Why Do Dogs Grab Shoes

A dog’s ability to pick things up and carry them about naturally. Even in their wildest days, they shared items with the rest of the pack by bringing them back to their lairs. Your dog is giving you a shoe to share in his own charming way. He wouldn’t have thought to consider the fact that it already belonged to you. If your dog came to the door to greet you and had your shoe in his mouth, it’s possible that he was comforting himself with it while you were away and hadn’t merely picked it up when he heard your key turn in the lock. Your dog can smell you on that sneaker, as revolting as that thought may be. He won’t miss you as much while you’re away if he gets a whiff of your scent, which will make you feel close to him. He’s probably been sleeping with his nose in your shoe if you have a foot odor issue. There is nothing better than being able to smell their owner’s sweaty feet in their nostrils for our four-legged pets. It is comparable to us spending the day perusing the most expensive brands of perfume at the department store counter.

Does your dog always bring you a shoe when you get home, regardless of the time of day or night? If he does, he might be responding to how you’ve been acting. If you comment, “What a clever youngster, you’ve brought me my shoe,” or ask him what he has when you see him bring the shoe. He’ll adore the confident tone in your voice and savor all the focus you’re giving him. If you reward your dog when he gives you your shoe, be ready to be met by an expanding collection of shoes since he wants that to happen every time you return home.

Why do excited dogs grab their shoes?

Any behavior has inherited traits as well as taught ones. If you will, dominance and prey drive may be the genetic factors at play in this situation (modified by us humans to facilitate their prior use for herding cattle). In this situation, positive or negative reinforcement could be the learning or nurturing components.

For the sake of argument, assume that your dog is acting out due to dominance and is receiving reinforcement for it. In that instance, she would seize the item to stop others from obtaining it. The behavior would occur more frequently because it prevents a bad outcome—loss of access to the object in question. In a different context, the conduct might have been influenced by her propensity for predation and reinforced by positive reinforcement. That is, the attention of others can enhance her natural propensity to take something and hold it in her mouth. The game continues as long as she holds onto the object and ends as soon as she does, if she doesn’t.

We’ll have to leave it up to you to figure out what exactly is causing your dog’s behavior, but if she exhibits possessiveness or willfulness at other times, the dominance theory might make more sense. Perhaps the predatory theory is more accurate if you think of her as a dog with a high prey drive who enjoys being the focus of attention. Additionally, you might make the case for predatory motivation with negative reinforcement or for dominance with positive reinforcement.

Dr. Nicholas Dodman’s essay, “Why Does My Dog Do That?,” was first featured in AKC Family Dog.

What makes dogs enjoy stealing shoes?

The conventional wisdom holds that dogs prefer smelly feet. It only seems to make sense as a rationale for why our dogs appear to be fixated on our shoes. They sniff them, occasionally roll around on them, and on rare occasions, gnaw on them. My dog used to insist on sticking her nose into each and every pair of our shoes every time we got home and took them off. All of our dogs seem to be interested in our shoes, which is very strange to observe. The thing that bugs us the most is when our dogs try to use our shoes as toys, especially if they’re our “nice shoes.” However, there is a scientific justification for why our dogs appear to be fixated by our shoes.

The most straightforward explanation for why our dogs frequently use our shoes as personal toys is that they are easily available. Consider this. The majority of us will typically leave our shoes wherever we take them off, whether that is at the front door, in the living room, or next to the bed in the bedroom. Our shoes can be readily taken and subsequently ruined unless your dog is trained to open closet doors. The fact that our dogs can smell all we’ve been to and find it thrilling is another reason why they adore our shoes. We take our shoes everywhere—to the mall, the office, the park, the grocery store, and the houses of our friends. Our dogs are bound to be curious about the various smells that unintentionally make their way home with us. Because of their eagerness, they could get a bit carried away while sniffing the shoes, which can result in uninvited playing. In addition, our dogs enjoy most of the textures in our shoes. Some canines find leather in particular to be particularly enjoyable.

But occasionally, it goes beyond simple admiration and interest in your distinctive odor. Due to teething and the desire for something to chew on to ease the agony, puppies frequently chew on shoes. However, if your adult dog is gnawing on your Chucks, it may be a sign that they are under stress or worry. When dogs are anxious, they may gnaw on objects to help them feel better. Keep an eye out for any additional stress-related behaviors that may be present, including as excessive licking, decreased appetite, increased sleep, isolation, digestive trouble, shaking, excessive barking, or toilet mishaps. It is essential to consult your veterinarian about the best course of action to take if you suspect that your dog may be under stress so that they can stop.

Why does my dog have a thing for my slippers?

Your smell is suffused throughout the soft, cozy slippers. They are the ideal thing to steal and keep nearby while you are gone. For dogs, slippers are typically a simple choice, and families with several family members will have a wide selection of slippers available.

Why is my male dog carrying a toy and whining?

It’s possible that the dog is whining because he wants the owner to play with the toy with him. For instance, if you’ve taught your dog to play fetch, he might show up for a session with his toy in his jaws.

He might whine if you don’t pay attention. The whining is reinforced and is likely to be repeated each time the dog wants to play if it gets your attention and you toss the ball. However, carrying a toy around aimlessly is not the same as engaging in this behavior.

How come my dog likes to hug my shoes?

Your aroma is emanating from the shoe, and the dog finds comfort in this. Your dog might enter your room when you’re not home and lie down on your shoes as a form of self-comfort. Dogs are extremely sensitive to odours, therefore anything that you as the owner can smell will be attractive to the dog. This is something you might notice about your shoes or about other things you possess, like a blouse or a pair of socks. Dogs frequently pursue scents that smell like shoes.

Your dog feels safe and secure because of the way you taste and smell in your shoes. Additionally, the smells from all the places you’ve gone are on your shoes. If you were wearing the shoes while working in the garden or going on a hike, the dog might adore their earthy scent. Many dogs enjoy the aroma that is left on the sides and bottom of shoes from all the places you visit.

If you own leather shoes or intend to purchase them, you should be aware that they have a “natural fragrance” that many dogs enjoy (and potential chewing consequences). Dogs find the fragrance of natural leather to be enticing, and leather shoes have a tendency to hold in smells in general.

How can you prevent a dog from robbing your shoes?

Therefore, the best thing to do when your dog steals is to entirely ignore them, as long as it is safe to do so. This is especially true if your dog enjoys getting your attention by stealing stuff. Wait until they lose interest and put down the item, then nudge them to engage in different activities like playing with a toy or having a chew instead.

Why does my dog always rip my socks off?

Dogs are inherently inquisitive creatures. They enjoy excitement and entertaining pursuits. They enjoy playing with children, going for walks with you, and playing fetch with new toys because of this. Your dog may become overweight or start chewing everything in sight if they do not receive enough stimulating and healthy activities. Although it may seem strange, boredom is one of the six reasons dogs flee.

So when dogs steal socks, it’s possible that they’re seeking amusement. However, take cautious not to reinforce this conduct. Your friend could think that attempting to grab the sock away from them is a fun game of tug of war! If you chase them down to collect the sock, your dog will undoubtedly adore it as well.

Learn how to teach your dog to stop doing this in the video at the end of this article.

They love you.

Humans enjoy tidy socks. However, it doesn’t seem to apply to our animal friends. Unbelievable as it may seem, your dog would prefer to wear the filthiest, ugliest old sports sock over a clean one. Hey, be understanding! Just fans of au naturel, our friends. Even in jest, dogs enjoy the smell of their owners. To ensure that your four-legged partner feels your love, make sure to schedule enough time for cuddling.

Knowing that your “dirty socks smell like you” is useful. Your dog will feel closer to their favorite people by chewing on them.

Your dog feels like they are enveloped in a warm blanket when they gnaw on your socks. To put it another way, this is a gesture of affection, therefore always make an effort to cuddle with your dog. They require that.

Why do canines adore socks and shoes?

It’s crucial to remember that your dog isn’t being malicious when he chooses your favorite designer tie over your budget option.

He has no idea of value other than the value of food to him. So don’t worry—not he’s keeping your belongings to trade for munchies. Furthermore, he is not being nasty, as is frequently but incorrectly inferred.


We realize that this is disturbing information, but generally speaking, a dog is happy the more attention he receives. The likelihood is high that your pickpocket is no different.

You’re not only giving your dog additional attention by chasing him if he decides to play keep-away with the stolen item, but you’re also getting up and probably inspecting your dog’s bed or crate for the item. Therefore, if you’ve been putting in longer hours or spending less time with your dog, this may explain why there has been a recent uptick in canine crime.

Desire to Chew

Dogs naturally chew things, so your four-footed friend needs a secure place to indulge this urge. If you don’t give him anything, he’ll probably start looking about for something amusing to chew on his own, and I can guarantee you won’t like what he finds!

When a toothy hound is present, shoes, socks, and dish towels are frequently the first items to sprout legs since they are so much fun to chew on and shred. This activity can be harmful if your dog ingests the chewed object or injures his mouth by biting on something he shouldn’t, in addition to being a costly annoyance.


Dogs require both mental and physical activity, especially if they are working breeds like huskies, shepherds, or cattle dogs.

Additionally, bear in mind that a bored dog can cause all kinds of havoc in addition to stealing, such as tearing up pillows, chasing the cat, or rearranging your couch with his teeth. Make sure to provide your dog with lots of activities, both for the sake of their safety and your own sanity (see below for more information on dog-occupying activities).


It’s disgusting, yet some household things make enticing targets because they smell like you. Yes, this includes the seams of your pants and your underwear. They at least want to be close to you, right?

When you’re not around, people find comfort in smelling your aroma, which is why a lot of clothing theft occurs when you’re out and about. In your absence, your dog might use other objects to cuddle, such as pillows or plush animals (again, especially if they smell like you).


Sometimes stealing is a compulsive behavior, similar to excessive grooming, pacing, or looking at walls. And these actions frequently occur as a result of anxiousness.

Your dog may try to self-soothe by wrapping himself in towels from the bathroom or dragging your slipper around while a guest is over. Just keep in mind that dog anxiety is not enjoyable for our pets, so if you think your dog is a worrier, talk to your vet and a dog behaviorist about the problem.

What causes dogs to grab socks?

Because it carries their owner’s fragrance on it and is an easy object to chew, underwear is frequently attracted by dogs. Puppies are obviously at fault while they are teething and are using their mouths to investigate. In other instances, a dog’s breed or an individual dog may be predisposed to this kind of behaviour. It will rely on their motivation, vitality, and appetite for chewing.

Even if it’s uncommon, your dog might eat socks due to the obsessive disorder pica. Stress and worry are frequent triggers and have the effect of causing obsessive consumption of non-food substances. It is best to get advice from a veterinarian or behaviorist if your dog is overly preoccupied with eating socks or other non-food objects.

But most often, it’s just a matter of the dog not receiving enough appropriate and alternate enrichment. In other words, it’s possible that your dog is consuming your socks out of boredom.

Mary Jean Alsina (CPDT-KA, PCT-A, M.A), Owner and Head Trainer of The Canine Cure in New Jersey, has over 15 years of experience working with dogs. According to her, “mental stimulation is equally, if not more, vital than physical exercise for all dogs, but especially highly clever, working, and driven dogs. When this fundamental physiological need is not addressed, dogs “get into trouble and will find activities to satisfy that drive,” according to the ASPCA. This covers harmful behavior and chewing on household objects.

“Dogs also may find when they grab socks; they get chased,” says one owner, “which might unintentionally foster a dog’s interest in undergarments. Alsina says that this leads to a game that can be quite satisfying.