Even though a dog may be close to and protective of everyone in his human family pack, oftentimes a special bond is established with just one member of the household. While this is typically the person who provides the most time, care and attention, it's not always the case. Just as with people, there are some dogs and people that have an instant connection between them and form a special and lasting bond that supersedes all others.
How Do Dogs Choose Their Favorite Person?
What Bonding Means
The dog that bonds to one particular member of the household is typically happier to see that person than anyone else, viewing the favored individual as provider, leader, as well as companion. This usually means lowering himself in this person's presence and showing body language like a rear in the air, wiggling body and flattened ears.
Chemistry and Bonding
Like among humans, there's sometimes an inexplicable chemistry between a dog and a single person. There's just something about that individual -- his overall demeanor, his movements, his touch and/or tone of voice -- that makes the dog feel comfortable, at ease and attached. Even if you believe that your dog just isn't feeling a spark between you two, don't fret! You can certainly help strengthen your bond by taking a hands-on role in feeding, offering treats, giving physical attention and by simply being present. Never yell at or physically discipline your dog, and be sure to always reward him and praise him when he gives you attention.
Why Dogs Bond
There are a variety of reasons why a pup develops feelings or a special connection with just one person. If he sleeps alongside one person, plays or spends a majority of his time with that individual, or if one person is responsible for the majority of his care, it can create a sense of closeness and familiarity. If someone removes the dog from a previously abusive environment and is the primary caretaker during recovery, this too can establish a special bond.
Why Dogs Don't Bond
Sometimes one member of a household will feel slighted if the family dog doesn't seem to care for him as much as for another household member. Often (but not always), a lack of bonding is due to lack of attention on the part of the human. If attention is paid to the pup, another cause may be behind the lack of bonding. For example, the person plays too rough, only provides attention when he wants it and ignores the pup when he seeks attention, or he may possibly remind the pup of an abusive individual from his past. If so, be patient and continue to provide your pup plenty of TLC -- your bond should eventually strengthen with time.