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Why Does My Dog Steal My Blanket? 5 Reasons & How to Stop It

Kristin Hitchcock

By Kristin Hitchcock

chihuahua with blanket

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

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

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Typically, dogs are known to steal food and items they think are edible. However, there are some dogs that steal other items, such as blankets. The reason behind this behavior varies, but it isn’t as uncommon as you might think. There are several dogs that behave like this, so you aren’t alone.

Luckily, figuring out the why can help you put a stop to this behavior, which is probably easier than you’d think. You can read about the possible reasons below and then consider your dog’s behavior to determine what’s motivating them.
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The 5 Reasons a Dog Steals Your Blanket

1. As a Chew Toy

Some dogs just like to chew. While it is most common in puppies, many older dogs chew consistently as well, especially if they are bored. In all of these cases, your dog might like the texture of the blanket since it is very soft and plushy. Some dogs simply like chewing on blankets since it’s similar to chewing on stuffed toys.

If your dog tries to chew on the blanket after they’ve stolen it (or you have a few holes in the blanket already), that is likely the cause. Pay attention to what your dog does after they already get the blanket.

dog with blanket
Photo Credit: Zazu70, Pixabay

2. It’s a Game

If you chase your dog around the house after they grab the blanket, they may be using it as a game. Dogs are pretty smart. If they realize that they get to play after taking the blanket, they’ll likely start taking it more!

Of course, this is the last thing you want, but you don’t want your dog to destroy the blanket. Luckily, this is also one of the easier behaviors to correct, which we will discuss a little further down.

3. Attention

Even if you aren’t chasing your dog, if you’re giving your dog any type of attention when they steal the blanket, they may learn to get attention through their thievery. Dogs will try to get attention in all sorts of ways, including by doing things that they aren’t supposed to do.

Some dogs are more drawn to attention than others. So, if your dog belongs to a more social breed, this behavior is more likely to occur.

dog wrapped in a red blanket
Photo Credit: Mylene2401, Pixabay

4. Boredom

In more intelligent dogs and puppies, boredom is a big driver of behavior. Often, dogs will attempt to find something to do if you don’t provide them with a suitable activity. In many cases, it is something naughty that you don’t want them to do, like stealing your blanket.

Dogs that steal blankets for this reason will likely tire of it quickly since they didn’t have a reason to steal it, to begin with. Dogs may also attempt to get you to chase them, though they really are just bored—not necessarily in the mood to play.

5. It Smells Like You!

Your scent is one of your dog’s favorite smells. Having a cozy blanket that smells like you can be very soothing for your dog. They can wrap themselves in your smell!


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How to Stop the Behavior

No matter why your dog is stealing the blanket, you’ll want to correct it. These methods are effective, but you have to stick to them. Not being consistent will confuse your dog and likely take them back a few steps.

1. Remove the Blanket

While your dog is being corrected, they don’t need access to the blanket; keep it out of their reach. If they often steal it when you stand up and leave the room for a second, start taking the blanket with you.

2. Add Some Entertainment

If your dog is stealing your blanket, they may need more entertainment. Add some puzzle toys to your home and consider other ways to entertain them. You can increase their walking distance and frequency. Often, this will help distract them from the blanket, and they won’t be trying to fulfill missed needs by stealing it.

In other words, they’ll be tired! And a tired dog is a good dog.

dog playing with chew toys
Photo Credit: mattycoulton, Pixabay

3. Teach the “Leave It” Command

Next, you’ll need to teach your dog the “leave-it” command. “Leave it” is an excellent command for your dog to learn, as it tells them when you don’t want them paying attention to a specific object or person. Obviously, this is very helpful with the blanket, but it can also be useful for other situations.

To teach this command, you’ll need a treat. Make sure your dog knows that you have a treat in your hand. Then, close your hand and hold it next to your face. Whenever your dog stops looking at the treat and starts looking at you, say “leave it” and give them the treat. They should catch on pretty fast and start looking at you as soon as you say “leave it”.

Finally, you can slowly make the process more difficult. First, hold the treat further away from your face. Then, use an open hand. You want to work up to dropping the treat on the floor and having your dog leave it alone. This is a long process, but it is really one of the best skills that your dog can learn.

4. Return with the Blanket

Now, you can start giving your dog access to the blanket again. They should know “leave it” pretty well by now, though they don’t have to be absolute experts. Whenever your dog tries to steal the blanket, tell them to leave it and redirect them to something more appropriate.

If your dog commonly uses the blanket as a chew toy, you can redirect them to a suitable tug toy and offer to play. Show them how to properly ask for what they want instead of stealing the blanket.

Personalized Throw Dog Blanket-VEELU-Amazon
Image: Personalized Throw Dog Blanket/VEELU, Amazon

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Dogs steal blankets for several reasons, whether for attention, play, or boredom. However, all of these causes typically get fixed in the same way. First, you need to stop the theft by removing the blanket. Every time your dog successfully steals a blanket, they’re encouraged to do it again, so you need to stop that ASAP.

Then, you must provide them with distractions, like puzzle toys and extra walks. Finally, teaching them the “leave it” command ensures you can communicate with your dog that you don’t want them to take the blanket. Correcting this behavior may seem challenging, but it is pretty straightforward. It takes a bit of time and work on your part, but that is just dog ownership for you.

Featured Image Credit: Ebowalker, Pixabay

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