The way your sweet doggie runs to the front door when you come home may lead you to ask, "Does my puppy think I'm his mom?" People, of course, anthropomorphize their pets quite regularly, attributing human thoughts and feelings to their dogs. But do dogs believe we're members of their canine tribe? The bonding you do with your pet is indeed important, so it makes sense that you might wonder, "Do dogs view their owners as parents?" Because you provide for your pet in every way, including feeding him, walking him, taking him to the vet, and playing games together, your pet certainly considers you the best person on Earth.
Does my dog think I'm his mom?
Dogs and people have super tight bonds as of late, according to a Banfield Pet Hospital survey that shows pets and their owners grew closer during the global pandemic and the election of 2020. Quarantining, sometimes in very small apartments and homes for long stretches of time, while also having to deal with political uncertainty has meant that dogs and their dog "moms" (and "dads") are relying on each other to relieve stress.
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There's even some science to back this up. Researchers at Emory University found that some dogs prefer their owners over their favorite foods and that the portion of a dog's brain that shows love will activate when they hear their owners' voices.
Does my dog love my partner more?
When it comes to dog love and learning the answer to, "Does my dog know I'm his mom?" some pet owners may exhibit a small streak of jealousy when their beloved pup tends to favor another "parent" in the house. But keep in mind that this preference isn't because you're a bad dog mom or not doing all of the right things to keep your pet happy and healthy. Instead, this attraction to another adult in the home could be based on the other person's temperament and the fact that it's a better match to the dog's own personality. So, if your dog is laid back or on the hyper side, she may bond better with someone in the house who's also either pretty chill or high strung.
Best dog-bonding tips
Do you want to deepen the bond you have with your animal? Here are some easy ways you can get to know your dog better and in turn strengthen the relationship the two of you share.
- Safety first. A dog who knows what to expect in terms of rules and boundaries feels safe and secure, and he might not make as many mistakes in the home either. To this end, make sure the rooms in your home are safe, which can include a gate to keep him corralled and appropriate chew toys so he won't go for your brand-new red pumps.
- Be consistent. Learn some basic training tips for teaching your dog simple commands and then keep up the work as often as you can, offering treats and lots of praise. By being consistent with your verbiage, your dog will come to understand what you want and learn to bond closely.
- Put down the phone. It's hard, of course, but staring at your phone's screen means you're not paying attention to your puppy, and he can pick up on this vibe. Instead, schedule lots of phone-free time together when you can play, run, tumble on the floor, and go for long walks.
- Learn your dog's language. This includes tail wagging, heavy panting, head-turning, and more. Each of these physical actions means something important, so strive to understand your dog's language or speak with his vet or a pet trainer to learn what they mean.
- Consider sharing a bedroom. As you would with an infant, sleeping near your dog during the early days is a good way to bond. By staying close, you can be alerted to when he needs to go out to pee. To share a room, consider a puppy crate for a new dog or a special bed for an older rescue.
- Banfield Pet Hospital: New Survey Suggests Human-Animal Bond Stronger Than Ever Amidst Pandemic, Lead-up to U.S. Election
- American Kennel Club: Is the Human-Canine Bond Unique?
- American Kennel Club: No Bones About It: Why Does My Dog Prefer My Partner Over Me?
- American Kennel Club: 9 Ideas For Bonding With Your Puppy