Why does my dog bring me a toy but not let me take it?


Why Does My Dog Bring Me a Toy but Not Let Me Take It?

Dogs are known to be man’s best friend, and they do whatever they can to keep their owners happy. Some of the activities they do include bringing their favorite toys to their owners. As much as this may seem like a welcome act, some dogs will not let the toys go. They will keep them away from their owners, trying to play with them without any interaction. Therefore, the question remains, why do dogs bring us toys but will not let us take them? In this article, we will delve deeper into this phenomenon to understand it better.

Dogs associate toys with pleasure

One of the reasons your dog brings you toys but will not let you take them is because of the pleasure they associate it with. Dogs consider toys to be their prized possessions because they bring them happiness and joy. Thus, your dog is trying to share that joy and bring you closer by bringing their most treasured objects. Moreover, dogs have instincts, and some breeds were bred for hunting purposes, where they would bring their prey to their human counterparts. However, in most households, dogs may not have such a purpose, so they compensate by bringing their toys.

Dog's Sense of Ownership

When a dog brings a toy to its owner, it is not merely trying to share the pleasure. It is also trying to assert its dominance by initiating playtime with the owner. Dogs are pack animals and have a sense of ownership. Hence, when they carry their toys, they could perceive it as an invitation to play the game. Nevertheless, they could also feel like they have more power and control over their owners. By preventing the owner from taking the toy, the dog could be trying to show that he/she is the leader or that the owner should take the secondary role.

Territorial Behavior

Dogs are territorial animals that will protect their possessions and territory fiercely. So, when your dog brings its toy, it may see the object as an extension of its territory. Hence, when the owner tries to take it away, the dog may become protective and react to safeguard its "territory". It is normal for dogs to be this way because they are inherently wired that way, and it's what kept them alive in their natural environments. However, dogs also crave human companionship, and when they bring toys to their owners, they are trying to mix their protective instincts with their desire for closeness with humans.

How to Deal with a Dog that Brings Toys but won't Let Go

If you have a dog that always brings toys but will not let you take them, you may find it frustrating at times. It may also be a sign of deeper underlying issues with the dog's behavior, such as resource guarding, or a lack of training. Therefore, it is essential to train your dog to understand how to share and initiate playtime on your terms.

- Establish Your Role as a Leader

If your dog is behaving in a manner that is not acceptable, one of the ways to fix such behavior is by establishing yourself as the leader. One way to do this is by practicing obedience training with your dog. Obedience is essential because it helps the dog to identify you as the alpha and leader. In such a case, the dog will be more attentive and respectful of your commands. Once you've established yourself as the leader, the dog's behavior changes, and it will be more likely to take your instructions.

- Teach your Dog how to share

If you have a dog that won't let go of the toy, it may be because the concept of sharing is beyond him/her. Training your dog to understand that it's okay to share its toys can be effective. You can train your dog to release the toy on command, such as "Drop it" or "Out." This reinforces the idea that the toy is not a possession that belongs to them alone. With repeated practice, your dog will learn to release the toy on your command, and you can then engage in playtime with it.

- Use Treats

Treats are the best thing to get your dog's attention or to reward them for good behavior. When you want your dog to let go of the toy, you can use a treat to lure it away, and, in the process, take the toy away. This reinforces the idea that good things happen when the toy is surrendered.


In summary, dogs bring us toys but will not let us take them because of instinct, pleasure, and ownership. As much as this behavior is natural for dogs, it can be frustrating for their owners. However, with proper training and positive reinforcements, such behavior can be mitigated. Owners should learn how to establish themselves as leaders, teach their dogs how to share, and use treats as positive reinforcements. Therefore, the next time your dog brings you a toy, you'll know what to do.


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