Do you sometimes wonder, ‘Does my dog love me?’ You may be the one feeding and walking your dog, but that does not guarantee that he loves you more than anyone. ‘Our Hamish adored my husband, despite the fact that I fed, walked, and trained him,’ said a dog owner. ‘The same was true with one of our German shepherds,’ she continued. ‘She would pass me by as if I wasn’t there to greet him.’ She also said she was the one doing the feeding and training. That being said, there is more to being your canine pet’s favourite person than being his main carer. There are various factors at play in terms of how dogs choose who they like. We have grouped them into 4 elements, as follows.
Dog Breed Influences Favourite Human Choice
Not all dogs love their owners the same way. Some, like the outgoing Labrador retrievers, poodles, and golden retrievers, can distribute their affection amongst many in the family. Others, such as the Shiba Inus, basenjis, and greyhounds, prefer to focus their affection on just one person.
If you have the one-person canine for a pet, you can be sure to be the only apple of his eye. What if your dog is the kind that can juggle many loves at a time? The succeeding factors will influence on who he chooses as his pack leader.
You may like to read: What Are the Top 3 Best Dog Breeds?
Personality Compatibility and Socialisation
Different dogs display a different set of characteristics. And as in human relationships, a canine pet tends to be drawn to people who match theirs. ‘A mellow dog will bond more closely with the low-key family member than the person running around the house,’ explained pet lifestyle expert Nicole Ellis. Although dog owners and their pets tend to have similar personalities, it is not always the case.
If you notice that you are more active than your furry friend, dial it down every now and then. Try to spend quiet time with your pet for no less than thirty minutes daily. Enjoy each other’s company and relax, even going so far as to breathe slowly so your energy will match his.
You may like to read: Dog Communication: Researchers Say ‘Dog Talk’ Is Key to Pet Bonding
Socialisation is also an essential element. The most crucial period for canine socialisation is between the dog’s birth until he turns six months old. A pup’s social experiences during this phase will dictate the ones he will have for his entire lifetime. That is because a dog is at his most receptive during that time. If your pet is exposed to many good interactions with you during that time, do not be surprised if you will become his forever favourite.
To help your dog be a well-balanced pet, he should be socialised well during the first six months of his life. He should be exposed to various environments, people, and things. He should continue to be socialised well past his puppy years too.
However, if you had your furry buddy past the crucial phase, you still should continue to socialise him. You still have a good chance of being chosen as your pet’s alpha figure.
You may like to read: Puppy Socialisation Checklist
Quality Personal Bonding Experiences
Naturally, if your dog gets the most attention and affection from you, he will choose you as his favourite person. But it is not all about how much attention you can give him—the quality of your bonding experiences also matter. As such, it is not just about feeding him every mealtime. It is also creating special moments during those feeding periods.
You can, for example, try to do new things together. You can introduce a new training activity or toy. You can also opt to engage in your pet’s favourite activities more often. Making new memories and having more special moments will boost or reinforce your #1 position in his canine heart.
You may like to read: The Ultimate Guide When Hiking and Camping with Dogs
Positive Associations Impact Your Likeability
This is closely linked to having quality bonding experiences with your dog. The more good experiences happen in your company, the more likely your pet will associate you with the positives. That means the more likely he is to choose you as his favourite human. It is no different in training, where rewards get your canine friend to do the desired behaviour.
This is not to say that you should never discipline him or have him go through undesirable experiences, like veterinary visits. Rather, aim to make such experiences better than they are. You can make it fun or treat such events as special ones that help minimise your pet’s anxiety. For example, if your dog does not like baths, you can incorporate his favourite toys in the task. You can even turn it into a game. Or you can massage him whilst bathing him so he feels calmer.
In the case of Hamish’s owner, as mentioned at the beginning of this piece, the key element missing was positive associations. Her husband was the more ‘fun’ pet parent.
The Bottom Line: Does My Dog Love Me?
In sum, a dog’s breed, personality compatibility and socialisation, bonding experiences, and positive association impact how he chooses his favourite person. If you feel you’ve checked all these bases, then your dog has no reason not to love you!
To ace these factors and be your dog’s #1 person, check out our golden rules that will help you be his alpha dog. You can also take a look at other posts on choosing the best dog breeds and pet behaviour. Do not forget to share!