Don’t you find it annoying when you cannot find the other pair of your favorite shoes? Or when you see another pair of discarded rubber gloves in the pile of laundry? Or how about the kindling you stacked by the fireplace now set next to the couch? If you have a Golden Retriever, this is life for you.
Here are the five main reasons why your Golden Retriever brings you random things:
- To please
- To show his trust
- They want to chew
While the random “stealing” and “fetching” of the Golden Retriever can be annoying over time, here are proven tips to at least minimize the random bringing of things to you.
Understand Why Golden Retrievers “Steal” or “Fetch.”
As we have discussed earlier, Golden Retrievers are natural hunters. As hunting companions, they have a natural instinct to hunt or fetch the birds. Since your household doesn’t present an excellent opportunity to pursue his prey, your Golden Retriever will likely look for some alternative things to bring to you.
Here are the five reasons why your Golden Retriever brings you things.
1. To please. Golden Retrievers are very affectionate dogs, he shows his affection and needs for friendship by bringing “gifts” to his owners. So next time your Golden drops a pair of soiled socks to your feet while you’re watching TV, he may actually want to give you something that he thinks is important to you.
They will do this to please even strangers which makes the Golden Retriever NOT an ideal guard dog as he is too friendly for your own good.
2. To show his trust. As a hunter, Golden Retrievers work closely with their owners during hunting trips. The owner, to show his appreciation to the dog, usually gives him treats. By giving you his booty, your Golden Retriever trusts that you will provide him with the needed treats.
Submission, the dropping of treats at your feet or into your lap, is a dog’s way of showing his full trust in your ability to provide for his needs.
3. Boredom. Being highly friendly dogs, Golden Retrievers need interaction all the time. They can actually thrive in households with more than one pet as other pets can provide entertainment to Golden Retrievers.
When your Golden Retriever brings you something, he may mean he needs to be petted or cuddled. Golden Retrievers do not do well in hushed environments. Since they are highly sociable dogs, they need to be active, so they do not fetch things randomly.
4. Happiness. The Golden Retriever can be exuberant in his joy and may show it by giving you gifts. Arriving at home after a day at work, he will try to show his happiness. Sometimes, that favor can come in the form of a tattered slipper. Curb the urge to kick the dog; he’s just too exciting to see you.
The constant wagging of the tail, usually in line or lower than the body and it may be accompanied by incessant barking, can be a sign that your Golden is happy. Pawing to catch your attention can also be signs that your Golden Retriever is happy and excited. His mouth is usually also open or may display panting behaviors.
Depending on the general orientation of your Golden’s body, he may just want to play with you. When your dog displays these behaviors, be ready to leave what you’re doing and engage him if you don’t want to fetch and munch on that other pair of slippers. Although the truth is told, that other slipper doesn’t have any bearing at all at this point.
5. The need to chew. Golden Retrievers do not have an apparent distinction between what is edible and what is not. If he perceives something to be delicious, he is likely to munch on it without actually knowing what he is chewing on.
Since dogs naturally need to chew on things due to several reasons, it is also natural to see them find things to eat, tear or nibble if they do not have toys nearby.
Golden Retrievers usually chew to relieve the pain of teething in puppies, to ward off boredom, or relieve stress. It also helps keep the teeth and gums healthy. The tearing motion (holding on to the object with the paws and sudden jerking of the head) helps exercise their neck and jaw muscles.
Alternative Ways to Curb the Need to Fetch Things
1. Have an alternative toy at hand that you can use to entice your retriever from his target. Another way is to keep your valuables from the vicinity of him because Golden Retrievers are naturally messy and do not have boundaries.
Chew toys are one way to keep the dog occupied and discourage them from looking for other objects to fetch and play with. If your dog is obsessed with chewing on things, then it is wise to have a toy on hand at all times, especially when your dog is alone while you are at work.
2. Engage your retriever. If he is bored that may cause him to fetch things, the best thing you may do is to drop whatever you are doing at the moment and spend at least 10 minutes with him. It may save you time tidying up.
One way to engage your Golden is to take him to long walks. An enjoyable romp is one way to decrease the boredom of the Golden Retriever and find an outlet to his bursting energy. This may actually be good for you as it forces you to be active to keep up with that ball of energy.
3. Discourage fetching of random things. Items that Golden Retriever may find delicious is a surefire fetching material. Discourage him by adding baking soda to your favorite shoes. The bitter taste will discourage him from biting it while keeping your boots odor-free! Think two birds with one stone.
Train Them to Minimize Fetching
1. Golden Retrievers are animals of habit. Because the Golden Retriever is always eager to please his owner, he is keen at observing what his owner likes. Since dogs are straightforward to train and teach, it would not be hard to teach good habits to your Golden.
The best way to tell your Golden that you do not approve of his actions is to ignore the object offered to you. Over time, your Golden will understand that you are not happy with what he is doing, so he will not repeat it.
Train your Golden to discipline himself by telling him to “drop” or “leave” the item he is about to bring to you.
2. Do not punish after the act. Even if you punish him after your favorite damaged shoe is beyond repair, he will not understand the punishment.
As suggested earlier, ignore the object, even if it is your favorite shoe. Take it out only when your Golden is no longer present to enforce your earlier disapproval of his action.
3. Reprimand your Golden during the act. Be firm and solid. He will understand when you are about to give up on the “angry” action.
Here are a few tips on how to reprimand your Golden Retriever:
Tell him to “sit.” Sitting is a form of submission, and the dog understands that you are dominant by your positions.
Ignore. Again, ignoring the dog is one way to tell him that he had done something that you do not like. Dogs don’t want to be ignored.
Squirt them with some liquid. It may be harsh, but it is one way to send the message across. Dogs don’t want to get wet at random, and squirting them when they did something wrong is a clear message.
4. Reward when appropriate. To encourage the repetition of the kind act to reward your dog.
When your Golden responds to your instruction of “drop” or “leave,” give him a pat or a treat. At the same time, if he did something like actually fetching the thing you told him to, reward him also.
This way, your Golden understands the consequences of his actions – when he gets the extra attention or treatment or when he gets ignored and punished.
Reward your Golden by giving him time to play with other dogs.
Owning a dog is a big responsibility. To some couples, a dog becomes as much as their children, and a responsible dog owner will impress it upon himself to take the duties heads-on.
You are being responsible means training your Golden Retriever to be non-destructive, especially on the property of your neighbors.
Which neighbor would spend his precious time knocking on your door every morning to ask if you could have seen his favorite pair of socks?
Imagine your chagrin if, after a thorough investigation, you find the missing sock under Buster’s belly?
Learn your dog’s behavioral cues. Observe what makes your dog tick, what makes him happy, or when he is tired. By understanding your dog, you will learn to anticipate his response to situations that may trigger him to fetch things. Act on it immediately to stop him from damaging items.
Owning a dog is both a boon and a bane. How you manage your dog pretty much predicts your life as a dog owner.
My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I’ve got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.