If your dog has been stealing your clothes, 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 about them.
So, why does my dog steal my clothes? Possible reasons why your dog steals your clothes are that it has learned that the behavior is rewarded, it likes the taste of your clothes, anxiety, boredom, or that it likes the feeling of the clothes on its teeth and gums.
There are actually a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and it could be due to a combination of them. However, there are a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are a number of things you can do about it.
Reasons why your dog steals your clothes
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been stealing your clothes and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.
Encouraging the behavior
It could be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give your dog things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it steals your clothes, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
It likes the taste of your clothes
It is likely that your clothes have a strong scent and taste on them. The reason why your dog carries your clothes around could be that it likes the smell or the taste on them. This would be more likely if it also takes other things with your scent on such as your shoes. This would also be more likely if it tends to do it more when it is likely to be anxious since the scent and taste might calm it down
The reason why it has been doing it could also be that it is bored and looking for a way to stimulate itself. This would be more likely if your dog tends to steal your clothes more when it has not been getting much exercise and if it calms down after getting exercise. It would help to ensure that your dog is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed.
It likes the feeling in its mouth
The cause could also be that it likes the feeling of the clothes in its mouth. This would be more likely if it is a puppy and it is teething. It would also be more likely if it has been putting other things in its mouth a lot as well. In this case, it would help to give it other things that you do not mind it chewing on.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider to help figure out the main cause.
If your dog always stole your shoes
If your dog did not always steal your clothes, 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 teething, learning that the behavior is rewarded or suddenly getting less attention than usual causing it to do things to get more attention.
What is different when your dog steals your clothes
If your dog does not always steal your clothes, it would also help to consider what is different when it does it. For example, if it does it when you arrive home, it could be due to excitement or separation anxiety. Whereas, if it does it when it has not gotten any exercise, it could be due to being bored.
The body language it shows
It would also help to consider the body language your dog shows when it takes your clothes.
If it shows signs of being anxious such as crying or pacing, 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 such as wagging its tail, it would be more likely that it does it because it thinks it will get you to give it more attention.
What to do about your dog stealing your clothes
Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.
Avoid encouraging it
As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to give it rewards when it behaves the way you want it to and to avoid giving it things such as extra attention when it does not.
Give it exercise
As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has been doing it due to being bored. If your dog is healthy, it would help to make sure that your dog is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed.
Give it other things to chew on
It could also help to give it other things to hold in its mouth. Things to give it would include toys or bones.
Hide your clothes
In addition to the above, it would also help to limit its access to your clothes. Perhaps, you could put the dirty clothes into a basket that you keep out of reach.