Why Do Dogs Bond With One Person?

by Lisa McQuerrey
    A dog may choose a favorite family member.

    A dog may choose a favorite family member.

    Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

    Even though a dog may be close to and protective of everyone in his human family pack, sometimes 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.

    The dog that bonds to one particular member of the household is typically happier to see that person than anyone else, and may even show signs of submission, viewing the favored individual as the dominant member of the pack. This may mean lowering himself in this person's presence and showing body language like a rear in the air, wiggling body and flattened ears.

    There are a variety of reasons why a pup develops feelings or a special connection with just one person. If he sleeps with 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.

    Sometimes one member of a household will feel slighted if the family dog doesn't seem to care for him as much of someone else in the home. Occasionally, a lack of bonding is due to lack of attention on the part of the human. For example, someone who plays too rough, ignores the dog when he seeks attention or who reminds the pup of an abusive individual from his past may not be who the dog bonds with.

    Just as with humans, there's sometimes a chemistry between a dog and a single person. There’s something about that individual, his actions, touch or tone of voice that makes the dog feel comfortable, at ease and attached. You can help strengthen the bond that exists between you and your dog by taking a hands-on role in feeding, offering treats, giving physical attention and being present. Never yell or physically discipline your dog, as this can lead to mistrust, and reward him and praise him when he gives you attention.

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    About the Author

    Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

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