I have been a card-carrying dog person for as long as I can remember, and if you are a follower of iHeartDogs, I’m sure you are, too!
With millions of us out there just waiting to shower them with love and affection, why is it that some dogs gravitate to people who do not care for canines?
For some dogs, the desire to seek out a paticular person may be related to their level of socialization. If they are raised with limited exposure to different types of humans, their level of comfort around people will also be limited. This is why early, thorough socialization is so important for puppies and rescue dogs.
Dogs that have only spent time around women are more likely to gravitate towards other females – even if the female in question is not a big fan of dogs. Similarly, a rescue dog that has suffered at the hands of a woman may only feel safe around men. The way dogs respond to people may center around gender, age, race, height, weight, or any number of subtle nuances.
Whether or not dogs are comfortable around a particular human can also be related to that person’s unique energy. Confident, outgoing dogs may be perfectly content around a high-energy dog lover, but shyer dogs may prefer the calm, quiet energy of a person who isn’t all that excited to see them!
“If the dog is a little bit timid of people and doesn’t like people to reach down toward it and pet it and roughhouse it,” says Sharon Crowell-Davis, DVM, DACVB, professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia, “that dog would probably be more comfortable with a person that doesn’t like dogs and who just sits there or stands there.”
Dr. Crowell-Davis also points out that people who dislike or fear dogs may be more inclined to feel singled out by them. She believes that in most cases “it is as much or more about human perceptions as about reality.” Friendly, well-socialized dogs eagerly approach almost anyone, which could lead those who don’t enjoy the company of canines to feel as if it’s done on purpose.
Also, let’s not forget that dogs are extremely intuitive. Sometimes they are drawn to a particular person for reasons that seem inexplicable to us, but make perfect sense to them. They just seem to know which people need them, even if those folks aren’t ready to admit it. For example, this pooch who approached a grieving man in an airport.
Having evolved alongside humans for thousands of years, dogs have learned to read our deepest emotions. They can sense when we are heartbroken, lonely or afraid. As our closest non-human companions, they are eager to provide comfort in our times of need.
For those of us who cherish every moment with our canine counterparts, they are a blessing. But some people simply don’t want to be on the receiving end of our pups’ affection, and it is important to be respectful of their boundaries.