After a long day you are almost ready for bed and while you are getting ready, you notice your dog begins to head over to his bed with a toy in his mouth. After he drops his toy off, your dog proceeds back to his pile of toys and grabs another toy. Your dog is carrying his favorite toys to his bed to sleep with and it seems quite peculiar to you. However, your dog probably has a very good reason for this behavior. Understanding what toys represent to your dog and why they have certain behavior traits can help you better care for them.
The Root of the Behavior
Dogs love their toys. Each toy represents something for your dog and they will attach to each belonging that they have. Most dogs will gravitate towards a certain type of toy and each toy will give your dog a certain experience based on their desires, their upbringing, ancestral past, and personality. The common question of this is, why does my dog bring his toys to bed? It seems odd to you because their toys just sit there and overcrowd their sleeping area. Yet, there is a valid reason for it. First off, your dog has a tendency to bring his or her belongings to their bed with them because they don’t know if their toys will be available tomorrow. Dogs don’t have a giant sense of the future and if they are attached to their toy, they will want to keep it close to them. Each toy is an important belonging and companion for your dog. If they are constantly chewing and playing with it, you will know how much it means to them. Just as dogs used to bury their food, your dog will bury his toys in his bed because he wants to make sure they are safe and he wants to be with them either in the moment or the minute he wakes up. His bed is safety and his own special space. The toys your dog bonds with are special to them. If your dog is becoming territorial over their toy or if they are constantly hoarding their toys, you may want to retrain your dog in a new way. It is not bad if your dog carries his toys to his bed, but you want to make sure that he is not guarded and rough over his toys when others are around. It is important to make sure your dog understands their toys will be there, they are safe, and they don't need to be overprotective over their belongings.
Encouraging the Behavior
If your dog is carrying his toys to bed at night, it is absolutely normal. Your dog’s tendency to do this is a part of his canine nature and although he is being fed every day and does not need to hunt, he may still have the tendency to gather and hide his belongings. It is important for you to know that your dog's toys are extremely important aspects of his life and wellbeing. Your dog will be attached to his toys. If your pet loves to stash his toys, it may be because he wants to feel safe, secure, and loved by his belongings. If your dog is carrying his toys to bed, it is nothing to worry about or discourage. Yet, if he is becoming territorial or if it causing a problem for his wellbeing or yours, then you may want to make a change. It is suggested to only encourage and allow this behavior if it is helping your dog’s wellbeing and yours, and is not a problem in the long run. If it is, you may want to consult with your veterinarian or you can create new habits for your dog through his process of being protective of his toys.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Before you decide to change anything about your dog's habits, it is important to decide why they are bringing toys to bed and becoming protective of them. It can be because they love it, they want them safe, or they just enjoy having their belongings near them as a form of attachment. Yet, if your dog sleeping with toys is an issue, then you can create places for your dog to bury his toys nearby. A suggestion is to create a pit-like area where your dog can store his toys. Then, he will know where they are and he can retrieve them in the morning. This can bring safety and comfort to your dog.
Dogs sometimes act in odd ways and although it may seem peculiar to pet owners, it is what brings them comfort. If your dog needs to sleep with his toys, there is no harm in it. Just make sure your dog doesn't think you are going to rob them of their belongings.
By a Golden Retriever lover Erika Seidel
Published: 02/21/2018, edited: 01/30/2020