Do Dogs Prefer Women?
When talking to clients, it’s inevitable that one or both will bring up the fact that their dog seems to prefer someone in the household. More often than not, this seems to be the adult female in the house.
So, the question is, do dogs really prefer women over men? And why?
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So, do dogs actually prefer women? I’ll tell you what’s actually going on here … but first, take a moment to comment below what you think. Do you think dogs prefer women? Do you have a story about your dog preferring someone in the household? Or maybe a funny story about a friend’s dog or a family member’s dog. Post it in the comments and I’ll choose one that I particularly love to pin to the top of the comments!
Many of you probably said that your dog, or a dog you know, seems to prefer the adult female in the home. And generally, this is very true.
So, why is this? Why do dogs seem to prefer adult women?
Well, it really has nothing to do with a preference of a certain gender, but more to do with behaviors and characteristics that are typically displayed by adult females.
Women, in general, are much smaller statured, which is much less threatening to a dog. On the other hand, men, generally, are more broad and tall, larger statured, which can seem more threatening to a dog, especially a smaller dog.
And women are, generally, much more soft-spoken than our male counterparts. Again, our soft-spoken voice is less aggressive and less threatening to dogs. Whereas men more typically have deeper voices and speak much louder than we women do.
Also, in our society, women are more typically the caregivers. For example, women are typically the ones in the household who are caring for the dog, feeding the dog, taking them for walks, playing with them, and letting them out for potty time. Not to say that men never participate, but as a generality, in our society, this will be the role of the female in the home.
So it’s these behaviors and characteristics of adult females that are generally more attractive to dogs, and why dogs seem to prefer women over men.
Additionally, adults are more likely preferred by dogs than children, especially young children. Although children have a much smaller stature, which is less threatening, they are generally very loud, they make lots of quick movements and are erratic in their behaviors. These characteristics are difficult for a dog to understand, process and interact with.
But, a dog’s preference is not completely determined by these characteristics and behaviors alone.
Before I go into more detail, what do you think is another factor in whether a dog prefers a man or woman? Let me know in the comments below.
Great! So the other factor in a dog’s personal preference is going to be personal experiences.
For example, when I adopted my first dog, Claire, she had been abused in her previous home. She was actually confiscated from a hoarder, had recently had puppies that all died, she had a mouth full of rotting teeth and a mammary gland tumor. But what really affected her was some abuse she received from what we believe was a man or boy.
She was terrified of men and of feet. It was so incredibly sad, but we worked to rebuild her trust in men with my husband and although it took a couple of years, she spent the last few years of her life loving my husband and would even let him pet her with his feet on occasion.
She and I still had a connection that was different from what he could form with her, but the point here is that these experiences shaped her preference and her behaviors.
It is the same for other dogs. If they experience something unfavorable, it will shape their behaviors going forward.
So, as I mentioned in my short story about Claire, there are things you can do to help your dog form bonds with other people in the household.
Before we talk about that, I do want to mention that these are generalities. Every dog is different and their experiences vary dramatically, so their preferences can also vary dramatically.
But, if you do find yourself in a situation where a dog has a preference and you want to even the playing field a little bit, here are some things you can do.
First, share the responsibility. Whoever is getting the cold shoulder from the dog, have them participate in caring for your dog more. That means feeding, walking, grooming, and all the responsibilities that come with caring for your furry companion.
Walking and feeding are especially crucial here. Really, everything matters, but providing their food and exercise are bonding experiences that can’t be measured.
Randomly toss treats to your dog when they aren’t expecting them. Participate in training your dog. This is another great bonding experience.
With young children, the best thing you can do is to keep your dog safe when young children are around. Don’t let your kids hit your dog, pull their hair, get in their face or other threatening and harmful actions and behaviors. When these things happen, you are setting your dog up for failure and for future negative reactions to children.
When your child is old enough to understand how to properly engage with your dog, then you can have them participate more with the care of your dog. Always supervise children with animals. Both for the safety of the child and for the safety of your pet.
So, to sum up, in general dogs do prefer adult women over men and children, however, this has nothing to do with gender and everything to do with behaviors and characteristics.
But, experiences also play a role in preference. And of course, every dog is an individual.
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Thank you so much for watching and make sure to check out other videos on my channel to keep learning about dog training, behavior, enrichment and feeding.