5 Factors Your Dog Weighs When Choosing Their Favorite Human

3 images side by side of a woman loving on a brown eyed Siberian Husky.

I definitely can’t choose. I love both of my humans equally and for different reasons. You never ask a dog who their favorite human is.

Leave me alone. You’re going to trigger my anxiety.

Dogs typically take 5 variables into consideration before they attach themselves to one particular human.

  1. Who gives them the most attention?
  2. Who creates a positive association?
  3. Who’s personality meshes best?
  4. Who was there first?
  5. Who feeds them?

Dogs are simple. We speak the language of love. If you speak back to us in the same language, chances are, we’ll vibe hard together. Be good to us and we’ll quite literally love you forever and ever.

Disclaimer: The Can My Dog articles contain information based on the individual research and opinions of the author of the site – who just so happens to be a dog. How you utilize the information given is completely up to you. Proceed at your own risk.

Your Dog Needs Lots (and Lots) of Attention – If You Want to Be Their Favorite Human

As a general rule, most dogs have a tendency to gravitate more to their primary care giver.

This notion transcends all species. We love the people who love and take care of us. It’s just that simple.

This section is a two part-er.

There are a couple of ways in which a human needs to show attention to their dog. The first is through basic needs offered on a daily basis. The typical stuff: food, cleanliness, exercise, wellness checks, etc.

It would stand to reason that your dog would gravitate more towards the person who takes care of them on a daily basis.

Dogs are emotional beings. They communicate mostly in terms of feelings and survival characteristics.

One of the most prominent survival behavior is the act of eating and nourishment for their body.

Feed your dog and be happy about doing it. This will go a long way when your dog is choosing their favorite human.

The second way is through physical adoration and attention. The loves, hugs, snugs, and rubs.

This ties back into the previously mentioned characteristic of dogs directly above.

Dogs are emotional.

Emotions are emitted best through acts of love and kindness, like letting them snuggle you on the couch while you’re watching tv.

Both of these are equally important and crucial in allowing for that special human / dog bonding time. This intensifies the bond, essentially making it unbreakable.

Let me throw in a pro tip for the over-thinking anxiety riddled humans out there: it’s not how much, but how good the attention you give your dog is.

We (dogs) absolutely, positively, no questions asked, one-hundred percent value quality over quantity in this situation. Don’t skimp on our snuggle session.

Love has a compounded effect on your dog. The more they get, the more they want.

Dogs know which one of their humans gives them more love and they’ll seek them out first, over everyone else.

Create Positive Associations for Your Dog to Become Their Favorite Human

Who on earth doesn’t prefer positive over negative? Isn’t that what life is all about? Seeking the good and learning from the bad to, in turn, find more of the good?

Same idea when it comes to training a dog too. The more you can create a positive environment and reward with more positivity (treats), the quicker your dog will catch on and enjoy the process. Thus the quicker you’ll become most favorite human to your dog.

Good in equals good out.

Again, how obvious can this be? But I feel like some of you need to hear it again.

*A little louder for the people in the back*

Dogs gravitate more to the human that plays with them the most, the one that seems super pumped to see them when they get home, to the human who asks them to come sit on them, to the human who tries to teach them cool tricks, and to the human who lets them share a pillow at night.

Dogs want that – Dogs need that.

Let’s take two different types of people and compare them for illustrative purposes here.

Person Number 1:

A dog lives with two different people. Person A feeds the dog every day, brushes the dog, lets the dog sleep with them, and takes the dog for daily walks.

Person Number 2:

This second person literally does none of that. They don’t feel like being bothered and they get annoyed if person A asks them to feed the dog one morning. Person B never shows the dog any kind of attention and hates when the dog tries to snuggle on the couch during tv time.

Case Study Conclusion:

Person A will undoubtedly be the dogs favorite human. The dog reads body language and has a clear understanding of which human actually loves them enough to take care of them.

These are the positive associations that allow your dog to connect on another level with that one human.

I’m not saying this is the only factor. Obviously it’s not. The title says there are 5 different ones. BUT, (big butt), it’s an important one.

Your Dog Focuses on Personality When Choosing Their Favorite Human

We’re like humans. We each have a unique personality type. Some of these personality associations are breed specific, others are more individualized.

You know you’ve seen us. The dogs that seemingly look and act exactly like their human counterpart.

Why do you think this is?

Because like attracts like. It’s literally the law of attraction at work here. We pick the human that vibrates on our same frequency. Same personality type. We choose humans based on activity levels and similarities.

I’m personally more chill and easy going, my sister is polar opposite (huskies, right?). But because of this, we are attracted to different types of human behaviors. Callie enjoys sprints through the woods and I prefer slower strolls through the park. We seek humans that are like minded.

Now, let me be clear. This is where I interject my second disclaimer dripping with cynicism. Imprinting on a single human isn’t always this clear, cut, and dry. This is a general synopsis and overview of typical behavior and actions derived from similar associations.

I briefly mentioned breeds above. Certain dog breeds are best for certain situations. It’s important to hone in on the best dog suited for you, especially if you’re eventually wanting to be their favorite human!

The following breeds are generally best suited for a single household individual:

  • Greyhound
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Shiba Inu
  • Basenji
  • Cocker Spaniel

Of course the list could be expanded on from here, but this will get you started if you’re single.

If you have a large family, perhaps the following list is more up your alley:

Many more where that list came from too, but I don’t want to overwhelm you guys. I’ve found that it is very easy to overwhelm humans. You guys can be fragile.

Who Was There First?

Ah, this can be a big one. Some of my dog friends say this is THE deciding factor for them.

As I previously outlined in this post, socialization should be on purpose and started early in your puppy’s life. It is in this phase of our lives that we learn, absorb, and connect most with our human or humans.

In fact, most dogs fall hard in love with their humans during this time. Since this is the case, it would stand to reason that the person who was there first, then becomes that dog’s person for life as a byproduct.

Restrictions may apply, obviously.

But if the human who was first teaching a dog things as a baby, continues to take good care of them and loves them just as hard as the dog grows and ages, then they’re the winners -for life.

Initiate pup imprinting session.

Here’s the thing though. As a matter of fact, let me re-state the most important aspect of first impressions as it directly relates to your dog and who they love the most.

If you are the first human who teaches your dog, continues to train them, talk to them, nurture them, feed them, and love them, then you will more than likely be irreplaceable in your dog’s eyes.

The key here is love.

What do I mean by this?

Let’s compare two different scenarios again, shall we?

Scenario number one is the story from right above. The loving nurturer who loves her puppy more than anything and their bond only grows stronger with time.

Scenario number two is the exact opposite and insights fear and uncertainty in a puppy based on their first experiences with humans. This is most always due to some form of abuse placed on the dog.

For instance, have you ever came across a particular dog who freaked out when they saw a person in a hat?

This could mean that they had a horrible experience with a person in a hat when they were younger. Creating that negative association we try to avoid.

Same thing when a dog prefers a woman over a man.

Perhaps they had a bad man experience as a puppy and just don’t want to deal with dudes anymore. Could be anything, but these are typical dissociative happenings and direct behaviors that I witness quite often in relation to when a dog is choosing their favorite human.

Who Feeds Them?

I know this one could be factored into the care-giving section from above. Oh, and maybe even the positive association section too.

But I’m a little thick and I love food. I’m the one writing this article and I get to choose.

Food gets its own section. I’m thinking food should have been numero uno, but instead I’ll leave you with it here so it will be the freshest on your mind as we bring this ride to an end.

I’d be the first to debate any reputable human in my firm stance that this isn’t just an ‘animal‘ thing. This is a ‘life‘ thing.

Don’t pretend you humans don’t get madder than a hornet when you haven’t had your mid afternoon snack and the hunger pangs kick in.

And don’t act like your face don’t light up the minute you see the waiter carrying your tray of food from the kitchen.

You love food, we love food, everybody loves food. It’s one of the most basic behaviors observed across the board of living organisms.

It’s innate – It’s instinct.

So when you feed (literally) your dog’s most basic primal needs on a daily basis, they will have a tendency to love you more.

This stands to reason as it builds trust almost effortlessly as you continue to show your dog that you will be feeding him multiple times on a daily basis.

Trust and repetition are the basics and fundamentals to building an unbreakable relationship between you and your dog.

Let me re-write that right quick.

Trust, repetition, and FOOD are the fundamental necessities involved in building a strong relationship with your dog.

In short, if you feed us we’ll love you more.

You know what I mean. We love to eat. So, feed us, and we’ll love you more. I give up. I can’t not make this section sound unbelievably self centered.

Let’s move on.

Bonus Tip: You Should Let Your Dog Sniff On Walks

Hear me out with this one. I know it can be a bit annoying to stop and sniff the proverbial roses on every single walk taken every single morning. Especially if those “roses” are actually just mundane blades of grass and small piles of dirt.

However, this is imperative to our innate sensory receptors.

I’ve covered this topic in detail in a separate post. Read more about it here if you’re interested in diving down the hole a bit deeper: Should I Let My Dog Sniff On Walks?

Anyway, sniffing is what your dog is literally born to do. It’s how they “see” and come to understand the newness of the world around them.

Neglecting this basic instinct for them on a simple walk is like forcing you to walk with a blindfold on.

Not much fun.

Patience with your dog goes a long way. Remember: dogs fully understand emotions and emotional responses.

Trust me when I say that getting frustrated and rushing your dog on a walk is completely understood by them. They interpret this as, “my human doesn’t enjoy spending time with me.”

Your dog will then become timid on walks, worried they will disappoint you if a smell catches their attention, and unwilling to be excited about something that typically brings them copious amounts of joy – a daily walk!

If you want to be the human your dog chooses as their favorite, then I highly suggest you leave your house early enough to let your dog sniff around for a bit as you stroll down the street and through the park.

Your dog is using their time on walks as a two fold.

First, in order to spend valuable time with you and second, to explore common ground that can seem uncommon to them based on the smells of the day.

Don’t take this simple pleasure away from your dog.

Your dog will see your willingness to let them sniff as an understanding and massive bonding factor. Thus propelling you to the top of their favorite person list.

How to Become Your Dog’s Favorite Person

Becoming your dog’s favorite person can be easy. Especially if you sincerely love your dog, take care of them, and make time for them on a daily basis.

As a matter of fact, just those three things can move you up your dog’s list very quickly.

On average, dogs have the mentality of a 2-3 year old human child. So, think like a small child. What makes them happiest?


Play fetch, tug-of-war, and playfully wrestle with your dog. This will form a natural gravitation between the two of you.

Add on top of the play time nightly snuggles and you’re well on your way to becoming number one in your dog’s eyes.

When a dog is naturally choosing their favorite human, they innately choose the one who makes them feel the most comfortable and the most loved.

Take care of your dog.

Love your dog.

Snuggle your dog.

Massage your dog.

Groom your dog.

Train your dog.

Mental stimulation will go a long way when it comes to bonding with your dog.

The time spent together while you train your dog will compound as your dog begins to look at you as their leader.

Becoming your dog’s loving leader is the ultimate goal when moving up the list as your dog’s ultimate favorite human.

Scaling the List to Becoming Your Dog’s Favorite Human in 10 Steps:

Quickly Become Your Dog’s Favorite
1. Be the person who feeds your dog every meal
2. Teach your dog new tricks (reward with treats)
3. Brush your dog’s hair
4. Play your dog’s favorite games with them (fetch, hide and seek, etc.)
5. Let your dog sleep with you
6. Talk to your dog like they’re your therapist
7. Let your dog sniff on walks
8. Cook homemade food for your dog
9. Embrace your dog’s weird character traits
10. Rub your dog’s belly (trust me here, humans)


I guess that’s it.

As I said before and I hope summed up nicely from above, we don’t need much. We don’t even want much as long as we have your love and affection.

Feed us, love us HARD, and take care of us every single day and we’ll love you until the very end.

We don’t pick favorites, we just pick the ones who seem to love us as much as we love them.

And as always, continue to Live, Love, Laugh, and Scratch our bellies often.

Love you guys,


P.S. If you’re new to this world, you may want to check out my Ultimate Guide for First Time Dog Parents. It’s a great reference to get you started on this journey.

Related Questions

Can You Change a Dog’s Favorite Person?

While it’s true that some dog breeds imprint hard on one person and one person only, it is possible to increase your chances of moving up on the list.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to spend at least 30 minutes of time with your dog every day doing something they love. This could be a nice walk through town, a trip to the park, or a game of fetch in the backyard.

Whatever you choose, just make sure you do it daily. This will improve their association to you and your relationship on a comprehensive level.

How Do Dogs Choose Who To Sleep With?

As a general rule, your dog will choose to sleep close to you if they consider you the pack leader.

This dates back to innate canine evolution over time. Dogs in the wild will sleep all piled up and snuggled together. This is for both warmth and protection.

Everyone wants to sleep next to the alpha leader.

This article has been reviewed by our Editorial Board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our Editorial Policies.

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