Sunday, November 20, 2016

Do Dogs Play Favorites?

When couples or families have a dog, it’s common to joke about who the dog likes best. While dogs have big hearts and are more than capable of loving all the people who are part of their pack, this type of joke brings up an interesting question. Specifically, is it common at all for dogs to have a favorite person?

The short answer to that question is yes. To expand on that answer, we’re going to explore the topic of bonding in detail:

Bonding 101

If one member of a household provides a dog with the most care, time and attention, that person may become a dog’s favorite. However, those elements aren’t a requirement for a dog to select its favorite person. A dog can bond with any member of their household. When that happens, the dog will always seem happiest to see that individual. That’s because the dog will view that person as a leader, provider, and companion. A wiggling body, rear in the air and flattened ears are all signs of a dog interacting with its favorite person.

The Why and How of Bonding

The process of bonding that dogs go through with humans is often very similar to the way that people build relationships with each other. In plenty of cases, bonding can be driven by chemistry. Whether it’s a person’s tone of voice, their movements or demeanor, a dog may be drawn to something about that individual.

In addition to the role that type of spark can play in bonding, this process can also be driven by activities that make a dog feel at ease, comfortable and attached. For example, if there are three people in a household and a dog sleeps next to just one individual at night, the likelihood of the dog strongly bonding and playing favorites with that person is quite high.

Because dogs have different personalities and can have varied experiences, those elements can play a significant role in bonding. An unfortunate scenario that demonstrates this well is a dog that comes from a previously abusive situation. It may take a little time for this type of dog to let its guard down. But once it trusts someone enough to do so, the chances of those two deeply bonding are very high.

Although bonding is a very interesting topic, it’s not something that should concern a household member who isn’t instantly picked as the favorite. As we mentioned above, dogs are full of love. So as long as you make a point of consistently providing your dog with lots of attention, you can count on building a strong relationship. And if you ever want to bribe your dog to prove you’re the favorite, our house-made beef jerky pet treats will do the trick!