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Why Does My Dog Take My Clothes When I Leave? 9 Reasons

My Dog Takes My Clothes When I Leave

Your favorite clothing is missing.

But it was just in the hamper when you left?

Where could it be?

Well, you might want to consider checking your dog’s little nook because it might be hiding there somewhere.

If not, maybe under the couch? Or under your bed?

Or maybe your dog still has it. 

Why does your fur baby take your clothes every time you’re gone anyway?

What is it with clothes and dogs?

Read on to find out:

  • Should this be a reason for concern?
  • What causes your dog to take your clothes?
  • 9 possible reasons behind their weird behavior.
  • And much much more…

Why does my dog take my clothes when I leave?

Your dog takes your clothes when you leave because they have your scent on them. Aside from that, they have easy access to it, they love anything soft, and they’re natural scavengers. But it could also be due to anxiety and lack of workout or play.

9 reasons why your dog takes your clothes when you leave

#1: They have your scent 

“Where’s my mom/ dad?”

One time we were playing.

The next time you were gone.”

If you leave your pooch, they will certainly be looking for you. Of course, they’re going to search for you using their best asset – their nose.

Research shows that different dog breeds may have a wide variety of detecting different types of scents. For instance, domestic dogs have been very helpful during search and rescue operations.

Thus, they’ll be smelling and sniffing the entire house to look for you. 

Only to give up after realizing you’re nowhere to be found, so they’ll resort to the next best thing.

They’ll go to the area where your smell is overpowering – your laundry basket. 

Because that’s where your clothes are.

And that’s where they can smell you best, minus your actual presence. 

That familiar mommy/ daddy’s scent will make them feel at ease. 

It will make them think that you’ll come back soon because you still have your stuff with them. So they’re keeping it for a while for your return.

Note: If you got a new pup, the best way to make them feel safe when you’re not around is to let them sleep beside your clothes. You can also put a sock by their bed. Or give them a recently-worn T-Shirt. 

#2: They love soft stuff

“Mama, it’s sooo warm, fuzzy, and soft.”

Soft stuff like:

  • Socks.
  • Pillows.
  • Your couch.
  • Soft fabrics.
  • Roll of tissue.
  • A sheet of paper.

Yes, your clothes definitely fall under one of these.

No wonder your pooch loves to steal and cuddle on it. 

Your clothes, especially your socks, are one of their favorite targets. 

Because their playmate (yes, that’s you) will be gone for a few hours.

They will look for something that will make them occupied.

Dogs are indeed smart.

Too smart they’ll head to the things that spark joy to them, which are anything soft and cuddly. If you leave them with toys which are too hard or bouncy for their liking, they will turn to your clothes. 

Note: Taking your clothes may eventually lead to chewing if you have a pup who is still undergoing the teething stage. If this happens, it may be better to keep those clothes away from their reach.

#3: Reduces their anxiety

Your Dog Takes Your Clothes When You Leave To Reduce Anxiety

“Don’t leave me alone, mama.”

Your dog is probably taking your clothes every time you leave to reduce their anxiety. 

Your dog probably wonders:

  • “Where’s my hooman?”
  • “Why did they leave me?”
  • “Will they still return for me?”
  • “Why are they still not back?”

According to Science Direct, male dogs experience separation anxiety more compared to female dogs. The dog’s breed is also a huge determining factor whether or not they’re prone to having separation anxiety.

Your dog may not be used to being left alone. 

They’ll need more time to adjust to you being gone. 

It doesn’t even matter if you just disappeared for half an hour.

The fact that you weren’t there when they needed you is reason enough for them to panic. 

So they’ll look for your clothes which have your smell on them. 

They’ll take it with them somewhere where they can cuddle and roll with it to remind them of you.

Other effective ways to calm your dog’s anxiety:

  • Give them a doggy massage.
  • Make them listen to classical music.
  • Accompany them for a good exercise.
  • Make them wear calming coats or shirts.
  • Isolate them in a quiet room with soothing music, gentle lights. 

If you can’t be with your dog physically at all times, you can do the steps above to make them feel calm. 

Eventually they’ll be able to realize that you need to leave for work at this certain time of day.

And they’ll be able to know that you’ll just return at the end of the day, so they’ll be expecting you by the door.

#4: Something new to play with

“Not this toy again, hooman.”


“Can I have your sock instead?”


Your dog may already be complaining inside their head if you leave them with the same toy every time you go out for work. So they’ll probably turn to something they haven’t touched or played before a.k.a. your clothes.

Much to your surprise, your dog get tired and bored of playing with the same toys over and over again. 

However, dogs are not like kids, they usually can’t tell you directly what they want to play with. 

As a fur parent, what you can do for them not to get bored with all their toys easily is to rotate them. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide of how you can do it:

  1. Have four (4) separate boxes with different sets of toys inside. 
  2. Label each box with Weeks 1, 2, 3, and 4. 
  3. Week 1 box is what you’ll give them on the first week of the month.
  4. The following week, you must try your best to return all of the Week 1 toys in the box.
  5. Give them the toys inside the Week 2 box.
  6. Repeat steps #4 and #5 again for the remaining Week 3 and 4 boxes.
  7. The following month you can switch up the toys inside the boxes.

Do this and they’ll think you’re always giving them a new set of toys.

Switching things up will keep them away from getting things you don’t want them to take or play with, like your clothes, slippers, couch, and many more.

Check out also: Why does my dog bring me toys?

#5: Gives them comfort

Having your clothes beside them is definitely comforting for them.

When you’re away, your fur baby takes your clothes because they miss you and it’s what soothes their sorrow.

This especially happens if you’re gone longer than expected.

Taking your clothes and sleeping with them makes them feel like you didn’t leave and you’re still cuddling them.

If you feel safe that your dog isn’t chewing on your clothes, which would be obvious if you get your clothes in good shape when you return, then you can give them something more comfortable to sleep with. 

A doggy blanket maybe, which you slept on first for a few days before giving to them.

Not only does it have your smell in it, but it will also keep them warm while you’re not there to sleep beside them.

Read also: Why Does My Dog Sit Behind Me? 13 Weird Reasons + 5 Tips

#6: They get rewarded.

Say you just got home from work. 

You see your pooch playing, rolling, and chewing on your clothes. 

What do you do?

Do you:

  • Shout at them to scare them and make them leave your clothes behind?
  • Do you chase them and wish you’ll catch them with your clothes still intact?
  • Do you get some treats and walk slowly toward them and bribe them to give your clothes back?

“Are there wrong and right answers here?”

Yes, absolutely.

Because if you do the first and second bullets, then you’re probably doing it wrong. 

If you promote the scare and chase game, they’ll think that you’re enjoying it as much as they do. 

If they are seeking attention and you give it to them, they’ll take your clothes again. 

Well, that will only be a problem if you don’t want them, too. 

Especially if they’re already chewing on it. 

Warning: Chewing your clothes could pose a serious threat to your dog because this may lead to vomiting and gastrointestinal blockage. The foreign objects they chew, however small, may accumulate in their stomach and cause severe pain and damage in the long run.

#7: They have easy access.

“Target locked, hooman.”

Did you just leave your clothes lying on the floor?

Is your hamper so open and welcoming?

If yes, then your pooch is probably cooking some doggy plans already in their cute head.

It’s not only your clothes they’re after, it can be anything within their reach.

Here’s a funny video of a dog taking everything in sight: 

So, if you don’t want your dog to be playing with clothes whenever you’re away, make sure to store your laundry basket on a high place.


A hamper with a cover might work but they might just knock it off to access it. 

Unless it’s too heavy and big for their size.

Leaving them with a set of interactive toys will keep them entertained and they might not even bother to check what from your clothes they’re gonna take today.

Some interactive toys you can give your dogs:

#8: They lack workout or play.

“I thought you’re taking me on an afternoon walk?”

“Why are you leaving without me?”

Another reason for your dog’s knack of taking your clothes when you leave is their lack of exercise. 

Vetstreet also says that lack of (outdoor) play is also a reason for their object-taking behavior.

Just like how humans need daily exercises, your lil’ pooch needs mental and physical workouts as well.

Puzzle toys are good at handling your dog’s mental exercise. 

As for their physical one, they might need you to accompany them for that.

Things you can both do to release your dog’s energy:

  • Fetching.
  • Swimming.
  • Playing tug.
  • Occasional running.
  • Taking longer walks.
  • Climbing up the stairs.
  • Playing hide and seek.

These exercises can definitely drain down your dog.

And it can benefit you as well.

Win-win situation, right?

Because they’re already tired from using up their energy, they won’t have enough strength to chew on your clothes anymore. In fact, they might just spend their time sleeping while waiting for you to return from your quick errand.

#9: They are natural scavengers.

“Hooray! I found a treasure.”

What? Gold?


It’s your stinky and sweaty socks.

But to your pooch that is already so valuable and priceless.

Dogs are scavengers by nature.

Even if they’ve been living with you since they were born, their scavenging instinct is still there.

*sniff, sniff*

*dig, dig*


It might not be new to you anymore whenever you see your dogs digging your garbage, your lawn, or even your laundry.

One way or another they’ll find clothes and take it with them.

Especially if you haven’t washed them yet. 

Well, sometimes they don’t even mind if it’s your washed clothes they’re taking anyway, as long as it’s yours.

Tip: What you can do instead before leaving them is make sure they’re already fed. Then, leave them a toy that they can play with while you’re out and about (don’t forget to do #4). 

People also ask: 

Why does my dog take my socks when I leave?

Your dog takes your socks when you leave, even if they’re full of sweat and they stink because they love your smell on them. Well, similar to your clothes, they can smell you through your socks. So, it gives them the familiar scent they miss – yours. 

Since they can’t smell you physically, they’ll just make use of your socks instead. It gives them an ultimate feeling of comfort knowing you’re still coming back.