I feed the dog twice a day. I walk the dog three times day. I organize a dog training class so the dog can see his friends every week. I let the dog sleep in our room. Nevertheless the dog prefers our son because our son is his favorite playmate.
While our son is away at college, I do try to play with the dog, but the dog is not impressed with my efforts. It is probably because I lack our son's athleticism. I don't run as speedily and my fast breaks are boringly slow. My aim when tossing toys lacks accuracy and the dog is never fooled when I fake a throw. I don't find creative hiding places for hide and seek, and perhaps most importantly, I don't leave sweaty athletic socks on the floor.
When our son was in high school he and the dog had a bedtime ritual. Our son usually stayed up late studying, so before retiring the dog would go to our son's room. Our son would take a study break to hide and toss dirty socks around his room with the dog, and then the dog would collect the stray socks and head to bed with them. The dog was eventually able to cram four crew socks in his mouth at once, quite a feat for a 20 lb fluff ball.
The first night after our son left for college last fall, I dreaded seeing what the dog would do at bedtime. I was feeling sad and did not want to watch the dog wandering forlornly around our son's room. I underestimated the dog. Without even glancing at our son's bedroom, the dog headed straight to bed, fully aware that there was no purpose in stopping at our son's empty bedroom for his nightly visit.
Last week, however, the first night our son was home again, the dog climbed the stairs that evening and intentionally stopped and sat patiently at our son's closed bedroom door. He knew that his preferred playmate was back with a supply of socks, and ready to play!