What's Up With Dogs Who Like Everyone?

By Sarah Jeanne Terry

We all wish we could read our dog's mind. When they stare up at us with those adorable eyes, we always wonder if there's more to their look than just simple begging for treats. If our dog could just talk for 10 minutes, we feel like that would clear a lot of things up. But since that isn't possible, we have to guess. And one of our favorite topics to speculate about is which person our dog likes best.

Some dogs clearly show that they prefer one person. Some dogs seem to prefer a certain type of person. But what about those dogs who seem to like everyone? What's their deal? We did a little digging, and we figured out why some dogs seem to love everyone. And the answers may surprise you.

Two sisters with dog
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So your dog loves everybody.

While some owners struggle with dogs that bark at strangers, others notice quite the opposite. Does your dog jump and lick everyone that comes near them? Do they want to say hello to every person you pass on the street? Then your dog may just love everyone, and even though it sounds sweet, it can still be kind of annoying.

Shar Pei sniffing
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Dogs love the smell of humans.

You might think that you're special because you're their owner, but the truth is, dogs love all humans. According to a recent study into dog behavior in Elsevier, dogs were put into an MRI machine, which measured their responses to different smells.

When they could smell their owner, the dog's "reward center" in their brain was triggered. And that seems very natural. But even if it wasn't their owner, they liked the smell of other strange humans more than dogs. That suggests that dogs just love humans, even ones that they don't know.

The girl and funny dog, nose to nose
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Dogs try to connect with people.

Dogs are the only animal (other than primates) who seek out eye contact in humans. Eye contact means a lot for feeling a connection with one another. And dogs seek out eye contact from people, rather than their dog parents.

Child lovingly embraces his pet dog
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Humans keep dogs safe.

If you ever read up on Cesar Millan's theories, you won't get far before you stumble onto the idea of establishing yourself as the "pack leader" for your dog. This helps teach your dog to follow your commands, but it also shows that dogs like when humans are in charge. Because having a strong pack leader makes them feel safe.

Also, a study in PLOS One concluded that the relationship bewteen dogs and humans is similar to that between babies and their parents. One part of the study noted that dogs tend to run to humans when they're scared, whereas other animals run away. That again demonstrates that they look to humans to help them in scary times. So it's possible that some dogs see all humans as positive, protective beings in their world.

Small dog aggression
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When dogs seem mean, it's usually because they're scared.

Obviously, dogs don't love everyone all the time. Many people struggle with dogs that seem aggressive or violent towards strangers or even certain humans they know. But experts have discovered that aggressive dogs are usually just scared. And often, after training, they learn to trust and love humans.

Happy Dog Portrait
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Dogs who love everyone might just be well-adjusted dogs.

If your dog greets everyone with excitement and joy, then maybe that's a sign that your dog feels comfortable. Of course, some dogs show too much excitement. And that can be something that owners help curb. But science shows that loving humans is a dog's natural state. So if your dog loves all humans, you may just be doing something right.

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