Of all the things your dog does, bringing you treats is perhaps not one you might expect. Besides, most dogs run off with them to another room. So naturally the question arises – why is your dog doing this? Well today, we are going to be finding out exactly what, and looking at what you should do about it.
So, why does my dog bring me his treats? Your dog may bring you his treat because he’s full, and he wants to share the rest with you. Or perhaps your dog is showing you that he trusts you with his valuable possessions. Other times your dog might want to give you a present.
As you can see, all positive reasons.
But how do you know which one it is, exactly?
Well let’s discuss each one further to get a better idea.
Then we’ll be moving on to your response. So be sure you stick around for that.
You don’t want to give your dog any of the wrong ideas!
Reasons Why A Dog May Bring You His Treats
There are many reasons a dog brings you his treats. He may want to eat with you, show you he trusts you, want to give you a present – or he may be full. Other times, your dog may be craving attention.
Your Dog Wants To Eat with You
Dogs are highly social animals who thrive on the approval of their people – especially those they see as pack leaders. Dogs love being around other animals and the people they love.
It could be your dog wants to eat his treats with the rest of the family.
Your Dog Is Full
Sometimes your dog may bring you his treats if he’s simply had enough to eat and wants you to keep the rest for him.
Wild dogs will bury bits of food to eat later because they know they can’t guarantee when they’ll find more prey.
Our domesticated dogs have these trends of behavior in their DNA, so it could be your dog trusts you to keep a safe hold of his food so that other animals can’t get it.
If you suspect your dog is bringing you treats because he trusts you to keep them safe, be sure to put them somewhere so that your dog can eat them later.
Of course, if your dog starts to bring you his treats regularly, it could be he’s getting too much food (see below).
Your Dog Sees You As Pack Leader
Maybe your dog is bringing you his treats because he trusts you as his pack leader to not eat it.
It could be he wants to do something else first, like play with other dogs or family members. He knows you won’t eat his treats, so he figures they’ll be safe with you.
In these cases, when he’s finished playing and wants to chew something, he’ll come back to you expecting his treats.
Your Dog Wants To Give You A Present
Believe it or not, your dog knows the value of gift-giving. He knows that giving things to others brings them pleasure, and he wants to please you.
It could be he’s bringing you his treats as a way of making you happy with a gift.
If your dog comes to you without you asking him to, and he’s carrying you his treats, he’s probably trying to give you a present.
Once he offers you his treats, he’ll wait to see your reaction to see if he’s done well or not.
Your Dog Wants Attention
Your dog may bring you treats as a means of getting attention from you. Dogs crave attention, be it positive or negative (if negative is all they can get, they’d rather have that than nothing).
Your reaction when your dog brings you treats for attention will determine whether he sees his strategy as successful or not.
Know that if you praise, cuddle, or pat your dog when he brings you treats for attention, he will likely continue to do this.
He’ll probably start bringing you other items as well, such as toys for playtime.
Do All Dogs Bring Treats To Their Owners?
Not all dogs bring treats to their owners. Each dog has his own unique personality and habits. However, there are some dog breeds who are more prone to bringing things to their owners because of how they were bred.
Dogs of all breeds, shapes, and sizes will bring treats to their owners. Some dogs will never bring treats to anyone, though – it very much depends on your individual dog.
However, if you have a retriever breed or another breed of working dog, you may find your dog has more of a tendency to bring you things.
These dogs are used to carrying things around in their mouths and bringing them back to their owners – they were bred to hunt and fetch.
The AKC lists 31 working dog breeds. Here are some of the most popular:
- Doberman Pinscher
- Great Pyrenees
- German Pinscher
- Golden Retriever
- Labrador Retriever
- German Shepherd
Here are some examples of retriever breeds:
- Portuguese Water Dog
- Curly-Coated Retriever
- Flat-Coated Retriever
- Chesapeake Bay Retriever
- Gordon Setter
- Cocker Spaniel
- Labrador Retriever
If you have a Labrador Retriever or a Golden Retriever, your dog is both a retriever and a working dog – so it would be surprising if he didn’t bring you his treats!
Retrievers and working dogs are used to carrying things around and bringing them to their owners as part of their DNA, so it would be very difficult, if not counterproductive, to try and stamp out this behavior in these breeds.
Of course, if you suspect your dog is bringing you treats for other reasons that might indicate a problem, you’ll want to address the problem first (see below).
Should You Stop Your Dog from Bringing You Their Treats?
If your dog is healthy and happy, and you don’t mind him bringing you treats, there’s no need to stop your dog from sharing his goodies with you. If, however, you suspect there are problems behind his behavior, you’ll need to take some steps to remedy the situation.
Times When You Can Let Your Dog Bring You His Treats
If Your Dog Wants Your Company
If your dog is bringing you treats because he wants your company, there’s nothing wrong with letting him do this.
It can even be hurtful to your dog to be refused your company when he comes to you out of love and trust.
The key to your dog’s well-being is consistency: once you decide it’s OK for him to bring you treats, let him continue to do this.
Some people will allow their dog to bring them treats on some days and expect their dog to take their treats away on other days – your dog needs firm boundaries and solid rules.
Dogs love to please their people, so consistency allows your dog to know what you want.
If Your Dog Feels His Treats Are At Risk
If there are other pets in your home, your dog could want to bring his treats to you because he’s afraid the other animals would eat them.
If you suspect this is the case, check what happens at feeding time: how do the other animals behave?
Are they stealing food from your dog? If so, you’ll want to put a stop to it – and continue to allow your dog to bring you his treats in the meantime.
Times When You May Want To Stop Him Bringing You His Treats
If Your Dog Is A Noisy Eater
Some dogs can be very noisy when they eat, which may put off other family members from their food!
If this is your dog, and he usually eats with you in the dining room, you may want to feed him or give him treats when other family members aren’t eating.
If Your Dog Craves Attention
If your dog has learned that bringing his treats to you gets him attention, you may want to nip this behavior in the bud.
However, before you start sending your dog away with his treats, you’ll want to look at why he wants more attention from you.
Be sure he’s getting enough attention each day – with cuddles, playtime, physical exercise, and mental stimulation (see below).
How Do You Stop A Dog From Bringing You His Treats?
You don’t need to stop your dog from bringing you treats, but there are some instances in which you’ll want to address the causes for him doing so. Overeating, illness, and excessive attention-seeking are all situations in which you’ll need to make some changes.
If Your Dog Is Eating Too Much
If your dog is regularly bringing you his treats so that you keep them for later, it could be he’s getting too much food.
The remedy is a simple one: check his food requirements, and adjust accordingly.
Of course, some dogs eat too much out of stress or illness, in which case a checkup at the vet could be in order (see possible illnesses below).
If You Suspect Your Dog is Ill or Unwell
Sometimes dogs will start bringing their owners treats regularly because their eating capacity has reduced due to illness or emotional problems.
Your dog could be eating less for several reasons:
- An emotional problem. Dogs can suffer from boredom, depression, stress, or a change in environment or routine
- A medical problem. It could be a medical issue such as a hormonal imbalance, a digestive disorder, exposure to toxins, medication, pain, dental problems, an infection, etc. Check with your vet if your dog suddenly stops eating
- The wrong food. Sometimes your dog can go off his food, or the food goes bad (even dry food has an expiry date)
- Too much food. Check the requirements for your dog with your vet, and adjust if necessary.
If Your Dog Craves Attention
If you suspect your dog is craving attention and tries to get it by bringing you his treats, consider if his daily needs are being met.
Each day your dog needs:
- Physical exercise. Depending on his size and breed, your dog will need from 30 minutes to several hours of exercise each day. A dog with pent-up energy will have a tendency to be restless and seek attention from his people – and sometimes this lack of attention can lead to destructive behavior.
- Mental stimulation. Dogs are intelligent animals who need to keep their minds busy as well as their bodies. Kong balls and other food toys, puzzle toys, interactive games, and other mind-stretching activities are essential for your dog’s mental well-being. A dog who isn’t getting enough mental stimulation can become restless, anxious, or even aggressive and destructive.
- Lots of love. Dogs love their people – they need affection and love. They crave your company, so be sure to make time for your dog every single day.
Once you are sure your dog’s essential needs are being met, if he’s still craving attention, it could be he’s trying to manipulate you.
If you know he’s a happy dog and he’s just trying to get more from you, try positive reinforcement training:
- When he brings you his treat, ignore him completely. Don’t look his way or acknowledge his presence.
- Wait patiently – eventually he’ll give up when he sees his tactics aren’t working.
- Once your dog has gone to a suitable place to enjoy his treats, go to him and praise him.
- Over time, your dog will understand that he’ll get what he craves (attention from you) when he does what you want.
A dog that brings his owner his treats must certainly like and trust him!
But whether it is something you are fond of, or want to continue, is going to come down to context.
Ultimately, this behaviour doesn’t usually indicate a problem. Quite the contrary.
Still, there are some things you can try should you find it a little bit annoying, or something you would rather put a stop to.
While you are here, fancy checking out my other related guides?
- Why Does My Dog Bring Me His Bone? [And What To Do About It]
- Why Does My Dog Bring Me Socks? [And What To Do About It]
- Why Does My Dog Bring Me Random Things?
- Why Does My Dog Take His Treats To Another Room?
- Why Won’t My Dog Take Treats From My Hand? [& What To Do]
- Why Does My Dog Hide His Treats?
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.