If your dog keeps taking your clothes, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you four common reasons why dogs do it and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my dog take my clothes? Possible reasons why your dog takes your clothes are liking the smell, anxiety, having learned that the behavior is rewarded, or liking the feeling of them in its mouth.
It is 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 takes your clothes
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.
Encouraging the behavior
The cause could be that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it takes your clothes, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
It likes the smell
The cause might be that it likes the smell of the clothes. This would be more likely if it tends to take them at random times and if it also interacts with things with your scent on such as your bed or the area you tend to sit in.
It could also be a sign that it has some separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and being left alone causes it to become anxious. It could be the case that the scent on your clothes helps to calm it down. This would be more likely if it tends to take your clothes when you are not around.
The cause might also be that it is bored and looking for a way to stimulate itself. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when it has not been able to get any exercise. It would help to ensure that it is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed.
It likes how they feel in its mouth
Another possible cause is that it likes the way that the clothes feel in its mouth. This would be more likely if it also tends to carry other things around in its mouth and if it is a puppy that is teething. In this case, it could help to give it other things that you do not mind it holding in its mouth such as toys.
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 it did not always take 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 learning that the behavior is rewarded, getting less attention than usual causing it to do things to get attention or teething if it is a puppy.
What is different when your dog takes your clothes
It would also help to consider the timing of when it tends to take your clothes. If it tends to do it more when you are not around, it would be more likely to be due to teething or separation anxiety. Whereas, if it only seems to do it when you are around, it would be more likely that it is doing it for attention.
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 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 taking 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 it 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 wait for it to calm down before giving it attention when it does take your clothes.
Give it alternative things to carry
Another option would be to give it other things that it can hold in its mouth. Other things to give it could include toys or bones.
Limit its access to your clothes
In addition to the above, it would also help to limit its access to your clothes. Perhaps, you could put the clothes into a basket that you keep out of reach.
Limit reasons why it might be anxious
It could also help to limit possible reasons why it might be anxious. Things to do could include ensuring that the room it stays in is not too hot, loud and that there is space for it to lay down. It would also help to give it food, exercise and the chance to pee before leaving it for long time periods. Also, it would help to ensure that it has not been eating things that it should not be.