How to Make a Dog Love You

If your dog seems scared or hesitant around you, focus on improving your relationship. Ensure that the dog has a secure environment by making a safe, comfortable place for it in your home. Give your dog structure by training it and offering positive rewards. Once your dog feels cared for, it will bond with you easier. Take your dog for walks, play with it, and just let it be your companion. Over time, the dog will love your interactions.

Method One of Two:
Providing a Healthy Environment

  1. 1
    Create a comfortable space for the dog. Most dogs love sleeping in bed with their owners. Decide if you'd like to let the dog sleep in bed with your or if you want it to have its own cozy space. To make a space that your dog will love, set out a dog bed with blankets and chew toys in a corner of a living room. This area will give your dog a chance to have its own private space while still being part of the household action.[1]
    • If your dog is in its space, ensure that other pets or kids aren't bothering the dog. The dog should feel like it can safely relax.
  2. 2
    Groom and feed your dog. Many dogs naturally love the people who feed and care for them. Give your dog nutritious meals every day and use that time to interact with the dog. You can hand feed your dog every once in a while or hide food in treat puzzles. You should also be in the habit of grooming your dog and checking its coat for health concerns.[2]
    • Look for skin irritation that could be bothering your pet. For example, if you find fleas, talk with the vet about the best treatments that will give your dog quick relief from the itching.
  3. 3
    Practice positive reinforcement training. Your relationship will improve if your dog knows how to respond to basic commands (such as sit, stay, come, and heel). Consider clicker training, which reinforces good behavior through positive associations (such as the clicking sound). Give your dog food treats or verbal praise when it follows your commands.[3]
    • For example, give your dog a nutritious doggy treat if it follows your command to stop. Or, tell your dog, "Good job!" if it comes back to you when you call it at the dog park.
  4. 4
    Avoid punishing the dog when it misbehaves. If you use positive training, you won't need to punish your dog when it misbehaves. Just redirect the dog and reward it as soon as you see the dog behave correctly. Never yell at, hit, or frighten your dog. Reacting in anger will make the dog fear you and can damage your relationship.
    • Be patient with the dog. Some dogs will take longer to respond to training than others.
  5. 5
    Socialize your dog. It's easy to forget about your dog's relationship with other dogs or people if you're trying to get it to love you. Keep in mind that your dog will be happier and more fulfilled if it's coming into contact with other dogs or people. Try to let your dog socialize with others in a calm, structured environment instead of in a chaotic place where the dog might feel overwhelmed.[4]
    • For example, instead of just letting the dog run around the dog park, you might visit a friend that has a calm dog. Give the dogs the chance to interact, but don't force them.
  6. 6
    Get your dog medical treatment. It's difficult for a pet to feel loving if its basic health needs aren't being met. Take your dog for regular check-ups at the veterinarian's and keep it current on vaccinations. If your dog injures itself or becomes ill, get it proper medical care and treatment.

Method Two of Two:
Bonding with the Dog

  1. 1
    Learn what your dog loves to do. Once you know what it is that drives your dog, you can be more responsive to its needs, which will make it like you better. Letting the dog do what it enjoys to do will also improve its self-esteem.[5]
    • For example, if your dog loves playing fetch or digging, throw a ball around every day or create an approved space for your dog to dig (such as a doggie sandbox).
  2. 2
    Give your dog toys. You should be in the habit of playing with your dog regularly. If you're tired of playing your usual game of fetch, buy fun new toys. Always choose toys that are an appropriate size. If the toys are too small or have small parts that could come off, your dog may choke on them. If the toys are too large, your dog might have trouble playing with them.
    • Regularly inspect the toys for rips, tears, or loose threads that could cause choking hazards.
  3. 3
    Show the dog affection. You don't need to set aside designated play time or bonding time every day. Instead, be in the habit of just giving the dog pats, rubs, or gentle scratches throughout the day. Regular physical contact will let your dog know that you love it and care for it.[6]
    • You'll probably be able to tell that your dog loves these little interactions. For example, the dog might stick its tongue out or look at you affectionately if you rub its ears.
    • Dogs dislike having their face petted or their head patted. You should also avoid giving your dog big hugs, since this can make them uncomfortable.
  4. 4
    Take the dog for frequent walks. Dogs enjoy being able to stretch their legs, explore their environment, and be with you. Walk your dog two to three times a day in order to bond and get some great exercise. If your dog really enjoys walking, consider taking it on longer walks or hikes as a special treat. Give your dog the chance to explore when you walk.[7]
    • If your dog would rather play at the dog park or run around, you can walk it to a dog park and let it play instead.
  5. 5
    Keep your dog near you. Dogs enjoy spending time near their owners, so let your dog be your companion. Give your dog attention throughout the day and let it follow you around. Being around you will make your dog feel secure and content.[8]
    • If dogs don't get enough companionship or attention, they can become lonely and start acting out.
  6. 6
    Bring your dog on trips. Part of being your companion means going with you when you travel. Take your dog out to experience new places, people, or other dogs. Choose places that are dog-friendly like the beach, lake, dog parks, forests, or dog shows. Your dog will love seeing new things with you.[9]
    • Consider laying a sheet down in your car to make your dog comfortable and keep your seats clean.

Community Q&A

  • How can I help a dog that's scared of me?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • You could offer treats or kneel down and hold out your hand so they can smell it. Let the dog come to you at its own pace, do not rush things.
    Thanks! 78 9
  • Why does my Dad's dog follow him but when I go near her when he is not around, she looks like she's going to cry when I try to be nice to her?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • It's because your dog considers your dad as the "master". Try to gain trust of the dog step by step. It works to show your dog that you and your dad are friends, so the dog will think "oh so they know each other".
    Thanks! 144 24
  • My dog is a 5 month puppy. While I'm at school, he's with my mom so he just loves her. If we are laying on the couch and my mom gets up to go to the bathroom, my puppy gets up and if I try to hold him, he will bark. How do I get him to love me?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • If you spend more time with him, he'll love you. But don't be surprised that he'll always consider your mom as the "master", because she is around more and there's nothing you can do about that. Your dog is young, so he's scared when you leave the room, that's totally okay.
    Thanks! 123 25
  • What if you got a puppy and you want it to bond with you?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • If the puppy is young, and always sleepy, then let it sleep. As the puppy gets older, it will want to play all the time. Let it play, but make sure to say "No bite!" and pull your hand or shirt away when he/she bites you. You have to teach it to not bite. A puppy's feelings are easily told by its actions. Play, play, sleep. You can play with it, then just let it curl up on your lap and fall asleep. Bonding will slowly but surely grow.
    Thanks! 88 17
  • I'm getting a dog soon and it's a 4 week old toy poodle. I want to make a good impression on the dog and make it like me before I take it home. Any ideas?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Firstly, do not take a dog home before it is 8 weeks old, as it needs to learn correct behaviour from its mother and littermates. To make a good impression, visit the puppy more than once leading up to the time that you take it home, and interact with the dog. You could bring a toy along to play with, and take it every visit so that it has the scent of your home on it, which can help the dog settle in when you bring it home. Make sure that you have a connection - most people say that the dog chose them!
    Thanks! 94 23
  • I really want my boyfriend's dog to love me more. He doesn't do anything with me. If I go to give him a pet on the head, he runs away from me or he tries to avoid me.
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • You shouldn't give your boyfriend's dog too much love, especially if this dog has had a problem with humans before or is deeply bonded only to your boyfriend. Try gently, step by step, first, make sure your dog knows you can be trusted. Gently throw biscuits, food pieces and show him/her some toys. Make sure you don't invade the dog's space. Spend time together with both your boyfriend and the dog, so that the dog can see your boyfriend thinks you're just as great as the dog!
    Thanks! 72 17
  • How do you get an adopted young dog to realize that you are his supporter or best friend?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Adopted dogs can be difficult to deal with. If you can, spend a lot of time with that dog while visiting the shelter or the previous owner. Dogs live like there's no tomorrow, they won't be sad when separated from their siblings and they'll get used to new owners. If your dogs struggles with accepting you, speak to a dog trainer.
    Thanks! 44 9
  • What do I do if the dog already loves someone else?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Dogs have a lot of love to give, and most have strong relationships with multiple people, being friends or family (malamutes and huskies often bond strongly with a single person, so it may be more difficult in that case). The best thing to do is to offer affection, give the dog exercise (which relaxes them and so builds the bond), and spend time together, perhaps 1:1 to take away the attention from the other person. Never force an animal, of any kind, to be with you, as it will have the opposite effect - you would give them something to back away from by pulling them towards you.
    Thanks! 29 5
  • Every time I go to my friend's house, her dog runs away from me. What should I do?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Try to make sure your friend's dog knows you are not intruding his/her space and try giving her bits of food and playing with toys. Also make sure you use a nice tone whilst trying to interact with the dog.
    Thanks! 17 3
  • What does it mean if my dog is growling at people walking through the door and when they sit down? He is calm at first but then he walks off and puts his hackles up with his tail down and starts growling.
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Your dog is probably territorial. Try to make sure that your friends get to know your dog better so he will be less worried about them.
    Thanks! 18 4
Show more answers
Ask a Question
200 characters left
Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.

About This Article

77 votes - 68%
Co-authors: 147
Views: 547,591
Categories: Dogs

Did this article help you?