Our dog likes all our friends more than us. What gives?!

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This is such a weird problem I know. I’m wondering if I’m misinterpreting behavior in some way. My partner and I have a 1.5yr old GSD mix. He’s the light of my life, we’re both absolutely crazy about him and give him everything a dog could want. He is well trained and behaved using only positive reinforcement methods. We don’t raise our voices at him or anything like that. We’re both very bonded to him and he clearly loves us, is always excited to see us, pays attention to us, LOVES to play with us jetc. However he is very independent and not particularly affectionate unless he’s really tired. That’s fine, that’s his personality. We have actively encouraged him since puppyhood to be more snuggly by giving him heaps of praise and sometimes treats whenever he’s affectionate by his own choice, we don’t force it on him. We’re both women, he is a bit nervous around men sometimes, and very gentle with him.

However, around guests he’s a completely different dog. He goes CRAZY with excitement when we have friends over. Not in a badly behaved way, it’s cute, they love it. He will lean against them, climb up on their laps, try to lick their faces, nuzzle into them for pets, tail wagging constantly etc. If someone stays the night he will whine at the door to go and sleep with them. I can understand the novelty but he is NEVER like this with us, he is so much more reserved and standoffish. I know it sounds stupid but it honestly kind of hurts a little bit.

An additional thing that might be useful information: he doesn’t seem to be a particularly anxious dog, he is confident and fearless and has no separation anxiety, but he has some self soothing behaviors I find slightly odd. When we come home from work he gets REALLY excited but immediately grabs a toy and ‘hides’ under the table with it. He’s not resource guarding as when we walk to the table he will nuzzle our hands, roll on his back for pets, pass us the toy etc, but it seems like he really needs toy + cave to calm himself down. This lasts for about 5 mins then he goes back to normal.

So: does our dog just like us less, is there anything I can do about it, and am I totally misunderstanding something?

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