Why Do Golden Retrievers Steal Socks?

If your Golden Retriever is a thief that steals your socks, don’t worry; you are not alone, even if they steal more than socks.

It’s completely normal to be confused and question their motive, and like any other concerned dog parent, you want to know why your Golden Retriever behaves that way.

There is nothing to worry about; we will answer all of your questions in this article.

So, why do Golden Retrievers steal socks? Golden Retrievers tend to steal socks because they are ideal for chewing on due to their softness; the socks fit perfectly in their mouths. They may be missing someone, so they steal their socks for their scent. However, your Golden may be only stealing to get your attention.

Other reasons can make your Golden Retrievers steal things from around the house and keep reading to learn all of them.

Why Do Golden Retrievers Steal Socks?

golden retriever with sock to answer why do golden retrievers steal socks

Here are the reasons why your Golden Retriever steals socks:

  • Instinct 
  • Seeking attention
  • Missing someone
  • Teething


Your Golden Retriever may steal your sock due to their instinct; as you probably know, Goldens were bred to retrieve, so they have a strong instinct to carry things around in their mouths.

Perhaps the sock has a fur feeling that made their breed instinct quick in. 

So instead of chasing after squirrels in the park, they use that instinct with socks; you can provide them with plenty of stuffed animals, which can take their attention off the socks.  

Seeking Attention 

If your Golden Retriever is playing with the sock or tossing it around you, they are more likely seeking attention and want you to join and play with them.

However, if your Golden steals socks for attention, you shall not give them what they are seeking because it will make them connect that stealing socks gives them the attention they want, and they may even start stealing other things if the socks are out of their reach.

So instead, ignore them and after a while, after they drop it or leave it, play with them and shower them with attention.

This is the right way to discipline your dog, and you can learn why this is the only acceptable way of disciplining a golden retriever here where I also discuss why the other ways, like physical punishment, don’t work.

Missing Someone

Most dogs tend to steal their owner’s clothes because they contain their smell.

It’s more likely to be the reason why if they steal your clothes when you are not home and come back to find their sock is in their mouth or laying next to them, they are using your sock to comfort them while you are not around.

They may do it if their owner is traveling or has been gone for a while, so they steal their clothes because they remind them of their owner. 

In that case, it’s better to leave a piece of clothing that contains that person’s smell around your dog to comfort them.


If your puppy is stealing your socks, they are teething, and since socks are soft and fluffy, it’s a perfect fit for their mouth.

It’s more likely if your puppy only chews it and does not try to rip it apart.

Here are some signs to help you know if your pup is teething.

  • Excessive chewing 
  • Red gums
  • Eating Slower than usual
  • Fever
  • Drooling
  • Crying 
  • Small Blood spots on their toys (or anything they chew on)
  • Swollen gums
  • Excessive nipping
  • Whining

If you think that your pup is teething, make sure to provide toys made specifically for teething. 

Why Do Golden Retrievers Steal Things?

Golden Retrievers tend to steal things due to their instinct; they genuinely like to carry items around in their mouths or teething.

One of the most common reasons is that they are stealing to get your attention. Maybe you tend to give them immediate attention when they steal in order to stop them, but instead, they think that you are encouraging the behavior because it works every time.

They may also steal a specific person’s stuff because they miss that person.

Golden Retrievers can also steal stuff because they love these things and want to have them, and that’s what they did.

However, as soon as you notice that your Golden Retriever is stealing, you should start to work on stopping that behavior because it can be cute at first. 

Still, it can develop, and they may steal something delicate and display it in front of your guests, and it won’t be a lovely situation.

What Is Kleptomania? 

Kleptomania is a condition that makes you unable to resist the urge to steal things that you probably don’t need.

Here are the symptoms of Kleptomania:

  • Feeling happy while stealing
  • The Inability to control the urge to steal
  • Feeling guilty after stealing.
  • Having anxiety when not stealing (usually leads to stealing).

However, this is not the case for dogs because dogs don’t know that what they are doing is stealing; they are simply getting what they want.

That’s why it’s essential to train your dog on some boundaries and that some things are off-limits.

Why Do Golden Retrievers Like Socks So Much?

Golden Retrievers like socks so much because they like the texture of the sock, and to them, it’s chewy and ideal because it contains your scent, unlike their chew toys.

They can also like socks more if they are bored with their toys or have nothing or no one to play with, and to them, that sock is something new and exciting.

So provide them with more toys or exercises to prevent boredom and keep them distracted from your socks.

Why Do Golden Retrievers Like To Carry Things In Their Mouth?

I don’t remember the last time I looked at my Golden Retriever and didn’t find him carrying anything in his mouth.

I often find him walking around with his favorite toy in his mouth or even sleeping with the same toy in his mouth.

However, I know that the reason that Golden like to carry things in their mouth so much is that it’s the closest thing to mimicking the instinctual behavior that every Golden was bred to do.

Also, this behavior is not harmful, so it would be better if you provided your Golden with enough toys to carry around for their little play pretend.

Do Golden Retrievers really “soft mouth” stuff instinctively?

Yes, Golden Retrievers really “soft mouth” stuff instinctively.

Golden Retrievers are known for their soft mouth and how they were bred to carry the prey to their owner without harming or damaging it.

So Goldens, to this day, are gentle with everything they carry in their mouth. You can find some Goldens holding a cat’s head in their mouth while playing without harming the cat.

That’s why Golden puppies tend to nip on everything, including your hand, face, leg, and anything in their reach.

How to stop your Golden Retriever from stealing things? 

There are some things you can do to stop your Golden Retriever from stealing things, so here is how you can do it.

  • Ignore them.
  • Reward good behavior.
  • Provide plenty of exercises.
  •  Train them. 

Ignore Them 

If your Golden Retriever is stealing to get your attention, it would be better if you ignore them.  

They will keep stealing if they believe it gets your attention, so pretend that your Golden is not even there, and wait till your dog get bored and finally drop whatever they stole; when they do so, give them a toy instead and play with them, it will get them distracted.

Keep repeating till your Golden finally realizes that stealing won’t get your attention.

However, it’s really important to let your family members know about this because as long as anyone gives them attention when they steal, they will not stop.

Reward Good Behavior

During the process of teaching your Golden to stop stealing, you need to reward every good behavior.

So whenever your dog plays with a toy or anything, they are allowed to play with reward them with treats, their favorite toy, and praise them. 

Dogs tend to learn faster with the positive reinforcement method, so your Golden will learn as long as you are patient and consistent with them.

Provide Plenty Of Exercises 

Providing plenty of exercise to your energetic Golden will help them be well-behaved because they will be too tired to consider stealing anything when they get home.

Also, it could be that the reason why your Golden steal is due to boredom, so providing them with physical and mental exercise will prevent boredom.

Try to take them for a run every morning, besides their daily walk. Also, if you have a pool, allow your Golden to swim every day because it’s excellent exercise.

Swimming is better than walking or running because a minute of swimming equals 4 minutes of running. It would be better to let your Golden retriever swim for ten minutes a day.

Now that we provided our Golden with enough physical exercise, it’s time to play some mind games with them.

Provide your Golden Retriever with enough puzzles and toys to keep them occupied so they can actually use their mind to think.

Golden Retrievers are the 4th smartest dog breed, so your pup is quite intelligent, so let your pup shine to impress and show you how smart they are.

There are also some games you can play with them to measure their IQ if you want some fun and new activity to try with your beloved pup.

Train Them

Here is another way you can try with your dog to stop them from stealing; whenever your dog steals a sock or anything, you should try to swap that item with a toy or a treat.

You can also put some of their favorite treats on the floor so they can drop what’s in their mouth, and while they are distracted eating, take the item and hide it. 

However, if you tried everything else and nothing else worked, you can take your Golden Retriever to a professional trainer, and they will train your dog properly. They will also let you know to behave around them during that time at home.

Why Does My Golden Retriever Take My Socks And Hide Them?

We already explained the possible reasons why your Golden retriever takes your socks but do they dig in the backyard to hide them or hide in the house in general? Well, let me explain that too.

Most dogs tend to bury valuable things to them; that is why in almost every cartoon movie that has a dog, you can see that dog at some point digging a hole to bury their beloved bone.

So If they are hiding your sock in the house, it’s due to the same reasons, but they don’t have a place they can dig in, so instead, your dog is hiding it because they see that sock as something special and they want to protect it, consider it a compliment.

Why Do Golden Retrievers Carry Toys?

Golden Retrievers tend to carry toys for many reasons, such as they want to bring them to you so they can ask you politely to play with them, perhaps your Golden Wants to hide his toy out of sight, or they are mimicking their instinctual behavior. Sometimes dogs like to parade their toys, too.

You should provide your Golden Retriever with attention throughout the day and not give it to them only when they are asking for it.

If you don’t have time to play with them, you can consider getting another dog to keep them entertained whenever they are bored, or maybe find them a play date.

If you liked this article and found it useful, you can share it with your friends and family if they are suffering from the same problem with their dogs, and please, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Related Questions 

Why Do Golden Retrievers Always Bring You Things?

Golden Retriever Bringing you things can have many meanings, and each one is sweeter than the one before; They may be telling you, please play with me, seeking attention, or they are letting you know that they trust you whether it’s something they cherish or something that needs fixing.

Can You Put Baby Socks On Your Golden Retriever?

Yes, You can put baby socks on your Golden Retriever’s paws; on cold nights, socks and a little blanket will keep your Golden warm and help them get a good night’s sleep without feeling the cold of the night; you should buy them a size 0-3 months so it can fit their paws perfectly. 

Do Dogs Need Shoes?

Yes, Dogs can need shoes; it would be better for both you and your dog to make them wear boots on rainy or snowy days; it will keep their paws safe from the cold, and it will prevent drying their feet from the chemicals in the snow, you can also get them some shoes for sunny days because the floor gets too hot and may harm them.

Helpful Resources 

Why Does My Dog… Steal Objects?

Dog Behavior Problems – Stealing and Stay Away

How to stop your dog from stealing

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources

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