Yes, Springer spaniels can get jealous, and this emotion can be towards other dogs, cats and people that you give more attention and affection to.
While there is no hard evidence that proves that this breed has this emotion, there is a study that shows strong suggestions of jealousy in dogs in general, and let’s face it, as much as your Springer spaniel seems so human in their behavior, they are dogs as well!
There are also anecdotal stories from people that have Springer spaniels that give accounts of their Springers acting jealous.
For example, some owners have reported that if they show more affection to another dog in the family, their Springer spaniel will try to get in between them or to try push the other dog away.
There are also stories of Springers that start whining to get the attention of their owner when they don’t show any affection to them because all of this attention has suddenly been directed to another member of the family.
What Causes Springer Spaniels To Be Jealous?
There are many reasons why your Springer spaniel might be acting jealous. Once you’re able to find the root of the problem, it becomes easier to deal with this issue and hopefully give your dog enough reassurance that there is nothing to be jealous of.
I think it’s a good idea to always remind yourself what it means to be jealous, at least from a human’s perspective.
True, we are not dogs. However, we are social creatures, and I personally think that this is where jealousy tends to wreak havoc.
Ask any owner who has a Springer spaniel, and you’ll most likely get the same answer in terms of how affectionate these dogs can be.
More importantly, you will find that most dog owners who have this breed can also agree that Springer spaniels are highly sociable creatures.
They thrive to be among the family, and they’re actually very tolerant with other dogs and animals as well. This is strange, because you would think that an animal that has this type of tolerance wouldn’t be so prone to jealousy.
I think the best way to look at it is that it’s not so much the amount of tolerance a Springer spaniel has, but rather, what it was subjected to during its life.
So, while your Springer spaniel might be very tolerant and comfortable in its surroundings, there are certain changes in its life that can be understandably difficult to deal with, especially when they happen suddenly.
For example, have you and your family recently moved to a new neighborhood?
If so, imagine what your dog might be feeling when suddenly, everything looks completely different.
There was no way that you were going to be able to give your Springer spaniel a heads up on the big move, because dogs don’t understand such complex forms of communication.
So, now your pooch is in the new house, he is not able to find his regular place where he sleeps and feeds, and his owners are sleeping in a completely new environment which just doesn’t have the same odors and feeling as the previous home.
Imagine all of the mixed emotions your Springer spaniel might be feeling at this point in its life. Managing these emotions becomes difficult, and so it is your job to help your dog become more settled in.
So, Where Does The Jealousy Come In?
Well, like most dogs, resource guarding is a typical trait to have. Everything that your pooch thought was his in that he had control over is suddenly lost. The old house, his old sleeping and feeding zone, the old bedroom you used to sleep in. All gone, forever.
If a new person or animal comes into the house and you show more attention to them, a big part of the attention you gave to your Springer spaniel is yet another resource that he believes could potentially be lost.
It’s understandable, therefore, that your pooch is not going to welcome this new threat, and will either act in an aggressive manner to stop it, or show some form of behavior to convey this message to you.
Of course, there are other reasons that can make your Springer spaniel become jealous, such as:
- Having a new child in the family
- Having a new pet in the family
- Having any new person living in the family
- Having a change of schedule
These are all sudden changes that can make it difficult for your Springer spaniel to process, which in turn can lead to feelings of anxiety. It is then these feelings of anxiety that can stir a lot of strange emotions which lead to unwanted behaviors such as jealousy.
Could It Just Be A Form Of Resource Guarding?
Some might argue that what we perceive as jealousy is actually just a form of resource guarding, which is a typical behavior that most dogs, including Springer spaniels, are known for.
While this might be true, I could argue that the same could be said of humans, right?
While it’s true that we are not the owner of the person we are having a relationship with, we have partial ownership to the actual relationship that we share with that partner.
So, when we get jealous, it is most likely because we feel that our relationship has been threatened by an intrusive third-party, and this in itself is what brings up those powerful feelings of jealousy.
So, could not the same be said for Springer spaniels who behave in a jealous way when they are faced with the same threat of someone taking ownership of whatever resources they are guarding?
How To Help Springer Spaniels Not Be Jealous
The first step in helping your Springer spaniel not be jealous is by acknowledging that “reactive reassurance” is not a good approach.
This is a mistake most dog owners make.
For example, you are sitting in your living room with the rest of your family and you’ve just adopted a new pet into the house.
To make your new pet feel at home, you give a lot of affection to it. Your Springer spaniel sees this and understandably feels threatened that its tight knit family is never going to be the same as it was in the past and so it starts to push in between you and your new dog.
When this happens, you and the rest of the family think it is very cute and start petting your Springer spaniel, giving him lots of love and attention.
The cuteness is so much that you, without realizing it, increase the amount of attention you give to the new dog so that you can see your Springer react in that cute manner again (not cool!).
So, what do you think your Springer spaniel has learned from this?
You are right if you guessed that your pooch is going to continue doing this every time you show affection to your new dog.
It makes sense, right? If your Springer spaniel sees that you are providing the exact attention he needs whenever he behaves this way, then he should continue doing this every time he is put in this uncomfortable situation.
So, stop reassuring your pooch in this manner.
Instead, you most likely want to remove the reward, which in this case is you. You should show no tolerance to this behavior, and you should be consistent with your approach.
This doesn’t mean you have to be angry and yell at your Springer spaniel. In fact, never do it as you will only make the situation worse, and also, it’s just not cool.
Really, the best time to start is when your Springer spaniel is still a puppy. This is the time when you can curb any type of behavior linked to jealousy, including the more direct resource guarding behavior that can make living with your dog impossible if it gets out of control.
Keep your dog’s lifestyle consistent, especially during times when there has been a sudden change in it. This is the best type of reassurance that your Springer spaniel needs in order to realize that everything is still okay.
When you bring in a new family member into the house, regardless of whether it’s an animal or human, make sure that the new member becomes a constant part in your Springer spaniel’s life as well.
If it’s a baby that is the new member, be more careful and never leave your dog alone with your new family member. But still, let your baby also be a constant part of your Springer’s life as well.
Whatever you do, use common sense, don’t rely on reactive reassurance, don’t use negative reinforcement, and do keep things as constant and consistent as possible. This in turn will allow your Springer spaniel to feel at ease more quickly.
Regardless of whether you call what your Springer spaniel is doing, being possessive or being jealous, I think the main point that we can learn from here is that there is something that we can do as dog owners to help our Springer spaniels feel less anxiety.
Remember, our pooches don’t have the same cognitive capabilities as we do in order to look at things in an objective way and to search for ways to manage our emotions.
It is up to us to help our dogs feel more comfortable in their role as a family member and to know what is tolerated and what is not. Clearly, jealousy shouldn’t be tolerated, but the way in which you teach your Springer spaniel this important knowledge is through positive reinforcement.