If your dog is your best friend then you are not alone. Many of us consider Fido to be our favorite companion. But what happens when he or she decides they would rather spend time with someone else in the family if given the chance? It can be a little heartbreaking, but it is not unusual. Dogs, like people, can play favorites. And the reasons why they choose one person over another can be a bit of a mystery. So, if you wonder why dogs only follow one person or why they choose your significant other over you, then you are not alone. It is a topic that has been widely discussed and debated among various canine experts over the years. The reasons why may surprise you.
The Root of the Behavior
One of the first things experts will tell you is that most of the bonding between a dog and their human occurs between birth and six months. This is a key socialization time for young puppies, and socialization is very important for dogs. During this early period of a puppy's life, their brains are remarkably receptive. It is imperative that puppies have a very positive interaction with humans during this time. This early socialization you experience with your puppy can be one of the factors to them choosing you as their 'one person.'
If you are worried that you didn't get this early bonding time due to adopting your dog as an adult, experts say not to completely stress about it. Continued socialization is just as important to help with bonding with your pooch. You may, in fact, notice that your adult adoptee takes to you much more quickly than some puppies may. This is seen quite often if a dog has been rescued from an abusive or neglectful environment. Showing them that they are now safe and loved will go a long way to solidifying your bond with one another.
Even if you are the one who always feeds, walks, and gives them treats, you may still notice your pup is happier to see your significant other or child. Sometimes it is no different than what happens with us humans. There is just an inexplicable chemistry between Fido and another member of the family. It can even come down to compatible 'personalities' of the family member and the dog. A more energetic family member could be more attractive to a dog who is more lively. Especially if you are a more quiet and reserved type of person. There are also those people who just seem to attract dogs to them no matter what. Almost all of us know someone like this; someone that can walk into a room full of dogs and immediately garner all of their attention.
Encouraging the Behavior
If you don't seem to be your pup's number one right away, don't be discouraged. There are ways to build stronger bonds with Fido and become one of their favorites, if not their most favorite, human to be around. Make sure that you are spending quality time with your fur baby to let them know how much they mean to you. A key thing to remember when it comes to time together is the old saying quality over quantity. Meaning, make even the smallest of times count. If your pup loves to snuggle, then snuggle more. Or take him or her on a walk to their favorite park. Knowing what your dog loves and sharing that with them is great for bonding with one another more.
It has been found that physical affection more strongly solidifies the bond between human and canine. Petting, belly rubs, snuggles, and just good old play wrestling can show your pooch that you truly enjoy spending time with them. Spending at least 30 minutes of one on one time each day can mean the world to your sweet Fido. And if you are both the more energetic type, you may want to consider adding in agility training so that you spend time working together as a team.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Like a lot of people, you may have a crazy, hectic schedule. So finding even that extra thirty minutes could prove difficult. Another solution for working in a little bonding time is to let your fur baby sleep next to you. Whether it is in the same bed or you give them their own space next to your bed, they can still see that you want to be near them. This can give that same sense of closeness for you both and aid in the bonding even when neither of you is awake. There are so many options to consider when trying to find the best way to show more attention and affection to your pup. Explore them all and see what works best for your lifestyle.
Even though you may not start out as Fido's top choice, you shouldn't get discouraged. Having the love and affection of your precious pup is worth a little time and effort on your part. Don't give up and be sure to always let Fido know that he or she is safe and loved.
By a Shiba Inu lover Patty Oelze
Published: 02/14/2018, edited: 01/30/2020