What Does It Mean When Your Dog Brings You His Bone?

by Adrienne Farricelli Google
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    The world of canines seems to be split into two distinct categories: dogs who will take their bone to a corner and promptly growl if you get too close, and dogs who will actually bring the bone to you, almost as if they wanted to share their valued possession with you. If this behavior has left you puzzled, there are some possible explanations for this behavior.

    Look at Me

    It's in a dog's nature to repeat behaviors that have a history of reinforcement. In behavioral science this is known as "the law of effect." If your dog had a bone in his mouth one day and then casually walked up to you, you may have thought he looked adorable. Consequently, any form of attention and praise could have been perceived as a reward from his perspective. So now Scruffy loves coming towards you, tail wagging, almost as if saying: "Look at me, I have a bone, don't you love me?"

    Let's Play

    As the saying goes: "A dog that will fetch a bone, will carry a bone." Some dogs are fetching machines who are naturally predisposed to retrieve and bring stuff back to you. If your dog loves fetching balls and toys and constantly brings them back to you, then why not do the same with a bone? Whether your dog's bone is a real bone or a plastic one, Scruffy may feel compelled to drop it on your lap or at your feet simply because he wants to play his favorite game.

    Be My Chew Pillow

    Some dogs may not only walk up to you with a bone in their mouth, but will also try to chew on it, using your lap as a form of support. In this case, your dog is likely taking advantage of your body contours to get the right angulation to effectively chew his bone. You are basically morphed into a convenient "chewing pillow" that allows your dog to reach all the nooks and crannies of that tasty marrow bone.

    Let's Share

    Some dogs just seem like they enjoy sharing their valuables with their family. Many owners find this behavior endearing and don't feel the need to change it. After all, this behavior is quite innocent as long as the dog doesn't show signs of becoming protective of the bone. Protective behaviors tend to stem from a dog's lack of trust, security and socialization, therefore it takes a certain amount of confidence to share.

    How to Solve it

    Unless you don't mind handling a bone soaked in slobber, you may be wondering how to stop your dog from repeatedly bringing his bone to you. If your dog is an attention seeker, try totally ignoring him when he carries the bone. Tired of being a chew pillow? Invite him to go to a designated spot and praise him lavishly for gnawing his bone there. Placing the bone down and rewarding your dog for chewing it on the floor can be helpful. If he still insists on depositing the bone on your lap, you can always get up and leave the room to make the message clear. Most dogs will understand after several attempts.

    Photo Credits

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    About the Author

    Adrienne Farricelli has been a writer since 2005, serving as an editor, steward and writer for several online publications. She brings expertise in canine topics, previously working with the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification as a dog trainer from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Farricelli offers reward-based training and behavior consults at Rover's Ranch Home Boarding and Training.

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