Do Dogs Play Favorites?

Dogs come in a variety of personalities.

Whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert, an athlete or a couch potato, you can find your perfect match in a dog.

But when a family gets a dog, the pet often attaches him or herself to one family member in particular. Why is that?

The first thought may be that the dog attaches herself to the person who pays the most attention to her, and that makes sense. After all, if you’re the one who takes her out, walks her, feeds her, gives her water, takes her for rides in the car, and brushes her, you’re the one the dog would like best, right?

Not necessarily.

A Dog’s Love Isn’t Split Equally

Dogs have an abundance of love, and they generally love everyone in their pack, but they don’t necessarily love everyone equally. Some dogs pick a distinct favorite in the household. The dog may pick a stay-at-home mom who is always there with water, a belly rub, or a trip outside when the dog needs it. The dog may pick a child who is ill, seems lonely, or is in need of a friend as a favorite.

Immediate Needs

Or the dog may vary allegiance depending on what she wants or needs. The dog may gravitate toward the dad, who’s at work all day long, but always quick with a lap and a belly rub as soon as he gets home. The dog has also seen that the dad is the problem solver. When the dog doesn’t feel well, she goes to the dad to fix her. Dogs are very observant, social, pack-oriented animals. The dog might learn that the kids go to the mom or she steps in as an arbitrator during family disputes. They might also see that mom is the one who feeds the family, and she’s a soft touch for a treat.

The dog also learns that the son loves to take her for excursions through the woods or along when he goes for a jog. She’s at his side when she’s up for a romp. But when the dog wants to be groomed, she visits the daughter. She has learned that the daughter will brush and comb her for hours, telling her all the secrets the daughter has.

One True Best Friend

But even when the dog goes to a different family member depending on the circumstances, they often pick one person as their main friend. She makes that decision on her own, and it’s not always one that makes a lot of sense to the human members of the family. The reasons a dog is attracted to one person over another may not make any more sense than the reasons that draw one human to another. But it makes sense to the dog, and it’s not likely you’ll change her mind.

So remember, even if you’re not the constant favorite, your dog is full of love and will always have enough left over for you.

Meet the Author: Pam Hair

Pam Hair is a pet industry copywriter with Fuzzy Friends Writer, where she combines her three passions: a love of animals, a strong desire to help other people, and the joy of writing. She has been a pet parent over the years to dogs, cats, and a variety of rodents. Currently she and her husband share their home with two guinea pigs.

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