Why Does My Dog Want Me to Hold His Bone While He Chews?

Why does my dog want me to hold his bone while he chews?

My weimaraner pup likes to shove his rawhide bone or toy into my arm so I will hold it for him while he chews. It’s both cute and rude.

Do you think it’s something a dog owner should allow?

In general, I don’t think the behavior is anything to be concerned about, but it’s sometimes hard to interpret.

Is it, God forbid, dominance? Is it for security? Or just a normal way to seek attention?

It’s hard to tell sometimes, especially if your pup is generally right in the middle as far as assertiveness goes.

Why does my dog want me to hold his bone?

Why does my dog want me to hold his bone?

Here are some possibilities:

1. To get better “leverage” while chewing. This is the case with Remy, especially while he was teething. It just seemed easier for him to chew if I held the bone or if he propped it against something.

2. It’s a way to get attention.

3. It’s a nice way to bond and receive affection, especially if the dog tries to crawl into your lap while you’re holding the bone.

4. It can also be a way to show possessiveness over the bone by keeping it away from other dogs or by keeping YOU away from the other dogs.

5. Sometimes it’s even a way to keep the bone away from YOU. For example, sometimes Remy will crawl into my lap with his bone and then put his back into my chest with the bone facing out. He’s obviously trying to prevent me from grabbing it (he runs off or snatches it if I try) so I don’t allow this behavior.

See my post, Should I let my puppy sit on me?

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So what does all this mean?

This is normal dog behavior (some dogs do it and some don’t), but just take a look at your unique dog and consider her personality and overall behavior.

For example, if she’s constantly trying to get you to hold her bone maybe she needs more exercise and interaction in general. Or maybe she just needs to learn some manners and self-control (right, Remy?). Either way, it’s a good idea to set some limits. See my post, How to teach my dog the word off.

Is your dog generally shy or fearful? She might be engaging with you in order to feel more confident, which is a good thing (within reason).

Does your dog have any issues at all with possessiveness? If so, then you want to be extra aware of her behavior. It’s great if she’s offering you the bone. It’s not so great if she’s trying to guard it from you or from the other dogs in the house.

So, as with anything it’s just good to be aware of what you’re reinforcing with your dog.

My puppy Remington

Ways to set limits for your dog around toys or bones:

1. Work on “drop” and “leave it” with your dog so you can always be in control of the toys and bones. Teach your dog that you can take away a toy at any time.

2. Rotate which toys and bones are available to your dog so “new” things are always coming from you.

3. Use a phrase like “that’s enough!” when you’re done engaging with your dog. You can use it to end games of tug or fetch or to end a training session.

4. Limit games of tug and fetch to five minutes or so.

5. Work on the basics like down and stay for overall self-control.

6. You get to decide the rules about dogs on the furniture. Your dog does not get to decide.

7. Don’t allow your dog to constantly invade your personal bubble. If he paws at you, see if you can block him with your legs or by turning your body or simply standing up and leaving.

8. Sometimes naughty puppies just need to go into their kennels for a 20-minute break. 🙂

What are your thoughts on all this?

Do you generally agree with me or do you think I’m way off?

Do you have a dog that likes to “offer” you a toy or bone?

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Related posts:

Should I let my puppy sit on me?

Why do dogs lean on you?

Teaching your dog when play is over

7 thoughts on “Why Does My Dog Want Me to Hold His Bone While He Chews?”

  1. I’ve never experienced this before with a dog. My dog brings me things when he wants to tug, but never wants me to hold a bone for him. I agree with you, and I like how you work through the various reasons for it, and ways to set limits. I wonder if this behavior has anything to do with his breed, being a bird dog and all? Is putting a bone in your hand inherent for him, like he’s retrieving for you? As a hunting breed, would this be a natural thing for him to do? Just a thought – I have no idea.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Yeah, that could be. Sort of like “Labragifting” when a Lab brings you a toy every time you walk in the door. 🙂

    2. Having similar experience with our lab. If I don’t hold his bones or he can’t find somewhere to stabilize it, he doesn’t/can’t chew it. I’ve been searching for a product that will hold it for him while he chews; no luck. I assume it’s because he spent the first 6 mos of his life in a pet store without benefit from older dogs learning the basics. If anyone has any product resources for this fella we’d sure appreciate it!

  2. Are there any dog behaviorists that you recommend? How do I contact one you had online–doggie dan, I think was the name.

  3. Linus is my picky dog. Over the years I have noticed that he likes me to hold his chew toys, bones, bully sticks while he chews on them, but he never brings them to me. I’m the one who usually will pick up and hold his bone to get him started. Otherwise he’ll often just leave it on the ground and ignore it.

  4. STEVEN GAUTHIER

    My 2 Boxers bring there bones to me alot i hold them for them for awhile and then they take them to chew I think they do that because we have such a tight bond with each other that its
    there way of trust and shearing

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