Have you ever seen a child carrying around a blanket that is nearly in threads? Just like kids carry their favorite stuffed animal or blankie, some dogs have their very own security blanket that they bring everywhere. This behavior exhibited in your furball friend might seem odd, but there is typically a very good reason behind this weird behavior. It most likely has to do with your dog feeling safe. If you really want to know why your dog brings you their blanket, take a few minutes and dig deeper into this interesting behavior. Once you understand the root cause, you will be able to find ways to encourage the appropriate behaviors.
The Root of the Behavior
The main reason why your pup may love his or her blanket is that it may contain your smell on it. Dogs come from the ancestral line of wolves and have a strong sense of smell. Since wolves are pack animals, they recognize members of their pack by each individual's personal scent. They also do everything together as one group from sleeping to hunting and even eating together. With that being said, your dog may feel lonely or a bit lost when you go out or off to work. So, in those circumstances, he may grab his favorite blankie that has your smell on it and will carry it around with him to feel secure and not all alone. Another reason why your dog may bring his blanket to you is that the security blanket brings comfort and reassurance to your pooch when he is faced with new things. Your dog my grab his blanket when he is going outside in a new area or when there are new smells in the house. Some dogs just have a bit of fear or anxiety over new things. If your dog has a comfort item such as a favorite blanket or a chew toy, they will most likely use it to help them overcome their fears.
A younger puppy may carry a blanket around as a toy or teething device. This is common behavior for puppies and should not alarm you at all. These young pups just enjoy having fun as well as soothing their gums when teething. Whether you rescued your dog from a shelter or got him from a reputable breeder, a security blanket is a helpful tool to get your canine used to you, your home, the surroundings, and your family. There really is no harm in allowing your dog to have a favorite thing like a blankie. In fact, it may be great for their emotional mindset.
Encouraging the Behavior
A blanket is comforting to a dog. Many people actually train timid dogs with blankets to help them be more open and relaxed in situations where they may be fearful or anxious. Training your dog with a blanket is simple. Start with a blanket that is familiar to your dog or one of your old blankets that has your scent on it. First, start by putting a couple treats on the blanket. After doing this several times, your dog will stick close to the blanket. Then place the treats farther back on the blanket. Once your pet is on the blanket ask him to lie down. Once he has completed that request reward with praise and treats.
Continue the above process and then add in the command of "stay." Have him stay for about a minute, then once again reward him with praise. Keep repeating this process every day and gradually build up how long your dog should stay on the blankie. Later, try moving the blanket around the home and to different areas. Ask your dog again to lie it so that he starts getting familiar with laying on it in different places. Eventually, this will give your dog a security blanket and safe place or safe object that will bring him comfort.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Keep in mind that young puppies go through different adjustments in their young lives. A blanket can become many things to a puppy. It may be a toy that he plays with or blows off steam with. It may be soothing for separation anxiety or it could even be his teething toy. A blankie at that age is a lot more than just a comfort item. So, do not be so quick to take it away. If he has started carrying around an item of yours that you do not want him to have, be sure to find a blanket or an old shirt of that can be comforting to your beloved pet.
The bottom line is this; your dog's comfort level is just as important as yours. A security blanket is a useful tool to help your dog overcome fears. As he begins to overcome these issues, the blankie might not be needed as much. Allowing your dog to feel more secure will just exemplify their love for you.
By a Newfoundland lover Billie Raucci
Published: 03/02/2018, edited: 01/30/2020