Do Dogs Prefer One Owner Over the Other?

Girl and Dog showing love

There are lots of unanswered questions as far as dog loyalty is concerned. In most cases, you may find a family owning a dog but still, they will prefer one member of others. Unfortunately, the preferred family members may not even be the ones that have been providing care, but still, the dog will get attached. 

Do Dogs Prefer One Owner Over the Other? The bonding process between dogs and humans depend on food and care, activity time, and love. They prefer the owner who can provide in all.

Practically, it’s not a simple question to answer because there are so many factors involved in your canine friend’s decision to love your daughter, husband, wife, or son. 

We have talked about the family members, but the case is always entirely different when the owner and a stranger compete for the dogs’ love. A stranger will still lose, which takes us to a broad topic of discussion discussed for a long time. 

Well, our content focuses on the reasons why dogs prefer loving their owners rather than anyone else.

Does Location Affect A Dog’s Loyalty To The Owner?

It isn’t easy to understand how the dog decides whether the dog prefers its owner or just anyone who shows care and attention to it. Some research had been conducted to establish if the location has some effect on a dog’s decision to love the owner.

In the study, a dog was tested in two locations, in which the other was an extraordinary location while the other was its ordinary home. Also, the owner and a stranger were involved in establishing if the dog could shift loyalty. 

The finding was a bit peculiar. In an unknown location, the dog spends 80% of its time with the owner. When in its home-place, it spent nearly 70% of its time with strangers. This implies that the dog needs the owners whenever it’s in a stressful situation, and it believes it can get absolute protection in case of danger.

However, while the dog is at home, it doesn’t worry because it’s familiar with the whole setting, and nothing can worry; it thus tries to understand the stranger’s behavior.

How Do Dogs Identify Their Preferred Owner?

When you watch movies like Money heist, you’ll see dogs used to hunt criminals, and you ask yourself, how do they differentiate between criminals and ordinary citizens? Well, it involves extensive training plus other personal instinct.

We would refer to dogs as animal detectives because of their skill and subjective judgments to decide between good and evil and take the right direction. 

Moreover, they also have an emotional attachment, so it will feel different when it’s sad or happy. If you make the dog sad, it may not prefer you, but if you make it happy always, you’ll be receiving a warm welcome. So, below are ways that help a dog to identify a local owner. 

Food And Care

The bonding process between humans and dogs dramatically depends on the care and food provision. As the puppy is developing, they will focus on whoever feeds them frequently and care for them within their first six months.

Hand providing them allows them to capture your face and get used to you. As they will be growing, they will always prefer you as their owner.

When they are hungry, you give them food, when they are frightened, comfort them when they are tired and bored, take them for training, or walk in the pack, surely don’t you think this is the strongest bond you’ve been building?

So, there is no way a stranger will come, and they decide to prefer him or her over you.

Time and Activities

We know you are quite busy; your kids rely on you, you have to go to work every day, and many more. But your dog needs time too because that’s the only secret that will unlock the bond between you and the dog. When you create an environment that is safe and supportive of its lifestyle, the dog, too, will feel cared for.

The time you invest in the dog will determine if the dog will love you or not. 

You can spend quality time with your dog while giving it rewards, praising it when it does well, offering treats, massaging it, and grooming sessions. 

Usually, efforts and time can always get you what you desire. Dogs are intelligent mammals that see how much time and effort you are willing to spend on them, and as a result, you shall build trust, a good reason for them to trust you always. 

They will reward you by showing you affection, so even if you are busy, you can spend one hour a day and engage your dog in some games, walks, or training sessions.


Think about the movement, gestures, and feelings. Does your dog understand them all? How does it react whenever you make a gesture? Well, we would say that chemistry is essential when you talk about the dog and human bond.

A dog will only be attached to one owner if he or she has strong chemistry as it makes your dog feel comfortable around you. 

Whenever you are frustrated, sad, or lonely, you would see your dog getting close to you and soothing you. When the chemistry between you and the dog have developed, it will never prefer other people rather than you.

But remember, you need some time, effort, and commitments to build the bond; it doesn’t develop overnight. 

Why Does Our Dog Prefer My Partner Over Me?

Sometimes it may not be very pleasant to see the family dog attached to one partner. Despite your effort to feed it, take it for a walk at the park or carry on with some training session; it may still prefer your partner over you; why? Well, dogs are smart mammals, and they will base their decision on various factors.

In this section, we shall look at the possible reason behind this decision.


When it comes to a dog’s choice of ownership, you’ll realize that it involves a pairing of minds. So, the dog may love all of you, but the mind may pair with another. It’s also important to know that dogs, too, being a mammal, are even born with temperaments.

So, there is a high possibility that your dog will bind with one of your family members more than the other. However, it depends if the dogs’ temperament is the same as that of the preferred owner, which may be hyper, laidback, or in-between. Therefore, don’t be jealous; just be happy that at least it feels safe in your home, and it has someone it can rely on. 


It’s clear to say that dogs are smart; why?

You may be a very sick person, and you don’t when you say no to stepping on the couch, then you mean it. Therefore, it may be had for the dog because, at times, they want to stay close to you. So ideally, if they find a family member who can allow them to break the rule once in a while, they always prefer these persons over you who are strict.

Sometimes you may think they are humans because when you are too strict, they will love the other person who isn’t strict, and perhaps, you may think it’s a punishment they are giving you for denying them a chance to enjoy fully and jump around. 

Emotional Cues

Don’t think that only human beings have emotions; dogs have feelings. They can be sad, happy, and feel empathy at times. Even though the dog chooses you today as a preferred master, they can change allegiance over time.

Dogs’ decisions often are affected by what is around and wanted inside us. Suppose it’s found in a family with struggles, it may get an emotional attachment to someone heartbroken. But this is not a surety; at the time, it may move to the other person who seems happy, so when it comes to emotion, it all depends on the dog’s decision. 

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

Yes, it’s your family dog, and most of the time, you are at home taking it to the pack, giving it food, and grooming it.

We don’t blame the other partner because they have no time to spend with the dog, but the dog will always welcome them when they are back. Now at that time, the dog tries to spend time with you to know more about you, and by giving it some treats and training, the bonding will develop over time. 

Do You Have Some Unique Smell?

Believe it or not, dogs have a strong sense of smell; no wonder they have been used to track dozens of criminals and other animals during a hunting session. So, here is the trick, suppose your partner has some adverse aroma like alcohol, sweet or unsavory scent, the dog will and for sure not get attracted to this smell.

But in a case where you have some delightful aroma from food, pheromone, or other animals, the dog will love being close to you. 

Warning! Don’t go for perfumes to please the dog; you may be surprised. 

Unique Dog Breeds That Prefer One Owner Over The Other? 

As much as we talk about the dog’s preference to one owner over the other, it’s also essential to understand that certain breeds are just attracted to one owner by nature. However, not all dogs have this potential. As you try, you’ll find them attracted to anyone. Below, we shall look at some species that have shown absolute attraction to their owner. 

Beagles originated from Great Britain, and they are commonly used for hunting diet to their excellent sense of smell. These dog species show attraction towards one owner as long as you care for them and provide them with whatever they want. 

Another species is the Collie that originated from Scotland and was used for heading. What makes them a unique breed is their uncompromised loyalty despite being able to foresee their masters’ needs. 

These are but a few dogs that don’t anyhow shift their loyalty. Others include Shetland Sheepdog, French Bulldog, German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Saint Bernard, Brittany, Boxer, Old English Sheepdog, Affenpinscher, Irish Wolfhound, Great Dane, and English Bulldog.

Dogs’ Reaction Towards The New Owner?

For several reasons, the owner may not be available, but the dog has to continue living. It will not have to live on the street. Someone may choose to adopt it. Now the question you should be asking is how easy it will be for the dog to accept the new owner.

First, the reaction will depend on the previous living condition and the dog’s age. But practically, changing a new home hasn’t been easy for dogs.

They may be depressed, anxious, and stressed in the process of transition. This feeling may occur if it was initially living in a happy home. Also, those who live a life of neglect and abuse may still need time for adjustment. Under this situation, the new owner will have to deal with aggression and fear before the dog can feel at home once again. 

How Can A Dog Adjust To His New Owner?

Dogs are very skeptical of their new owners just like human beings, you don’t meet a person today, and they instantly win your trust. It’s a matter of time and proof that you can be trusted. However, there is a way a dog can transits easily from the original home to the foster home. 

First, it’s wise to plan for a meeting session where the initial owner and the new owner’s family to be present. Other pets in the new family should also be present during orientation. With this introduction, the dog can develop some little trust and adapt to the new home as soon as possible. Else, the dog may suffer and may feel abandoned by the previous family.


Dogs are like human beings. Your kid won’t be happy to be moved to another family. As such, your dogs will be more comfortable when it’s under one owner. 

A stranger never forms part of its life; that’s why, in most cases, they may bark when they meet a stranger. Dogs behave like humans, they prefer to be cared for before you can earn their trust.

Erwin Borgers

Hi, I’m Erwin. I grew up with two cats, but I always wanted to have a dog. Since my wife and I lived together, we have Mayla. She is a very sweet King Charles Spaniel. Together we spend countless of hours in the forest near our home. We love to walk together and now I want to share what I learned about walking dogs and what I learned about dog gear with you.

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