Why do dogs bring you toys?

why do dogs bring you toys

Is there any better feeling than coming home from a long day of meetings to be greeted by your excited dog? As with lots of things to do with our canine friends, there isn’t one particular way all dogs greet us.

Some patter over wagging their tails, some bowl you over with an enormous doggie hug, and some bound over, their favorite toy in their mouth.

It can seem a bit of an odd arrival gift —a slightly graying squeaky teddy bear— so why do dogs bring you toys?

It’s just what it looks like — they want to play!

Even though you’ve maybe only been gone a few hours, this can feel like a lifetime for your little pup. When they finally see you again they’re incredibly excited and just want to play with you. Their human has returned! 

Quite often when we see the cute image of our dog coming over with their favorite, most chewed toy, we become really excited too. Our faces loosen, our pitch gets higher and we give our dog a lot of attention.

These are all indicators for them that we really like this behavior. After a while, playing when you arrive home becomes a habit and your pooch just wants to be prepared. They know that bringing you a toy when you get home makes you happy!

They want to play hard to get!

Another reason why your dog brings you toys is that they’re wanting to show them off. Those of us who have dogs that do this, will quite often wonder what the point is. Why do dogs bring you toys just to hold onto them and not play?

The second you try to take it, they back away. This is their way of teasing you — maybe because you left them at home forever (and ever).

By doing this, they get a lot of attention. They can run back and forth whilst you laugh and get ever so slightly annoyed.

You’re their pack leader and they want to make you happy!

They might be your best friend, but in their hearts, dogs are pack animals. In the wild, you can observe their ancestors — wolves — presenting the pack leaders with gifts in a show of respect and submission.

Your dog’s one-legged teddy bear makes them happy, so why wouldn’t it you too? They want to please you, which is why they do it.

Should this behavior be encouraged?

That really depends on you (and I guess the size and speed of your dog as they greet you)! Some dog owners love it when their dogs bring them a toy when they get home, as it’s a great way of having some fun with your dog and encouraging a bond.

For dogs that can be overly excited, bark, and even sometimes nip you, training them to bring you a toy when you arrive might be a good idea. When their mouth is occupied by carrying a toy, it makes it harder for them to bark or get too wound up.

If you don’t want your dog bringing you toys, try not to engage in their behavior when they start to do it. Acknowledge them when you get home, but don’t play with the toy or be excited by it.

How does your dog greet you when you get home? Do they bring you toys? Let us know!

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