Have you ever had a random dog come up to you, wagging their tail and happy to see you? And then the dog’s owner exclaims that their dog is shy and never goes up to a stranger, and wonders how you got their dog to come up to you?
There are a lucky few of us out there that are like magnets to dogs! No matter where we go, it seems that dogs can’t resist coming up for a sniff or asking for a pet, when those same dogs might give another person the cold shoulder.
Dogs are often drawn to people based on several factors. First, behavioral compatibility plays a crucial role; dogs tend to be attracted to humans with similar energy levels and temperaments.
For instance, energetic dogs might gravitate towards lively individuals, while calmer dogs may prefer more serene personalities. Additionally, dogs have a highly developed sense of smell, which can make them attracted to certain scents on people. These scents could be related to personal hygiene products, the presence of other animals, or even subtle hormonal changes.
Nonverbal communication also influences a dog’s attraction to a person. Dogs are adept at reading body language and may be drawn to individuals whose nonverbal cues signal friendliness and non-threatening behavior. Factors like eye contact, posture, and the way a person approaches a dog can make a significant difference.
Lastly, dogs might be attracted to people who provide resources, such as food, play, or affection. These factors combined can explain why dogs might show a preference for certain individuals over others.
While that’s the quick answer, we’re going to go in-depth on each possible explanation to help you understand what makes sense for you!
Reason #1: You Match With The Dog’s Personality
Just like people, dogs have their own personalities and like to be around others who have similar personalities.
If you are upbeat and outgoing, it’s likely that you tend to attract dogs who are also confident and happy to be around people.
If you tend to have a quieter and calmer demeanor, then it’s likely you’ll attract those dogs of a similar serene nature.
Even random and strange dogs can recognize when your personality matches up with their own. Dogs rely on both scent and visual information when meeting another dog (or person!) for the first time.
We humans give off certain smells (that we ourselves can’t usually detect) when we are excited, stressed, angry, or sad. We may also give off subconscious signals in our body language that indicate our mood state. Both of these things can attract a dog in a similar mood to us.
While loudness and excitement may work with some dogs, it’s important to try and match our energy with the dog’s natural energy.
When we do that, our dogs will respond almost every time. If you can master this technique, you’ll find that even strange and random dogs will start responding to you!
Reason #2: They Like Your Smell
Dogs have an incredible sense of smell. A dog’s sense of smell is between 1,000 to 10,000 times stronger than ours. That means dogs are smelling things on us that we don’t even know are there!
Our furry comrades also have an incredible scent memory and the ability to recall scents from long ago. When a dog that you haven’t seen in a while comes running up to you with excitement, they may remember you and are happy that you have returned.
Even if you’ve never met a particular dog before, you may smell similar to people they’ve liked in the past which will be enough to fuel their attraction!
Reason #3: You Are Giving Off Inviting Signals
Dogs often use very subtle body language as an invitation to play, a warning for others to stay away, or as a way to show that they are fearful or stressed.
People often engage in the same body language, but we may have different meanings to those body movements compared to our dog’s understanding of them. When a dog (even a strange or random one) comes up to you and shows interest in you for seemingly no reason, it could be that you were unknowingly giving off some of those inviting signals.
While humans may think that making eye contact, approaching directly, and reaching out to shake a hand or give a hug is the appropriate way to show interest in someone, it’s actually the opposite for a dog.
For our dogs, they perceive a non-direct approach, no eye contact, crouching low, and holding out a closed fist as the most polite and inviting way to interact. For some dogs merely turning away from them and avoiding eye contact can be an invitation for them to come meet you.
Reason #4: You Are Not Intimidating
Since dogs are so focused on our body language and mood, if we always act in a non-threatening manner when around dogs, it’s more likely that they will show an attraction towards us.
Science Daily posted a study about how dogs view emotions and recognize people who show threatening behavior. When dogs see someone who they perceive as a threat, they are more likely to respond in an intimidating way or avoid them altogether.
Reason #5: They Like Your Tone
When I am training dogs, I often use a much higher pitch and speak more quickly and with odd noises. It’s fun, welcoming, and gets their interest!
A study done by Science.org shows how dogs process your words and the tones you use when speaking. Dogs process the tones you use with the right hemisphere of their brains, and your words with the left hemisphere. When the tone used is exciting, their brains’ pleasure center is activated.
This study can help explain why dogs are attracted to a high tone of voice, and why they may avoid those who speak with a lower or harsher tone. It can also help us see why dogs seem more attracted and interested in us when we are using that higher, happier pitch rather than another tone of voice.
Reason #6: It’s In Their Genes
We love to compare our dogs to ourselves when looking for reasons to justify why dogs love us so much. Dogs and humans may not be the same species, but we do have more similarities than what many expect.
Princeton University had researchers study what genetic reasons could cause dogs to be attracted to humans. What they found was pretty awesome! They noticed that dogs have a genetic addition to the chromosome six region of their brain that causes them to be friendly toward humans and seek them out for assistance.
This genetic addition came through careful breeding over the centuries, and can be traced back all the way to our dog’s wolf ancestors. The origins of how dogs first became attracted to humans is still undergoing research, but many think it’s because we humans offered safety, food, and shelter.
This might explain why even strange dogs may come up to humans on the street. Their genes are telling them that we might be a good source for food and comfort!
Reason #7: You Provide Them With Resources
This reason is a given! Dogs love to eat, especially treats, and when you provide food or treats they will usually follow you around hoping for more. Providing resources to a dog makes them feel happy, safe, and secure.
When you give a dog something to eat, they will associate you with food and probably expect it to happen again!
Providing other resources, such as walks, toys, or even just attention are all additional ways that make our dogs happy, and increase their attraction towards us.
If another dog sees you giving something good to one dog, they may also become interested in you and will come up to you, even if they’ve never met you before.
Reason #8: You Are Eating (Or Have Food)
When we are eating something delicious, our pups may try and see if they can sneak a taste of it! Dogs know that you may drop a piece of what you are eating, and whatever falls onto the floor may become theirs.
They might also remember who will sneak them a little treat under the table, and may show more interest in that person than anyone else.
But even if you aren’t eating, a dog may still smell food on you and be attracted to your presence. I see this when I come back from lunch and all of the dogs are extra curious about where I’ve been.
Odors can really stick to us (especially clothing and in our breath), and dogs may smell those things even long after we’ve eaten or been around food.
Reason #9: You Are A Menstruating Women
As we read earlier, dogs have a strong sense of smell, which can be one reason why they gravitate toward menstruating women. But, did you know that dogs can also detect the smells of hormonal changes that occur when women are on their monthly cycle?
When a woman menstruates, she produces new smells that dogs can pick up on. These smells are caused by the hormonal fluctuations of the women’s period. Dogs, being the curious creatures that they are, may try to figure out why there is a change in the way that the woman smells.
Dogs can smell a lot more than just hormonal changes too:
Reason #10: You Are A Pregnant Woman
As we said before, dogs are very keen on detecting hormonal changes in women. Studies suggest that dogs can notice as early as the first trimester that a woman is pregnant.
During a woman’s pregnancy, her body is constantly changing, and her hormone levels continue to rise for the duration of the pregnancy. Dogs can sense these changes and often become more interested in the mother-to-be.
So, even if you’re early in your pregnancy, dogs may be more attracted to you because of it!
Reason #11: You Need Comfort
Since dogs are good at recognizing human emotions, they may be able to detect when you are feeling blue. Dogs may try to cheer you up in the best way that they know-how.
This could mean that they are sticking close to your side, bringing you their favorite toy, or acting in a goofy manner that they know you’ve enjoyed in the past.
Dogs are a great motivator when it comes to cheering us up. While many dog owners would have guessed this already, studies suggest that dogs can feel empathy and so they may be more attracted to people who are upset.
This is more likely to occur with dogs who regularly interact with us and who understand our mood shifts, but occasionally even a strange dog may react towards an upset person in a comforting way.
Reason #12: You Are Playful
Dogs love to play! Playtime is important for a dog’s development, and a necessity for all dogs no matter their age, size, or breed.
They need playtime for physical exercise as well as mental exercise. If you are playful, they may be drawn to you because they are interested in playing.
Your dog looks at playtime as both a form of fun exercise and as a way to bond with you. Playtime can also act as a way for your dog to engage in their natural instincts in a safe manner.
Owners who regularly play with their pups may find that their dogs show an increased attraction towards them, and will actively seek them out when they are in a playful mood.
They Like More Than One Thing About You!
Dogs can be attracted to people for multiple reasons. There is no one-size-fits-all all answer to why dogs are attracted to you!
Dogs recognize good people and they know when someone will appreciate their attention. If you are a dog lover, chances are that dogs love you, too!
What Should I Do If I Don’t Want Dogs Attracted To Me?
In some cases, so much attention from dogs may intimidate or even scare certain people, especially if the dog is not their own.
If you don’t want dogs to take an interest in you, it may be best to ignore them by turning your back on them and briskly walk away. This is a clear signal to most dogs that you are uninterested in interacting with them.
Placing a barrier (such as a gate) between the two of you and folding your hands across your chest are other ways to signal that you are not interested in interacting with a dog.
When dogs are attracted to you, it could mean several things.
It most likely means that you have an inviting personality, a good smell, or a happy demeanor. Dogs are usually aware that you have love for them, and act accordingly.
Don’t be afraid to let dogs know that you need some space if you feel intimidated, though! Part of responsible dog ownership is helping our pups understand boundaries, and that includes personal space.
For those who seem to have a natural way with dogs, embrace it!
And for those who would like a better connection with their dogs, you can increase that attraction by understanding your pup’s emotions, helping meet their needs through play and exercise, and engaging in bonding experiences.