What Does It Mean When a Dog Brings You Its Bone and Lays It Beside You?

If your dog enjoys playing fetch, she may be trying to get you to throw the bone.
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When you dog leaves a slobbery bone by your feet, you may wonder why in the world she thought you'd want to touch that. Your dog can't speak, but her actions communicate a message. Think about your dog's personality and general play traits to figure out why she's leaving this present for you.

Play Behavior

When dogs want to play, they resort to all sorts of goofy tactics to get your attention. Some stare at you, some stand near their toy and others bring their toy to you and expect you to take it. If your dog brings her ball or her chew toy to you when it's time to play, the bone-giving behavior may just be an extension of this. Other signs she's ready to play include barking, tail wagging and spinning in circles.


Dogs get into the habit of doing things that get them attention. If you gave your pup a bone and she brought it back to you and you fawned over the "good girl" or the "good fetch," you may have created this habit. Your dog may leave the bone by you in hopes of earning the same praise that she once did or of otherwise getting your attention.

Pack Role

Whether your dog fancies herself dominant or submissive, her role in the pack may have something to do with it. So-called active submission or appeasement includes behaviors like jumping, attention-seeking, nuzzling and performing a play bow. If these behaviors accompany the bone drop, your dog is reminding you that she knows you're the alpha.


Dominant dogs may push into you with a toy to get you to play. If your dog prefers to chew the bone while resting on you, stand on you with the bone or otherwise paw at you, the behavior signifies her belief that she's dominant. If your pal seems selectively deaf and does not respond to training, she is dominant. These dogs may try to nip or mouth if you actually take the bone from them, so do not reach for the bone if your dog is holding it in her mouth. A dog behavioral trainer can help you assert your leadership role and tamp down your pet's displays of dominance.