We have an American Bulldog, Bernie, who I adore but is also basically the size of a moose. Bernie is also very young – somewhere between a toddler and a teenager – therefore, Bernie has some serious energy. Every single day when I open the door, Bernie busts through, greets me, then grabs one of his toys and prances around the living room with it for a few minutes, showcasing his novelty off for everyone to admire.
Of course I laugh, but what’s with the routine? This week Raise a Paw looks further into, why do dogs show off their toys?
It’s true, dogs do like carrying things around in their mouth (because they don’t have hands) and showing them off. Or, doing what we as humans perceive as “showing off.” Often it can depend on what the item is. For example, if your pup is carrying around an item of your clothing such as your socks or a sweatshirt it’s because it smells like you. Take notice the next time your dog is carrying around an item of your clothing. Is it cotton? Most likely the answer is yes because cotton absorbs more scent than other fabrics. Since your pooch likes to be near you, if they can’t then having something that smells like you is a comfort to them.
Comfort also plays a role in why they like to parade around with their toy. If they have just come in from the outside, they will pick up a toy and carry it around, showing it off to different people as a way of saying to everyone, “see, this is mine, all mine.” It’s part of their routine and offers them a sense of ease to have something comforting around that is all theirs.
If that doesn’t exactly make sense, think of it this way. We as people like to put our keys in the same place, hang our jacket in the same place or park our car in the same spot in the garage. This is because it’s part of our routine and these items and spaces are “ours.” Your dog is operating with the same idea. That its toy is its own and therefore that brings your dog happiness to be able to have and be comforted by those things. And much like your keys or jacket they carry the items around so they don’t lose them.
Lastly and probably the most obvious, dogs show off items so you’ll play with them. If your pup brings you a toy then its letting you know that you’re the alpha in the situation and it wants for you to play fetch with it. It is presenting you with a gift and therefore wants you to reciprocate accordingly and reward it with a little playtime.
So while a dogs version of showing off may not be the type of ridiculous antics that gets it a slot on one of those idiotic MTV home video shows, there is some method to what it is your pooch is doing when it has a Case of the Prances.
Video: Via YouTube