Unraveling the Mystery: Why Dogs Love Socks and Underwear and How to Stop Them from Running Off with Them

July 11, 2023

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Unraveling the Mystery: Why Dogs Love Socks and Underwear and How to Stop Them from Running Off with Them


Dog owners around the world have faced the curious phenomenon of their canine companions having an unexplainable attraction to socks and underwear. While it may be amusing to watch your furry friend parade around with a stolen sock, it can also be frustrating and potentially dangerous. In this blog post, we will explore the reasons behind this behavior and provide some practical tips on how to prevent it.

The Instinctual Urge

Dogs are descendants of wolves, and despite domestication, they retain some of their ancestral instincts. One such instinct is the prey drive, which can manifest in different ways. When dogs see a sock or underwear lying around, it triggers their prey drive, making them see these items as toys or objects to be explored.

Scent and Familiarity

Dogs have a remarkable sense of smell that allows them to detect scents we may not even notice. Socks and underwear, which often carry the distinct scent of their owners, can be incredibly appealing to dogs. The familiar scent offers them comfort and reassurance, reminding them of their beloved human companion.

Attention and Boredom

Dogs are social animals and thrive on attention and interaction. Stealing socks and underwear can be a way for them to gain attention from their owners, even if it is in the form of scolding or chasing after them. Dogs may learn that engaging in this behavior elicits a reaction from their humans, reinforcing the act of stealing.

Additionally, dogs are intelligent creatures that require mental and physical stimulation. When they are bored or understimulated, they may resort to finding their own entertainment, and socks and underwear become readily available targets.

Preventing the Behavior

  1. Keep Items Out of Reach: The simplest way to prevent your dog from getting their paws on your socks and underwear is by keeping them securely stored away. Ensure that your laundry is in a closed hamper or kept behind closed doors, out of your dog's reach.
  2. Provide Adequate Stimulation: Engage your dog in regular exercise and play sessions to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. Provide them with toys and puzzles that can challenge their minds and redirect their focus away from your laundry.
  3. Teach the "Leave It" Command: Train your dog to respond to the "leave it" command, which teaches them to ignore certain objects or behaviors. Begin by offering treats and rewarding them when they respond correctly. Gradually introduce socks or underwear during training, rewarding them for leaving the items untouched.
  4. Offer Appropriate Alternatives: Provide your dog with a variety of toys and chewable items that are suitable for their size and breed. This will give them a healthy outlet for their chewing instincts, diverting their attention away from your laundry.
  5. Use Deterrents: There are various deterrents available in the market that can help discourage dogs from going near specific areas or objects. These can include bitter sprays, scented repellents, or even noise-emitting devices that startle dogs when they approach certain items.


While the mystery of why dogs love socks and underwear may never be fully solved, understanding the reasons behind this behavior can help dog owners take appropriate steps to prevent it. By providing adequate mental and physical stimulation, teaching obedience commands, and keeping tempting items out of reach, you can reduce the likelihood of your furry friend developing an affinity for your laundry. Remember, patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement are key when training your dog, helping them become well-behaved members of your family.