Have you ever had a dog that you love very much, you spoil them rotten, give them all of the attention in the world, and yet they seem to favor someone else?
Maybe you’ve wondered how do dogs choose their favorite person? Is there anything you can do to strengthen the bond between you and your dog?
Turns out it might not be all about treats. It may have much more to do with socialization and positive attention than we think.
There are several factors that come into play when it comes to your dog choosing their favorite human. Here’s a list of reasons why.
1. The Socialization Period
Puppies have a socialization period, which spans from birth until about six months old. They learn based on the positive and negative experiences they have during this time.
That’s why it’s so important to expose puppies to a wide variety of situations, people, and different dogs. Socialization is key.
For example, let’s say a puppy spent the majority of their time around women and children at a young age are adopted later in life. They may demonstrate fear or aggression around men simply because they are less familiar.
If your dog spent their socialization period in a shelter or with someone else, it’s still possible for you to introduce new and positive things to them.
The trick is to be patient and to use positive reinforcement as a tool to reassure them that the new people and things are in fact okay and pleasant to be around.
Try enrolling in a socialization class together. Not only will your dog benefit from being around other dogs in a controlled environment, but you’ll also build trust between one another and strengthen your bond.
2. Positive Association
Thanks to this special attention, the dog will associate good and happy feelings with this person.
If you’d like to strengthen your bond with your dog, then work to create new positive associations together.
For example, teach your dog a new rule or trick like waiting to eat their food until given a command. When they obey this new command, reinforce it with encouragement and a treat.
Pet them and tell them what a good job they did. Not only will your dog love making you happy, but they’ll also positively associate this experience with you.
Attention should come as the least surprising factor when it comes to a dog choosing their favorite human. It’s only natural that a dog should choose the person who provides them with the most attention.
The saying, “the key to a dog’s heart is through their stomach,” also rings very true. Dogs are smart. They are fully aware of who is responsible for feeding them.
Dogs also remember who spends the most time with them and gives the most love.
Activities like brushing, petting, games of fetch, or even snuggling all mean a lot to your dog. They will be inclined to give the most affection to the person who pays the most attention to them.
Dogs are similar to humans in that they enjoy spending time with others who share similar personality traits.
People who like football enjoy spending time with others who also fancy the sport. On the opposite end, people who enjoy reading books find camaraderie in book clubs with people who share the same passion.
Energetic and playful dogs enjoy spending time around people who can also exude a similar amount of energy. If the dog likes to play and wrestle, then they’ll be much more inclined to spend time with people who will play and wrestle back.
On the flip side, if your dog is an old soul and enjoys cozying up on a blanket next to the fireplace, then they might have an aversion to someone who expects them to play all the time.
As your dog’s owner, you are responsible for some of the not very fun activities like going to the vet or administering medication.
Your dog may view you as the bad guy for forcing them into these situations. They don’t understand that you’re doing it for their benefit and well being.
If you’re working to increase your bond, do your best to make these unpleasant experiences as pleasant as possible.
You can accomplish this by handing out treats or taking the time to discover what soothes your dog when they’re nervous. Let them know that you care and support them even when they’re afraid.
6. Increasing the Bond
Are you concerned or disappointed that your dog prefers someone else over you? Do you want to be your dog’s favorite person and best friend?
It’s not too late. There are still things you can do to strengthen the bond between you. Start by spending at least 30 minutes of quality time together.
Now if you work from home, you might think that you’re automatically spending time together, but that might not be the case. Are you simply sitting in the same room and not acknowledging your dog?
These 30 minutes should be focused on each other and should also be active. Go outside, play a game of fetch, or spend time learning that new trick together. Something that makes you interact with one another.
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Many factors come into play with a dog choosing his or her favorite person. Some factors we can control, others however, we cannot.
What’s important to remember is that a bond will naturally form if you treat your dog with love and kindness and give them all of the attention they deserve.
Focus on socializing, spending quality time with one another and ensuring that they are safe even in unpleasant situations like the vet’s office.
Not only will your dog love spending time with you, but your life will be more enriched than you could ever imagine by the unconditional love your dog freely gives in return.
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