Dear Miss Behavin’: I love my new dog, but she loves my partner more than me! She follows them around the house and doesn’t seem nearly as interested in me. How can I get my dog to become more focused on me?
The key to strengthening your bond with your new dog is to create as many positive associations between the two of you as possible. Start simply, make sure you are the one who is consistently feeding your dog and that they witness you doing it. The person holding the bacon will always have the dog’s enraptured attention. If your dog prefers toys to treats, then be the one who takes them out for play time. If your dog is the more active and outdoorsy type, then go for long hikes and adventures together and eventually your dog will start to see you as the fun person to hang around. Is your partner able to spend more time with your dog than you are? If so, then be even more motivated to make sure your time together is as enticing as possible. Use the extra high value treats and toys only when you are the one with your dog.
It’s also important to note that dogs, like people, will be drawn to different personalities. Pay attention to your dog and try to emulate the characteristic about your partner which your dog is drawn towards. Does your dog prefer coaxed in a calm, soothing voice or are they more responsive to someone who takes the lead? But most of all, be patient! Lasting bonds take time to develop and cultivate, one small treat at a time.