Have you ever watched in disbelief as your dog – the one you feed, walk, and give so much love to everyday– sprints to your sibling when they arrive at your house? You keep waiting for them to come to their senses and return to you but they act like you don’t even exist. Then you slowly start to realize you may not be your dog’s favorite person. But how do they even choose who that is? Can they change? We’ve got your answers.
While every pup is different, there are certain generalizations that apply. Dogs typically bond the most with their primary caregivers during their socialization period – between birth and six months. During this age, puppies brains are amazingly receptive and those early social experiences shape them for the future. This is why it’s imperative puppies have positive interactions with different places, people, and things.
If you adopted your dog as an adult, don’t fret. While early socialization is important, continued socialization is equally important!
Attention and Affection
The majority of dogs bond with the person that gives them the most attention and affection. For example, if you live in a household of two or three other people, your dog may bond the most with the one who feeds them or takes them on walks.
Furthermore, physical affection is a huge factor when it comes to the bond between human and dog. If someone is abrasive or stand-offish, the pup will act the same towards them. The opposite is true in that the person who shows the dog lots of love and affection will get that in return.
The quality of attention and affection matter as well. For example, while you may be the primary attention-giver, if your sibling or friend allows the pup to jump up on them or lay on their lap while you don’t, they may choose them over you as their favorite.
Positive association is a huge factor in the bond between humans and dogs. Whoever provides the “good stuff” the dog will follow. For example, the person who plays the most with the pup, gives them their favorite treats, or feeds them the most will certainly be their favorite person.
On the other hand, dogs react poorly to those they have bad associations with. Therefore, positive associations lead to positive relationships. One way to establish this is by introducing your pup to a new person with treats. That way, they’ll associate new people with yummy treats!
Dog Breed and Human Personality
If you’ve ever seen a dog that looks and acts like their owner, you aren’t just seeing things. Dogs tend to choose their favorite person based on personality and energy levels. For example, if you are quiet and more reserved but your dog is lively and energetic, they may have a stronger bond with your outgoing and energetic sister.
Certain breeds tend to bond closely to a single person – meaning their favorite person will be their only favorite person. These include Cairn Terriers, Shiba Inus, Greyhounds, and Basenjis.
How to Be Your Pups Favorite
Feel like you aren’t your dog’s favorite person? Don’t worry! There are certain things you can do strengthen and improve your bond. The best way to is to spend at least 30 minutes of one-on-one time together every day.
And it’s not just about walks or hanging out on the couch together – it means doing things like playing fetch, tug, or hide and seek, having a training session, or even trying a new sport like agility or flyball.
As long as you take good care of your pup and provide them with positive experiences, your bond will be stronger than ever. And even if they act like they like your sibling over you, there is nothing like the bond between a pup and their owner.