Many dogs will seem to love anyone who gives them attention. But if you have owned a dog at any point in your life, you may have noticed that dogs seem to have an absolute favorite person. Maybe they prefer one family member out of an entire household or go absolutely crazy whenever one of your friends comes over.
There are several different factors that go into how your dog picks his favorite person. When you know what they are, you may even be able to tip the scales in your favor and strengthen the bond between you and your dog.
Why Dogs Like Some People More than Others
Like many thoughts and behaviors of dogs, scientists are still working on exactly what makes dogs act the way they do. But they do have some pretty good ideas on how dogs choose their favorite people to be around. These include:
- Early Impressions - A dog's mind is most formative before six months of age. Later in life, a dog is more likely to be drawn to the types of people that he had significant interactions during this time. For instance, dogs may prefer men or women, children or adults, and various characteristics like hats or beards.
- Positive Association - If a dog learns to equate good things happening with you, he is more likely to be your best friend. The person who feeds the dog, takes him for walks, gives them treats, and provides play and mental stimulation will keep a dog returning in hope of more positive things to come.
- Time and Attention - A dog is more likely to feel better connected to a person that gives them frequent time and attention. Physical attention like petting, brushing, and playing games like tug of war are particularly helpful here. This would be one reason why dogs sometimes seem to prefer your friends over you as a dog owner since you cannot pet your dog all day long. When your friends visit, your dog may find himself getting significantly more attention.
- Personality Types - Dogs are often drawn to humans who have a similar personality to themselves. As an example, calmer and more reserved dogs often spend the most time around humans that share similar characteristics whereas loud and energetic dogs tend to like loud and energetic people a little more.
- Following - As pack animals, dogs who spend a significant amount of time with their people in a healthy way - as opposed to separation anxiety - will often feel closer to that person. This is why some trainers recommend tethering by keeping your dog keeping a puppy leashed beside you for the first few months to help build that connection.
While there is no definitive way to control who your dog's favorite human is, by continuously giving your dog your care and love and meeting his needs, you will naturally build a strong and lasting friendship with your dog.