Issue 4: April 09
dhn_askmax2Dear Max,

My family and I recently got a new addition, a loving dog named Freddy. Freddy is the first pet we've had and he gets along great with everyone, but he seems to prefer me over my husband and the kids. Is it common for dogs to pick a favorite person in the family?

- Preferred by the pup

Dear Preferred,

As a dog who is surrounded by a lot of loving humans, I can tell you that I enjoy being around all of them, but I do have my favorite human who is the leader of the pack. Freddy has recognized you as the leader of pack. As the leader, Freddy sees you as the one who provides safety, shelter and food. This should come to no surprise to you if you are the one who is feeding, grooming and playing with Freddy the most. If your husband or the kids are feeling neglected by Freddy, allow them to play a bigger role in Freddy's routine.

Let someone take over one of his daily feedings; we dogs love food and the humans who give it to us.

Try having your husband or the kids practice training Freddy or teaching him a new trick and rewarding him with a treat for a job well done. If Freddy is new to training, try an obedience class; that way Freddy and the lucky human who gets to take him to class will learn something new together.

Get everyone involved in exercise. When taking walks, go on family walks—the more the merrier, and it will allow for greater time to bond.

Encourage your husband and kids to play with Freddy every day. (You may need to supervise the kids when they're playing with Freddy if they're young.) If Freddy has a favorite toy, make sure everyone incorporates that toy into their playing periods with him. Anyone who wants to play fetch with me and my favorite ball is all right in my book. Pay attention to which activities Freddy loves, and have every family member join in on the fun.

Make time every day to groom. There is nothing more relaxing than getting a nice long pet and some good brushing. It doesn't matter who pulls out my brush—I'll come running no matter what.

Car rides happen to be one of my favorite pastimes; I love the feel of the wind in my fur. If Freddy isn't leery when it comes to the car, have your husband take him on a few rides to strengthen their bond. The kids can ride along, to share in the experience.

We dogs love going on trips, whether it's to the dog park for a great game of fetch, a camping trip full of new exciting smells, or a long wet walk on the beach. We want to go wherever you're going, and being included on family outings will strengthen our relationship with every family member. Don't forget, we're a part of the family too!

I hope these tips keep Freddy's tail wagging for every member in your family.

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