By Tamara McRill
When my chocolate lab Wuppy first came into our home three years ago, I had one ultimate fear: What if my dog doesn’t like me the best? That may seem like a strange or small thing to worry about, but it was a very real possibility, given that my fiancé is a dog magnet. We already had a dog that was “his” and every dog that comes across him gives him an enthusiastic happy tail/face licking woof of approval. I missed that special bond of being an animal’s favorite person, so I took steps to make sure we were bringing home a puppy that would love me as much as I already adored him.
1. Meet Often Before Bringing Home
I had the opportunity to get to know my Wuppy before his owners couldn’t keep him any longer. I already knew that he liked me, because he would follow me around their home. That played a huge part in our agreeing to add him to our family.
Always try to visit and interact with a dog before bringing one home, so you know how they will respond to you. You never know what a dog has been through before you adopt them. You could resemble someone they are afraid of, or maybe they smell another dog and don’t like it.
Also make sure to introduce the dog to everyone who lives with you, so you can gauge who they will bond with the strongest. It doesn’t have to be a deal breaker if they go to one of your kids or another family member more often; you just want to make sure they feel comfortable coming to you. That’s enough to start a relationship.
2. Be the Sole Provider
We all know that the quickest way to the canine heart is by being the person with the tastiest dog treats. If you want your new dog to consider you his #1 human, you’ll have to be the one that feeds them their CANIDAE and hands out all of the TidNips and Snap Bits. It’s not a job you can shove off on another family member, and it means you will have to be there when they need to eat. It’s a commitment to take care of their needs.
Now, I will admit I got a little crazy about this with Wuppy. For months I wouldn’t allow Mike to feed him or give him any extra “just because” treats. Yes, I actually worked my schedule around being there to dish out dog food. It was that important to me.
3. Shower the Love
Make sure you are the one providing the love, affection and belly rubs your dog needs. I’m not saying that other family members can’t also do this, but you should be the one primarily petting your dog. If you’re not, then don’t be surprised if they don’t bond well with you.
4. Become the Playmate
Dogs don’t just love to go for a walk, they need the exercise. They also need the interaction of playtime with their owner. Naturally, they are going to prefer and go to the person that plays with them.
This step plays a huge role getting your dog to like you best. Given that, it’s also one that you need to give heavy consideration to before choosing a dog to bring home. Research the breed to find out how active they are. You’ll want to be compatible on this level. Someone who likes to spend most of their time indoors might not enjoy a dog that loves to run outside, and vice versa.
5. Be the Pack Leader
This step can be hard, especially when all you really want is a dog to be your companion and playmate. But dogs are pack animals – and every pack needs a leader. If you want to be the apple of your pet’s eye, then you will have to train your dog, set rules and enforce the rules.
Be firm, fair and reward good behavior, and you’ll earn your new furry companion’s respect and devotion.
Do you have any secrets to getting a dog to like you? Ever gotten a dog, only to find out they like another family member more?
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