In all families who own a dog there is someone who is his favorite. In many cases, that person is not the one who owns the dog and feeds him, which puzzles dog owners all around the world.
From a human’s logical point of view, the person who owns the dog, raised him since they were a puppy and cares for him daily is the dog’s favorite person. But from a dog’s point of view, this is not how things go. How do they choose their favorites? Can the owner do something to change the dog’s preferences?
Socialize your dog
The most important part in a dog’s life is socialization during puppy months. This is when the puppy is most receptive to new situations and learns do deal with them. Being there for your puppy when they face new situations creates a bond between the two of you. In the first six months of life, the dog is very receptive to everything around him and is looking for a person who can comfort him in a new situation. If you are the one who is there when the pup sees a person with an umbrella, for example, you have high chances of becoming their favorite person.
It’s very important to expose the puppy to as many situations, people, dogs and objects as possible, to make sure they won’t be afraid of them in their adult years. For example, a dog who never saw a man on a bicycle when he was a puppy is likely to be scared of people on bikes for the rest of his life.
Socialization is very important, but the type of experiences are even more important. The dog needs to have positive experiences during his puppy months, in order to develop into a healthy dog.
If you adopt an adult dog you can still become his favorite person, as socialization is a continuous process. Focus on spending quality time together, playing fetch or hide and seek. Grooming and training also helps you bond with a dog, regardless of their age.
Give them attention
Dogs are like small kids from many points of view and one of them is their continuous demand for attention. This is a little strange, as the article starts from the theory a dog’s favorite person is not the one who gives it the most attention, but dogs bond easier to people who care for them. For example, if a couple gets a dog and only one of them is feeding and walking the dog, it is likely for the dog to prefer the spouse who gives them the most attention.
Physical contact is also very important for a dog, as they tend to bond with people who pet them, play with them and cuddle with them. The human’s attitude towards the dog is very important: a dog will tend to stay away from a human who is reserved with dogs.
Depending on the dog’s size and personality, the way you play with them can matter a lot. For example, a large dog is likely to prefer rough playing sessions, so they will love the person who is able to support such tough games.
A dog’s favorite person is the one who provides them with more positive experiences. For example, if you are the one who feeds the dog, but your husband is the one who takes the dog to the park to play, they will prefer the latter.
Of course, food is very important in this game of positive associations, but is not the only important aspect. However, the dog will always love the person who feeds them.
Few dogs are able to befriend their vets and this is exactly because they associate the vet with bad things, like injections and pain. Positive associations improves the relationship between a dog and a human, so if you want your dog to behave around new people, just ask the newcomer to give treats to your dog. They will have an easier time bonding and the dog will accept new persons easier, thanks to the positive association.
Dogs tend to bond to people with whom they share personality traits
There is an old tale that dog owners resemble their pets and it is true. Dogs always bond with the person who has a similar energy level and a similar personality. For example, if you have two dogs, one more quiet and one more active and outgoing, they will bond with with person in the family who is more similar to them. The quiet dog will bond with the most quiet person in the household and the outgoing dog will bond with the extroverted person.
There are also breeds who only bond to one person, like Basenji, Greyhound, Shiba Inu and Cairn Terrier. Before you get a dog it’s a good thing to check the general personality traits of each dog breed. Each breed has its own general traits – which are not necessarily shared by all individuals of the breed – so, you should be choosing the dog based on these traits. For example, you might find that a German Shepherd is not the best dog for introverts like you.
How can you become your dog’s favorite person
Now that you know how dogs choose their favorite person, it’s time to learn how can you become your dog’s favorite. The easy way to improve the bond between you and your dog is to spend at least 30 minutes together, each day, apart from walks.
During these 30 minutes, you should play your dog’s favorite game, like fetch and tug. Training sessions are another way to spend active bonding time with your dog, who is going to learn new things, thus acquiring new, positive experiences.
Grooming sessions and massages are also great for improving your bond, as well as sports.
Focus on having a good time together, as dogs bond with people who take care of them and offer them fun, quality time. The dog will be grateful for each moment you spend together and will give you unconditional love, even if you are not their favorite person (yet).