Why Does My Dog Like My Partner More Than Me?

5 min read
Why Does My Dog Like My Partner More Than Me? - Animals Matter, Inc.

If you have experience with a two-year-old child, you know the answer as to why your dog likes your partner more. According to a 2017 study by the University of Arizona, dogs have the social intelligence of a two-year-old. Dogs share the same level of communication and cooperation skills as young toddlers, meaning they have definite likes and dislikes. Like twos, a dog's body language says a lot about what they're feeling.

Dogs may like partners more because they slip them more treats or let them onto that forbidden piece of furniture. If you're the disciplinarian, your dogs may see you as an obstacle to their favorite past time of destroying your shoes. You may be the partner that takes your dogs on walks and plays frisbee in the park. You make sure their needs are met and you still wonder -- Does my dog love me?

Why Do Dogs Follow Some People More Than Others?

A dog's world is all about smells. Dogs don't like chemical-smelling cleaning products or alcohol. They aren't overly fond of citrus scents. Your perfume may be amazing to humans but make your dog turn its tail and run. Dogs can detect smells you don't know you have. Pheromones, for example, are animal-produced chemicals that alter the behavior of another animal.


Pheromones work externally and can influence how your dog responds to you and others. A dog's body language can indicate whether an individual's pheromones have a positive or negative impact on your dog. If you're wondering--does my dog love me, it may be the smell they don't love, not you.


Temperament, personality, or whatever you want to call the hard-wired orientation that makes humans hyperactive or laidback happens in all mammals. Just like you, your dog may "click" with your partner. It doesn't mean your dogs like your partner more, they just have an affinity that creates a special bond.

If you pay attention, you may find that your dog chooses who to go to based on need. You may be the "go-to" person when they need comfort and your partner is who they turn to for play. Almost always, dogs have equal love for both parties. But they may display certain behaviors more towards one partner than the other. And that’s perfectly normal! Your dog still loves you on an incredibly deep level. So deep, researchers still don’t fully understand the incredible power of the human-canine relationship.

Do Dogs Really Pick a Favorite Human?

Dogs have favorite people for a number of reasons. During the first six months of life, dogs form impressions based on positive socialization and interaction. These past experiences -- for better or worse -- are the foundation for ongoing friendships. Like two-year-olds, dogs form strong bonds through play and practical life.


Some dogs attach themselves to one person while others are social butterflies who can't wait to make new friends. Giving dogs opportunities to socialize with other dogs and humans can lessen their need to attach to a single individual. However, your dog may like partners more if they are the ones who pick up on non-verbal cues and play their favorite games. Consider making play dates with other dogs or visiting a dog park where they can interact with other people and dogs.

Best Friends

Strong friendships develop because of compatibility. If you spend quality time with your dogs, they can develop a deep bond that lasts for years. For example, they may associate your partner with exhilarating play and want to remain close in case there's an opportunity to engage. Watching your dog's body language is an excellent way to assess an animal's mood. Remember not every dog bonds over affection. You need to be sensitive to their cues so you don't have to wonder if your dog loves you.

Does Your Dog Get Jealous of Your Partner?

Jealousy is about control. If your dogs do not feel you are paying enough attention to them, they will try different behaviors to gain control of your attention. Learning how to interpret their body language is the best way to prevent jealousy from becoming a problem.

Destructive Behavior

Some dogs show their displeasure by chewing on things they know they should not. If you find your dog suddenly chewing on shoes or clawing the furniture, look at how much time you're spending with your pet. Destructive behavior isn't always about anxiety or too much energy.

When dogs break house training, they could be signaling jealousy. If there's no physical reason for the accidents, your dog may be expressing displeasure at what they see as a lack of attention.

Whining or Pawing

There's nothing more annoying than a dog pawing at you for attention unless it's whining. Both behaviors are a way to draw your attention away from your partner. If possible, redirect your pet to more acceptable behaviors. If you have been neglecting your friend, make space for some quality time.


Licking can be a form of self-soothing. Dogs may start excessive licking if they feel neglected. They may lick if they're frustrated, especially if they can't gain your attention. Try redirection to take the focus off of licking.


Dogs can become aggressive if they feel neglected or no longer wanted. The aggressive behavior may be snarling, barking, or biting other dogs or people. This behavior can be dangerous to the animal and a partner. If positive reinforcement for acceptable behavior isn't enough, consider professional assistance in preventing aggressive behavior.


Can dogs sense if someone is good or not?

Dogs pick up on human cues that other humans ignore. If a person uses aggressive gestures or is easily agitated, dogs can perceive that as negative or threatening behavior. Dogs can also pick up on excessive energy just below the surface and are more aware of changes in adrenaline production that can signal a threat.

Does your dog still love you if it seems to like your partner more?

Yes. Remember your dog is like two-year-old humans. They may appear to like one partner over the other, but it may simply be a question of accessibility. They may feel more comfortable around someone who can readily pick up on their cues, or they may become more excited because a less available individual is willing to play.

How can you tell if your dog has bonded with you?

Eye contact is the best bonding indicator. Other signs are listening and obeying commands.

If you want to strengthen the bonds between you and your dog, consider spa days with Animal Matter's grooming supplies. Our products are designed to nurture that special relationship between you and your dogs.

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