Dogs and humans have several behavioral traits that are similar. One easily recognizable trait is jealousy. Some dogs, like some humans, become extremely possessive of their owners and other family members, striking out aggressively at rivals. A jealous dog wants exclusive access to its owner's attention and affection. Such a dog will exhibit angry aggressive behavior toward any person or animal that the dog perceives is intruding upon its relationship with the owner. Bringing a new baby into a home is often a cause for jealousy in dogs.
Jealous dogs exhibit behaviors such as barking at the object of jealousy, barking at you when you are giving your attention to the object of jealousy, always being underfoot, tearing things up, and regression from learned housetraining behaviors.
A dog's guarding instinct is a mechanism similar to jealousy wherein the dog's jealousy extends to expecting exclusive access to the entire household in which it lives. Dogs can react viciously whenever a person or dog is allowed access to the home, even if is done with the obvious approval of the dog's owner.
This jealousy is an exaggerated manifestation of a dog's innate need to guard its possession of items like bones or chew toys. Dogs will aggressively guard them against use by both humans and other animals. This behavioral characteristic of some dogs is not a serious a problem as jealousy or the guarding behavior, except where children are involved in inadvertently touching a dog's possessions.
One familiar manifestation of jealousy in dogs results from the complex relationship with a mother dog, her puppies, and her owner. Unlike humans, a dog mother does not maintain the maternal instinct for her children for the remainder of her life. A woman posted a video of herself petting a stuffed dog while her golden retriever looks on. The golden put up with it for a few seconds, and then grabs the fake dog by the neck and wrestles it away. Check out this amazing video!