If your dog keeps taking your shoes, 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.
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 shoes
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been taking your shoes 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 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 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 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 it tends to do it 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 how they feel in its mouth
The cause could also be that it likes the feeling of the shoes 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.
What else happened when it first started doing it
If your dog did not always take your shoes, 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 it takes your shoes
If your dog does not always take your shoes, 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 shoes.
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 it
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 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 alternative things to carry
It could also help to give it other things to hold in its mouth. Things to give it would include toys or bones.
Limit its access to your shoes
In addition to the above, it would also help to limit its access to your shoes. Perhaps, you could put the clothes into a basket that you keep out of reach.
Redirect its focus
Another option would be to redirect its focus onto something else whenever it seems likely to take your shoes. By doing so repeatedly, you should be able to get it out of the habit of taking your shoes.
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.
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