When a dog walks into a room, they tend to gravitate to the person they have labelled as theirs. Dogs can be possessive over toys and food, especially with the person they consider to be their favourite person. But have you ever wondered how dogs choose their favourite person?
If you are your dog's favourite person, chances are, you check off these 3 boxes in your dog’s mind.
Dogs love attention
If you feel you and your dog have a bond, then you are likely to give your dog the much-deserved attention they crave. Dogs thrive off praise, and the person who doles out the most to them might be the one person in their life they choose to claim as their personal favourite.
Like cats, dogs are opportunistic by nature, so if you are the one to give out those treats and fill that food bowl whenever their bellies desire then this might be the reason you are their favourite person, too.
Repeat positive associations
Your dog’s mind is impressive. Positive associations are important for dogs, and when repeating positive behaviours turns into daily habits, a dog will learn not only to trust you but also keep coming back to you for more as they learn these positive associations.
If you get your dog when they are a puppy, their mind is very impressionable, and they will imprint on the person they feel most connected to in those early life bonding experiences.
Dogs are social creatures
Socialisation is key for dogs; this is how they learn to develop bonds with others. If you are the one who is making a conscious effort to socialise the dog in your life, they will be quick to favour that person. The person who walks the dog or plays with the dog will fast become the dog’s favourite person.
Mental stimulation and enrichment are huge for dogs. Dogs who don't receive these can suffer from boredom and/or loneliness. A dog that is lonely and bored can transform into a dog that displays naughty dog behaviours.
Dogs can choose their favourite person based on matching personalities
Your dog is smarter than you realise. If you share your home with multiple dogs, it can be interesting to see to who each of your dogs gravitates towards in your home. Like humans, dogs have distinct personalities. The little quirks our dogs display fill our hearts and make us happy. Dogs will often see the humans in their lives and choose a person they feel most connected to, based on their interactions with them.
Dogs form strong bonds with people in their homes, and shared experiences that make them feel connected to their humans are how many dogs choose their favourite person.
How to become your dog’s favourite
If you feel that you're not your dog’s favourite, then do not despair, you can change this by improving your bond. The best way is to spend at least 30 minutes of focused, one-on-one time together each day. This doesn’t include walks, garden time, or watching TV together. This bonding time should always be active and focused:
Play fetch, tug, or ‘hide and seek’
A training session - working on new skills, or reinforcing old ones, is a great way to bond
Try agility or similar, where you and your dog can work together as a team
Food is love - try some homemade (healthy) meals for your dog. Always make food time a bonding activity by integrating eye contact
A grooming session
Bonding will happen naturally between dogs and people who treat them well. Take good care of your dog, socialise them, give them positive experiences, and respect their unique personality.
They will reward you with a lifetime of love.