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!
Labels: horse behavior