, YOU are the alpha, not them.

 

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