It has been said that dogs speak a language that only their owners can comprehend. However, this is not always the case since no matter the emotional connection, cross-species communication always leaves room for miscommunication.
Only about 7% of communication between human beings is verbal. Over 93% of human communication is nonverbal. Human beings communicate with each other mainly via mannerisms, body gestures, facial expressions, vocal cadence, and tone of voice more than actual words.
Human beings aren't usually aware of this fact as we communicate.
Cross-species communication is all nonverbal, no matter how much dog-parents wish to pretend that they can translate their pet's barking. And unfortunately, because dog-parents project more comprehension in their communications with their pets than probably exists, miscommunication can occur more than with humans.
Sometimes, we project what we like to see onto our pets instead of adequately understanding how dogs communicate.
Pets and Miscommunication
Dogs communicate via the interpretation of body gestures, the movement and mannerisms of extremities, hypersensitivity to smell, sound interpretation, and barking. When it comes to pet owners, dogs interpret every nuance of movement, vocal command, and repetitive behavior by their pet owners to communicate.
Dogs are animals, and animals mostly commit actions and communicate via inherent instinct, no matter how much they are trained to do otherwise.
The point of this detailed introduction is for you to understand that your dog is always trying to communicate with you – even if you think it only wants to play. Take dog toys, for example.
Does your dog happily greet you at the door when you come home with a toy in its mouth? Even though it understands that you gave the toy to it, your dog could be presenting you with its toy for various reasons.
Dogs may bring you their toy as a kind of instinctual tribute to its alpha. Or your dog may be bursting with pent-up physical energy and want to play. Your dog may also want to show how much it trusts you by presenting its favored toy as a gift.
Your dog is habitually presenting you with its toys every time you arrive home may also be signs of instinctual behavioral problems. For example, your dog may start by offering you its toys and then progress into presenting you with incessant or inappropriate items.
Presenting you with every object that it can fit into its mouth can become an unhygienic, unpleasant, and instinctual habit over time.
It can become an expensive habit over time as well. Your dog could instinctually learn to grab every object in the house that can fit in its mouth and can cause financial havoc in your household.
Replacing objects that your dog chews up could become another regular household expense like buying dog food.
Your dog is bringing you its toys for a reason. And since every dog, no matter its breed, has its own personality, you need to learn how to train and communicate with it properly.
We will discuss why your dog may be bringing its toys to you, how to learn to understand its motives, and how to reinforce the behavior positively.
Do you know your dog's breed? Understanding the breed of your dog can be the answer to many issues that could potentially arise.
And why investing in durable dog toys will make you and your dog happier.
Looking for great dog toys? Check out Runball today.
Why Does my Dog Bring me Toys?
Before we delve into why your dog brings you its toys, let's first correctly diagnose the issue.
Let's imagine a scenario you may probably encounter every day – greeting your dog at the door after arriving home.
You walk into your home through the front door. Your dog happily and eagerly greets you as soon as you walk in. It is a habit that your dog has been engaging in for some time – greeting you at the front door with its favorite toy in its mouth.
Your dog energetically paces around you for several seconds or minutes until you acknowledge it. Until you recognize your pet, it will wag its tail, softly whine, and wriggle its body until you acknowledge it by verbal command, rubbing its head, rubbing its back, or a trained hand gesture.
Your dog may not settle down until you take the toy out of its mouth. Or your dog may playfully hold onto the toy as it presents it to you as an initial engagement ploy for extended periods of companionship.
Without getting too cerebral about it, a dog toy is not always just a dog toy. Your pet is attempting to communicate with you when it brings you one of its toys.
The ritualized presentation of a toy by your dog could also be a symptom of instinctual problems you don't recognize and need to before they worsen.
Here are some likely reasons why your dog is bringing its toys to you. It could be because of a quirk of breed, progressively worsening habits, or loneliness.
Did you know that the ancient domestication of dogs, or the moment in human history when dogs evolved from feral wolves and into the companions of human beings, probably occurred over 40,000 years ago?
Some scientists believe that the domestication of dogs happened entirely by accident. Ancient humans may have begun sharing excess meat with wolf packs, a practice that may have jump started the evolution and domestication process.
The instinctual desire of wolves to hunt in packs, work together, and live together is an inherent trait in many breeds of dogs, even today. There are many breeds of dogs that still desire a hierarchical place in the pack, work cooperatively, please alpha leaders, and the constant companionship of other dogs even after tens of thousands of years of evolution and domestication.
When your dog brings you its toy after your arrival, it may just be trying to simulate its pack mentality instinct. Your dog may be lonely or feel like it doesn't have a well-defined function in your household.
Is your dog's breed that of a pack hound?
Foxhounds are relentless hunting dogs that can exist on their own, although it isn't optimum. And Foxhounds are ideal breeds to place in small apartments or houses because they are so energetic.
Siberian Huskies are notorious for their work ethic in groups, stubbornness, understanding its pack position, and only responding to owners who assert their leadership role.
Harriers are a rare hunting pack breed that is energetic, hypersensitive to smell, and very curious. Harriers prefer the companionship of a pack and become very unhappy when left alone for long periods.
Beagles are pack-hunting animals that are overly energetic, overly curious, hypersensitive to smells, and are notoriously difficult to housebreak.
While Border Collies may not technically be pack animals, they are used to herding other animals, like sheep, and working in exacting coordination with humans. Border Collies need to feel like they are part of a family, an important task, or something bigger than themselves.
There are breeds of dogs, especially stray dogs, who will be loyal to whoever feeds them, pets them, or shows them some fleeting compassion and kindness.
However, this is not the case with every breed of dog. Some dog breeds exhibit zealot-like loyalty to their owners, even unto death.
There are many examples in the news of dogs refusing to leave the hospital beds of sick owners or the gravesites of deceased owners.
This dog refused to leave the gravesite of its deceased owner, even after a week of vigilance without eating.
The point here isn't to depress you or bring you down – the point is to stress that some dog breeds are hyper-loyal to their owners. And loyalty cannot exist without trust.
And for loyalty to be recognized and acknowledged, trust must continually be expressed.
Your dog may be presenting its toy to you as a manifestation of the trust it has in you, especially if it is their favorite toy. Dogs can be possessive of territory and objects, so if it is giving you their toy, it is saying it trusts you implicitly.
Some dog breeds are inherently more loyal than others.
Rottweilers have been given a bad reputation in film, TV, and popular culture as mean, vicious, and dangerous animals. But rottweilers are dependable, compassionate animals that are hyper-loyal to their owners.
German Shepherds are incredibly loyal and regularly employed by police and security firms for their reliability.
Akitas are a Japanese breed of dog that is highly protective of children, compassionate, and loyal. Akitas demand constant attention and socialization.
Labrador retrievers are notorious for retrieving items – but they are loyal animals that love protecting families and owners.
Bulldogs are notorious for being stubborn but are also stubbornly loyal and affectionate with their owners.
The diminutive Chihuahuas has a colossal reputation as a loyal and loving pet. According to legend and canine folklore, Chihuahuas are the spiritual dogs that will guide you to heaven after you die.
Staffordshire Terriers are renowned for being hyper-loyal and compliant to their owner's wishes. Staffordshire Terriers are brave, compassionate, and loyal dogs. Unfortunately, this breed is favored for dog fights because Staffordshire Terriers are over-eager to please and will do literally anything their owner requests.
Dachshunds are intelligent, quick-thinking, and highly loyal.
However, your dog may be presenting its toy to you for reasons that have little to do with its breed.
The emotional need of your dog transcends breed. Your dog may be jumping in joy and presenting you with gifts as soon as you arrive because it is lonely.
How often are you away from home? Do you work long hours? Is your pet home alone for long periods? How much time do you spend engaging your pet when you are at home?
Your dog may just be saying, "I'm happy!" and releasing a lot of anxious energy when you return home, and it is trying to give you its toy.
All dogs have varying degrees of energy, and some have more power than others. As previously mentioned, some dogs are just not meant to be cooped up in small apartments or houses according to breed.
Some dogs just shouldn't be cooped up in small apartments and houses because they have too much energy to expend.
Some dogs need to be walked; they need to jump, run and frolic.
Still, these are just some theories about why your dog brings its toy to you when you come home.
A dog bringing its toy to you could be a sign of worsening habits.
Encouraging Bad Habits
Your dog could be a pack animal breed that is used to hunting smaller animals. Small objects, like dog toys, could become a substitute for hunting. Once your dog presents its toy to you and you smile at it or pet it, it could convince your pet that you approve of its behavior.
If you only have one or two dog toys, your dog could begin searching through the house to retrieve any object that fits in its mouth as a tribute to present to you.
And if your pet has access to a backyard, it could learn to present small dead animals it comes across to you.
Your dog presenting a toy to you without proper training can become a financially expensive habit if you need to replace everything it chews up. It can also become a gross habit if it learns to retrieve dead animals when unsupervised.
Find the time to connect and exercise with your dog. It will bond you to your dog. Also, you and your pet will communicate better when you spend more time together.
It can also help you lose weight. Dog owners are 20% more likely to get the daily exercise of at least 30 minutes than non-dog owners.
When you come home, spend a few minutes playing with your pet instead of patting it on the head and walking away. Invest in several dog toys so that it has several to choose from for play.
Pick and choose toys to present your dog and give it a treat when it gives the toy back to you.
Restrict access to areas of the home where your dog can grab objects and chew them.
Your best bet could be to visit a professional dog trainer or enroll your pet in obedience school, especially if it is in the habit of chewing up objects in your home or presenting you with inappropriate items.
Learn to communicate with your dog better. Pay attention to your dog's mannerisms, body gestures, and tones of barking. And teach your pet to read your body language better by being affirmative when giving commands.
Make sure you know the breed of your dog. Understanding your dog's breed can help you learn to communicate with it better.
And remember to invest in a few dog toys so your dog will never be bored. Check out Runball today for a great selection of dog toys.