As the old saying goes, Dog is (hu)Man’s best friend. But what about Dog’s best friend? Do dogs reciprocate the best friend feelings of their Owners? Should you be jealous of your dog’s friendship with their favourite Dog Walker? Do they hold a special place in their hearts for other dogs? How about cross-species friendships?
This article will take a whimsical look into the world of doggie friendships so that you can know once and for all who is your dog’s best friend.
Is an Owner a dog’s best friend?
Alright fellow Dog Owners, we know this question can be quite inflammatory. But before your hackles go up and you start interrogating your furry friend, remember this: doggos will always have a special place in their heart for their beloved Owners.
In fact, one of the reasons why Dog Owners may not be their dog’s best friend is because doggos see us more as parents than friends. Much like human babies, dogs look to us for direction and guidance. This idea has been studied by taking a look at the long-studied phenomenon called the “secure base effect.” Long used as a way to understand how babies and toddlers use their loving parents as a jumping board for their exploration into the world, dogs will similarly rely on our body language and encouragement to face new situations with confidence. In other words, they allow us to take the lead, just like they would if we were the parents of the household.
This extends to the rest of the family, too. Instead of seeing everyone in your home as potential BFFs, it’s more likely that doggos see the family as a tight-knit pack. In our article, Do Dogs Have a Favourite Family Member?, we suggested that dogs are able to form strong lifelong bonds with multiple people in the home. As long as everyone pitches in with playtime and cuddle sessions, your dog will reciprocate the love with loyalty and trust.
Is your dog’s favourite Pet Sitter or Dog Walker their best friend?
Maybe when your pup’s dedicated Dog Walker approaches the door, your dog automatically starts running around the house, yipping with joy, and wiggling that adorable tail. But does that mean that they see their friendly Dog Walker as their best friend?
Again, probably not.
Even though your dog’s Pet Sitter or Dog Walker is loving, energetic, and associated with all good things, there’s still a certain authority that this two-legged friend will have over your pup. Their job is to keep your pet safe above all else, which means that sometimes they have to uphold the rules. So while they have a list of tried-and-true measures to befriend the doggos in their care, your pup’s Pet Sitter will take more of a babysitter than best friend role.
In a BFF, your pup is probably looking for a buddy with equal standing.
Is your dog searching for a best buddy at the dog park?
Bingo! You got it! Dogs look for their best friend in the company of other dogs. Just like humans, some dogs tend to get along better with one or a select few other dogs with similar personalities, energy levels, and play styles.
You can tell if your dog has a best friend if they seek out one specific dog at the dog park, every time. This is the dog that they beeline for as soon as you unleash them. There may not even be time for small chat between these two old friends. Instead, they’ll be running around like furry tornadoes before you can blink.
If your dog’s best friend isn’t at the dog park that day, you might be able to pick out your pup’s other close friends. You’ll also notice the unique ways that your beloved pooch approaches new dogs to introduce themselves.
How about those cross-species friendship stories?
As if this discussion of doggie best friends couldn’t get better, dogs have shown us that they can have cross-species BFFs, too. That’s right. Dogs and cats. Dogs and foxes. There have even been stories of dogs and exotic animals like lions and elephants.
What is going on here?
It turns out that when we started domesticating dogs thousands of years ago, one of the things that we needed them to do was be social and friendly. And they really took it to heart. Dogs are predisposed to be more open and trusting of other animals, whether two legged, four-legged, winged or otherwise. So it is entirely possible for your dog’s best friend to be a rabbit, a chicken, a platypus, maybe even a wombat. But please, remember to keep your doggo at a safe distance from any animals that might not be so friendly in return!
Who is your dog’s best friend? See for yourself!
Now that you know that your dog could have already chosen a best friend, all you have to do is find out who it is! The adorable scruffy pup at the dog park? The neighbour’s turtle?
Keep an eye on your pup and have your dedicated Dog Walker try to come up with their own theories for a fun search for your dog’s best friend. Once you’ve found their BFF, you might throw a playdate party to make it official!