Apple the dog with her toy Apple the dog with her toy

Why Do Dogs Bring You Toys?

Read time: 3 mins

21 Sep 2023

A curious but endearing behaviour that many dog owners experience is their pups bringing them toys. It's a heartwarming sight, but what does it mean? In this article, we'll delve into the reasons behind this delightful canine gesture.

What Does it Mean When a Dog Brings You Toys?

Dogs have an incredible ability to communicate with us, not just through barks and tail wags, but also through their actions. When your dog brings you a toy, it's their way of saying, "I love you," "let's play," or "I trust you." Here's a closer look at what this behaviour signifies:

Affection and bonding

One of the most common reasons dogs bring you toys is to express their affection. In their eyes, you're a part of their pack, and offering a prized possession like a toy is their way of strengthening the bond. It's their version of giving you a gift.

Playtime invitation

Dogs are naturally playful creatures, and by offering you a toy, they're inviting you to join in the fun. They see you as their playmate, and fetching or tugging on the toy together is their idea of a good time.

Trust and comfort

When your dog brings you a toy, it also demonstrates a high level of trust. Dogs are territorial animals, and by sharing their toys with you, they're conveying that they feel secure and comfortable in your presence.

Why Does My Dog Bring Me a Toy then Run Away?

It's not uncommon for dogs to bring you a toy only to snatch it back and dash away. This behavior can sometimes leave owners puzzled. But fret not; there are valid reasons behind it:

Instinctual playfulness

Dogs have a strong prey drive, and this behaviour can be a manifestation of that instinct. They might be imitating hunting behaviour, bringing you the "prey" before playfully fleeing, encouraging you to chase them.


Running away with a toy can also be a clever way for your dog to seek your attention. They want you to be engaged and active in the game, and this play tactic often accomplishes just that.


Sometimes, dogs can exhibit a bit of possessiveness over their toys. By running away with the toy, they could be guarding it momentarily, testing your interest and commitment to play.

Why Does My Dog Bring Me Sticks?

While toys are a popular choice, some dogs have a penchant for bringing sticks instead. You might wonder why your pup opts for twigs and branches from the great outdoors. Here are some reasons:

Instinctual behaviour

Fetching sticks is a deeply ingrained behaviour in many dogs, harkening back to their wild ancestors who would retrieve items during hunts. When your dog brings you a stick, they are tapping into this natural instinct.


Dogs are resourceful creatures, and sticks are readily available in most outdoor environments. When your dog brings you a stick, it could be a sign of their resourcefulness and their desire to share their discoveries with you.

Playfulness and engagement

Just like with toys, offering you a stick is often an invitation to play. Dogs find joy in interactive games, and a stick can be a versatile and fun prop for a game of fetch or tug-of-war.

Safety tip

While sticks can provide entertainment for your dog, it's essential to ensure that the sticks they bring are safe. Sharp or splintered sticks can pose a danger to your pet's mouth, so always supervise their play and consider using safer alternatives like dog-friendly fetch toys.