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Published: Apr 06, 2012

Most pet owners are familiar with the fact that sometimes dogs choose a "favorite" in the family. While this particular behavior is typically not problematic, issues may arise if a canine companion singles out a person in the family who they actively dislike or if they become aggressive toward family members.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, families who have multiple dogs may find that their canines naturally set up a hierarchy amongst each other with a clear alpha or dominant dog, but this pack mentality is typically looser when canines interact with their human companions. For this reason, pet owners may need to take steps to ensure their dog knows who is master in the relationship, especially if the canine seems to believe that its status is above that of a particular family member.

Teaching a dog to treat its human companions with respect is best achieved through control of resources and behavior rather than punishment. Dogs will naturally respect the individuals who provide them with food, exercise and affection. One way a singled out family member can help correct a dog's negative behavior is to create positive associations between him or herself and the canine. Offering the animal treats when arriving home, pouring food into its bowl or taking the animal out for walks are all great starts.  However, if a dog displays troublesome behavior or is overtly aggressive, you should speak to your veterinarian about seeking professional behavioral help.