Why Does My Dog Walk Around with My Shoe in His Mouth?

If you’ve ever caught your dog parading around with one of your shoes in their mouth, you might have found yourself perplexed by their peculiar behavior. 

While it may seem baffling, there are actually several reasons why dogs exhibit this curious habit. In this article, we will delve into the possible explanations behind why your beloved pooch may be trotting around with your shoe as their prized possession.

Instinctual Behavior

Dogs are descendants of wolves, and certain behaviors have been ingrained in their DNA through generations of evolution. One such behavior is the instinct to carry items in their mouths. 

This instinct dates back to their ancestors, who used their mouths to transport food, bones, or even their young. 

When your dog walks around with your shoe, they may simply be indulging their natural instinct to carry objects, even if it doesn’t serve any practical purpose.

Scent Attraction

Dogs possess an incredible sense of smell, and they are often drawn to objects that carry the scent of their owners. Your shoes, particularly those you frequently wear, absorb your scent due to sweat and foot oils. 

When your dog picks up your shoe, they are essentially surrounding themselves with your comforting scent. It serves as a source of familiarity and reassurance, making them feel closer to you, even in your absence.

Attention-seeking Behavior

Dogs are social creatures that crave attention and interaction from their human companions. Walking around with your shoe can be their way of seeking attention. 

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They might have learned that picking up your shoe elicits a response from you, whether it’s laughter, concern, or even scolding. Any reaction, positive or negative, can be reinforcing for your dog and may encourage them to repeat the behavior in the future.

Boredom or Lack of Stimulation

Dogs require mental and physical stimulation to lead happy and balanced lives. When they lack adequate stimulation, they may resort to engaging in behaviors that seem odd to us. 

Walking around with your shoe could be a sign that your dog is bored or looking for something to occupy their time. 

It’s important to provide them with regular exercise, playtime, and mental enrichment activities to alleviate their boredom and discourage them from seeking alternative forms of entertainment.

Teething and Chewing

Puppies, in particular, go through a teething phase, during which they experience discomfort and itching in their gums. Chewing on objects, including your shoes, helps alleviate the discomfort and facilitates the shedding of their baby teeth. 

If your dog is a puppy, their shoe-carrying behavior could be attributed to their teething process. Ensure you provide appropriate chew toys and supervise their chewing habits to prevent damage to your belongings.

Possessiveness or Resource Guarding

Dogs can sometimes develop possessive tendencies towards objects they consider valuable or rewarding. 

If your dog believes that your shoe is a coveted possession, they may carry it around as a way of guarding it from potential competitors, including other pets or family members. 

Resource guarding behavior can be managed through proper training, socialization, and positive reinforcement techniques.

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Separation Anxiety

Some dogs develop separation anxiety, a condition characterized by distress when left alone. Walking around with your shoe can be a coping mechanism for their anxiety. 

By carrying your shoe, they surround themselves with your scent, which can provide comfort and alleviate their stress during your absence. 

If your dog exhibits signs of separation anxiety, it’s essential to address the underlying issue and seek professional guidance to help them cope with being alone.


Although it may seem puzzling at first, your dog’s habit of walking around with your shoe in their mouth can be attributed to various reasons, including instinctual behavior, scent attraction, attention-seeking, boredom, teething, possessiveness, or separation anxiety. 

Understanding the underlying motives behind this behavior can help you manage it effectively, ensuring your dog’s well-being and preserving your belongings. 

Remember to provide appropriate outlets for their instincts and needs while maintaining a healthy and loving relationship with your furry companion.