Do Golden Retrievers Have a Favorite Person? (Explained)

Golden retrievers are a sweet, affectionate and intelligent breed of dog. Their friendly nature and gentle attitude make them the perfect family pet. But do they become attached to some people more than others? In other words, do Golden retrievers choose a favorite person?

Yes, Golden Retrievers can definitely have a favorite person. A Goldens favorite person is usually the one they spend the most time with, thereby creating the strongest bond. Having said that, Golden Retrievers are very social dogs and tend to share their love equally with everyone they meet.

Let’s take a look at why Goldens will become attached to specific people, along with some typical Golden Retriever personality traits, and why they are less likely to bond with just one person than some other breeds. 

Do Golden Retrievers choose a favorite person?

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Top Golden Retriever Personality Traits

Goldens Retrievers are even-tempered and get along with everyone. Though they tend to be on the bigger side, their friendly demeanor makes them a great fit for families or people with other dogs. In fact, they are so friendly that they’ll even be affectionate with perfect strangers. 

They love to work and are eager to please, making them easy to train and the ideal choice for service dogs. Some common Golden Retriever traits include:

  • Laid back – These easygoing, gentle giants are loyal to their owners but often just as friendly with new people. 
  • Playful – Though they are calm, Goldens love to play. They will be thrilled to run around and play. Just be careful with small children as Goldens often do not know their own size.
  • Super friendly – As big as they are, Goldens are incredibly gentle with children, and you won’t ever have to worry about having friends over. 
  • Adventurous – Though they are happy to stay inside with you, Goldens love to explore. They make excellent hiking or running buddies and love the water. 
  • Intelligent – Goldens learn very quickly and are easy to train. They thrive just as much on mental stimulation as on physical activity. They love games and toys! (See a list of top toys for golden retrievers here)
  • Attention – If you want a dog that is independent and will stay off your lap, don’t get a Golden. They crave attention and will likely follow you around the house. 
  • Good Watch Dogs, Bad Guard Dogs – Goldens are good at keeping an eye on things around the house and neighborhood and will bark if something strange is going on, making them a pretty good watch dog. However, if you’re looking for a dog to actively protect you and become aggressive during a break-in, a Golden isn’t for you. They will be more likely to wag their tail and move in for belly rubs. 
  • Love food – Goldens are big eaters and will work hard for a treat. Just be careful not to overfeed as the breed has a predisposition to obesity. 

How Do Golden Retrievers Pick a Favorite Person?

There are a number of reasons why dogs in general get attached to certain people. Some are looking for an alpha to follow, where others will be loyal to whoever fills their food bowl. However, affection, attention, and consistency all play big roles.

For a Golden Retriever, it’s all about the bond you create with them and this bond can come about in several ways.


It’s important to train and socialize a puppy as early as possible. Proper training and socialization is vital to your puppy’s mental and physical health. Not only does it teach your puppy that other dogs and people are friendly, but it helps them learn how to play and behave correctly.

This can also be a bonding time for you and your puppy. As they learn with you, you become like a safety blanket, and chances are, they will look to you going forward.

Spending time training you dog is a fun thing to do together and proper attention to training establishes the person doing the training as the “alpha” or top dog. Like other dogs, Golden Retrievers have a tendency to follow and want to please the alpha in the pack most of all.

Find out if you are your dogs favorite person…10 Signs.

Attention and Affection

Attention and physical affection can be so key to creating a bond with your dog. From playing to walking to grooming, the more attention they get from a person, the more they will seek attention from that person.

It’s also just as much about the kind of attention they get. Sitting with your dog in front of the TV feels close, but they will likely prefer the person that runs around and plays with them. 

It’s important to help your dog get used to being touched from a young age to ensure they are desensitized as they get older. For example, as puppies, touch and massage their legs and paws so that clipping their nails won’t be an issue when they grow. 

Goldens are attention seekers and highly motivated by food. By that logic, you would think they would attach to one person quite easily. But that is not often the case. 

The difference here is that Goldens seek out attention from everyone they meet. They will probably follow everyone into the kitchen in the hopes of being fed and are happy to take any affection they can get. Though they are loyal, it is to people in general as opposed to a pack leader. 

Positive Reinforcement

For many dogs, the person that gives out the treats and fills their dinner bowl will be their favorite. Food is a big motivator for most dogs, and you will often catch your dogs following you into the kitchen throughout the day.

The same thing is true of people with whom they play. As mentioned before, playing with your dog creates a fun bond that they will seek out. 

How to Become Your Golden’s Favorite

The good news is, if you have had your Golden since he was a puppy, it will be quite easy to create a strong bond. Even if your Golden is older, these tips will still help you develop a loving relationship:

  • Start by working together on their training and socialization. Your puppy will love the attention and treats (Zukes Mini Training Treats at Amazon) they get during training and will associate you with playtime. The same can be said for socialization, as they will love to play with other people and puppies. 
  • Stake your claim as the keeper of food. Make it clear to your puppy who is in control of the treats and food, and they will learn to look to you for the good stuff. Not only will they associate you as the leader of the pack, but they will also be excited to be called in for dinner. 
  • Play with them every day. Spending time in the yard playing tug of war, working on agility, or simply playing fetch, your Golden will learn that you are the playful friend, and they will come to you more often for attention. 
  • Be present – Goldens crave attention, and chances are, if your partner, parent, or sibling is home all day, they will bond with your dog a great deal. Goldens don’t like being left alone for too long and will naturally gravitate toward the person that they spend the most time with. 
This Golden Retriever wants to visit his favorite neighbor every day.

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Your Golden Retriever will love you no matter what. They will always be happy to see you and will show you by jumping up or climbing onto your lap.

Though there are ways to encourage a greater bond with your Golden, don’t be disappointed when they get excited to see other people. They are social dogs that love people and aren’t overly picky about where they get their attention. 

In truth, while a Golden Retriever may have a favorite person or somebody they’re extremely bonded with, they are very equal opportunity dogs. Anyone with a free hand to scratch behind their ears is their new “favorite” person.


Golden Retrievers love their people and their people’s people, including anyone they meet on the street. They are affectionate and sweet attention seekers. Generally speaking, they do not tend to overly gravitate toward a single person because they like to share their love with everyone.

However, given their need for attention and love of food, you might notice your Golden following a certain person if that person dishes out treats and belly rubs regularly. 

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Bryan Mullennix

Bryan's a freelance travel photographer and happy dog dad. He currently lives in Las Vegas with his wife, his son, and two dogs Nom Nom & Speck.

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