How Do Dogs Decide Who Their Person Is?

Dogs are known for their loyalty and unconditional love, but how do they decide who their person is? It’s a question that has been asked by many dog owners, and the answer may surprise you. In this article, we will explore the various ways in which dogs decide who their person is and how you can become your pup’s favorite human.

Understanding Dog Behavior

In order to understand how dogs decide who their person is, it is important to understand dog behavior. Dog behavior can be analyzed through body language and vocalizations.

Analyzing Body Language

Body language is an important way for dogs to communicate with humans and other animals. Dogs may express their feelings through facial expressions, tail wagging, and posture. For example, a relaxed dog may have a loose body posture with its tail wagging slowly. On the other hand, an anxious or fearful dog may have a tense body posture with its tail tucked between its legs.

Interpreting Vocalizations

Dogs also communicate through vocalizations such as barking, growling, whining, and howling. Barking is usually used to alert people or other animals of their presence. Growling can be used as a warning sign or to show aggression. Whining can be used as a sign of distress or excitement. Lastly, howling is usually used to communicate with other dogs in the area or to express loneliness.

By understanding dog behavior through analyzing body language and interpreting vocalizations, it is possible to better understand how dogs decide who their person is.

Establishing a Bond

When it comes to dogs, establishing a bond is essential for them to decide who their person is. This bond is built through providing love and affection, as well as establishing routines and rules.

Providing Love and Affection

Dogs need love and affection in order to feel secure and safe. This can be done by petting them, playing with them, or simply talking to them. It’s important to show your dog that you care about them and that you are there for them.

Establishing Routines and Rules

It’s also important to establish routines and rules for your dog so they know what is expected of them. This includes setting up regular feeding times, potty breaks, playtime, and bedtime. Additionally, it’s important to set boundaries for your dog so they understand what behaviors are acceptable and which ones are not. By providing love and affection while also establishing routines and rules, you can help your dog decide who their person is.

The Role of Genetics

Genetics plays an important role in a dog’s behavior and how they interact with their person. Breeds have been selectively bred for specific traits, and these traits can influence how a dog perceives and interacts with its person. Additionally, instinctive behaviors are also influenced by genetics, as certain breeds are more likely to exhibit certain behaviors than others.

Breeds and Temperament

Different breeds have different temperaments that can influence how a dog interacts with its person. For example, herding breeds such as Border Collies are known for their intelligence and energy, which can make them more likely to bond closely with their person. On the other hand, lap dogs such as Pugs tend to be more laid back and less likely to form strong bonds with their people.

Instinctive Behavior

Certain breeds are also more likely to exhibit certain instinctive behaviors than others. For instance, hunting dogs such as Beagles may be more likely to display behaviors such as chasing small animals or exploring new areas due to their natural instinct to hunt. Similarly, herding dogs may be more likely to display herding behavior such as nipping at the heels of people or other animals due to their natural instinct to herd livestock.


Socialization and Training

Socialization and training are important steps in helping a dog to become familiar with their person. Through introducing new people and animals, teaching commands and tricks, and providing positive reinforcement, a dog can learn to trust their person and build a strong bond.

Introducing New People and Animals

It is important for a dog to become familiar with new people and animals in order to build trust. Introducing them slowly in a controlled environment can help the dog to become comfortable with their person as well as other people or animals they may come into contact with.

Teaching Commands and Tricks

Training is an important part of helping a dog to recognize their person as the leader of the pack. Teaching commands such as sit, stay, come, down, etc., can help the dog to understand who is in charge. Additionally, teaching tricks such as fetching objects or playing hide-and-seek can help to strengthen the bond between the dog and their person.

Providing positive reinforcement such as treats or praise when the dog follows commands or performs tricks correctly is also an important part of training. This helps the dog to understand that they are doing something right which will further strengthen their bond with their person.

Signs of Attachment to a Person

Dogs are social animals and form strong bonds with their owners. They can become very attached to the people they live with and show signs of attachment in various ways. The following are some common signs that a dog has formed an attachment to their person:

Seeking Attention and Affection

Dogs that are attached to their person will often seek out attention and affection. This may include:

  • Following their person around the house or yard
  • Cuddling up on the couch or bed with their person
  • Licking or nuzzling their person’s face
  • Barking or whining when their person leaves the room

Following Commands and Sticking Closely

Attached dogs will also be more likely to follow commands given by their person, such as “sit”, “stay”, or “come”. They may also stick close by when out for walks, instead of running off and exploring on their own. According to the ASPCA website, this behavior is a sign that your dog has chosen you as its special person!


It’s clear that dogs have their own unique way of deciding who their person is. They use a combination of body language, scent, and vocalizations to determine who they feel most comfortable with. With patience and understanding, you can become your pup’s favorite human and enjoy the unconditional love and loyalty that comes with it. If you’re looking for more tips on how to bond with your pup, check out A Pet’s Home for more helpful advice.

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