How Do Dogs Choose Their Favorite Person?

by | Apr 20, 2023 | General Information

We often say to our dogs, “Who’s a good girl?” or “Who’s a good boy?” But what if you could hear your dog’s thoughts, and they said to you, “Who’s my favorite person?” 

Yes, dogs can have a favorite person, and it may or may not be you. It could be your spouse, one of your children, your mom when she visits, or the girl who walks your dog while you’re at work. Probably not the vet nor the groomer, though. 

A pup’s favorite person is the one who gives them the most high-quality time and attention. It’s the person who shares the most positive energy and shows they genuinely care.

How do dogs choose a favorite person? And if it’s not you, what can you do to change that and make your dog’s exclusive list? Let’s take a look. 


Why Does My Dog Have a Favorite Person? 

Bonding Occurs Naturally

It’s okay when dogs choose a favorite person. In fact, it’s natural! As social animals, dogs choose the person or people who give them plenty of love, attention, and positive experiences. 

Let your dog be a dog and enjoy hanging out with and being in that person’s presence, whether it’s you or someone else. But don’t give up on being one of the favorites!


Dogs’ Hierarchy

Dogs are pack animals. They will place us in a hierarchy, and they’ll know where everybody fits in. It’s how they make sense of their world. That order is not necessarily set in stone, though. If you’re not yet on the favorite human list, there are things you can do to change that! 

First, let’s look at the criteria dogs use to make their choices.

Young girl and dog at sunset


How Do Dogs Choose Their Favorite Person?

A dog choosing their favorite person will not sit at a desk, put on a pair of glasses, and review resumés. But they will have a set of criteria in the back of their mind. 


Paying Attention and Providing Affection

It’s easy to understand that dogs choose the people who give the most attention, affection, and one-on-one time. High quality is key here. If your dog spends hours in someone’s presence, but that person ignores them most of the time, that time won’t matter. The favorite is the person who makes them feel safe and secure and gives them a warm, fuzzy feeling. This is the person whom they will follow around the house like a shadow. 

While it’s often the person who feeds and walks them and gives them toys and treats, it’s more about the emotion that goes with those actions than the act of basic maintenance. 


Unique Personality

Every dog has their personality, just like we do. And as we choose our best friends with similar personalities and energy levels, so do dogs choose compatible people. 

For example, a cautious, indoor dog will gravitate toward a person who leads a quiet life. Dogs such as Greyhounds, Pugs, and Basset Hounds tend to be compatible with introverted personalities. 

A person who runs marathons and goes hiking every weekend will be more appealing to a higher-energy dog breed. Extroverted personalities match well with Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and Jack Russell Terriers. 

Further, breeds such as Beagles, Dachshunds, and Doberman dogs tend to bond with one single person

Dogs can sense our emotions, so anyone who is often anxious or nervous can unintentionally push them away. 


Early Socialization

The first six months of a dog’s life are the key socialization period. The people they encounter in those months can largely determine who they bond with later in life. 

If, for example, a puppy spends most of their time with men, it may be harder to bond with women later. Likewise, if mistreated by a man who always wore a hat or smelled a certain way, they may be wary of a similar person

It’s important to socialize puppies with a variety of people to avoid this issue. You can still socialize an adult dog, but it will take more time and care and lots of treats! 

Dog and parent in park playing fetch


Positive Associations Lead to Strong Bonds

Dogs’ favorite people are associated with the most positive experiences, especially experiences of love, shelter, and comfort. They love someone who can make a bad situation better or spend time with them doing something they enjoy. In a dog’s mind, this person equals fun, safety, affection, and other good things. Who wouldn’t want to be around a person like that?


How Can I Become My Dog’s Favorite Person?

Maybe the dog was your spouse’s before you married, and they were already bonded to your spouse. Maybe when you and your family members come home, the dog immediately darts over to your 10-year-old daughter. If you also want that kind of bond, here are a few things you can try. We can’t guarantee success, but your chances will increase. 


Your Dog’s Favorite Things

Just like the song, your dog has favorite things. Trips to the dog park? Chasing a tennis ball? A specific toy? Whatever it is, spend time doing that with your dog. Do things that match your dog’s energy level, whether it involves running around a hiking trail or agility course, playing a game of fetch, or cuddling on the sofa while you watch a movie. 


A Resource for the Basics

On a regular basis, feed the dog their meals, take them for their walks, give them a new toy or two, or be the provider of brushing, petting, and belly rubs. Generally, take care of their basic needs. Yes, bribe your dog. Shamelessly. Be consistent with these things, and your chances of making the favorite person list will increase! Be patient, though. Some dogs take longer than others to bond with people.

Dog and parent playing


Need Help? Call on K9 Basics!

Some dogs are difficult to bond with. Perhaps you’ve tried a few things, but nothing seems to work. Contact us for help. Our talented trainers at K9 Basics can assess your dog’s needs and teach you how to bond with the dog. With some effort, you, too, can have a close, fulfilling relationship with your dog for years to come!

Give us a call at (866) 592-2742 or, if you’re from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, or New York, visit us at 131 Kenilworth Road, Marlton, New Jersey 08053, to learn more about our dog training services. Also, browse our blog and social media for various topics about dogs and their lives with us!



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