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Dogs and Jealousy

By Scott Rose

Dogs and Jealousy

For ages, many animal experts held that all dog behavior, including possible jealous tendencies, stemmed from instinct rather than emotions, but new research is proving that theory wrong. So, if you recently brought a new friend or another pet into your life, and your dog suddenly seems less than friendly, you may just have a jealous pooch on your hands.

Paul Morris, Ph.D., a psychologist and animal behavior expert at the University of Portsmouth in England, determined that certain animals, including dogs, experience a wide array of emotions. Along with jealousy, these emotions include anger, anxiety, surprise, pride, embarrassment and shame.

While cats, pigs, horses, rabbits and hamsters also seem to get jealous, dogs appear to feel this emotion more often and with greater intensity. Dog owners who were included in the study consistently reported that their dogs pushed in between themselves and third party rivals for their attention.

Scientists as of yet can't communicate with dogs to know what they are truly feeling, but the evidence so far suggests that canine emotions -- including jealousy -- are comparable to what we experience.

"All we can do is look at behavior and context," Morris said. "Both the behavior and the contexts observed are consistent with current scientific definitions of jealousy. I suspect that a highly social species such as the dog has a very developed repertoire of social emotions."

He and others plan to study animal emotions more in future. Meanwhile, what should you do if you suspect your dog is feeling jealous? Here are a few guidelines:

1. Recognize the signs
Like a spurned lover, your dog will have a hard time containing itself if it feels jealous. Sulking, snarling, growling, fighting and sluggishness can be symptoms of jealousy. Some dogs even get so upset that they stop eating. In that case, be sure to schedule a veterinary check-up to rule out possible medical causes.

2. Maintain routines
You likely have a daily routine for interacting with your dog, even if you did not establish this routine consciously. Think back to what your schedule and habits were like before the new pet or person was introduced and, whenever possible, try to reestablish that pattern with your dog. Routine is important to your dog because its jealousy, in part, comes from fear of losing its place in your life. By continuing to feed, walk, and play with your dog according to a normal schedule, you reassure your pet of its place in your heart.

3. Give extra attention
Try to spend even more time with your dog than usual during the transitional period. If the subject of your dog's jealousy is another person, encourage that individual to play, pet and otherwise positively interact with your dog as much as possible.

4. Reinforce basic training
Your dog thinks of you as part of its pack. Now it must share you with another individual. You must remain the leader, so gently show your dog who is boss by verbally scolding negative behavior as soon as it starts. At the same time, reward positive behavior with sweet talk, head rubs, and treats, especially if your dog makes an effort to socialize with your new pack member.

5. Empathize
Whether the object of your dog's jealousy is a new pup or person, try to remember that from your dog's perspective, it was with you first. Your dog has attempted to earn your loyalty and affection over the years, while sharing those same gifts with you. Its jealousy is actually a measure of how much it values both you and its position within your now-growing pack.

Scott Rose , a columnist and contributor for Pampered Puppy, has also written for Modern Dog, New York Dog, Conde Nast Traveler and several other publications.


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Posted on October 5, 2007

Emilie says: My dog, Isabelle loves playing with other dogs but I know if I were ever to get another dog she would be sooo jealous. I want her to have a buddy to hang out with while I'm at work but I'm not sure how she would react..she has shown some signs of aggression when she gets jealous about other dogs being at the house. Do you think getting a puppy would make her think it was her baby?

Posted on October 6, 2007

Crise Billwalk says: I believe that canines do in fact have jealousy. My companion dog, Betty, shows this behavior all the time around other dogs. Is this bad?

Posted on November 27, 2007

julie says: We have 4 babies: 9yr Dobie, 9yr border collie, 3yr Dobie and 6months old all female & spayed except the problem male who is neutered. 6 months ago, we brought home a dobie puppy of 6wks. at 4 months old our other 3yr old dobie got her playing and tore the bottom portion off her ear. on labor day.Now 2 months later,in the corner of the bathroom (I also was in there) the 3yr dog again lashed out and now torn a portion(flap)on the pups other ear. It is being repaired surgerically as we speak. What can correct these triggering moments of what we are assuming jealousy?

Posted on January 1, 2008

jennifer says: BRENDA, Is the name of my dog, she is 2 yrs. old. we had her for 4 yrs. When my brother and his girlfriend brought they're new puppie to out house, brenda immidelty showed aggression, and other times she would be playful. Well, just recently she has been pooping in the house, i assume to mark her territory? I came across this artical, and i now know what i didn't know. yes brenda is my frist and she will always be, she has been through everything with me, even the hurricanes when i lived in fl. Now back in my home town of california brenda is well liked, very protective, and very loving, she is a family dog. mixtuer or rottwiler/caddledog. very rare breed, infact i haven't seen any in florida or here in califronia... anyway thanks for the artical

Posted on January 27, 2008

Athena says: I have 10month old border collie, she is friendly and very social with humans and other dogs, but if i go to stroke another dog she goes for it, any advice on what to do?

Posted on January 27, 2008

Jay says: My dog Garm is about 2 years old now and he started showing signs of jealousy when we brought home a new friend for him when he was 7 months. Vidar, and other dog of similar size is two months younger than Garm. At first they seemed to get along splendidly and seemed to be inseparable companions. Then, Garm would start attacking Vidar occasionally when Vidar got attention from me and my husband. It's escalated now to him actually growling and snapping at me and my husband for showing the other dog attention. I wish I knew how to make him stop. He seems to really like Vidar, unless he is getting attention from us.

Posted on February 20, 2008

vicckey says: Fantastic article and so true i realised immidiately

Posted on April 2, 2008

Tom & Gloria says: My 3 year old female lab/shepard mix rescued/abused/neglected/abandoned gets mildly jealous when I pet other dogs at the dog park. She walks in between us or she get between my legs. Sometimes she whines/moans. BUT when I pet my two favorite dogs in the park (both female Viszla) she whines loudly, jumps on me and sometimes barks at them. HELP

Posted on April 16, 2008

sarahlyn Bennett says: I rescued a neglected abandoned Australian Shepherd dog. She is my shadow, and protective. She does get mildly jealous if anyone comes near me. Overall, she is the most wonderful dog and a great companion.

Posted on June 11, 2008

Jolene Guarniere says: I have a five year old female Dachshund named Maggie and recently purchased a male Dachshund puppy. Maggie has now ficiously attacked him at least 5 or 6 times. I am afraid she is going to hurt him. I think it is because she is jeolous. I got the puppy to replace my 10 year old male Dachshund which I had to put down due to a terminal illness. Maggie would also attack him on different occasions during their life together. Do you have any suggestions or advise for me? When she attacks the puppy I grab her and hold her down and bring the puppy to her until she stops growling at him and seems to get submissive, but she continues this behavior at least once a week. How do I correct her of this behavior? I do not want to have to find a new home for her.

Posted on July 11, 2008

breanna says: I've had my dog for 5 years now im sitting my cousins 7 week old puppy while she is in iraq, now my maltese does not want to be bothered with me or the puppy...he dosent respond to me or come when i call him he seems very depressed...how long will this last???

Posted on August 5, 2008

Curlycue says: Ozzie is a new member as a canine when I first got him he didn't mind toni and charlie (the kittens) but now he is chasing after them and growling,I am pretty sure it is cause of me ,and his relashon with charlie...what do you think i should do?

Posted on August 7, 2008

Joy says: My little border collie/terrier mix has become very possessive of my husband. When I sit next to him she tries to push me away and if he is sleeping and I walk into the bedroom she snarls and growls at me ( we sleep in seperate rooms) My husband thinks this is funny. But I think that she is going to bite me. What should I do?

Posted on September 5, 2008

Gretchen Spyhalski says: Hi, I have a 2 and a half year old springer spanial. When my husband and I hug each other he braks and tries to get between us. Also when our kids and us touch he does the same thing. He is fine when we hold our cat but not when we give each other attention. What do we do?

Posted on September 12, 2008

Carla Langley says: My fiance recently moved in with me and my two 8 year old pit bulls. Although he has developed a stong bond with the female, there is significant jealousy between he and my male (both ways). My male is not aggressive at all, however, he will work his way between the two of us on the couch, insist on sleeping on the other side of me in bed, etc. Most recently, he has begun to urinate on anything and everything with my fiance's scent on it. He is very well house trained and knows better, so he sneaks around and has never been caught in the act. What are you suggestions in correcting his behavior? He is not neutered, but I REALLY dont want to take this action, as I want a pup from him in the future. Thanks so much, Carla

Posted on September 25, 2008

Jeannene Diaz says: I have a 7 month old neopolitan mastiff named brutus. He is a wonderful and loving boy great with my 4 young children. Three days ago i rescued a kitten and brutus is not happy at all. The past 2 mornings he has urinated in my house which he has not done since we got him house broken. My husband is very upset and wants to get rid of the kitten which my children have now fallen in love with him as well. I have tried all the suggestions above but i don't foresee brutus conforming back to his ways.

Posted on October 8, 2008

Emily says: some people think if you get two dogs one will be very jlous. But my dogs love o play together. They have so much fun.

Posted on October 14, 2008

William says: We rescued a dog ffrom the pound and it was fine for the first couple of days. Now as it has gotten more attached to my wife it seemd to have issues with the other family members,my 3 year old daughter to be more specific, in the area of aggression.When I say aggression I mean growling, barking, adnnd lookinglike he is going to bite her. He also growls and barks at me if I go for a nap and then come down the stairs after couple of hours, almost like he doesn't recognize me, but after I say his name and call him he is okay. I need to know what to do because if he bites my children I don't know what I will do. Can someone please help me we love this dog already even though it has only been three days with him.

Posted on November 13, 2008

Michelle says: I adopted two puppies a month apart from a humane society. One is a border collie, the other a black lab mix. I had my border collie for a month before we went back and got him a companion and he and I bonded quite a bit in that month. The lab is a female and they have gotten along great for a long time. All of a sudden, my lab is always following me around and demanding all my attention and I noticed that the border collie does the same thing the moment the other dog is distracted. It's getting ridiculous to have them constantly follow me around, get in my face all the time and everywhere I step. Both dogs get a lot of attention and I have catered it to how they best respond to affection. I can't figure out what they're doing all of a sudden and if it's jealousy or a competition for dominance. I was told the lab would be the dominent dog, however, the bordie collie seems to be the first out the door, first in the door, first to come to me, first on just about everything and so I have tried to go along with that and address him first in all situations and it's been working... until now. I want both my dogs happy and well adjusted and am wondering if there is anything further I can do to help them adjust to this time in their lives or if it's just a phase. The border collie is now about 8 months old and the lab is about 9 months old and outweighs the border collie by about 15lbs. Any Suggestions??? Thanks!!

Posted on February 2, 2009

Samantha says: We have a 3 year old cockapoo which we have had since she was a puppy and we recently decided to bring in a 3.5 year old yellow lab. The lab follows me everywhere and uses her nose to move the cockapoo away from me. I bring home a toy for each and the lab tries to take both. What is going on with the lab and what do I do?

Posted on March 3, 2009

Erin Wallace says: I have an 8 year old Pekingese and just adopted a new 11 month old peke. The puppy does not bother my older peke, but the older one is still pouting. We have had the new puppy 3 days. How long will this jealousy last? I keep waiting for them to play, but my older peke looks miserable.

Posted on March 21, 2009

jesus says: i have had my dog since it what a puppy (lily)recently we got another dog (gloria)that is a lil bit older she seems alright with it until she sees us touching or playing with the other dog then she starts fighting with the other dog aggressively what can i do? is she just jealous or what

Posted on April 10, 2009

Patricia Sciddurlo says: My 3 year old mixed breed sometimes when my son comes near me Jessie starts to growl and a high pitch whine at him . What do I do I had Jessie since he was 10 weeks old we go him from Northshore animal League . Please help

Posted on May 3, 2009

Beth says: About a month ago, I fostered a pair of mastiffs for a rescue. They have both bonded with me, but the female especially has gotten jealous of my youngest son. She took a run at him the other day, she wasn't growling or barking, but instead was doing this high pitched yapping. As soon as I yelled at her, she dropped to the ground, and at that point, I put a finger through her collar and led her back into the kennel. But she is very posessive and jealous of even her companion trying to get closer to me than she is.

Posted on June 11, 2009

gita says: i have a one year old beagle male dog. he is very well behaved. any time my husband or my kids hold me, he jumps righ in between us and starts whinning.

Posted on June 12, 2009

sharon says: Newly adopted 2 year old Schitzu mix. Growls at my daughter when we enter the house together even though she is the one who usually feeds and also walks him. What should I do immediately when this happens?

Posted on June 27, 2009

shahneela says: My 2 yr Old dog Tibitan Spanial went on hunger strike, I am very worried same time new pup is very ill she got severe diarreha. So I have to feed the new pup and take care of her little extra. meanwhile my old dog is not responsding when I am calling her name, whole day she slept in one hidden corner. She's not eating. Please help as new pup is already ill I dont want my old dog to get ill 2. I am very worried. I love her

Posted on August 2, 2009

Ashley says: Clarabel is shepherd mix that is one and a half years old. She was dumped with one of her siblings when they were just four weeks old. I have taken care of her ever since and have a very deep bond with her. But everyone around me has declared her the most jealous dog they have ever seen. I work at a doggy daycare and every dog that comes to see me, she jumps onto my lap to block. Or tries to get them to play with her so that they will get away from me. She also does this with my husband and son. If I give my husband a hug, she pushes her way in between us. If I'm laying next to him in bed, she climbs on top of us and tries to squeeze into the middle. We haven't tried to do anything about it as it's been kind of charming and she hasn't shown any aggression. She loves all dogs, people and children...but she doesn't like sharing me.

Posted on August 17, 2009

Chantal says: My male B.C is just over one, he was from a friend of a friend who kept him in a dog cage all the time. Hes not at all aggressive, and really submissive (he cowers and puts his tail right between his legs when you tell him off (even a little telling off, for doing something like jumping up) telling off = saying his name sharply followed by no. I also have a kitten and 2yr old son, as the dog can sometimes gets really hyped up and runs around, he get put in the kitchen behind a child gate untill he calms down, so he doesnt knock or run into my child or cat. But generally the problem is...hes a big baby, its like having a jealous, attention seeking toddler, and im starting to resent him, hes not a dog at all, just a baby. hes gets lots of walks, play time, but whenever hes apart from us or not being activly included he whines, and whine and whines and pushes and shove, and its driving me mad. Ive tried EVERYTHING, is he just set in his ways? or can i change him from spoilt, jealous baby to a dog?

Posted on September 22, 2009

Tammy says: I have a black lab who wil lbe 5 in Dec. He's used to us going over my parents' house and spending time over there. My parents recently got a black lab puppy. My adult lab is insanely jealous. The puppy jumps all over him and he snarls, growls, and shows his teeth. Other dogs and puppies jump on him and he doesn't act like that.

Posted on October 14, 2009

Lisa says: My familiy has a 12 yr old Llasa and we recently bought home 2 yorky poo puppies. When we introduced the 1st puppy to the old dog it seemed okay and then a few days later I went back and bought the brother too. Now the puppies play incessantly, bu t when the newer puppy tries to make friends with the Llasa, he snaps and growls. Luckily the old dog doesn't have many teeth. I am wondering if this will get better? The Llasa still sleeps with us, but I am also wondering if when I introduced the newer puppy to the Llasa, if by not doing it in a neutral place, like the mailbox as I did with the first one, I did irreversible damage. Help!

Posted on October 23, 2009

Denise says: I have 3 yorkies. 2 females and 1 male. The ages are 3months. This is the first time one has gained up on the others. The puppie actually goes after the other 2 pups to hurt them. I had to seperate so the others wouldn't get torn up. The pup acts like he is gone mad! When the other 2 are not there she is fine. Any comments or answers , Please!

Posted on October 27, 2009

Kathy says: I have a 14 year old Chihuahua mix and recently brought into our home an abandoned Dashound mix. While they were never friendly with each other, they pleasantly ignored each other for the first three weeks. Now, however, they cannot be in the same room together without horrible fighting. The Dashound mix has injured the Chihuahua requiring vet care. I am keeping them apart inside the house and I need help. Is finding another home for the Dashound mix our only option? We love the dog and she loves us. It would be very hard and yet we don't want our other baby to be continually beaten. Please advise.

Posted on October 29, 2009

kay says: i need help- i have had my male schnazer for 5 years, i recently brought home a kelpie one year old - my male schnauzer keeps growlling at new dog,this causes new dog to want to fight,,,what can i do to get them to live in harmony and play together

Posted on November 1, 2009

Alison says:

Posted on November 5, 2009

Eleanor Miller says: Thank you for your articals I have a two year old Border Collie and a 6 month old pup. The two year old has recently been leaving poos on the floor when I am out. Never thought about her being jealous.

Posted on November 10, 2009

Helen says: We have had our dog - Lola English Bull Terrier for a year and 3 months ago we had our first child - Lola was great at first but now she is getting more ans more demanding and jealous. Any ideas anyone???

Posted on December 22, 2009

Misty Casse says: My dog became so jealous that he attacked a child. The dog had to be put down. I loved him and feel guilty for not seeing signs ahead of this so that it could have been prevented. Does being over protective have anything to do with jealousy?

Posted on February 28, 2010

Patty says: Hi I have a 1 yr old chihuahua named Lexi and I thought it would be a good idea to get her a buddy to be with when I am at work. Well I went out and bought her one a 2 month old pekingese and she is so jealous of her that she is foaming at the mouth. As soon as she sees her she leaps at her. Can you please suggest what I can do to help her from feeling this way.

Posted on March 19, 2010

robin says: omg, i cant believe this! you have like so answered my question! "why is my dog being so mean, lately?" yes, thank you very much, and i will definitely make use of those tips. i really did not know what to do about it!

Posted on April 15, 2010

Jon says: My dog was always so well behaved, than my cat,( that the dog knew since we got her) got sick my wife and I had to give the cat meds and water from a bottle even sometimes help her eat. We have been spending time with the cat, and I could not belive how the dog started acting, she wanted nothing to do with us she would even try to run away when we let her out.

Posted on May 26, 2010

Pat says: I have an 18 month old loving female maltipoo and I am thinking of adding a new puppy, a maltipoo soon. Will this cause a problem?

Posted on May 28, 2010

Danny says: My dog is so Jealous when I kiss my wife.... see goes crazy and demands kisses herself. Is this normal.... with this go away in time. Chloe is 1 year old???

Posted on May 30, 2010

Sarena says: I have a 7 month puppy named Sadie and she gets reaaaally jealous. We had 3 new babies come to town and she can not STAND THEM! If you have ideas PLEASE HELP!!!

Posted on June 8, 2010

unknown person says: arg arg arg!!!! ok i just got a new female chiwawa her name is lola toffins and i have a sweet cute male dog named polo.u see its not lola its polo.polo will try to get all the attention he needs like seriously polo and he is so jealous at lola.lola is a sweet she is very nice and quiet.but polo wants to a meanie and start and growl at her just over some stinking food all i want them to do is GET ALONG!!!!!!!!!!!!! =[

Posted on June 18, 2010

brooke says: i recently brought home a pair of kittens. at first, my pomchi was afraid of them...but now she is pooping and peeing on the floor in their "room" (the bathroom) whenever she can get in there... and peeing on my bed! GRRRR. it's driving me nuts! the vet said it's emotional...but no matter how much time i spend with her, it's not enough. :(

Posted on June 21, 2010

Alexa says: Ok, so i have this dog named Prince and he had puppies with my aunties dog. So now we want to take one puppy and make it ours but my dog Prince just keeps acting jealous and keeps running away and go up stairs and hide. Should i keep it or just give it back to my auntie . HLEP ME !

Posted on June 28, 2010

sarah says: So i have a 3 year old male border collie. he is like my baby. he can show signs of aggression to people alot but never to other dogs. so i decided to foster a dog for my local dog rescue and when i was feeding the foster dog my dog ran out and bit her on the ear. the tip of her ear had to be removed and she is still in the vets 4 days later, so now after reading this i take ot he was jealous?

Posted on June 30, 2010

Lois says:

Posted on July 6, 2010

Diane H says: Since 2003 we have had our teacup Chihuahua. It is now 2010 and we brought a chihuahua and Shih Tu mixed puppy into my home. My teacup Sasha has been pouting, wimpering when we pick her up, growling and barking when the new puppy when it got around her, not wanting to lay in the same bed with it, and acting in pain. I would like to know if she is just jealous or if something else is wrong with her. Also could you please tell me something i could do to help her because she has been my baby for 7 years and she will always be #1 to me. It would be greatly appreciated if you could give me some tips. Thank you so much!

Posted on July 6, 2010

Christine says: I have a 9 month old siberian husky which we crate every day when we leave for work.. (i dont like it, but it needs to be done in order to prevent my house from being chewed apart). Anyway, we just got a 8 month old kitten.. and now when he goes in the crate all he does is cry and bark.. which he has never done before.... my routine with him has not changed... I even let him snuggle up on the couch with me, which i never do, just so he doesnt feel left out... anny suggestions

Posted on September 4, 2010

Lisa says: We adopted a stray miniature pinscher during the summer, who is bonded mainly to me. When the kids went back to school, he got used to having me to himself during the day, and started this jealous behavior: When I am sitting down, he doesn't want either of my kids to come near me, he will jump on them or even growl. I think this is possessiveness, and is a new "job" that he has invented for himself. Luckily, he is crate trained, and I realized I need to put him in his crate when I sit down, and not let him sit with me. As long as I am sitting near the crate, he is relaxed, and doesn't act jealous anymore. I think he is glad to be relieved of this "job" he created. Remember, if you have a working breed type of dog, they will invent their own "jobs" ( often undesireable behaviors) if they are not given enough direction from you. Crate training has been a lifesaver with this dog. Confinement seems to help ease his anxiety/insecurity.

Posted on September 10, 2010

Desiree says: I have a 8 month old son and when he was 4 months we got him a puppy Daisy she is a Blue Heeler .. well Miss daisy seems to be Jealous of my son she is fine we play when the babys down for a nap but soons as he is around she bites ,claws chews and barks at me . Im not really sure want to do bout this i have to crate her alot thru out the day tho she doesnt seem to mind it i dont think its helping IM SOO LOST i dont wanna give up miss Daisy but i also dont know what to do with her can ANYONE help me!!!!!!!!!

Posted on September 28, 2010

Susan says: Gal was adopted at about 1+ yr old. She fit in with my other 2 dogs well. After a month I had her spayed and checked over by the vet & she was diagnosed with heart worms. I had her undergo treatment which entailed keeping her inside now and as calm as possible for 2 months during treatment. I spent a lot of time with her. She now is still a delightful little girl, as long as I show no attention to my other 2 dogs. If I do, she attacks them. Scared me to death the other day. I'll bet anything this is my fault in the way I handled her during her treatment. I need to fix things. How? Thank you for any advice you can give!

Posted on September 29, 2010

mary says: im kinda having a problem,My fiance and i have a 2 yr old lab great dane mix. he shares our bed and recently we were laying in bed and my fiance and i were cuddling.suddenly my dog snaps and starts growling at me and trys going for my face.i jumped up and my fiance held him while i ran out of the room.i just dont understand,help

Posted on October 21, 2010

Sandy says: my 1.5 year old puggle is a love, but 2x has bitten another dog. once he bites his jaw seems to lock up and he can't let go. jealousy is the only thing we can think of for a sudden lung and bite. he has been around other dogs a lot, but just recently he did this act for the 2nd time and I am concerned. what should we do?

Posted on October 25, 2010

norma butler says: i have to dogs mistie is two year old poppy is 11 months old they have recently .started fighting they love each other dearly apart from the odd times when . they fight please any help

Posted on November 9, 2010

Johanna De Jesus says: I have 3 dogs they were getting alongvery well but now the the 11 month mix is fighting with the 3 year old westie and 5 year old chihuahua over jealousy, and is only when i touch them or try to touch them, is there a way tocorrect this bad behavior or maybe an advise of something im doing wrong!

Posted on February 12, 2011

Sherri says: I have 6yro female Miniature Pinscher & a 1yro male husky/lab mix and recently added a male 1 1/2 yro "mini" St. Bernard to my pack, all spayed/neutered. My minpin is very jealous of both, & takes all their toys from them when playing! (I've since stopped this behavior & send her to her "room" if she can't play "nice") Including their chewbones! She DOES growl & snap at both, & rarely plays with them. They are scared of her! The males play happily together, and have from day one, although, my St. Bernard, who was a rescue from a very abusive home, is very jealous of any affection I show towards the others. He doesn't snap or bite, just always tries to wiggle his way in-between the cuddlers, like "Hey, pet me too"!! So, I do have regular meal times for all, & walks, & at least 2 times a week will take each on their own walk with me. The minpin has to have car rides by herself sometimes, just to show she is still #1! We even have easter egg hunts regularly around the house! I try to show each of them as much love & affection possible, together & separately, & so far, we have a happy pack life!!

Posted on May 26, 2012

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