If your dog has been picking up your shoes a lot, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you five common reasons why dogs do it and what you can do to get it to stop.

So, why does my dog pick up shoes? Possible reasons why your dog picks up shoes are that it is teething, anxious, giving them to you as a present, it likes the smell or that it has learned that the behavior is rewarded.

It is actually possible that there is a combination of causes at play. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main causes and there are many things you can do about them.

Reasons why your dog picks up shoes

Below are five common reasons why dogs do it and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.

Teething

The cause could be that it has started teething. This would be more likely if your dog is still young, it has started doing it suddenly and if it has started chewing on other things as well. In this case, it would help to give it other things to chew on such as bones or toys and to try to hide your shoes.

Anxiety

Often dogs will carry things around, with their mouths, when they are anxious. Anxiety could be the reason why your dog has been doing it. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when it is more likely to be anxious such as when you are leaving home.

Encouraging the behavior

It could also be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give it things such as treats, toys or extra attention, when it takes your shoes, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. 

It likes the smell

It is likely that your shoes have a strong scent on them. The reason why your dog carries your shoes around could be that it likes the smell. This would also be more likely if it tends to do it more when it is likely to be anxious since the scent might calm it down.

It’s giving it to you as a present

The cause might also be that it is giving them to you as a present. This would be more likely if it tends to bring the shoes to you. Again, in this case, it would help to avoid rewarding the behavior and to limit its access to your shoes.

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 carry shoes in its mouth, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it would be more likely to be due to things such as teething, learning that the behavior is rewarded or separation anxiety. 

What is different when it does it

If there is a certain time that it tends to do it more, it would also help to consider what is different about the timing. For example, if it tends to do it at around the same time that you would normally walk it, the cause could be that it is trying to remind you to walk it.

The body language it shows

It would also help to consider the body language it shows when it picks shoes up. If it shows positive body language signs such as having its tongue out, wagging its tail or being relaxed, it would be more likely that it is doing it more due to excitement. Whereas, if it shows signs of anxiety, such as pacing or crying, it would be more likely that it is doing it due to something causing it to be anxious.

How often your dog picks shoes up

It would also help to consider how often your dog does it. If it is doing it constantly, it would be more likely to be due to something more serious causing it to be anxious or fearful and it would likely help to get professional help. Whereas, if it does it once or twice daily, it would be more likely to be that it is doing it due to something such as excitement.

What to do about your dog picking up shoes

Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior. 

Avoid encouraging the behavior

As mentioned above, it could be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want it to and to avoid rewarding it when it does not.

Limit reasons why it might be anxious

It could also be the case that something has been causing it to be anxious. It would help to limit possible reasons why it might be anxious by letting it pee, eat and get exercise before leaving it. 

Give it other things to hold

It could also help to give it other things to hold in its mouth. Things to give it would include toys or bones.

Redirect its focus

Another option would be to redirect its focus onto something else whenever it seems likely to pick up your shoes. By doing so repeatedly, you should be able to get it out of the habit of picking your shoes up.

Get help

If your dog has been doing it excessively or you cannot get it to stop, consider getting help from a dog behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to see what has been causing the behavior and what you can do about it.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.