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As an owner of this breed, I’m sure you’ve witnessed your Golden carrying socks in his mouth a few dozen times. It probably made you wonder, “Why Do Golden Retrievers Love Socks?”
Golden Retrievers can be quite comical at times, as well as do certain things that boggle your mind! One of those things is carrying your socks.
What is it with this breed and socks?
Keep reading to discover the many reasons why Golden Retrievers have a love affair with socks.
Why Do Golden Retrievers Love Socks?
Golden Retrievers love socks because they are soft and flimsy, which makes them easy to carry in their mouths. They also love socks because they belong to you and have your scent on them. Naturally, Golden Retrievers want to carry things in their mouths, and that includes your socks. Socks are easy to chew, and taking your socks is a way for your Golden Retriever to engage you in play. Oftentimes, if you forbid your Golden from stealing your socks, it makes him want them more!
1. Socks Are Easy To Carry
Socks are the perfect item for your Golden Retriever to carry. They are soft and flimsy, and lightweight.
Why carry a heavy object, when you can carry a nice lightweight sock?
Although, Golden Retrievers will often find the biggest stick or the biggest rock to carry in their mouths too!
Sometimes, a sock is just laying around for them to easily carry.
2. Socks Have Your Scent On Them
Those sweaty smelly socks you just threw in the laundry hamper are what your Golden seems to desire the most! LOL!
Why? Because they have your scent on them.
Your dirty socks bring comfort and a sense of security to your Golden because they have a familiar scent, yours!
Research has shown that dogs have a strong and favourable reaction to their owner’s scent.
A study conducted by Gregory Berns and his team at the Emory University in Atlanta looked at how an area of the canine brain associated with reward, responds more strongly to familiar human scents.
Twelve dogs were given 5 different scents that consisted of their owner, unfamiliar human, familiar dog, unfamiliar dog, and the dog’s own scent.
The scent of their owner triggered the most brain activity, even more than that of a familiar dog. This indicates that your dog is able to recognize your scent and remember it.
So next time you find your Golden Retriever stealing, carrying or even laying next to your socks, it’s likely because the scent of your socks calms and comforts them.
3. It’s In Their DNA To Carry Things In Their Mouths
Golden Retrievers were bred to retrieve and carry things in their mouths.
They were used primarily by hunters to retrieve shot waterfowl, and carry them back unharmed to the hunter.
Retrieve is in their name, it’s what they do.
So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that your Golden is carrying any item they can find in their mouth, including your socks.
You’ll probably notice that your Golden just enjoys carrying things in his mouth, and will often bring you items.
Often times those items not only include your socks but toys, pillows, shoes, and the tv. remote.
4. Chewing On Socks Feels Good
Socks are made of a variety of materials, but they all have one thing in common, they feel good to chew on. They’re soft and fluffy in texture.
Golden Retrievers love to chew. Puppies who are in their teething phase will chew because it’s part of the teething process, and it helps to soothe and comfort their sore gums.
Adult Goldens chew because it’s stimulating, it helps relieve anxiety, and it feels good.
Chewing can also stem from boredom, and it’s important to note that while some daily chewing is healthy and normal, destructive chewing is not.
Chewing on socks is never recommended! Your Golden can accidentally ingest the sock, which is very dangerous, and require expensive surgery!
5. Your Golden Retriever Wants To Play
Stealing and carrying around your socks is a way for your Golden Retriever to engage you in play.
Chances are, the first time you have witnessed your Golden take your socks out of the laundry hamper, you said no and chased your dog around like a lunatic!
Well, this just made it fun for your Golden. He thinks taking your socks is a game, in which you will chase him around to try and get your sock back.
Pretty clever on his part!
Now he sees that your sock is valuable to you, and by saying no, it makes the sock even more enticing.
6. You Leave Them Lying Around
Socks and other laundry items are an easy target for your Golden Retriever to get a hold of especially if you leave them lying around.
If your Golden has access to your laundry basket, or if you leave socks laying on the floor, you can’t really blame your Golden for taking them.
7. Pica Could Be The Reason
If your Golden Retriever is eating your socks, pica could be the reason.
Pica is a condition that causes dogs to crave and compulsively eat non-food items. Those items can be anything from plastic, fabric, wood, rocks, paper, etc.
Some dogs will consume only one thing, for instance, socks, while others may eat a variety of non-food items.
Pica-like behaviour is very common in puppies. Golden Retriever puppies are known for eating everything, including rocks, paper, towels, etc.
Puppies explore the world with their mouths, it’s how they learn. You shouldn’t be alarmed or worried that your puppy has pica because chances are they will grow out of this behaviour.
Pica is more commonly seen in adolescent and adult dogs. It can be caused by behavioural or medical issues.
To find out more about pica, check out this article by GreatPetCare.
Tips To Prevent Your Golden Retriever From Stealing And Eating Your Socks
Sock stealing is often a puppy behaviour that your Golden Retriever will outgrow.
Many owners think it’s funny and cute when their Golden brings them their socks, or even their dirty underwear or bra.
My Golden used to pull the socks right off my feet! She would also take socks from the laundry basket and out of the suitcase that I was packing.
Most of the time it is harmless and innocent fun. However, if your Golden is chewing and eating your socks, this needs to stop, because it can become very dangerous.
- Don’t encourage the behaviour.
- Keep socks out of reach and sight from your Golden Retriever.
- Don’t make a big deal when your Golden takes your socks, instead reward him when he drops the socks.
- Make sure your Golden Retriever gets plenty of daily physical activity and mental stimulation to prevent boredom.
- Be sure your Golden has a variety of toys to chew and play with.
- Teach your Golden the “leave it” and “drop it” commands.
- Call your vet if your dog has eaten a sock. While it’s true that dogs will often naturally pass or vomit the thing they shouldn’t have eaten, a foreign object like a sock can cause a deadly obstruction!
As we have learned, Golden Retrievers love socks for a variety of reasons. They’re easy to grab and carry, socks feel good to chew on, and they smell like you!
It doesn’t matter if they are clean or dirty, Goldens love socks! But, it’s usually the dirty socks that they prefer.
Golden Retriever puppies are notorious for stealing and chewing on your socks. It’s a behaviour that most will grow out of.
While it can be quite comical and innocent, you should never allow your Golden to chew on socks.
Does your Golden Retriever love socks? Share your Golden Retriever sock story with us in the comments below!