A few days ago, my friend came to see me and asked about her dog’s strange behavior. Recently, her dog seems to follow her everywhere, but not her husband. If you have the same problem, here’s the answer to the question,
Why Does My Dog Follow Me and Not My Husband?
Your dog follows you but not your husband for several reasons, including imprinting behavior, having a stronger bond with you, seeing you as their one person, perceiving you as their pack leader, learned behavior, your husband’s hostile behavior, your husband’s smell, and viewing your husband as a stranger.
Let’s look at each reason in detail and see what can be done to improve your dog’s relationship with your husband.
1. Your Dog Has Imprinted on You
Sometimes, dogs can be so attached to their human companion that they freak out if their owners are gone. This behavior is what is called “imprinting.”
Basically, imprinting behavior is a type of learning that happens very early in an animal’s life. One example that you’ve probably known of is baby geese. You may have seen it in movies or cartoons — baby geese follow the first object they encounter after hatching, thinking it must be their mother.
Surprisingly, this behavior occurs in dogs more often than we think.
If you have a puppy from birth or near birth and give them a lot of parental assistance during their early life, they can become so attached and dependent on you.
2. They Have a Stronger Bond with You
If your dog is following you all over the place but not your husband, you’ve probably won the key to your dog’s heart. There are many things that can make you have a stronger bond with your dog, and I believe the most important is the time and attention you spend with them.
Even if your husband is the owner, but if you are the one who gives them more attention, the chance is they will feel more affection toward you. And it’s not about quantity but also quality.
For example, If you walk with your dog on a regular basis, groom them, and play with them, they will be more likely to bond with you more strongly.
3. You’re Their Favorite Person
Some dog breeds tend to choose a favorite person in the family, such as chihuahua, whereas others are less likely to choose one person over the other. Most often, if you spend more time with your fido than your husband does, then most likely, your dog will pick you as their favorite person.
In some other cases, a dog might choose the mom over the dad because the mom has a similar personality to them, even though it is the dad who is the primary caretaker.
4. They See You As The Leader of The Pack
As a pack-oriented species, dogs have an inclination to always follow the pack leader. If you’re the one who is always in charge of everything in the house, then your dog might perceive you more as a leader in the household.
5. You Have Inadvertently Encouraged Them To Do So
It could be that you often praise your dog and give them a treat whenever they follow you, while your husband might ignore them most of the time. Because dogs tend to repeat behaviors for which they’re rewarded, they would repeat what they were doing when you reward them.
6. Your Dog See Hostility From Your Husband
Some dogs, such as Weimaraners, have a stronger protective instinct than other breeds. If your dog is one of those, their protective instinct will likely kick in when they see your husband or anyone else display hostile behavior toward you.
Even if they see it only once, they may see it as their duty to follow and protect you.
7. They See Your Husband As a Stranger
If you’re just getting married, your dog might feel awkward and uncomfortable with your husband unless you two have been lived together before marriage. This is what causes your dog not to follow your husband, which is perfectly normal behavior as they need time to get used to your husband’s presence.
Sometimes, a dog can also feel threatened by the appearance of an unfamiliar person, which exacerbates the problem. They might think that your husband is a threat to their well-being. His presence means less food, less attention, and less playtime.
And so, as a way to win you over, they might decide to follow you all over the house.
This behavior will decrease as time goes on, and they become more familiar with your husband.
8. Your Dog is a Velcro Dog
Have you ever heard the term “velcro dog”?
To put it in simple words, a velcro dog is a clingy dog. They want to be by their owner’s side at all times. If your dog’s breed is a lap dog (such as Pomeranian), then the reason why they have followed you in the first place is most likely because they have velcro dog syndrome.
Even though they display “clingy behavior,” it is not, however, separation anxiety. As a dog owner, it’s a good idea to make sure you know the difference. A dog with separation anxiety will go into a ballistic mode when you leave them, whereas the other won’t.
9. They Don’t Like The Way Your Husband Smells
One thing for sure about your dog is they have a strong sense of smell.
In my opinion, it’s a very small chance, but it’s still possible that the cause of your dog not following your husband is because they hate your husband’s smell. Maybe your husband has recently changed his perfume, and your dog doesn’t like it.
Is my Dog’s Shadowing Behavior a Problem?
In general, the fact that your dog follows you around but not your husband isn’t a big deal. However, there are two main exceptions to this rule: if you find it stressful being followed all the time or if your dog is actually distressed by being alone.
Even if there’s nothing wrong with your dog (they just love being with you), it’s okay to admit that their shadowing behavior is a bit much. After all, despite how much we love our dog, we still need some alone time or a quiet place to recharge.
Here are a few tips that you can do to make them give you more space and be friendlier to your husband.
What To Do To Stop Your Dog from Following You Everywhere
1. Let Your Husband Spend More Time With Your Dog
Allowing your husband to spend more with your dog is usually enough to fix the issue. You can ask your husband to have playing or training sessions together. As your dog becomes more and more comfortable with your husband, you can then leave both of them alone to do their own thing.
Here are a few activities that your husband can get involved with:
- feeding your dog
- playing games like fetch, tug of war, and hide and seek
- going to a training class together
- taking your dog to the vet for regular checkups
2. Teach Them to Become More Independent
If you find your dog’s clinginess is a bit annoying, then it’s time to work on some independence training. One of the most proven ways to boost your dog’s independence is to teach them how to lie calmly on a bed or mat.
Here are step-by-step instructions to do that:
- Take a bed or mat and tell your dog to “down.”
- Each time they comply, reward them with a threat.
- After they do this several times in a row, you can begin to add distractions like setting toys or treats down nearby.
- Repeat step one again until they learn to lie down and stay on their designated mat for a while.
3. Address Other Issues
However, if there are other issues involved like your husband has changed his perfume lately, then you need to work addressing these other issues as well.