Recently, a friend asked me, “How dogs choose their favorite person?“
You might be wondering the same thing if your dog prefers somebody else’s company over yours or seemingly dislikes you. If that’s the case and you want to know how to get on your dog’s good side, keep on reading.
HOW DO DOGS CHOOSE THEIR FAVORITE PERSON?
While dogs love all members of the family, sometimes it’s clear that our pooches have a favorite.
It’s all in the way Rover greets a particular person more enthusiastically than others or how Rover’s whole face “glows” whenever this person enters a room.
Most people assume that dogs love the person who feeds them regularly the most. However, that’s not always the case.
So, let’s see five factors that determine how dogs chose their favorite person.
#1 LEVEL OF SOCIALIZATION
You’ve seen how puppies are eager to explore the world and seem not to know the meaning of the word “fear.”
This brave behavior doesn’t last forever because puppies grow more suspicious of the world the older they get. So you have a short window of opportunity to get your puppy comfortable with the people’s world. That’s what we call socialization, and it plays a huge role in how dogs choose their favorite person.
During that period, we work on getting our pups used to as many sounds, scents, and people as possible. Unfortunately, sometimes puppies don’t get enough exposure to different people. As a result, they become wary of people with mustaches, glasses, or long hair, for example. They’re not going to choose a person they don’t trust as a favorite, at least not immediately.
In addition to this, dogs tend to like those with whom they’ve had more positive encounters during the socialization period.
That’s why a dog might prefer the male or female part of the family, depending on prior good or bad experiences. Moreover, puppies tend to bond closely with the person socializing them. If that person is a woman, they might be more comfortable around women when they’re adopted.
#2 QUALITY TIME
I don’t think anyone would be surprised if I tell you that dogs form tight bonds with the person who pays them the most attention. In lots of cases, that’s the person who is feeding, grooming, and taking them out for a walk.
However, most dogs prefer quality over quantity when it comes to attention.
What I mean is that you might be around your dog for the better part of the day and still be the second-best person for your dog. That’s because somebody else is petting, playing with your dog actively, and showering him with love. You might be the one to feed Rover, but in Rover’s mind, you’re not the one meeting all his needs.
Some owners are also a bit reserved about their dog sleeping in their lap/bed or licking their faces/hands. So, if anybody else is comfortable with these acts of affection, they might become your dog’s favorite person. Bottom line, try spending more quality time with your dog.
#3 BAD/POSITIVE ASSOCIATIONS
Another factor to consider when we talk about playing favorites is associations. For example, a person bringing tasty treats and playing games is a good thing. Your dog won’t think twice about forming a tight bond with such a person.
On the other hand, dogs will never bond with people they have a bad experience with or those who remind them of something unpleasant.
Take, for example, the vet. Most dogs hate going to the vet because it leads to uncomfortable or painful things. They remain wary of the vet no matter how many times they meet. As such, a dog has a negative episode with a member of the family, Rover might remember it for quite a while. That will influence his choice of a favorite person.
#4 PERSONALITY AND TEMPERAMENT
Even though people say that opposite attracts, dogs tend to bond closely with people who match their personalities. For example, energetic dogs are likely to favor the person who takes them out for walks and plays with them than the one lying on the couch. Shy and cautious dogs, on the other hand, would pick the human keeping them company at home instead of the outgoing and boisterous one.
In addition to this, dogs are sensitive to their owner’s moods and feelings. If you’re a bit reserved towards your pet, Rover is going to feel it. Naturally, Rover is going to prefer to spend time with those who enjoy his company.
Last but not least, when we talk about how dogs choose their favorite person, we have to take into account your dog’s breed. That’s because some breeds tend to bond closely with a single person and won’t take commands or orders from others. So, these breeds are more likely to have a favorite than breeds who love everyone they meet, including strangers. For example:
- Shiba Inu
- Chow Chow
Don’t despair if you’re not your dog’s favorite person. You can get your dog to like you and strengthen the bond between you with enough patience and bribery. For starters, you should spend at least 30 minutes with your dog every day. It’s not enough to go for a walk together or watch Rover play in the yard. You have to be an active participant. For example:
- Play tug-of-war with your dog and let Rover win from time to time to boost his confidence.
- Try new games such as hide-and-seek with your dog. Most pets love to find objects, people or treats around the house.
- Engage in obedience training. It’s one of the best ways to strengthen your bond and get your dog to trust and respect you.
Moreover, you can also try these tips to gain your dog’s affection:
- Give your dog a massage.
- Turn bad experiences such as baths or vets into positive ones with treats and love.
- Spend time grooming and brushing your dog.
- Be affectionate.
- Give Rover tasty treats or tempt him with homemade food.
- Observe what games your dog prefers and do whatever Rover likes.
Dogs have enough place in their hearts for more than one favorite person. As long as you treat your dog well and spend quality time together, you’re going to have a dog that cherishes and loves you with his whole heart.