Why Does My Dog Take All His Toys Outside? - Zach's Pet Shop

Have you noticed your dog dragging their favourite toys outside? It's quite a common behaviour, and many dog owners wonder, "Why does my dog take all his toys outside?" Sometimes they gather them up or even try to bury them in the backyard.

As a dog owner, you've probably seen some pretty interesting things. It can be frustrating to discover your dog has been hiding toys or has dragged your belongings into the mud.

However, by understanding a bit about dog behaviour and their natural instincts, you can gain a new appreciation for these quirky habits. In this article, we will discuss some common reasons behind this behaviour and how to address it. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about why your dog keeps taking things outside.

Table Of Contents:

Why Does My Dog Take All His Toys Outside?

There's no one-size-fits-all answer to the question, “Why does my dog take all his toys outside?” The reasons dogs exhibit this behaviour could be influenced by several things, such as boredom or anxiety.

It Could Be Natural Instincts

Let’s be real - dogs are domesticated, but they still share DNA with their wild ancestors, like wolves. Certain breeds, particularly those bred for digging or retrieving, might be more inclined to bury toys because of these ingrained habits. For example, some terriers were bred to flush out vermin, so digging is in their blood.

In the wild, dogs bury their bones and other tasty treats to stash them for later. It's a survival tactic - protecting their food from scavengers and ensuring they have a snack on hand if times get tough. While your pampered pooch probably doesn’t need to worry about famine, these behaviours are deeply rooted in a dog’s DNA.

So, when your dog buries their favourite toy in the backyard, they might be acting out this age-old instinct, even if it’s a chew toy and not their dinner.

Dog outside with toys

Is It Boredom or Anxiety?

Dogs taking their toys outside can sometimes be a sign of obsessive behaviour.   This might indicate that the dog is fixating on their toys to cope with anxiety, boredom, or a lack of mental stimulation. 

They could be digging for entertainment or attempting to relieve stress. If your dog isn’t stimulated enough, they may turn to behaviours such as digging, barking, or even chewing, to occupy themselves. Think of it like this – if you were stuck inside all day with nothing to do, you might start to feel a bit restless too.

If you suspect your dog is engaging in these behaviours out of boredom or anxiety, providing a stimulating and enriching environment could help alleviate the issue.   Dog boredom busters and engaging dog toys can make all the difference.

Signs of Boredom Signs of Anxiety
Destructive Chewing Excessive Panting/Pacing
Excessive Barking Destructive Behaviour When Alone
Digging Whining or Whimpering
Escaping Changes in Appetite

Do They Think It's a Fun Game?

Some dogs love to carry things in their mouths. Have you ever noticed your dog carrying around their favourite toy, even inside? To your dog, a toy is just as good as a treasured possession.

Dragging things outside can be fun, especially if you have a breed like a retriever, who instinctively wants to fetch and carry objects. Taking a toy along during a bathroom break is a bonus.

Why Does My Dog Bring Out All Their Toys?

Now, you might be asking, why does my dog feel the need to bring every single toy outside? This could signify resource guarding, particularly if they hoard or guard other items, like food or treats.

Dogs that resource guard often display possessive behaviours over certain items and may growl, snap, or show other signs of aggression when approached. You may have even asked yourself “Why does my dog bring out all his toys?” as you cautiously back away.

If your dog exhibits signs of resource guarding, seek guidance from a professional dog trainer to address this issue and create a safe environment.

Managing Toy-Related Behaviours

If your dog's obsessive behaviour is becoming a problem, here’s how to encourage more favourable activities. The key is to teach your furry friend there are more rewarding ways to channel their energy, especially if it involves destructive behaviours.

Provide Plenty of Mental Stimulation

This can’t be emphasised enough. A tired dog is generally a well-behaved dog. Provide plenty of engaging toys that challenge them mentally and physically, such as puzzle toys that encourage problem-solving and a tasty reward.

Regular exercise is important for a dog's well-being. veterinary. Just like humans, dogs need a chance to burn off excess energy. Try different types of physical exercise, such as:

  • Playing Fetch
  • Going for Walks or Runs
  • Agility Training

Consider a Professional Trainer

For serious behavioural issues, seek professional help, as dogs can develop compulsive behaviours just like people. Professional dog trainers or a veterinary behaviourist can work with you to create a training plan to modify your dog's behaviour and address any underlying anxiety. This is particularly important if resource guarding is the issue.

Dog running with toy in mouth

Frequently Asked Questions about Why Does My Dog Take All His Toys Outside

FAQ 1: Why does my dog carry his toy outside?

Many pet owners notice their furry family members carrying their toys outside, and wonder about this peculiar habit. While it might seem amusing, it can be linked to your dog's natural instincts. They often carry toys to mark their territory or even relive their ancestral urge to keep food safe.

Your dog may perceive the great outdoors as their extended living area. Just like bringing a comfy pillow to bed, they choose to carry their favourite toy to this space as a source of comfort. This behaviour isn't necessarily about resource guarding or anxiety; it simply reflects their primal desire to bring familiar items to their preferred location.

FAQ 2: Why does my dog bring out all his toys?

This one might make you scratch your head in confusion – why would your dog bring out every single toy, creating a mountain of plush toys in the backyard? The answer often lies in their deeply ingrained survival instincts.

Domesticated dogs may still exhibit ancestral behaviours from their wild ancestors, like wolves. In the wild, dogs often bury things, like leftover food or valuable bones, to keep them safe and prevent other animals from taking them. Although our house-trained companions might not face the same dangers, they still retain this primal instinct.

FAQ 3: Why does my dog keep taking things outside?

Does it seem like a daily treasure hunt, trying to find out what your dog has carried outside? One key reason dogs continuously carry items outdoors, especially during walks, might be their need for mental stimulation when they are bored. Carrying around their favourite toy, couch cushions, or even your slipper can turn into a fun game for them, transforming your peaceful backyard into their personal playground.

FAQ 4: How do you get your dog to stop taking things outside?

You love your dog, but nobody enjoys chasing after them, gathering lost toys scattered across the backyard. Thankfully, you can redirect your dog's attention.

Offer a variety of engaging chew toys to keep them occupied. Interactive puzzles , rotating toys, treat-dispensing toys, and durable chew toys provide mental and physical stimulation and reduce boredom, helping to alleviate any pent-up energy that might be causing them to relocate their entire toy collection.

Ian's Wrap

In summary– why does my dog take all his toys outside? Their reasons vary, from ancient instincts to plain-old boredom. But by paying attention, you can curb unwanted behaviours and encourage more constructive outlets.

Providing mental stimulation, physical exercise, and a nurturing environment goes a long way. If their behaviour escalates or involves guarding or anxiety, it's always best to seek advice from a certified professional trainer.

Pet Expert - Ian Hamblin


Ian Hamblin is a renowned pet enthusiast and the driving force behind Zach's Pet Shop, a trusted name in the Australian pet industry.
With an impressive track record of nearly 15 years, Ian has been supplying high-quality pet products to Australians, earning their trust and loyalty.
BehaviourDogDog toysDogs

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published