You get home after a long, hard day. All you\nreally want to do is slip your tired feet into your nice comfy slippers. The\nonly problem is that you can't find them, because it appears that, once again,\nyour playful pup has run off with them. \n\n\n\nWhy do dogs steal slippers? It's usually about more than just a love\nof things soft or fluffy. It's often a cry for help, because your furkid is\nbored, stressed out and would like you to do something about it. \n\n\n\nHowever, just what you do about it will take a\nlittle analysis and careful observation of your dog, because they may be making\noff with your slippers to try to tell you one od any number of things. \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n The playful puppy stage \n\n\n\nIf your dog is still a puppy, then it's\nactually not likely that their slipper stealing behavior is any more than just\ncute puppy stuff. Little dogs are just learning about their world and, like\nhuman kids often do, they learn with all of their senses, including their\nmouth. They also need something soft to chew on as their teeth develop (again,\njust like a human baby) and your slippers are the ideal, easy to find choice if\nthey don't have a teething toy of their own (and even often if they do) \n\n\n\nThe fact that the slipper smells like you is\nanother reason your puppy might steal your slippers. They haven't long been\nseparated from their mother and most young dogs instinctively miss that\nconnection. So your slipper may be making a great stand in. \n\n\n\nWatching a puppy bumble off down the hallway\nwith your slipper is cute. It's fun.It'll make a great shot for Instagram. And\nit's something to be expected. It's just a puppy thing, like having little\naccidents on the floor as they begin to learn that the house is not their\nbathroom. The problem is if the slipper stealing stage continues into adulthood.\nThen it can, admittedly, become pretty annoying. \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n Adult dogs and slipper stealing \n\n\n\nOnce a dog 'grows up' (after his first\nbirthday has been properly celebrated) slipper stealing stops being so cute and\nmany owners become frustrated. When you have to lock your slippers away in a\ncloset and can't leave them out for more than a minute it's an annoyance. And\nif your pup does get hold of them and chews them to bits it becomes an\nexpensive annoyance at that. \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n How do I stop my dog stealing my slippers? \n\n\n\nAccording to vets and animal behavior experts\nthere's a very good chance that the slipper thefts - and resulting destruction\n- is a result of instinctive behavior and that is a more complex problem to\nsolve. Sure, you can ensure that you don't ever leave your slippers out and use\nthat tactic to stop the behavior but the chances are that they'll just move on\nto your shoes instead. The real key to stopping your furkid from stealing your\nslippers is to figure out why they are doing it in the first place. \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n 'Hunter' dogs and stolen slippers \n\n\n\nSome breeds of dog are born hunters. Others\nare born retrievers. Although they may have never been near a forest, wood or\nother hunting ground in their life - or even seen another animal - the instinct\nto hunt and retrieve in order to please a human is often embedded in their DNA.\nSo, lacking anything else to stalk they stalk your slippers. \n\n\n\nThe list of dog breeds this applies to is more\nextensive than you might think. There are the obvious one - the retrievers -\nboth golden and labrador, the beagles, the collies - but did you know that\ndachshunds were originally bred to hunt and retrieve rodents and rabbits? Or\nthat jack russell terrier has in in him to be one of the best bird dogs ever\n(because that is what they were originally bred to do)? If you haven't already\ntake some time to research your dog's breed, it may be that the slipper\nstealing is little more than his attempt at suburban hunting. \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n Keeping hunter dogs away from slippers \n\n\n\nSo, how do you keep a hunter dog away from\nyour slippers? Give them something else to exercise their instincts on. We are\nnot suggesting that you immediately have to take up hunting though. Instead,\nyou need to occupy him and use up some of that energy (hunting dogs were bred\nto run for hours) and let him exercise his instincts in a different way. Here\nare just a few suggestions: \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n Buy the right toys \n\n\n\nHead into any pet store - or browse to any pet\nsupplies retailer online - and you'll quickly find that there are dozens and\ndozens of dog toys to choose from. But the fact is that some of those toys are\nbetter suited to hunter\/retriever dogs than others. These include all of the\nfollowing: \n\n\n\nFetch toys, both balls and discsSqueaker toys \/ knotted toysTug toysChew toys Floating toys Shed antler retriever training\ntoolsDummy toys\n\n\n\nWhen you are shopping for toys remember to\ntake your dog's size and chewing habits into account. Some of the smaller,\nflimsier toys probably won't last for more than a few days (or even hours) in\nthe paws and jaws of a larger dog, so do a little research to find out which\noptions are rated the 'toughest'. \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n Make sure they are getting enough exercise \n\n\n\nAs we mentioned, hunter and retriever dogs\nwere bred to run and run. And even though you might live in the middle of a big\ncity rather than out in the woods their ancestors (your pup) still have the\ninstinct - and the energy - to do so, so it's crucial that they get enough\nexercise. \n\n\n\nIf you don't always have the time for long\nwalks - and your dog is relatively well behaved a run in the yard - a well\nfenced in area - can be a good solution. Just make sure that you do not send\nthem out when the weather is too cold or that they are not left out there when\nno one is home. No yard? Most towns and cities these days offer fenced in dog\nparks where your dog can run to his heart's content and you don't have to trail\nhim for miles in order for him to do so. \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n Slipper stealing and the lonely dog \n\n\n\nRemember when we mentioned that a puppy may\nsteal slippers because they miss their Mom? When you adopt a dog they become a\npart of your family and in their mind your become their new parent. If you are\ngone a lot - at work perhaps - and they are alone a slipper that has your smell\nmay still be a big comfort. But a lonely dog is not a happy dog, so doing\nsomething to alleviate that loneliness is a must. \n\n\n\nAs much as we would all like to stay home with\nour dogs every day, the fact is that most of the time that simply is not\npossible. You have to leave for work or school or to run errands and separation\nhappens. A lonely dog - or to use the correct term a dog suffering from\nseparation anxiety - won't immediately understand that of course. But there are\nsome things you can do that will help make daily parting a lot easier for him\n(and potentially save your slippers) \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n Create a dog friendly zone \n\n\n\nOften, if a dog has their own 'safe zone' to\nretreat to they are very good and occupying and comforting themselves until you\nreturn. And why not? Kids love to be in their bedroom where it's warm and safe\nright? It only makes sense that your furkid would enjoy such a set up as well. \n\n\n\nWhat should this space contain? Here are some\nsuggestions: \n\n\n\nA crate, but only if you are\nactively training. If not, a dog gate - or a repurposed baby gate - as long as\nyour pup is not a big jumper - is a good alternative. \n\n\n\nComfort items - One of your old,\nunlaundered shirts or even yes, an old slipper. Adding a blanket or two is not\na bad idea either. \n\n\n\nA comfy mattress or dog bed.\nSleeping their time away for at least part of the time your away will make\nthings better for your dog, but they should be given a safe, comfortable place\nof their own to do so. \n\n\n\nSafe bone chews like Nylabones.\nSome chews and bones (especially smaller ones) can pose a choking hazard and\nshould not be given unsupervised. A Nylabone is usually safe however to leave most\ndogs alone with.\n\n\n\nA puzzle toy. There are lots of\ngreat, safe puzzle toys for dogs out there and they can be of a great help to\nkeep your pup's mind occupied while you are gone. \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n Create some background noise \n\n\n\nIf a dog suffers from separation anxiety\nstrange noises - from both inside and outside their home - can really upset\nthem. The simple act of leaving the radio or TV on when you leave creates\nbackground noise that can help drown those sounds out while also making the dog\nfeel less uncomfortable with the fact that everything is so unusually quiet. \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n Consider a part-time pet sitter \n\n\n\nIf you are gone at work or school all day it\nis probably hard for you to simply pop home at lunchtime to say hi to your\nanxious pooch (but if you can you probably should) What you could consider is\nhiring someone to come in for just a short time every day to do that for you.\nIt might be a small extra expense sure but if it makes your dog happier - and\nkeeps your slippers safer while also giving you a little extra piece of mind -\nthen it is quite possibly well worth it. \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n What if I've tried everything and my pup is still a slipper stealer? \n\n\n\nSo you've tried it all and your pup still\nsneaks away with slippers whenever they have a chance. Then it is probably time\nto get some professional help. Cesar Milan can't be everywhere though, so\nyou'll need to look for dog training classes locally. \n\n\n\nThe good news is that these classes are no\nlonger hard to find or even that expensive. For example, Petco - one of the\nnation's largest pet supply chains - offers group training classes in most of\ntheir stores at a very nominal cost, and many smaller pet stores do the same.\nSome vets offices also offer pet training classes at a very reasonable price. \n\n\n\nIf you have the time and the patience you can\neven try your hand at training your dog yourself. The Internet is actually\nfilled with great dog training resources and in addition to gaining a better\nbehaved, better adjusted and happier pup - and saving your slippers - you'll\nalso be gaining a valuable new skill yourself. \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n Do dogs really get bored? \n\n\n\nAbsolutely. And that boredom can lead to\ndestructive behavior like stealing and chewing slippers too. Dogs are\nintelligent creatures and they need mental stimulation as much as human kids -\nor you - do. And while you can't really relieve that boredom in the same way as\nyou might with your kids - they are notoriously bad at board games and their\npaws slip off video game controllers - you can find a number of educational\ntoys for dogs that present quite a challenge. \n\n\n\nOn a final note. One of the best things you\ncan do for your slipper stealing dog is give them as much attention as you can.\nBut not just by petting them more. Get out for more walks together. Actively\nplay with them and their toys. Talk to them, they love it (although they may or\nmay not understand) and take their slipper stealing episodes as a blessing not\na curse as by taking the time to work through the issues behind it you will\ncreate a much better relationship with your dog, which is just what he wants.