If your dog keeps bringing you its toys, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my dog bring me toys? Possible reasons why your dog brings you its toys are that it wants to play, it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded, it is being grateful, it is showing it trusts you or that it simply likes to carry the toy in its mouth.
Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should become a lot easier to get it to stop.
Reasons why your dog brings you its toys
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog brings you its toys and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.
It likes to carry the toy in its mouth
It might be the case that it just likes to carry the toy in its mouth and it is not actually bringing you the toy. This would be more likely if it also carries the toy around the house and if it does not let go when you try to take the toy away from it.
Encouraging the behavior
It could also be the case that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give your dog things such as more toys, treats or extra attention, when it gives you its toy, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
It could be the case that it is sharing its toys with you and showing that it trusts you. Studies have shown that dogs do share their food with other dogs, so it is possible that your dog is sharing its toy with you.
It wants to play
The reason why it does it could also be that it wants to play. This would be more likely if it brings you toys that you can also use with it such as a rope for tug of war. It would also be more likely if it shows signs of excitement, when it brings you its toys, by doing things such as wag its tail or jump up at you.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when it first started doing it
If your dog did not always bring you its toys, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as learning that the behavior gets rewarded or it might have started carrying its toy around due to being anxious.
What is different when your dog brings you toys
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that your dog tends to carry its toy around since it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it. For example, if it does it more when you are about to leave home, it could be a sign that it has separation anxiety.
The body language it shows
It would also help to consider the body language it shows when it does it. If it shows signs of being anxious by doing things such as crying, avoiding eye contact and making itself appear smaller, it would be more likely that it is doing it due to something causing it to be anxious. Whereas, if it shows signs of excitement by doing things such as wagging its tail, it would be more likely that it is doing it due to things such as wanting to play.
What to do about your dog bringing you toys
Below are some things you can do about it bringing you its toy.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has learned that the behavior is rewarded. If you want it to stop, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want and to avoid rewarding it when it does not.
Give it attention throughout the day
It could be the case that your dog has been doing it in order to get extra attention from you. It would help to give it attention throughout the day by exercising it, playing with it and training it.
Allow it to do it
It is not unusual for dogs to bring their toys to their owners. If your dog has not been behaving abnormally, it would likely be ok to let it continue bringing its toy to you when it feels like it.