Take the 2-minute tour ×
Pets Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for pet owners, caretakers, breeders, veterinarians, and trainers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

My dog greatly enjoys stealing socks and running around with them in his mouth any chance he gets. He doesn't destroy them; he just holds on to them. Eventually, he will get bored with this and just drop the socks. I know he does it just to get my attention, but I am not sure of a good way to stop this behavior.

Obviously, I do my best to keep socks hidden from him at all times, so he doesn't have the opportunity, but every chance he gets, he will pick one up and run off with it.

How do I stop him from stealing socks?

share|improve this question
2  
when my brother would steal my socks, i would take another pair of socks, put one of the socks inside the other one, and then proceed to beat him with my new weapon... it wasn't the best behavior deterrent, but it sure was fun. –  n00b Feb 18 at 22:03

2 Answers 2

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Look who figured out how to get attention from you! And judging by him making you post here, he's done a fine job of it. Face it, your dog has outsmarted you. Happens to me almost daily. ;-)

As you have already figured out, he's doing it to get your attention, and he's succeeding because you go chasing after him, right?

Time to outsmart your dog! Find an old sock you don't care about and make it a toy for him. Tie a knot in it so you both know which one it is. When you have the time, let him grab that one and make it a game to get it back. This will be the game and the attention he craves. (Yes, dogs not only play games but invent them, and "keep away" is an ever popular one.) When he grabs a real sock, completely ignore him. Do not try to get it back, do not even acknowledge he has it. Really, you must completely ignore his stealing of a real sock no matter what.

Pretty soon he'll learn that only The Sock gets attention. He'll learn to ignore the others, and now you have only one sock you need to control. It will take some time, probably weeks, but it will happen without undue stress to you or him and with no real major efforts.

share|improve this answer
1  
That's the way to do it. And yet, socks are cheap.. No matter if the dog starts chewing one of your better shoes, do nothing. If you jump up and reach for the shoe that dog will know a bulletproof way to get your attention and goodbye all the shoes you forget on the floor. –  Esa Paulasto Feb 19 at 5:09
1  
Yah, I never chase him when he has one (though the very first time I did make that mistake, which I'm sure is where he learned this from)... I just wait till he drops it pick it up quietly and walk away. I didn't think of giving him a "toy sock" though, I'll give that a try! –  EEP Feb 19 at 16:04

Your dog is most likely stealing your socks because they smell like you. A few good ways to prevent this behavior are:

  1. Plenty of exercise. If your dog doesn't have loads of pent up energy, then he/she will be less likely to engage in extra-curricular activities.
  2. Attention. Have one-on-one time with your dog. After all he/she is stealing your socks for your smell, or, when you catch the dog in act, he/she will receive attention. Whether your reaction is good or bad, the dog still sees it as attention.
  3. Keep your socks out of reach. After all, if they aren't there, then they can't be stolen.

If you notice that the thieving sessions are around the same time every day, then you can easily prevent this by having a short 10-minute training or play session right around that time to distract your dog.

Hope this helps.

share|improve this answer
    
Good ideas but he does it even when he is tired and getting plenty of attention from me... sometimes he just picks them up and looks at me, doesn't even run away with them. I'm sure this will be quite helpful to someone else though so thanks for the good answer! –  EEP Feb 19 at 16:03

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.