If your dog has been stealing your socks, 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 socks? Possible reasons why your dog steals your socks are that it has learned that the behavior is rewarded, it likes the taste of them, separation anxiety, it is bored, or that it likes how they feel in its mouth.

There are actually a number of possible reasons why your dog has been stealing your socks and it might 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 socks

Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been stealing your socks 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 socks, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. 

It likes the taste of them

It is likely that your socks have a strong scent and taste on them. The reason why your dog carries your socks 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 clothes. 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.

Boredom

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 socks 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 socks 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 when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.

If your dog always stole your socks

If your dog did not always steal your socks, 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 socks

If your dog does not always steal your socks, 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. 

The body language it shows

It would also help to consider the body language it shows when it takes your socks. 

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 socks

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.

Redirect its focus

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

Hide your socks

In addition to the above, it would also help to limit its access to your socks. Perhaps, you could put the socks into a basket that you keep out of reach. 

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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.