Dogs do many things that may make you scratch your head and wonder why they do this. One of these is carrying something in their mouths.
And if you noticed a lot of this in your pet, we’re here to help you understand it. There are also tips you can follow if the behavior becomes too much.
Why does my dog carry things in his mouth?
There are various reasons why your dog likes to do this. The most obvious one is that he wants to bring you a present. Other causes are a preference for the object, teething, and anxiety.
Bringing you a present
Your dog carries something in his mouth simply because he wants to show his appreciation to you.
That thing in his mouth is his present. You will confirm that this is the reason if he holds out the thing in his mouth to you.
If this becomes persistent, it will help to avoid rewarding the behavior. You may also want to remove objects you do not want your pet to carry, such as the fragile things in your homes as well as those that might hurt you or your dog.
Preference for the object he is carrying
The olfactory senses of dogs are pretty strong. If they pick up a scent that they like, they are less likely to part with it.
Your dog carries a thing in his mouth because he likes the smell of it.
This is very possible if the objects he wants to pick have a strong odor like your clothes, socks, or shoes.
It may look disgusting but to your dogs, this is endearing.
This preference may also be a sign of possessiveness. If you notice your dog carrying his toys more often, this might be the reason.
Be sure to watch out for aggression, especially when you attempt to remove the object in his mouth or go near it.
If your fur baby is young, teething is the most likely cause. When he is in that stage, you will notice that the behavior started suddenly and that he chews any objects that he comes in contact with.
When teething begins, make sure to give your dog toys that he can chew on. Also, remember to remove things that you do not want him to nibble on.
Carrying something may also be a sign of anxiety. Notice your dog’s body language when he does the behavior. You are likely to observe this in anxiety-provoking situations, such as when you are leaving.
If those mentioned above do not seem to be the reason why your dog carries something in his mouth, look back on your previous encounters with your pet. It may be that he does this because you encouraged him to do it.
He carries an object in his mouth because he learned that this is an acceptable behavior.
You may have given him treats before when he picked something up. And he is likely to do it again, expecting more rewards.
Identifying the cause of your dog’s behavior is necessary to address it properly. In doing so, there are things you have to consider first.
Look for anything new or different in the environment. If you notice that he carries stuff at a particular time, examine what is happening in the situation.
If he carries something when you arrive, it is most probably because he wants to give you a present. It may be a sign of anxiety when you notice the behavior occurring when you are leaving.
Take note of the body language of your dog. If he seems relaxed and the tail is wagging excitedly, it is the former. Look out for pacing and tucked tail.
This may mean he is anxious and is doing the behavior as a coping mechanism.
Also, keep in mind what happened before the behavior started. If it happened suddenly, then your dog is teething.
It might also be because he learned that the action is okay after being rewarded.
How to address it?
If you find that he carries something in his mouth more than usual, you may want to re-educate your fur baby about it.
If it is anxiety-induced, make sure that he has limited contact or exposure to what triggers him.
Ensure that his needs are taken care of before separating with him. Lessen separation anxiety by giving exercise before leaving.
Reinforced behavior can be unlearned by withholding rewards from your dog. Limit treats or affection when he picks something up. Reward him when he is behaving the way you want him to.
As much as possible, avoid raising your voice and chasing after him. This will lead to a chase that dogs absolutely love. Thereby further rewarding him for the action.
You can also redirect his focus whenever he does the behavior. If you notice that he is posing to carry something, try to call his attention to a different thing.
Doing this repeatedly can help in getting the habit of picking and carrying things out of him.
The behavior might cause destruction at times, especially when he carries objects he shouldn’t have. When this happens, remove any things that he might pick up.
You may want to provide him items that you don’t mind him carrying. Perhaps a chew toy or a bone.
And of course, when all else fails, you can ask for assistance. There are several dog training programs your dog can benefit from to eliminate the behavior.
Dogs carrying something in their mouth can sometimes be endearing, especially if they do it to show appreciation. However, this can also be the result of some serious concerns like anxiety.
And at times, it can cause destruction to your property. Hopefully, this won’t lead up to that. Prevent this from happening by knowing the cause of the behavior.
From there, you can employ some techniques to address it. Or better yet, you can enlist the help of professionals.