How Do Dogs Pick a Favorite Human?

April Livingston | October 28th, 2017

As any family or couple knows all too well, dogs have a tendency to choose their favorite person. While most dogs love their owners without reservation, many dogs show a favoritism of one individual over another. It seems like there is not necessarily a connection between who feeds and walks the dog regularly versus those just present in the home on a daily (or even less often) basis. So, what gives? How do dogs choose their favorite person?

While every dog is different, there are a few reasons why dogs choose their favorites.


Experts say socialization at an early age, typically between birth and six months old, is a big factor. This is why it is important to ensure your dog has positive interactions with many different types of people and places. If a dog had a really great interaction with women as a young pup for example, they might show preference for females at an older age.

Another major factor is attention and affection. Dogs respond to positive attention and will often gravitate to whoever gives them the most attention of those in the household. Dogs respond to not just the amount of affection, but also the quality of it as well. Someone who plays with a dog versus just walking them and feeding them can change their preference.

Associations are huge for dogs, meaning they associate a treat with someone who always has one ready for them. This is a way to show a dog that you are a positive force in their life, so it could be a good idea to give new visitors to your home a handful of treats for your dog.

Finally, a human’s personality and a dog’s breed are a major factor in this equation. An outgoing dog is best matched with a similar person who enjoys going out and about and socializing with others. Likewise, some dogs prefer just one person, like Greyhounds or Shiba Inus.

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