Why Does My Dog Bring Me Toys?

For lots of dogs, your presence = playtime. That’s why the moment you walk in the door after a long day feels like the best moment of their life.

Regardless of their favorite toy, YOU are their favorite person and play companion. So why do dogs bring you toys?

The Top Reasons Dogs Bring You Toys

dog and child playing on couch

When your good boy comes bounding at you with a squeaky toy in his mouth, he may be trying to give you a message. While their adorable doggy brain may not know exactly what they’re trying to say, their excitement says it all.

Experts on dog behavior have speculated and the results are clear: when a dog shows off his toys, he’s trying to tell you something.

So WHAT could your dog be trying to tell you when they bring you toys?

Your Dog Is Super Excited

Why do dogs bring you toys? The most common reason for being greeted with a dog toy is pure, uncontained joy. Your pooch may have been waiting excitedly for you to come home, or maybe seeing a squirrel out the window gave them a sudden burst of energy.

No matter what kind of dog you have, retrievers, pugs, and pit bulls will all need to channel that energy somewhere. What better way than running through the house to gather and deliver every dog toy in sight?

Your Dog Is Asking To Play

Even the best dog can lose their cool when it comes to the chance to play with their best buddy. Bringing you toys is one way your dog can communicate to you that they’re excited, have energy, and are ready to go. Experienced pet parents know the remedy to an excited dog is some good old-fashioned fetch with a favorite toy.

Your Dog Missed You!

dog with toy in mouth. why do dogs bring you toys

While you and the rest of your bi-pedal family members are out and about during the day, there’s not much for your dog to do except for miss you and wonder when you’re coming home. Providing varied, engaging toys for them to play with will help inspire them to entertain themselves throughout the day, but keep in mind the best part of their day is the minute you get home, and bringing you toys is their way of showing it!

Your Dog Is Showing Off Their Prized Possession

Ever notice your dog bringing a toy over to you only to pull away when you reach for it? Tug of war can be half the fun. Dogs aren’t much for material objects, but toys are some of the few things they get to call “theirs.” When your pooch brings their toy around, it may be a way for them to strut their stuff…literally!

Dogs are natural pack animals, and they see their humans as the pack leaders of the family. Some dog trainers say showing off their toys to you can also be a way to try to please you as the alpha family member.

Your Dog Is Craving Attention

Since dogs don’t have a way to speak “human,” they have to get creative with their methods of communication. While you’re off all day doing silly human things, your pup may be left to entertain themselves. Dog owners certainly can’t be mind readers, but there’s no mistaking the message your pup is trying to get across when they plop a squeaky toy in your lap or try to start a tug of war.

If your dog is bringing you toys frequently, they may be trying to tell you they’re in need of a little extra attention. Make time for some fun activities you can do together to show your pup they’re loved!

Your Dog Is Showing They Trust You

how to give your dog exercise indoors

Think about how precious your favorite items are to you. You would only share them with someone really special, right? The same is true for your dog. They may not have a lot to share, but being willing to let their guard down and let go of possessiveness around you shows a true sense of trust between you and your pup.

What If My Dog Doesn’t Bring Me Toys?

These are a few reasons why your dog may not be so keen to share or play fetch:

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They Don’t Know How!

Fetch comes more naturally to some dog breeds than others. Retrievers, Labradors, and German shepherds all have centuries of instinctual hunting and gathering in their genes, but not all dogs are born with the same drive to go fetch!

Mastering the game may take a little extra patience and dog training, but as long as you’re excited they will be too.

They’re Not Interested In The Toy

While it can be hard to imagine an excited dog who doesn’t go after anything they see, sometimes pups can be picky when it comes to their favorite toys.

If your dog doesn’t associate excitement with the ball or toy they’re meant to be fetching after, they’re less likely to want to do it. Try different kinds of toys to get your dog’s attention, and make sure to show your own excitement over toys and balls whenever your dog does bring them to you to encourage the behavior of bringing them back to you.

It’s Just Not Their Thing

Just like not all people enjoy the same sports, hobbies, or activities, not all dogs like to play the same way! If your dog doesn’t care to engage in fetch or other retrieval play, it may be because they haven’t been shown how, or because they haven’t had positive memorable experiences with fetch in the past.

If you’re past the training stage and your dog has simply lost interest in fetch, you can try to encourage them with verbal praise and treats.

A Word on Resource Guarding

dog with 3 hedgehog toys

You may have heard the term “resource guarding” if you’ve worked with a dog trainer before. This is when dogs become defensive or possessive of objects or resources they perceive as valuable.

In the wild, this is an important instinct to survive when food and other resources may be scarce. At home, though, where they likely have a cozy bed and a meal each morning and night, there’s no need for this territorial behavior.

Dogs may also become possessive of toys if a new dog or other pet is introduced. Hey, we all have to learn how to share!