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Why Do Dogs Bring You Their Toys? Reasons & FAQs

Written by: Chelsie Fraser

Last Updated on May 21, 2024 by Dogster Team

border collie dog holding black toy ball in mouth

Why Do Dogs Bring You Their Toys? Reasons & FAQs

Dogs are adorable and fun creatures, but they also do odd things. For example, have you ever wondered why your dog brings you toys? Dogs bring their owners their toys because they are trying to communicate with them. Your dog may also pick up on your reaction to it, which gives them the incentive to repeat the behavior.

So, what is your dog saying? Here are a few of the reasons that dogs bring you their toys.

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The 5 Reasons Why Dogs Bring You Their Toys

1. They Love You

One reason that your dog may bring you their favorite toys is that they love you and see you as part of their pack. It’s a way of sharing and bonding with you. It’s also a way of saying that you can share their belongings.

black and white Boston terrier dog playing with tugging at tennis ball
Image by: Glen Carrie, Unsplash

2. They Trust You

Dogs don’t share their toys with just anyone. They only share them with people they trust. A research study conducted by Oregon State University showed how dogs use their toys to develop a bond with humans. The study had dogs and strangers gather in a place unfamiliar to the dogs.

Various toys were placed in the room. Initially, the dogs hoarded the toys and were wary of the people. Gradually, they started giving the toys to the strangers in an effort to interact with them. By the end of the observation period, the strangers were able to freely play with and pet the dogs.

This situation showed that while the dogs were hesitant about the unfamiliar people, they used the toys to develop a connection. Your dog shows no hesitance in sharing their toys with you because that connection is already developed. This points to the fact that your dog trusts you.

3. They Want to Play

If your dog brings you one of their favorite toys, it could mean they want you to play with them. Many dogs will grab a toy to bring with them when you call for them. They don’t want you to keep the toy but rather use it to spend time with them.

Dogs, especially puppies, crave attention and like to be constantly engaged with their owners. Bringing you a toy is your dog’s way of asking you to interact with them. It’s a method of communication. Sometimes, they drop the toy in your lap. Other times, they may shove the toy against your leg to get your attention.

dog playing with chew toy
Image by: AnnaD, Pixabay

4. They Want to Make You Happy/Feel Better

Dogs find comfort in their belongings, including their toys. They see you, their owner, as part of their pack and feel protective toward you. They also have an innate desire to please you. Dogs see their toys as a way to make themselves feel happy, so they bring a toy to you to bring you the same feelings of joy.

If you’ve ever had your dog pile their toys on you when you’re sick or feeling sad, it’s your dog’s way of trying to make you feel better. They can’t do much, but they pick up on your emotions and know that something’s not right. Since their toys make them feel better, maybe they will help you too!

5. It’s Positive Reinforcement

If your dog brought you their favorite ball and you reacted positively by starting a game of fetch, petting your dog, or simply talking to them in a cheerful voice, it reinforced the behavior and gave your dog incentive to do it again. Dogs learn from experience which behaviors get positive reactions and which ones don’t.

If bringing you their toys gets a desirable reaction from you, they are likely to repeat the behavior in the future.

owner playing with toy poodle dog on green grass
Image By:, Shutterstock

Why Does My Dog Bring Me Toys But Won’t Let Go of Them?

If your dog brings their toy to you but doesn’t actually let you have it, it likely means they are just trying to get your attention. They may want to play or simply feel that you are distracted. This is also a way that some dogs greet you when they have been home alone for a while.

Why Does My Dog Paw at Me?

In addition to bringing you toys, dogs may also paw at you to get your attention. If you are already spending time with your dog, they may place their paw on you as a sign of affection or as the body language equivalent of, “pet me more.”

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Final Thoughts

Since dogs can’t talk, they must communicate in other ways. If your dog is bringing you their toys, it’s generally a positive message. They give you their favorite things because they love and trust you, because they want to play with you, or because they want to make you happy or feel better. Dogs see us as members of their pack and instinctively want our love and affection.

The next time that your dog drops their favorite ball in your lap, remember to appreciate your dog’s desire to share their things with you. It’s their way of saying that they care.


Featured Image Credit: Julia Zavalishina, Shutterstock

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