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Do dogs have a favorite person?

ElleVet Dog

Am I my dog’s favorite person? As a pet parent, you’ve probably assumed that you are…until your friend visits and it’s as if your dog doesn’t know you exist. Do dogs have favorite people? What factors go into forming this bond? 

Table of contents 

Do dogs have favorite people? 

The short answer is yes, most dogs do have favorite people. As social animals, dogs tend to be happiest and healthiest with company. And because domesticated pets depend on their people to meet virtually all their needs—food, shelter, and even access to the bathroom—these dog-human bonds are strong. Dogs quickly identify and gravitate towards those who benefit them with things like treats, playtime, or physical affection. So, it makes sense that whoever they associate with these positive things is high on a dog’s list. 

Your dog’s favorite person 

How do you know if you are—or aren’t—your dog’s favorite person? Although we don’t speak the same language, dogs do communicate clearly, as long as you know what to look for. From nose to tail, dogs use their bodies to convey how they feel. If you are your dog’s favorite person, you may notice that your pup is what is commonly referred to as a “Velcro dog.” They are your shadow, following you around the house and not letting you out of their sight. 

There’s no way to know for sure if you are, in fact, your dog’s favorite person. However, the more frequently they communicate “I love you” in their own way, the better your chances are of being their number one. Other signs that your dog loves you include: 

  • Eye contact with a soft, loving gaze 
  • Physical contact, including licking, leaning, and sleeping with you 
  • Gifts, like bringing you their favorite toy 
  • Excited greetings whenever you walk in the room or return home 

How do dogs pick their favorite? 

When it comes to winning over dogs, it’s all about socialization, attention, positive association, and personality. And a dog’s favorite person may not be the one who takes care of them 24/7. It could be anyone your dog knows well. 

Socialization 

Many dogs bond hardest to whoever feeds, plays, and generally cares for them during their key socialization period, which occurs between birth and six months. At this age, puppies’ brains are incredibly receptive, and the experiences a puppy has in their first few months of life have an oversized impact on their development.  

While early experiences are important, continued socialization through experiences like doggy daycare, play dates, and daily walks matters a lot!    

Attention 

Dogs tend to build close ties with people who show them the most attention (e.g., feeding, training, playing) and love. And it is not just the amount of attention and affection that matters, it is also the quality of time you spend together. Your dog’s favorite person likely offers them treats, spends one-on-one time with them, and grooms or messages them. After all, physical affection solidifies this bond.  

Association 

Dogs play favorites depending on associations. In other words, when a person is the source of good stuff, the dog forms a bond. Of course, a dog is going to love the person who always plays tug-of-war or gives them loads of their favorite treats. 

While building positive associations is important, avoiding negative associations can be just as crucial for bonding with dogs. It makes sense for a dog to shy away from someone who stepped on their tail or poked and prodded them, like the veterinarian.   

Personality 

Research has shown that people tend to choose dogs that are physically similar to them in some way, and same for personality. Whether laidback, hyper, or somewhere in-between, dogs and the people they love to spend time with frequently have similar energy levels and dispositions. 

Just like with human relationships, the more you have in common with a dog, the more likely you are to become close friends. For instance, a Golden Retriever might get along best with an extroverted, energetic person, while a more mellow Basset Hound would likely feel more comfortable with someone who is more aloof or quiet.   

Breeds more likely to have a favorite person 

Throughout history, dogs have been bred to do specific jobs—from controlling pests to herding animals and guarding property. Due to their instincts to work closely with a human, some dog breeds are more likely to bond with a single person. This makes it more likely that their favorite person will be their only person. Breeds that tend to bond strongly to one person include:   

  • Akita 
  • Beagles 
  • Border Collies 
  • Chihuahua  
  • Dachshund 
  • German Shepherd 
  • Greyhound  
  • Shetland Sheepdog 

How can you win over your dog? 

When it comes to man’s best friend, we want to be dogs’ best friend, too! As mentioned above, bonding with a dog comes down to attention and positive associations, in addition to personality and socialization. While you may never make your way all the way to favorite person status, there are several things you can do to develop a stronger relationship with your dog: 

  • Quality time – Set aside time every day for focused, active time together. This is more than walks around the neighborhood or watching TV. Instead, play a game of fetch or tug-of-war, and have a quick training session to master new commands, tricks, or sports as a team. 
  • Physical affection – If it’s your dog’s thing, physical affection can help strengthen your bond. Grooming sessions and massages are excellent opportunities to show your dog you love them. 
  • Positive associations – You can create positive experiences and associations for your dog in a wide variety of ways. If your dog is food-driven, offer them their favorite treat when they are near you or show you attention. Creating a safe, comfortable environment for your dog can also help create positive associations—use a soft voice, gentle movements, and cozy spots around the house for your dog to feel comfortable and secure. 

Too much of a good thing: Overattachment issues 

Having a Velcro dog that doesn’t leave your side can be cute and endearing, until they pose a tripping hazard when they are close underfoot. If you’re not paying attention, your clingy pup can cause injury for both of you.  

Your dog’s shadow behavior can also signal some issues with separation-related stress. This can result in your pooch acting out when they’re left alone, causing damage to your home and perhaps themselves. So, when is clinginess a behavior problem or a sign of separation issues?  

Experts from AKC note that if your pup is happy and or relaxed around you, that’s a great sign that they simply like being around you. However, if they are scared or panicked when you are on the move, this can be a sign of stress. Separation issues and separation-related stress can appear as:  

  • Aggression  
  • House accidents  
  • Destructive behavior  
  • Whining  
  • Pacing 

Research shows that behavior modification focused on systematic desensitization and counterconditioning is the most effective strategy for addressing separation stress in dogs. This process involves gradually building your dog up to longer periods of time alone without stress. Counterconditioning aims to help your dog develop an association between being alone and good things, like treats and toys. 

How can ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA help stressed dogs? 

Regularly being stressed can lead to long-term physical and mental health issues. Fortunately, ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA chews, soft gels, and oils can offer support for your dog’s general and situational stress, helping their stress levels return to balance. 

ElleVet’s Calm & Comfort situational use chews provide maximum support for dogs to calmly address triggers like separation, allowing them to remain calm while they are away from you without setting off stress-related responses. These chews, when given between 1.5-2 hours ahead of your departure, are extremely effective in addressing your dog’s acute level of stress, by truly calming without sedating, ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA can lead to a reduction of their fear response to separation over time. 

For any questions about ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA products or how CBD can help your canine friend live their best life, give us a call (844-673-7287) or send us an email ([email protected]). We are here to help.  

Bottom line 

Bonding occurs naturally between dogs and the people who treat them well. Take good care of your dog, give them plenty of opportunities to socialize, provide positive experiences, and respect their unique personality. They’ll reward you with a lifetime of love, and you might even become their favorite person. 

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