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Why Do Dogs Bring You Things When You Come Home? Vet-Approved Facts

Written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Last Updated on March 20, 2024 by Dogster Team

Close up portrait of dog playing fetch with colorful toy rope

Why Do Dogs Bring You Things When You Come Home? Vet-Approved Facts


Dr. Amanda Charles Photo


Dr. Amanda Charles

BVSc MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Most dogs love greeting their human companions when they walk through the front door, and every pup has their own unique greeting method. Some might lick their owners’ hands while being petted, jump up and down in joy, wag their tails while nearly knocking things over, or even whine or whimper out of excitement. Others like to bring you “gifts” when you come home, seemingly as a form of greeting.

So, why does your dog bring things to you when you come home? There are a few different reasons to consider.

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Why Dogs Bring You Things When You Come Home

1. It’s a Sign of Affection

Some dogs bring items as gifts to their owners to greet them at the door when they come home. It could be anything from a piece of paper to a favorite toy, but whatever it is, it seems like a prize to the dog, and they assume that their human will love it too. If your dog brings you their prized possession, you can usually interpret that as a sign of their affection for you, and their way of strengthening your bond. They’re expecting you to take care of whatever it is they offer when you walk through that door, so don’t throw it away in front of them!

Bichon Frise bringing his toy to his owner
Image Credit: belefront, Shutterstock

2. It’s a Way to Channel Excitement

Hearing and seeing a family member come home after time spent alone is extremely exciting to a dog. They need a way to channel all that excitement, or they won’t know what to do with themselves. Finding and picking up toys to bring to you can act as a “displacement” behavior to help regulate their arousal levels. Dogs that pick up objects as a way to channel their excitement are also likely to be wagging their tails and wiggling their bodies. You should let your dog parade around with this object as long as they want to. If this sounds like your dog then make sure your dog has something they like to pick up near to where you enter your home to avoid them picking up unsuitable objects like shoes!

3. It’s a Call for Attention

Some dogs like to bring their humans a toy or another object when they come home just for the attention that they get from doing so. Without something in their mouth, they might be greeted with a “Hello!” but with something in their mouth, they’re more likely to be greeted with something like, “Hey there! What have you got? Let me see what you have in your mouth!” They might try to play keep-away with the object to maintain the focus on them for as long as possible.

4. It’s Time to Play

Another common reason that dogs bring us things when we come home is because they are ready to play. They’ve missed their humans so much that they can’t wait a minute longer to engage in a favorite game like hide-and-seek or fetch. If your dog brings you a toy when you walk in the door and you take it and then throw it for them to catch, they are probably just going to keep coming back with the toy so you can throw it again. If they bring you a rope toy but won’t let go when you try to get it from them, they’re challenging you to a round of tug-of-war. To them, it’s all about the game!

Beautiful golden retriever dog running with a yellow ball in his mouth
Image Credit: Birgit Reitz-Hofmann, Shutterstock

Certain Breeds Are More Likely to Bring Things to Their Owners When They Come Home

All dog breeds are perfectly capable of bringing things to their companions. However, some breeds are more likely to do so due to their genetics. Dogs that were bred for jobs like hunting, retrieving, and pointing tend to have a natural drive to pick things up and bring them to their human companions.

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Final Thoughts

Dogs do all kinds of interesting things, and luckily, bringing things to us when we come home tends to be delightful behavior. Understanding why they are bringing us their toys or other items is a great way to figure out how you can best react to them so as to increase your bond.

Featured Image Credit: alexei_tm, Shutterstock

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