Dogs are not only known to be man’s best friend, but they can also be your shoebox! Yes, you read that right.
You’re probably wondering, why does my dog bring me my shoes? The answer may surprise you, and it might even have to do with your dog knowing more than you think he does! Here’s why your pup keeps bringing you shoes and what you can do about it.
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Why Your Dog May Be Bringing You Shoes
Your dog is most likely a Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, or Dachshund.
Dogs of those breeds have been known to steal shoes. While Labs and Goldens are notorious for their love of water and retrieving games with toys, dogs such as Shepherds and Dachshunds simply seek out playmates with their shoe-stealing antics.
Remember that Fido isn’t trying to be mischievous; he just wants to entertain you! This behavior may also stem from when your pup was a puppy and first learning about his environment.
Perhaps he came across his paw print in mud and started licking it off, which can make an impression on a young pup—he thinks this tastes good!
I wonder what else I can lick off these items. Unfortunately, this playfulness may continue into adulthood if not curbed by training your pet to leave shoes alone.
You can even take things one step further by hiding his toys around where you keep your shoes. Then, when he comes looking for them, try giving him a chew toy instead, so he learns there’s no fun here.
How To Stop The Behavior
You can do a few things to stop your dog from taking shoes (or other items) off of your feet. The first step is to identify what’s triggering them because once you do that, you’ll be able to figure out a way to prevent it.
Some dogs will steal shoes when they get bored or anxious—if that’s true for your pup, try adding more exercise and mental stimulation into his day.
Other dogs might steal shoes as part of a game—if that sounds like yours, give him some toys he can play with instead and reward him for keeping them safe! If you aren’t sure why he steals your stuff, schedule an appointment with a professional who can help determine if there are any underlying issues behind his behavior.
Once you know what’s causing it, you can come up with a plan to stop it from happening again. You may need to take away particular objects so he won’t have access to them anymore; some people even resort to clipping their dog’s nails short so they don’t hurt themselves on something sharp. Be patient and kind—your pup doesn’t mean any harm by stealing your shoes! Just remember that sometimes we learn our best lessons through making mistakes.
ALSO READ: Why Does My Dog Stalk Other Dogs?
What not to do when your dog brings you shoes
Don’t punish your dog. If you want to get mad at someone, get mad at yourself for leaving your shoes unattended where he can reach them. And don’t show him that you are angry or upset with him when he brings you shoes (or other items).
Dogs have a perfect sense of whether we approve of their behavior, and we don’t want them to think it’s OK for them to bring us things that make us angry! So, instead of yelling “No! Bad dog!” or “Bad boy!” Instead, try saying something like, “I love you, but I don’t like it when you take my shoes. Do you know what I would like better than my shoe? A toy. Would you please find me one? Thank you so much!” Then give him a treat and praise him lavishly for finding a toy instead of retaking your shoe.
Can I Punish My Dog For Bringing Me Shoes?
Simply put, yes. If you catch your dog in action, you can make sure that they know it’s not a welcome behavior by redirecting them to their bed or another toy and then putting those shoes away for a few weeks.
Also, make sure that when you are home with your dog, no shoes ever leave your closet—and always keep your doors closed! In addition to punishing bad behavior, there are some ways to encourage good behaviors in dogs as well.
For example, if you want your dog to stop bringing you shoes, reward him with praise or treats every time he gets back an old sock instead. This will help him learn what is expected of him. As a last resort, you could also look into enrolling your dog in obedience classes at your local pet store or animal shelter. Dogs don’t come out of the womb knowing how to behave, so teaching them proper etiquette from a young age can go a long way toward making your life easier.
What To Do Next When Your Dog Brings You Shoes
This is not a joke. What can you do when your dog keeps bringing you shoes? You may be excited to find some new shoes, but chances are these are somebody else’s old shoes that have been lying around for a while and are not in excellent condition.
Your first instinct will probably be to return them, but there could be other reasons your dog keeps bringing you shoes from his walk that are more serious than just someone who didn’t want their smelly gym shoes anymore.
So what should you do if your dog brings home shoes? Should you call animal control or take him to see a vet? Or does he just like to play fetch with footwear?
The most common reason your dog brings home shoes is that they smell good. Many dogs love smells, and it doesn’t matter whether it comes from another animal or something artificial—they enjoy picking up scents of all kinds on their walks, even things like food scraps.
How Dogs Learn Behaviors
Dogs learn behaviors through association. Therefore, they have a natural tendency to repeat behaviors that result in a reward and are much more likely to repeat behaviors if they are rewarded immediately after performing them.
While there is no way to predict what particular objects will catch your dog’s interest, you can better predict his behavior by reinforcing to him things he likes or wants.
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