Why Dogs Like Socks & How to Stop them from Stealing Them


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If you’ve ever owned a dog before, there’s a strong possibility your socks have found their way into its mouth at one point or another. If this hasn’t been the case with your coveted companion, consider yourself lucky and your socks, too! For some reason, some dogs just can’t seem to turn a blind eye to that fluffy, smelly cotton ball of goodness we humans know as “socks.” 

puppy playing with owners sock, siberian husky

Why do dogs like socks? Dogs are attracted to socks for a handful of reasons with the most common being the smell of their owner’s scent on his or her socks or the soft texture that socks provide. In some cases, your dog chewing on your socks could be a sign of anxiety or general boredom. 

Much like the way that blankets or stuffed animals provide us comfort, socks can often fill the void of loneliness and anxiety that dogs may experience as a result of their owner not being present or a new environment.

Having something to serve as a security blanket that’s not only soft but also contains their owner’s scent can bring much comfort amongst other things. 

Reasons Why Your Dog Enjoys Your Socks

Unless your dog was magically gifted with the ability to tell you exactly what’s on his or her mind, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to understand why your dog likes socks at first glance. 

With a bit of close observation and consideration of possible factors, you can easily identify the reason behind your dog liking your socks. 

1. They Enjoy The Taste, Smell, And Texture

This is one of the most common reasons as to why your dog is drawn to your socks. Your scent is one of the strongest identifying factors that your dog familiarizes him or herself with.

Your scent could easily be the reason behind why your dog likes to gnaw on your socks in addition to clothing in general. 

Not only does your scent bring your dog comfort, but the taste and texture may provide comfort as well. A dirty sock, in particular, may satisfy your dog’s taste buds with its grimy, sweaty taste.

It may not sound appetizing to you, but the taste of a dirty sock is quite high on the list of canine munchies, right next to those highly prized pairs of shoes. 

puppy chewing on sock, golden retriever

2. Boredom

Sometimes stealing and chewing socks could simply just be a telltale sign of your dog’s boredom. If there’s nothing else quite appetizing to chew on around, your socks may innocently fall victim to being used as chew toys for your dog. 

This reason can also point to the fact that perhaps your dog is craving for more attention and play.

Keeping your dog happy can be as easy as making sure he has lots of options for toys to play with. Toys don’t have to be expensive either.

If your dog is already playing with your socks, try making him a toy out of fabric. This could be considered a solution and an even better one if you use some of your smelliest dirtiest socks for the project!

This is a great video on making dog toys to keep your pet busy. Even though this tutorial uses T-Shirt yarn, you could improvise with old t-shirts as well! The key is to teach your dog it is OK to play with fabric toys, but not OK to play with socks.

3. Just Because

Some dogs like socks well . . . just because. This reason can bring you some relief as it puts the assumption that your dog is just plain out to get you and your socks to rest.

Your dog could also be drawn to your socks because he or she genuinely doesn’t know what it is and doesn’t know any better. 

Naturally, dogs tend to claim objects within their reach and especially anything that falls on the floor. If your socks find their way into your dog’s reach, he or she may just assume it’s theirs to claim without any and without any particular motive, keep it for themselves. 

4. Anxiety

Young or old, many dogs suffer from anxiety due to a number of reasons including separation and unfamiliar surroundings.

Chewing on and stealing your socks may simply be a coping mechanism in times of anxiousness. Anxiety can also cause your dog to act out and harm your socks as a result.

Because they emit your scent, your dog may find your socks as a suitable security blanket to cope with your absence.  

5. Your Dog is Teething

Teething is another common reason for you dog liking your socks. Specifically, puppies, much like humans, go through a teething stage in which their adult teeth start to come in after the baby teeth have fallen out. As a result, your puppy may chew on your socks because of their soft, comforting texture. 

If you’re finding that this is the case with your puppy, consider purchasing more appropriate chew toys that are safe and won’t cause discomfort of any kind.  

How To Keep Your Dog From Stealing And Chewing on Your Socks

All is fun and cute when you find your adorable pooch chewing on your favorite socks, but after a while, that adorable act can become quite problematic if you find yourself having to constantly fend for the lives of your socks.

In this case, it might be of your best interest to start putting a stop to your dog getting ahold of your socks and luckily there are many ways of doing so.

socks on feet

Successfully training your dog to completely withhold from stealing and chewing on your socks is possible, but requires much strategy, training, diligence, and doggy treats of course!

With any form of training, the earlier the better, so if you find your new puppy nibbling on your socks, it’s highly recommended that you squash the habit as soon as possible. 

If you’re the owner of an older dog, training may be harder, as the saying goes, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” This depends on whether or not this is a new or preexisting habit for your mature dog, however, pre existing habits are more difficult to break.

Solutions for Breaking the Habit

Training definitely requires much of your own time and dedication, but if you’re not able to dedicate your time there some quick and easy non-training solutions for keeping your socks out of your dog’s mouth.

dog in dirty clothes hamper

1. Store your socks out of reach.

This is by far the quickest and easiest solution for keeping your socks out of your dog’s reach. Try storing your unused socks high above your dog’s reach either on a shelf or away in a closet or dresser drawer.

For storing dirty socks, hampers with lids and no holes are the best way to go. 

Remember not to give your dog the impression that everything on the floor belongs to him or her. You can easily do this by keeping all socks off the floor and out of plain sight as to not stimulate any temptations. 

2. Gates or Crates

Completely shutting off any areas of the house that may contain socks is also helpful, as it ensures your dog will not be able to gain access to those areas. Keeping your dog contained to one space with a gate or crate will also allow you to keep an eye on them should they magically find a sock lying around somewhere. 

3. Nasty Socks

This may not be the most preferable solution for keeping your dog away from your socks, but it’s worth a try if you don’t mind giving your dog a bit of tough love. Spraying your socks with hot sauce or a bitter-tasting solution will deter your dog from coming back for more socks once they taste them. 

Not only will your dog cringe at the new taste of your socks, but after a few attempts, he or she will start to associate the taste with all socks and sustain from chewing on and stealing them.

April

I'm an avid animal lover, former veterinary assistant, and blogger. My undergraduate work included a pre-veterinary curriculum and some graduate work along those lines as well from Cal Poly in Pomona, CA (GO BRONCOS!). These days I blog about all sorts of animal-related topics. Many I have or currently personally own, some I don't but am just interested in. Nothing in this blog should be construed as veterinary advice. I am a 100% advocate that if you think something is wrong with your pet, take it to a vet.

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