Serpell, James A. (2018) Jealousy? or just hostility toward other dogs? The risks of jumping to conclusions. Animal Sentience 22(13)
Peter Cook, Ashley Prichard, Mark Spivak, and Gregory S. Berns, Jealousy in dogs? Evidence from brain imaging
Cook et al. (2018) provide a fascinating demonstration of amygdala activation in dogs when they witnessed their owners giving food to another (fake) dog, but not when they placed food in a bucket. Dogs’ neurological responses were positively correlated with their reported levels of ‘dog-directed aggression’ as measured by the C-BARQ, and dogs with initially strong amygdala responses habituated on subsequent trials. The authors interpret their findings as possible evidence for an emotion akin to jealousy in dogs. However, alternate interpretations involving either dog aggression/fear or emotional responses to food seem more plausible and avoid the welfare risks associated with attributing higher-order cognitive capacities to animal companions.