- …put your foot in a sock only to find it no longer covers your toes?
- …done yet another load of laundry only to end up with three more unpaired orphaned socks?
- …found socks tucked in the strangest places like in between couch cushions and under the entertainment center?
You may have a smooth (or fuzzy) criminal on your hands! In truth, it may be a sign of her devotion to you that your Boxer covets the stinkiest socks the most, or that your Daschund hides your socks in his secret stash to sniff and chew when you’re not looking.
Turns out your feet produce a high concentration of pheromones which your scent boosted dog likely associates with the comfort of your presence. They love you. They adore you. They simply just can’t get enough of you. Your stink is just perfume to them.
Or, it is just fun to chew on stinky stuff.
The jury is still out.
All joking aside, socks can be dangerous for your dog. If swallowed in part or in full, they can create obstructions in the digestive tract that can even be deadly.
Here are some tips if you have a sock offender on the loose in your house:
How to Stop Your Dog from Steeling Socks:
1. More Exercise
The most common reason that dogs repeatedly get into stuff they have persistently been told not to is a lack of exercise. Just like kids who bounce off the walls three days in to a rainy spring week, your dog has real needs to get enough exercise to sooth those anxious feelings that drive them to get into trouble.
For most dogs, the proverbial “walk around the block” just isn’t going to cut it. At least once or twice a week, your dog really needs to get a good run in to burn off that excess energy that can lead to destructive behavior.
Want to make sure your pooch gets plenty of exercise without giving up Sunday couch time? Time to look into an automatic ball launcher for dogs.
2. Mental Stimulation
Dogs need to be stimulated mentally as well as physically. Like most social animals, dogs are intelligent and designed to interact with their pack, including their human companions.
Check into a positive training class in your area. Once you learn a few basic training principles, you will be surprised how fast and easy it is to give your dog some new tricks to replace their old sock sniffing ways.
On a related note, have you considered joining any fun dog sports? Agility, Flyball, Dock Diving and even Dog Parkour are all great ways to check both the mental and physical stimulation boxes. Plus, you will learn lots of great positive training techniques which will come in handy for nipping sock-seeking behavior in the bud.
3. Appropriate Toys
All canines, particularly for the first few years, have a strong drive to chew. Your Beagle’s sock fetish may simply be about the nice soft texture and satisfying tear apart effect typical of knit fabrics. This is particularly true for teething puppies who have a very strong drive to always have something in their mouths to sooth the painful growth of adult teeth.
Praise your pup for chewing on safe toys that you have provided and continue to take away socks with a stern tone. Over time that will be enough to stop most sock chewing.
4. Trick Socks
What do you think would happen if your dog goes in for a nice stinky sock expecting some funky toe jam and gets an unpleasant (to them) taste of sour apple spray? It might not stop them the first time, but it won’t take long for them to get the picture.
Socks will soon make their “No Thanks!” list. Make sure to buy a no chew product made specifically for dogs. PRO TIP – make sure you know which socks are the “treated” ones. You don’t want to make the mistake of wearing them to the gym!
5. Pick Up Your Socks
As a last resort, when all else fails, you can try the unthinkable – picking up your socks off the floor. We know, this chore seems an almost fascist level of cleanliness, but alas, sometimes it is the only solution to rehabilitating your furry sock thief once and for all!
If it helps ease the pain and humiliation of having to pick up after yourself, even many professional dog trainers have had to resort to this old chestnut, known as: “Be smarter than your dog. Manage their environment by removing access to hazards.”