Do Dogs Get Attached to Things? What to Expect

Dogs are known for their unwavering loyalty and affection towards their human companions. They form deep emotional connections, exhibiting behaviors that showcase their attachment to people. But what about their attachment to objects? 

Do dogs form bonds with inanimate things? This article explores the fascinating topic of canine attachment and delves into whether dogs can develop emotional connections with objects.

Understanding Canine Attachment

Attachment refers to the emotional bond formed between individuals. In the case of dogs, attachment primarily develops with their human owners or other dogs they spend considerable time with. 

The bond is nurtured through positive experiences, care, and social interactions. Dogs are social animals with a natural inclination to form relationships, making them highly capable of attachment.

Types of Attachment in Dogs

In human psychology, attachment theory identifies different types of attachment styles. Similarly, dogs also exhibit various attachment patterns that influence their behavior towards people and objects. The three common types of attachment in dogs are:

Secure Attachment: Dogs with secure attachment exhibit confidence and trust in their owners. They feel secure in their presence and actively seek comfort and reassurance from them. Such dogs tend to be more adaptable, resilient, and less prone to separation anxiety.

Anxious Attachment: Dogs with anxious attachment show signs of anxiety or distress when separated from their owners. 

They may exhibit clingy behavior, excessive barking, or destructive tendencies. These dogs often rely heavily on their owners for security and struggle with being alone.

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Avoidant Attachment: Dogs with avoidant attachment tend to be more independent and aloof. They may not display excessive affection or seek attention from their owners. 

These dogs are less reliant on human interaction and may appear more self-sufficient.

Attachment to Objects: Is it Possible?

While the primary focus of canine attachment is directed towards humans or other dogs, it is not uncommon for dogs to form attachments to objects. 

Dogs are capable of developing emotional connections with toys, blankets, or other items they associate with positive experiences or comfort. Here are some scenarios where attachment to objects may be observed:

Comfort and Security: Dogs may form attachments to objects that provide them comfort and a sense of security.

 A blanket or a favorite toy can become a source of emotional support, especially during times of stress or when separated from their owners.

Transitional Objects: Similar to human children, dogs may develop an attachment to transitional objects. 

These objects, such as a stuffed animal or a chew toy, act as a source of comfort during periods of transition, like moving to a new home or when the owner is away.

Scent Association: Dogs have an incredibly powerful sense of smell. They can associate scents with people or places, triggering emotional responses. 

Objects that carry the scent of a beloved owner or a familiar environment can become emotionally significant for dogs, resulting in attachment.

The Impact of Object Attachment on Behavior

Attachment to objects can have both positive and negative impacts on a dog’s behavior. 

On the positive side, object attachment can provide dogs with a sense of security and comfort, reducing stress and anxiety. It can also serve as a form of entertainment and mental stimulation.

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However, excessive attachment to objects may result in problematic behavior. Dogs may become possessive, guarding their cherished items aggressively. 

This behavior can lead to resource guarding issues, making it essential for dog owners to manage and address these tendencies through appropriate training and behavior modification techniques.

Nurturing Healthy Attachments in Dogs

To promote healthy attachments in dogs, it is important for owners to provide a nurturing environment. Here are some tips to foster a positive bond with your canine companion:

Socialization: Expose your dog to different people, animals, and environments from an early age. Positive socialization experiences build confidence and help dogs develop healthy attachment patterns.

Positive Reinforcement: Reward your dog’s desirable behavior with treats, praise, and affection. This encourages the formation of positive associations and strengthens the bond between you and your pet.

Quality Time: Spend quality time engaging in activities your dog enjoys, such as playing games, going for walks, or participating in training sessions. Regular interaction helps build trust and strengthens the attachment.

Gradual Desensitization: If your dog exhibits excessive attachment to certain objects, gradually desensitize them by offering alternative toys or redirecting their attention. This helps them understand that other objects can also bring joy and comfort.


Dogs are social animals that are capable of forming strong attachments to humans, other dogs, and even objects. 

While the primary focus of their attachment is directed towards living beings, dogs can develop emotional connections with objects that provide them comfort, security, or familiarity. 

Understanding and nurturing healthy attachments in dogs is essential for their overall well-being and behavior. By providing a loving and supportive environment, dog owners can foster a deep and lasting bond with their furry companions.