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TCTI: Too Crazy To Ignore

Dave Ross

Are you cheating on your dog?

"There is something hardwired, not just in humans, but in dogs that motivates to want to regain that attention from a usurper," says Dr. Christine Harris at the University of California, San Diego. (AP Photo/File)

It's something you need to think about because according to psychologist Christine Harris at the University of California, San Diego, "Dogs tend to show jealous like behavior when their owner pays attention and affection to another dog-like being."

She came to this conclusion after a simple experiment - in which dog owners, in the presence of their pets, deliberately fawn over various objects including a children's book, a plastic Halloween jack-o-lantern, and a toy dog. The animals had NO reaction to the book or the jack-o-lantern.

"When the owner was showing affection to this potential rival dog, they did things like push on their owner or try to get in between the owner and the object," explains Harris.

In some cases they tried to sniff the toy dog's posterior, to find out what ever it is dogs find out when they do that.

So now, along with everything else, you have to worry whether you're making your dog jealous.

"There is something hardwired, not just in humans, but in dogs that motivates to want to regain that attention from a usurper," says Harris.

I've always figured that this whole "Man's Best Friend" thing is mostly a comfortable illusion; that dogs simply see us as a food dispenser, and we misconstrue that into an expression of affection.

But Dr. Harris believes that she has uncovered a very basic instinct and that dog owners had better take it into account, lest you come home one day to find FiFi blocking the door with a .22 in her teeth.

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Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

Tune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

  • Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FMTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

About the Author


Dave Ross hosts the Morning News on KIRO Radio weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Dave has won the national Edward R. Murrow Award for writing five times since he started at KIRO Radio in 1978.

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