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Don’t Get Too Jealous If Your Dog Sometimes Prefers Strangers

If there’s one thing we love the most about our dogs, it’s that they always seem so happy to see us. With their wagging tails and adorable barks, our pups never fail make us feel special and loved, especially after a long day. So why do they sometimes appear to prefer a stranger’s company?

As an owner, it’s easy to feel a bit slighted if your four-legged friend seems to take more of a liking to another two-legged friend of yours — or a random person that you don’t even know so well. But don’t get too jealous; according to a recent study, your pup’s temporary best friend might actually be a good thing for your relationship with your pet. The research, published in the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, found that when given an option of being petted by their owner or a stranger, dogs changed their preferences based on the location. In their owners’ homes, dogs spent 70 percent of the time interacting with a stranger instead of the owner. But in unfamiliar places, the canines spent nearly 80 percent of the time with the owner.

If you’re scratching your head right now and wondering why your “loyal” pal doesn’t always choose your company, you’re not alone. Luckily, the experts weighed in to address any concerns — or envy — you might have. As the American Kennel Club reported, study authors Erica N. Feuerbacher, PhD, and Clive D. L. Wynne, PhD, concluded that these findings are consistent with other research showing how important an owner is to his or her dog in the midst of a stressful situation. Much like human babies, our fur babies show “secure base effects” — meaning that they’re more likely to explore the unknown with their owners by their side, as opposed to strangers. And if they happen to be in a familiar environment — like at home with the owner — they’re more comfortable getting to know someone new.

Wow! Who knew this behavior would turn out to be yet another sign of our pets’ puppy love for us?

For more doggo cuteness, watch these pups’ reactions after being told how good they are in the video below:

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