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Do Dogs Purposely Approach Non-Dog Lovers?

Learn whether dogs purposely approach people who don’t like dogs.

It's something that seems to be well-known among people, especially those who don't particularly like dogs. There's a common perception that dogs seem to know when someone isn't a canine-loving individual and specifically choose to run up to or even climb on top of that particular person, even when it means running past folks who are more friendly toward dogs.

So, is this a true thing, and if so, why do dogs do that?

Certain Dogs Might Find Aloof Humans Attractive

If a dog is a bit shy with people, she may be drawn toward a person who is not giving off super excited body language upon seeing them. That may explain why certain dogs do seem to "target" non-dog-lovers routinely. Those dogs may just prefer spending time with people who don't overwhelm them with enthusiasm.

Think of it this way—some people don't like to be hugged, so it bothers them when more physically affectionate people walk up and greet them that way. There are some dogs that don't like excessive physical affection, so they learn to approach people whose body language lets them know they probably won't react that way.

Non-Dog People May Notice Dog Approaches More

Have you ever had the following experience or one like it? You are planning to buy a new car and become interested in a certain model. Suddenly, you see that type of car everywhere, when you never noticed them before. What happened? Did people suddenly start buying up that particular type of car?

No. Actually, this phenomenon is simply a matter of perception. Your brain is suddenly noticing that type of car because you've been thinking about it and are attuned to it.

The same thing may explain why people who don't like dogs feel like canines approach them more often—they are more likely to notice dog approaches because they aren't particularly thrilled about them. Someone who loves dogs wouldn't necessarily be as attuned to noticing every approach of a friendly dog. They simply greet the dog and move on.

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