Dogs form strong bonds with their human families, but sometimes they seem to play favorites. If your pooch prefers your husband’s company over yours, you may feel hurt or rejected.
However, there are some common reasons behind this apparent preference that have more to do with your respective lifestyles and interactions than your dog singling you out.
Understanding what draws your dog to your husband can help you strengthen your own relationship and bond with your furry friend.
Bonding and Attachment – It’s All About Smell!
Dogs experience the world primarily through their noses, so scent plays a huge role in how they form attachments. They pick up on human pheromones and each person’s unique natural smell which helps them recognize and bond with individuals in their pack.
If your husband is the primary caregiver who feeds, walks, trains, and spends the most time with your dog, their scents have simply become associated through repeated exposure and built a foundation for their bond.
This doesn’t mean you can’t also build a similar connection though! Make sure to engage in plenty of one-on-one play, cuddle, and caregiving sessions with your dog.
The more time spent together, the more your scents will mingle and signal you are part of the same trusted family unit. Exchange worn shirts or blankets with your husband to spread comforting smells.
You can quickly become equally bonded if you dedicate personal time and physical affection.
Dogs and humans communicate in very different ways, so you and your husband may instinctually interact with your dog in contrasting styles.
These differences in communication can influence which person your dog feels most comfortable and connected with.
Tone of Voice Matters
Dogs are extremely sensitive to tone of voice, even more than the actual words spoken. Deep, low-pitched voices tend to have a calming effect on dogs while high-pitched, excited voices sometimes stress them out.
If your husband speaks to your dog in a gentle, soothing baritone and you have a naturally higher register, this could explain your dog’s preference.
Make an effort to lower your voice and use calm, flowing tones when interacting with your pup.
Be Mindful of Body Language
Subtle body language and gestures also impact how well dogs comprehend our messages. For example, facing straight ahead, kneeling down, and holding still can indicate safety to a dog versus direct stares, looming over them, and quick movements which can seem threatening.
Think about any body language differences between you and your husband. Does he instinctually behave in ways that come across as more calm and non-threatening?
Mimicking his posture and mannerisms could help your communication style become more attuned to your dog.
Lifestyle and Personality Differences
In addition to communication styles, your individual personalities and lifestyles likely contribute to your dog’s preference for your husband.
There are some key factors that could sway your pooch.
Dogs Love a Confident Pack Leader
Dogs are naturally pack animals who feel most secure and happy following a strong leader they can trust. They tend to be drawn to humans who project confidence, assertiveness, and a take-charge attitude.
If your husband exhibits more of these “alpha” qualities than you, your dog may gravitate toward him to feel protected and guided.
Don’t worry though – you can absolutely still establish yourself as a capable leader!
Work on displaying confident body language, using a firm tone when giving commands, and being consistent with rules and training. Your dog will look to you for guidance once you demonstrate calm authority.
High Energy May Prefer Playmate
If your dog is very active, they probably enjoy burning off energy through play and exercise. Your husband may naturally engage in more boisterous activities with them like running, fetching toys, or wrestling which enables vital bonding time.
Make sure you also participate in daily energetic play tailored to your dog’s needs.
Activities like jogging together, learning new tricks, or bringing your pup to a dog park can help strengthen your relationship.
Tips for Strengthening Your Bond
If your dog currently favors your husband, don’t lose hope. There are many ways you can become your pup’s number one human.
Here are some tips:
Take Over Some Caregiving Duties
The more often you are the one who feeds, walks, grooms, and otherwise cares for your dog, the more they will associate you with their wellbeing.
Take initiative to be the main provider of your dog’s daily needs to reinforce your position in the family pack.
Initiate One-on-One Training Sessions
Dedicate 10-15 minutes per day to training your dog using positive reinforcement techniques. Work on basic commands together as well as any behavioral issues.
These productive interactions will build communication, understanding, and trust.
Get Down on Your Dog’s Level
Dogs view interactions very differently than humans. Kneeling down or sitting on the floor with your dog helps them see you as a peer rather than a large, looming figure.
Let your dog approach you at their own pace and offer affection on their terms. Moving slowly and using calm tones and body language also helps.
Bringing the Pack Together
If your dog seems to have chosen your husband as their favorite human, it can be disheartening. But in most cases, it simply comes down to lifestyle factors, communication styles, and your respective roles in the family pack.
The good news is there are many straightforward ways to strengthen your own bond and become equally important in your pup’s eyes.
- Spend quality one-on-one time together through caregiving, training, exercise, and affection
- Adjust your tone of voice, body language, and confidence to better communicate
- Take initiative to establish yourself as a leader and guide
- Mimic your husband’s calming behaviors that your dog responds well to
- Have patience and let your dog warm up to you at their own pace
With concerted effort and consistency, you and your pooch can form an incredibly close connection. Don’t take it personally if your dog seems standoffish at first – they will come to adore you!
Remember that you are both key members of the same pack working together to keep your dog happy and secure.
Other Common Questions About Dogs Playing Favorites
Does getting jealous help win my dog’s affection?
No, displaying jealousy or trying to force interactions will likely backfire. Remain calm and patiently engage your dog on their terms.
Should my husband stop interacting with our dog to force bonding with me?
Absolutely not. Restricting positive relationships causes stress. Strive for group activities that allow bonding all together.
Is my dog’s preference permanent?
No, preferences can shift over time as relationships evolve. Consistent effort to understand your dog’s needs can change attachments.
Does this mean my dog doesn’t love me?
Not at all. Dogs are capable of loving their entire human packs. A preference doesn’t negate your existing bond.
Should we get another dog for me to bond with?
Adding a new dog is a big commitment. Focus first on strengthening your bond with your current pup through training, caregiving and quality time.
How long does it take dogs to form attachments?
It depends on the individual dog and human. Consistently interacting daily can build a close bond within weeks or months. Be patient and persistent.
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