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My dog is 15 years old and used to chew shoes when she was younger. Thankfully we stopped that behaviour, but I've noticed that she still likes to take shoes and (for lack of a better word) cuddle them.

She's been living at a family member's house for the past two years but recently came to stay with me for the week. She sleeps downstairs and my shoe rack is near her bed. I've noticed that when I come downstairs in the morning she will have one or both of my shoes nestled in her bed with her; I usually put the shoes up on the shoe rack but she goes out of her way to pull them down and take them over to her bed (one time she put enough effort into it that she accidentally knocked the shoe rack over). One time while I was watching TV and had forgot to put my shoes on the shoe rack, I also noticed her sleeping with her head propped up on the shoes.

It's not necessarily bad behaviour that I want to curb (besides maybe her pulling my shoes off the rack), and at her age it's probably too late to stop it. However, I'm curious as to why she's doing it. These shoes are well-worn so my theory is that my smell is deeply ingrained in them, which is comforting to her; or, maybe she just wants something to rest her head on while she sleeps.

  • Our dog will often get the shoe or other items belonging to family members to cuddle when she's left alone – Yvette Jul 28 '17 at 3:47
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Dogs are both creatures of habit and typically scent-motivated. It sounds like there have been changes in your dog's environment over the past few years, and that can lead the dog to try to find stability where it can. Your instinct is likely correct; your dog is likely finding comfort in your scent. If you removed the shoes from the equation, they would probably try to find something else that had your scent on it. The fact your dog also used to chew may suggest they are in what I call the "I don't want to chew it, I just want to have it" mentality. As long as they aren't destroying things, leaving it alone is probably best.

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  • Changes over the past week is more like it. That's a good point; it's likely the abrupt change of scenery that has caused her to seek some stability. – Meta Jul 31 '17 at 16:28

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