Picture this: you’re strolling through the park on a sunny day, and you spot a lovable golden retriever happily trotting along. But wait, what’s that in their mouth? Is it a ball? A stick? A toy? It seems like golden retrievers always have something in their mouth! But have you ever wondered why this breed is so notorious for carrying objects around? Well, let’s take a closer look and unravel the mystery behind why golden retrievers have this adorable habit.

Golden retrievers have a special knack for finding things to hold in their mouths. They seem to have a natural affinity for picking up objects, whether it’s a tennis ball, a squeaky toy, or even a random sock they found lying around. But why do they do it? One possible answer lies in their breed’s history.

You see, golden retrievers were originally bred as sporting dogs, specifically for retrieving game during hunting outings. Their mouths were their handiest tool for picking up and carrying game back to their owners. Over time, this inclination to hold objects in their mouths has become deeply ingrained in the breed’s DNA. So, even if they’re not out in the field, golden retrievers continue to exhibit this characteristic behavior.

Now that we’ve uncovered the historical reason behind golden retrievers’ tendency to always have something in their mouth, it’s important to note that it’s not just about their ancestry. This behavior also serves a practical purpose in their daily lives. Holding objects in their mouth provides them with a sense of comfort and security. It’s almost like their own way of self-soothing or keeping themselves entertained. So, the next time you see a golden retriever happily carrying around their favorite toy, you’ll know that it’s not just a random habit – it’s an integral part of who they are.

why do golden retrievers always have something in their mouth?

Source: sugarthegoldenretriever.com

Why Do Golden Retrievers Always Have Something in Their Mouth?

Golden Retrievers are notorious for their love of carrying things around in their mouth. Whether it’s a toy, a stick, or even a random object they find, it seems like they always have something clenched between their jaws. But have you ever wondered why? In this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating reasons behind this adorable canine behavior.

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The Evolutionary Purpose of Mouth-Carrying Behavior

Golden Retrievers belong to a group of breed called “retrievers,” and as the name suggests, they have an innate instinct to retrieve objects. This behavior can be traced back to their ancestors, who were hunting dogs bred for their exceptional ability to retrieve game for hunters. Golden Retrievers have retained this instinct, which is why they are often seen carrying items in their mouth.

Carrying objects serves a practical purpose for Golden Retrievers. In the wild, they would use their mouths to carry their prey or carry items, such as dead birds, back to their owners. This behavior was not only helpful in hunting but also allowed the dogs to keep their paws free for other tasks, like navigating rough terrains or swimming. This evolutionary trait has been passed down through generations, even in domesticated Golden Retrievers.

The Need for Mental Stimulation

Another reason why Golden Retrievers always have something in their mouth is that it provides them with mental stimulation. Retrievers are intelligent and highly active dogs that need constant mental and physical engagement to prevent boredom and destructive behaviors. By carrying items in their mouth, they engage their senses, satisfy their natural instincts, and keep their minds occupied.

When a Golden Retriever finds an object, it triggers their natural hunting and retrieving instincts. The act of picking it up, carrying it around, and chewing on it gives them a sense of accomplishment and mental stimulation. It also helps to satisfy their need for oral stimulation, which is common among dogs. Having an object in their mouth can be soothing and comforting, much like a security blanket for a child.

Preventing Destructive Behaviors

One of the benefits of Golden Retrievers always having something in their mouth is that it helps prevent destructive behaviors. These dogs have a natural tendency to chew, and if left unattended, they may resort to chewing on furniture, shoes, or other valuable items in your home. By giving them appropriate objects to carry and chew on, you can redirect their chewing behavior and save your belongings from destruction.

When a Golden Retriever has something in their mouth, it satisfies their urge to chew and reduces anxiety or boredom. It also keeps their jaws and teeth healthy by providing a source of dental stimulation. By providing them with toys or chew treats specifically designed for dogs, you can channel their chewing instincts in a positive and non-destructive way.

The Role of Training and Socialization

While carrying something in their mouth is a natural behavior for Golden Retrievers, it is essential to train and socialize them properly to ensure this behavior remains controlled and appropriate. Through positive reinforcement training, you can teach your Golden Retriever when it is appropriate to carry objects and when to release them on command.

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Socialization is also crucial to prevent your Golden Retriever from carrying inappropriate items or developing possessive tendencies. By exposing them to various environments, people, and objects from an early age, you can help them differentiate between acceptable objects and those that may be harmful or off-limits.

How to Manage the Mouth-Carrying Behavior

If you find that your Golden Retriever’s mouth-carrying behavior becomes excessive or problematic, there are several steps you can take to manage it. Firstly, ensure they have access to appropriate chew toys and objects that are safe for them to carry and chew on. Rotate these toys regularly to keep them engaged and prevent boredom.

If your Golden Retriever tries to carry inappropriate items, redirect their attention by offering a more suitable alternative. Engage them in interactive play or training sessions to keep their mind occupied and their mouth busy with appropriate activities. It is also important to provide regular physical exercise to burn off excess energy and prevent destructive behaviors.


Golden Retrievers’ tendency to always have something in their mouth is a natural and instinctual behavior rooted in their evolutionary history. From their ancestors’ role in hunting and retrieving to their need for mental stimulation, carrying objects provides them with a sense of fulfillment and contentment.

By understanding the reasons behind this behavior and providing appropriate outlets for their chewing instincts, you can ensure your Golden Retriever remains happy, healthy, and well-behaved. Embrace their natural tendencies, train them effectively, and enjoy the adorable sight of your Golden Retriever proudly carrying their favorite object in their mouth.

Key Takeaways: Why Do Golden Retrievers Always Have Something in Their Mouth?

  • Golden Retrievers have a natural instinct to carry things in their mouth, which can be traced back to their breeding as hunting dogs.
  • They use their mouths to explore their surroundings and interact with the world, just like humans use their hands.
  • Chewing and holding objects can provide comfort and relieve anxiety for Golden Retrievers.
  • Having something in their mouth is a way for them to feel secure and content.
  • Providing appropriate chew toys can help satisfy their oral fixation and prevent destructive chewing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Golden retrievers are known for their love of carrying things in their mouths. Here are some common questions about why they exhibit this behavior.

1. Why do golden retrievers always have something in their mouth?

Golden retrievers have an instinctive desire to carry things in their mouths. This behavior is rooted in their origins as hunting dogs, where they were trained to retrieve game. Carrying objects gives them a sense of purpose and satisfaction. It also makes them feel like they are contributing to their pack or family.

Additionally, golden retrievers are known for their gentle mouths, which means they have a soft bite. This trait makes them excellent at holding delicate items without damaging them. So, you may often see them carrying things like toys, sticks, or even soft objects like pillows or shoes.

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2. Is the behavior of carrying objects in their mouth unique to golden retrievers?

While golden retrievers are particularly known for this behavior, other breeds and even mixed-breed dogs may exhibit similar tendencies. It ultimately depends on the individual dog’s personality and genetic traits. Some dogs simply have a natural inclination to carry objects, while others may not show this behavior at all.

It’s also worth noting that some dogs may develop this habit as a form of anxiety or comfort-seeking behavior. If a dog feels stressed or insecure, they might find solace in carrying objects as a way to self-soothe. If you notice excessive or concerning behavior in your dog, it’s always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer for guidance.

3. How can I encourage or discourage my golden retriever from carrying objects?

If you want to encourage your golden retriever to carry objects, you can provide them with appropriate toys or items to hold in their mouths. Interactive toys that dispense treats can be especially engaging for them. Remember to supervise and ensure the objects are safe and suitable for chewing.

On the other hand, if you want to discourage this behavior, you can redirect their attention to other activities. Engage them in activities like fetch or puzzle games that provide mental stimulation without the need for carrying objects. Also, make sure to provide plenty of physical exercise to help them release their energy in a healthy way. Consistency, positive reinforcement, and patience are key when trying to modify any behavior in dogs.

4. Are there any risks associated with golden retrievers carrying things in their mouth?

Generally, carrying objects in their mouths does not pose significant risks for golden retrievers. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. Always ensure that the items they carry are safe and non-toxic, especially when outdoors. Avoid sharp objects or small items that could be swallowed or cause injuries. Supervision is crucial, especially with young or untrained dogs.

Another risk to consider is the potential for them to develop possessiveness or resource guarding behavior over certain objects. This can lead to aggression or conflicts if they feel threatened when someone tries to take away the item they are carrying. Proper training, socialization, and teaching commands like “drop it” or “leave it” can help prevent or manage resource guarding behavior.

5. Can carrying objects in their mouth be a sign of a health issue?

In most cases, carrying objects in their mouth is a normal behavior for golden retrievers. However, if you notice any sudden changes in this behavior, such as excessive drooling, trouble chewing, or signs of discomfort, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian. These changes could indicate dental issues, mouth injuries, or other underlying health problems that may require attention.

Regular dental care, including teeth brushing and veterinary check-ups, can help maintain your golden retriever’s oral health. It’s also a good idea to provide them with appropriate chew toys to help keep their teeth clean and strong. Overall, as long as the behavior is not causing any harm or distress to your dog and they are otherwise healthy, carrying objects in their mouth is typically a normal and harmless behavior for golden retrievers.

why do golden retrievers always have something in their mouth? 2

Source: sugarthegoldenretriever.com


Golden retrievers love to hold things in their mouths because it’s in their genes. They were bred to be hunting dogs, and carrying prey was part of their job. This behavior is called “mouthiness.”

When a golden retriever always has something in its mouth, it’s not because they’re hungry or bored. It’s a natural instinct that they can’t help. So, if you see a golden retriever with a toy or stick in its mouth, don’t worry, it’s just being true to its nature.

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