I might have mentioned it before. Niko is not a cuddly dog. He only shows affection when we come home after not seeing one of us for more than a few hours. He'll spend maybe 30 seconds to greet and lick us. That's about it. Oh, there's also when we have food. He would stare us down until the food is gone.
Sometimes we wonder if he even likes us. Would it make a difference to him if we gave him away? Would he miss us? Probably not.
I found a furry toy (a woodchuck?) that is stuffing-less. Great idea since Niko, like most dogs, is infamous for ripping the stuffing out of his toys. This thing became his favorite toy in no time. When Ed got his hands on the woodchuck, he held it on his shoulder and made "meowing" noises to be funny. In an instant, Niko became alert to the sound and barked. He lunged at the toy and gnarled and gnawed at it as if to kill it.
After that, we experimented with a few things to see the cause of this reaction. The meowing sound really gets to him, even if we're not holding the woodchuck. It explains the time I held a cat on my lap and Niko growling. We then tried talking to the toy like it was Niko. We said endearing things we usually say only to Niko. Boy, did that get to him! He didn't want us talking like that to anyone but him. Ah- ha! Niko does like us. Well, he's a jealous dog, to say the least.