How to Make a Dog Love You

Three Parts:Getting to know the dog wellShowing the dog affectionSpending time with the dog

If your friend or girlfriend/boyfriend, a relative or a neighbor has a dog, but you've never really been a dog person, and haven't a clue how to get the dog to like you, you may benefit from some suggestions. Or, if your own family has a dog but you really don't "get" what the dog wants, these simple steps will help you to work towards gaining a dog's favor. Bring treats.

If you need to find out about getting your own dog to love you, see How to get your own dog to love you.

Part 1
Getting to know the dog well

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    Observe the dog for a while. How does it act when it wants to play? When it's hungry? When it wants to cuddle? Understanding what the dog wants is a great first step in being more responsive to the dog's needs, and as such will make him or her like you better.
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    Learn more about the dog's behavior by finding out what obedience lessons it has had and what it responds to. All dogs should be taught obedience routines. Find out whether the dog knows how to respond to commands to sit, lay, stay, come, heel, and other simple behaviors. If so, try the commands and use food rewards. This command and treat process helps to create bonding with people. You get to know the dog better and its behavioral issues, quirks and preferences.
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    Don't stare the dog right in the eye. Some dogs consider it a threat. Look off to the side. Dogs bare their teeth when they are ready to lash out and may take your pearly whites the wrong way.

Part 2
Showing the dog affection

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    Pet the dog if the owner says it's okay. This is a good way to start. However, observe signs that the dog is done with being petted. Many dogs won't let you pet them when they want to play, so play with them instead.
    • When petting the dog, find its "sweet spot." For example, if you are scratching its ear and it leans its head towards you, that shows that it likes it. If you rub its belly and its leg twitches, that's also a good thing. However, if it leans away from you when you scratch it somewhere, the dog obviously doesn't like it.
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    Offer treats. The fastest way to a dog's heart is through its stomach. Soft treats that give off a strong meat scent are usually a great way to get attention. If the dog is being trained, get him or her to sit, or lie down, or stay before giving the treat. Don't offer treats too often if you're using them in training. If they come too easily, the dog thinks every action is the correct one.
    • Remember, if the dog isn't your own, always ask permission from its owner before attempting to feed the dog.
    • Treats are fun for you and the dog––you get to see the dog do tricks and the dog gets a treat for doing it.
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    • Don't overdo treats––an overweight dog carries health risks.
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    Respect the dog's space. Don't always be smothering the dog, or it may begin to avoid you. Every animal needs some time to not be bothered, so respect its space and it'll enjoy the time around you more.
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    Praise the dog when it does things correctly. For example, say "Good dog/Fido".
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    Give the dog a pet on the back for every time it does something good or something cute, or just for fun. Every dog likes a pet on the back!
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    Give the dog belly rubs. However, you must ask its owner if it likes these first. While most dogs love belly rubs, some don't. If the dog loves it, you will love it too as you get to observe the way its little tongue sticks out, with its little eyes looking at you with happiness.

Part 3
Spending time with the dog

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    Offer to take the dog for a walk. If you can, offer to occasionally take it on a longer walk every weekend or any day where you have additional time to walk the dog. This gives exercise for you and the dog and gets you in the good books with the owner, as walking regularly or for long distances can be hard for an owner to fit in all the time. This will make the dog happy and provides more bonding time for you.
    • Ensure that the dog knows how to heel properly; this ensures that you can direct it without the dog pulling you over or tripping you. This skill also helps the dog to release energy.
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    Groom the dog. Take a few minutes out of your day to brush the dog. It'll benefit from the daily attention, and its coat will be healthier too. Plus, if you keep complaining to your date that there is dog hair everywhere, you'll be helping to reduce it!
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    Give the dog lots of attention. This will help the dog to get to know you better and reassures the dog that you like him or her.
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    Let the dog dig in the dirt at your place. This will help it to find your place its own territory too, which will help raise you in its esteem. Just make sure you do not use the digging area for plants or garden.
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    Play with the dog using a chew toy.
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    Offer to dog-sit the dog if the owner goes away or is going through a busy period. You can care for the dog each day, including letting the dog outside for at least 30 minutes a day and playing with it outdoors.
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    Enjoy spending time together. The more time you interact with the dog, the greater the chance it will grow to love you.


  • When petting the dog/puppy, give it a good scratch behind and under the ears and under the chin.
  • Dogs enjoy being talked to. It's more about your tone of voice than what you say, but it's another often-overlooked way to interact with your dog. Talk in a happy tone when playing, or a soothing tone when petting him or her. This is also helpful when you're trying to get him or her to be happy and bouncy or to calm down.
  • Let the dog know that you are higher up the pack than it is; it will be more comfortable if it knows rules and expectations on behaviors.
  • If it's a small dog, don't always pick it up. It may not enjoy to be off the ground too often.
  • Just give the dog a random cuddle once in a while. They may snuggle up to you or want you to play with them.
  • Try to pay equal attention to both dogs of a pair, since they understand "favorites" and can become jealous.
  • When playing tug of war with a dog, let him/her win occasionally. Not all the time though!
  • If you don't have a backyard you could always play with the dog inside.
  • Scratch them in the tummy.
  • Don't pick up a dog by the stomach.


  • Do not to give the dog junk food as it could cause health problems, and other complications.
  • Make sure your dog's toys are an appropriate size for them. If they are too small, they can choke on them. If they are too large, they will not be able to play with them properly.
  • Regularly perform routine inspections of your dog's toys and bedding for rips that could cause a choking hazard from squeakers, stuffing, or loose threads and dispose or repair properly.
  • If you must shout "No" followed by a hand clap to discourage bad behavior, try to get the dog to do something you approve of, then praise it afterwards. Shouting tirades are not effective with dogs, and will make the dog frightened and confused.
  • Never hit the dog. A firm "no" followed by a loud clap is enough to stop it from doing what it is doing if it's that important. A slight nudge would suffice. The best option is to only offer praise, make the dog repeat the action over and over to be rewarded by praise when it's right, and a "do-over" when it's wrong.
  • Don't give your dog a toy that has stuffing in it because your dog could rip the toy and get the stuffing in his throat and it might choke.

Things You'll Need

  • Leash
  • Treats
  • Brush
  • Food
  • Water
  • Dog toys and rewards

Article Info

Categories: Dogs