Is your pooch a professional shoe stealer?
She skillfully takes your sneakers with her when no one’s around.
But what you can’t understand is that…
She even gathers them and places them in her bed.
Like they’re a pillow or some kind of collection.
Why is she doing this?
Read on to find out:
- What makes your dog sleep with your shoes around her.
- Why some canines love collecting stuff from their humans.
- Whether they’re doing it to create a comfier spot or for something else.
- 3 tips to keep in mind on how to help her and curb this stealing behavior.
- And much more…
Table of contents
Why does my dog put my shoes in her bed?
Your dog puts your shoes in her bed because she’s pregnant or has a false pregnancy, seeking comfort in your scent, interested in the various odors they have, or in need of something to lie her head on. This can also be due to her young age, hunting instincts, old habits, or hoarding behavior.
9 reasons why your dog puts your shoes in her bed
#1: She’s about to give birth
All of a sudden, your pooch starts burrowing like crazy in her place.
She also takes your shoes in her bed. Along with ripped blankets and newspapers all over the area.
“OMG! Is my dog obsessed with my shoes?”
Or, “Is she decorating her personal spot?”
Well, not really.
If your Fido is pregnant, this is only a nesting behavior.
So congrats in advance because she’s close to being a mom. And you’re going to be a grandma/pa too! 🙂
Female dogs will do this in their last stage of pregnancy or while in labor. Making sure they have a warm and snuggly nest before giving birth.
“But my pooch hasn’t been around any males these past few months. Why is she acting like this?”
If you’re sure about it, your dog might be having a false pregnancy.
Same with real preggy Fidos, those who have this will also show similar signs. Hence, the name.
This is due to hormonal imbalances. And one culprit is the rise in prolactin which causes their nesting behavior.
Note: Some dogs don’t need to be pregnant to act like this. Others may also create den-like spaces because they feel comfy in them. And this is mainly observed in natural burrowers such as Chihuahuas, and Pomeranians.
#2: Motherly instincts
Does your Fido also lick your shoes?
Or does it look like she’s nursing them in her bed – placing them close to her nipples?
Aside from nesting activity, your pooch can also have mothering behavior if she has a false pregnancy.
This might be the reason why you often see your dog cuddling with shoes. Because she sees them as her litter of pups. So she could do this to her toys as well.
According to PetMD, she’ll also show these signs:
- Loss of appetite.
- Enlarged mammary glands.
But you may also ask, “Why does my dog protect my shoes?”
The level of progesterone or ‘calming hormone’ in her body will also be reduced. Which then makes her suddenly aggressive.
Note: Be extra careful of taking your sneakers back as she can be overprotective of them and snap at you.
Wait, does she also cry while carrying a shoe or a toy? Check out this article.
#3: She finds comfort in your scent
You’re back at home after work.
Then you see your sneakers on your Fido’s bed.
And you notice that she’s been doing this for weeks now. So your head is buzzing with a huge question,
“Why does my dog take my shoes and sleep with them?”
To you, your shoes are merely items of clothing that cover your feet, right? (Well for collectors, they’re much more than that.)
But for your pooch, they might be her only source of comfort when she’s lonely or missing her human.
Why is that?
She’s using them as a substitute when you’re gone because they remind her of you.
This is why you see her cuddling them when you arrive home. Or at night, when she’s not allowed to sleep with you.
Your odor is deeply ingrained in them. But I suggest you refrain from smelling them right now.
Research proves that Fidos are attracted to the scent of their humans.
So your pooch probably prefers the worn-out ones as they’ve been used more. Because the stinkier, the better!
Fun fact: Did you know that each of our feet contains around 125,000 sweat glands? And together, our soles hold the title of having the most perspiration produced daily among all body parts.
You might also wonder: Why does my dog sleep on my clothes?
#3: She smells various odors in them
Your shoes hold the record of the places you’ve been to every day. So it’s no surprise that your pooch can smell different odors in them.
Does she steal and sniff them right after you take them off?
Hmm. Your Fido might be doing some investigation. She’s interested in how your day went.
Dogs are curious. And since they can’t ask you about it, they smell your clothes instead. As well as your sneakers and bags.
“So why does a dog sleep with their owner’s shoe?”
If they take them to their bed, their human must have had a long adventure. And they’re taking their time to sniff it.
Or, it could be that Fido found an interesting scent in them. For example, pheromones of another animal. As well as some traces of manure too.
#4: She needs something to lie on
Does she like their neck elevated or having something to lean against while sleeping?
If so, she might be using your shoes to rest her head on. And your pooch may like them because they’re soft as a pillow.
Some textiles are smooth and cushiony like cotton and rayon. And these are also breathable fabrics.
They’re light and don’t stick in the body when it’s hot. So they would be nice to snuggle during warm days.
On the other hand, leather shoes get hot when in contact. Perfect for raising her body heat in chilly weather.
Warning: Sleeping with their head raised and loud snoring? These can be signs of breathing issues. It could be due to allergies or having a narrow airway – common in short-snouted dogs like Pugs and Bulldogs. So bring your Fido to the vet to be sure.
Check out also: 13 Reasons Why Your Dog Grunts And Groans + 5 Tips
#5: She’s a shoe thief in nature
“Don’t ask me why, hooman.
I just feel like doing it.”
To be clear, I’m not calling your pooch a kleptomaniac or anything.
It’s somehow similar. But in her case, this ‘stealing’ behavior may only be due to her hunting instincts.
If she’s born as hunters like Labs and Goldens, she’s bred to retrieve things. So she loves having something in her mouth.
Dogs like her can take shoes to the bed. As well as carry a toy, brush, towels, (and the list goes on…) anywhere they go.
However, she might also do this because…
#6: She’s a scene-stealer
Your pooch is a habitual shoe thief. And it’s not due to her instincts.
This behavior can also be her way of stealing your attention. So she may get other things too that are prohibited. Say your clothes and other important belongings.
Dogs are known to be opportunists.
So if you laugh or scream when you see her with your shoes, she may like your reactions and do it again.
Also, she can be bored and wants the thrill of you chasing her around.
#7: It’s a puppy thing
If she’s still young, it might be playful behavior. And she’ll do it when no one’s around like a mischievous kid who loves trouble.
So she would pick up other things as well. Such as the TV remote, slippers, or even trash.
Some puppies may outgrow it after a few months. But others can stay like this if it’s not corrected.
Fun fact: Do you know that canines steal in the dark? A study reveals they’re aware that humans will catch them in action under a bright light. So they do it when it’s dark or when no one is around. And this says a lot about missing food in dim-lighted counters.
#8: It has become a ritual
Canines are creatures of habit. And having a routine keeps them away from worrying and anxiety.
So it might be that your pooch has been doing this since she was a little pup. This is because dogs may continue doing something unless you teach them the desired behavior.
Some canines also have other rituals: 5 Reasons Why Your Dog Scratches At The Wall & 3 Tips
#9: She’s a ‘hoarder’
Apart from your shoes, does she also have a stack of random items on her bed?
Oh no. Is your pooch trying to collect things?
Let’s see what experts say about this.
AKC says it’s an instinct that roots back to when their ancestors have to work hard for food. Because of this, they’ll hide (bury) any edible items they can find for survival.
But VetStreet explains that canines may also do this because they just want that item.
So maybe, your Fido sees your shoes as high-value toys and keeps them. Or, she just likes them because of their unique textures and scents.
3 tips on what to do if your dog puts your shoes in her bed
#1: Provide a whelping box
Put your dog’s mind at ease and help her build a nest for her babies.
But before you grab materials and make one, here are some things to consider first:
Size: Ensure it has enough space for her and the pups. Make it at least 2 times bigger than her body length.
But if it’s too large, she might get stressed as she needs her babies close to her as possible – for protection and warmth.
Puppy rail: From the floor, provide a minimum of 3 in. (7 cm.) high ledge inside surrounding the box. This is to avoid her from suffocating a pup along its sides.
Entryway: Make it high enough that only your dog can pass through when she needs to get out – to prevent her babies from escaping.
Whelping pad: Buy or reuse a fabric that’s washable.
Try doing a simple DIY nursery like this:
#2: Curb their ‘stealing’ behavior
This might be a cute behavior from the start. But it wouldn’t be once it turns into a naughty habit.
So instead of chasing and lecturing your pooch, you can teach her to give it back to you.
You probably tried this countless times before. So how about you use a more enticing item to lure her? Like a treat she can’t say no to.
Show it to her first. Then calmly call her name. If she returns the shoe back, give the treat immediately and say lots of praises.
Note: This won’t be a one-time thing. With consistency and proper training, you may have a pooch who brings you a pair of shoes instead when you need one.
#3: Enrich her daily routine
Your dog might have heaps of energy and she doesn’t know what to do with it. So she grabs something instead.
But how will you avoid it from happening?
- Keep her routine predictable to avoid anxiety. Have consistent feeding, sleeping, and playing time.
- Is she the only dog in the house? Try meeting and playing with other canines. But make sure to watch them and look out for stress signals.
- Exercise her body and stimulate her mind every day.
- Play fetch, tug, and catch frisbee with your pooch. To wear her out and suffice the ‘hunter’ in her.
- Leave her interactive toys to keep her mind off the tendency to steal. Say a stuffed Kong or a ‘burrowing box’ if she loves to dig.
- Feed her curiosity by having a ‘scent-walk.’ Let her sniff as much as she wants outside while strolling.
- Change your usual walking path and visit other places.
Note: If you’re away for hours because of work, hire a dog walker. Or ask someone you know to take your pooch outside while you’re away.
#BONUS: Manage the situation
Last reminders, keep your shoe rack away from your pooch while you’re correcting the behavior. If possible, put them in a closet that you can securely lock.
Avoid leaving items on or near the ground which she could take.
If she feels anxious while you’re away, place an old shirt of yours in her bed instead. Or avoid them from being lonely by spending more time with her every day. She’ll appreciate it. 🙂