Pet Tips

Silly Things Dogs Do: Sucking & Kneading Objects

July 8, 2021

Why is my dog sucking and kneading random objects (blankets, toys, etc)!?  Kneading is usually a habit associated with cats, but did you know that some dogs do it too?  Some dogs develop a habit of kneading with their front paws, while sucking on a favorite toy or other object.  It’s something my Papillon Kitsune has done since he was a puppy, and since it was always normal for him I never put too much thought into it.  Although not as common for dogs as for cats, this behavior is thought to mimic how puppies nurse from their mothers.  In most cases, it seems to be a comforting behavior.

Bed Time Behavior?

My dogs mostly do this ‘dance’ right before bed, when the day is winding down and it’s time to start relaxing.  Kitsune has always done it to his plush toys.  I’ve also heard about dogs who will do it with a favorite blanket, or bed.  Some people think this behavior is displayed mostly in dogs who were separated from their mothers too early, although this doesn’t seem to be the case for most of the owners I’ve talked to.  Kitsune came to live with us when he was 9 weeks old, so wasn’t weaned early.

Like A Child Sucking Their Thumb, Or On A Favorite Blanket

Dogs sucking and kneading objects is often compared to thumb sucking in human children.  Although most human babies outgrow thumb sucking, dogs who suck and knead items often do so throughout their lives.  This behavior seems to be more common in dogs who are sensitive in general.  Dogs who are more prone to anxiety, and less independent, may be more prone to sucking and kneading as well.

Is It OK To Allow Your Dog To Continue Sucking and Kneading Objects?

dog sucking and kneadingWhatever the reason, sucking on objects isn’t a bad thing as long as they don’t destroy and ingest any pieces of whatever it is they’re sucking on.  Most owners I’ve talked to who have dogs that display this behavior find it quite charming, and don’t discourage their dogs from doing it.  When Kitsune does it, it seems to calm him down and relax him.  Like I mentioned above, he does it almost exclusively right before bed time.  Just like I like to settle down with a good book before bed, Kitsune likes to have a nice snuggle with his toys to relax him before bed.

Have you ever had a dog that sucked on and kneaded objects?  What other silly behaviors do your pets display?  Comment below!

Originally posted 11/14/2014.  Last updated 7/24/2022

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  • Reply Taylor McKinley October 31, 2015 at 5:04 am

    My dog is 11, I’ve had her since she was a puppy. She was taken at 14 weeks so she definitely was not taken too soon. She has always sucked on her blanket like a toddler does their thumb. It seems to be a relaxation technique for her, a way to self-sooth. She is an American terroir and I also think sometimes she craves something to focus on and has come to recognize that is a positive way to channel her need to focus if she’s not satisfied with her stimulation from the day without breaking any rules. Totally healthy in my opinion!

    • Reply Michelle November 6, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      My Kitsune is almost 7 and has done it since he was a pup too. He was 9 weeks when I got him. It seems like a relaxation technique for Kit too. He does it most right before bedtime.

      • Reply Carol September 9, 2019 at 10:51 pm

        My 15 month old pappy cross has done it since we got him at 9 weeks. Seems to relax him and always in his round padded soft furry bed

        • Reply Beverly September 28, 2019 at 9:55 pm

          My 2 year old Chihuahua sucks and kneads his bed, and if I am watching tv in my terry robe he curls up on my lap and tries to suck and knead the robe. He also chews on his hind feet. Both behaviors prior to going to sleep.

          • Sheila D Flanigan December 2, 2020 at 7:16 am

            My chihuahua does the exact same thing. I’ve had her for about two months and she’s three years old. She also growls if you pet her while kneading and sucking.

          • Suzi December 9, 2021 at 3:02 am

            My Collie who wasn’t taken from his mother too early sucks and knees his blanket and it definitely relaxes him, he’s very sensitive! He’s such a fantastic dog but needs that blanket comfort ❣️

        • Reply Beth June 16, 2022 at 9:42 pm

          I know this is an old post but I had an observation. We rescued a female who happened to be pregnant. She had 2 boys (pug/shuz) she was a very good mom and we decided to keep both boys with their mom. One of the boys is 6 months now and sucks and kneeds his bed every night. Definitely not weaned too early, Definitely not timid. It just soothes him I think.

        • Reply Gillian Evans October 22, 2022 at 6:18 pm

          My dog is 10 Yrs old and just started Kneeding and sucking on her teddy at bed times and during the day. Why has this started now?

    • Reply Michelle Webster May 9, 2020 at 6:49 pm

      My Boston terrier pocket pit mix is 3 and he’s done this since I can remember we got him at 7 weeks. He sucks on ropes and kneads his paws generally when he’s tired before a nap.

    • Reply Mike March 23, 2021 at 11:29 pm

      My excited cow dog is now 3 and a half and just started doing this 6 months ago. She’ll fall asleep with her bed in her mouth and feet pushed into the other side of the bed. Adorable to me. Just wonder why it started when she was older. She was weaned very early. Who knows what it all means. God bless our dog angels!!

  • Reply Amy Allen November 1, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    My blue nose pitbull has always done this since she was a baby, she is now 4 years old.. She does it to blankets and pillows n falls right asleep a minute into doing this. I think it is soo cute n hilarious!!

    • Reply Michelle November 6, 2015 at 10:01 pm

      I think it’s cute too! I’ve heard of dogs doing it to blankets, but Kitsune’s only ever done it to a select few of his toys.

  • Reply habshockeygrl November 24, 2015 at 7:05 am

    just found this, I have a GWP that is four months old and she loves to knead me! She always brings the same toy to chew on while she does it.

  • Reply Fi December 5, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    My 11 year old Hungarian wirehaired vizsla has sucked on my thumb since he was 8 weeks old when I got him. It was so adorable when he was a puppy and still is, even if people do think it’s a bit strange ;o) He usually does it when he’s sleepy, but also sometimes if he’s got over excited or if he’s in an overwhelming situation. It’s definitely a comforter for him. It’s so cute when he falls asleep with your thumb in his mouth! Hes just gorgeous :o)

  • Reply Susann monk February 19, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    I have a chaweenie that’s bout 9 months old. Got him at 8 weeks old. He is very small, so I suspect he was the runt. I just noticed that he’s been sucking on his favorite blanket. He don’t fall asleep doing this, but well relaxed. It can be any time of the day. When I saw this, I felt bad. Felt like I’m not being a good mom. But thanks to the readings here, I know that’s not the case. Thank you!!

    • Reply Corinne Steele March 1, 2016 at 11:52 am

      My dog exactly…except differen breed.

    • Reply Rachel October 25, 2016 at 9:38 pm

      Same kinda dog and she does it all the time! I love it and tell her how much mommy loves her

  • Reply wb7ptr February 26, 2016 at 6:56 am

    I have a little white mixed breed who does this. She’s several years old and I decided to research the behavior out of curiousity and ran across this article. Interesting.

  • Reply Stephanie Lynn Ryckman February 26, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    I have a 6-year old Labradoodle–sweetest dog ever. She holds blankets between her paws and in her mouth and falls asleep. She never chews or destroys the blankets. It’s one of the sweetest little quirks she has!

  • Reply Corinne Steele March 1, 2016 at 11:48 am

    I have a border collie-cattle dog mix who does this. He is 8 mos old and has done it since i got him. He was rescued. He was very small..may have been weaned too early…and hes also very sensitive.

    • Reply Melissa October 29, 2016 at 2:55 pm

      I have a border collie/blue heeler, malamute mix too. He’s definitely been taken from his mom to early, he kneads like crazy but only after trying to settle down from his 4 am pee. I always put it off as being taken from his mom early.

      • Reply Brandy Dumas December 26, 2022 at 11:18 pm

        I have a lab/pit, he is 8 months old. We got him at 8 weeks. He has been sucking and kneading his stuffed animals since we got him. It’s also before nap time or bed time.

    • Reply Tina jimenez October 17, 2020 at 12:10 pm

      I have a 15 week old put bull and I have had her since she was 5 weeks old. And she has this little lion stuffed toy among others. She has torn the stuffing right out of the other toys she has. But this particular one she has not destroyed. She suckles on it and then she’s fast asleep. I think it’s adorable. I am glad she has found her comfort in her toy. It helps me too being that she is getting bigger. So I enjoy her comfort as well. Relaxing and soothing is what I try to make her environment

  • Reply Caz Wilson April 8, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    I have a 1 year old chihuahua who sucks her toy and kneads at the same time. I got her at 3 months old. I only noticed this after she had meningitis and I reckon that made her quite sensitive.

  • Reply Ringoffire May 27, 2016 at 9:53 am

    My Chloe does it too, I thought it was odd at first but I did come to figure out that it’s a comforting thing for her. She’s half Bishon half Shih-tzu, 4 years old.

  • Reply Barbara Cox September 11, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    We have a 7 month old Beagle that started this about a month ago and thought maybe it was because she was cutting teeth and felt so sorry for her.Now that I know this is normal I feel better for her.thanks!!

    • Reply VeeVanny March 13, 2022 at 9:59 am

      My 9 months old Beagle girl, Chloe also does this everytime she wants to sleep, sometimes she fall asleep while sucking and kneading. Its so cute!

  • Reply Tonya Eaяle September 13, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    My 7 month pug has her favourite octopus and I have noticed every night she will find this octopus and starts to suck and kneading it and then falls asleep with the octopus still on her mouth, I have another dog and chi-Pom who turned 2 years last week and when she goes near the octopus our pug runs over and protects the octopus growls and takes the octopus to another room

  • Reply Angela September 25, 2016 at 8:01 am

    So crazy! I’ve been wondering why my puppy does this! I have a bull puggle whose 4 months old and does this anytime we’re hanging out in bed. Above or under the blacket his mouth locks on to my leg and he could sit there forever! Then his two front paws start kneading the blanket. It’s the cutest thing ever and it keeps him quiet so I’m not complaining

  • Reply Nativelotus September 30, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    My 1 year old chihuahua Zoey sucks on her pillow pet. She has the area molded to fit in her mouth just right. She’s never suckled anything else but this pillow pet! She’s very sensitive; and needy. She even pouts if she’s told not to do something! Also, she sleeps under covers rolled up in a ball!

  • Reply Kat October 11, 2016 at 11:35 am

    My 8 month catahoula just started doing this with her bed, and my dachshund also did this when she was young!

  • Reply denise October 19, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Omg, my 1 year old shih tzu does the very same thing with her lady bug pillow pet……she had 4 different ones that she simply loves.

  • Reply Judy November 4, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    My 1 year old male Newfoundland dog at times puts his mouth over his big Teddy Bears body…head or arm or leg and just holds his mouth on it and lies there or at times falls asleep. He is not doing anything like sucking or pawing it, just puts it in his mouth and stays there. Just wondering why, he never did it before. He was with his mother till 3mths. Hmmm but he likes it I guess, seems happy.

  • Reply Martha November 7, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Our 9 year old Yorkie was the largest of the litter and he suckles on a stuffed Clifford the Big Red Dog. It has been degutted and looks terrible but he loves it. He uses his paws to hold the stuffed toy in his arms and suckles usually before bedtime. We got him at 10 weeks of age.

  • Reply Td November 9, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    One of my dogs had been doing this with blankets for four years and I couldn’t work out what it was.

  • Reply yogz November 10, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    My Abby does this 3-5 times a day on a big stuffed bear , it’ her momma bear lol and she doesn’t like anyone touching it or moving it , but it’s like her own little meditation , we call it the “baby thing” ..Abby has to do the baby thing she looks at us, and she even does it on command too, she’s so silly .

  • Reply steve.r hudson November 14, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Our dog is a Jack Russell terrier, he was a rescue dog and we got him when he was around 18 moths old. He’s always done this with his duvet, it’s his bed and his friend, mostly he does it in the evening or sometimes when over excited or distressed.

  • Reply Jenny Underwood-Kleinschmit November 19, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    I have a pocket pit that took over my 5′ teddy bear. She sucks on it throughout the day and it makes her so happy 🙂

  • Reply Shea December 18, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    Our seven year old Olde English Bulldog tears up everything except his gorilla puppet toy. It soothes him to sleep every night. I have darned it in the worn places to keep it “nice” haha!!!

  • Reply Debs December 29, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    My Staffordshire bull terrier does this. He’s a rescue, he came to us at 2 years old. He’s doing this right now with my dressing gown which he took to be his own 4 years ago after a stint at the vets for a tummy upset. He is an anxious dog and I don’t think this will ever change. But he has a great life. Goes everywhere with us. Doesn’t like it when we go out without him. He’s the best dog ever and we are a great team. Wouldn’t change him for the world ❤️

  • Reply George Henry Furber January 24, 2017 at 2:54 am

    My cocker spaniel does it with his blanket every night around the same time

  • Reply Morgan Strong February 14, 2017 at 9:07 pm My old english bulldog suckles on her toy atleast once a day. Just the one, its a plush. She has many stuffed toys ( has not yet destroyed any!) but this one is her special one, she even picked it off the shelf at pet smart, comical girl. She lays on its body and will fall asleep sucking the head of her gingerbread stuffy, licks it all the time. I got her at 10 weeks old she is now nearly 7 months old. Love her to pieces, shes such a amazing pup. Her name is Frankie.

    • Reply Bethann Siviter April 12, 2017 at 2:56 am

      My dog picks out her own toys too…. adorable dog u have

  • Reply taylorjoann2 March 18, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    my 7 month old German Shepherd does the kneading and sucking on her stuffed toys. She falls asleep while doing so and does it 2 or 3 times a day, never at a regular time. I got her exactly at 8 weeks old. Although she is normally upbeat and in good moods, when she’s separated from me she goes through severe seperation anxiety, and is also timid and scared of certain things. It’s definitely relaxing and seems like a nurturing habit when she kneads/sucks on her stuffed toy! I do not discourage it though! Actually find it quite adorable and funny. She’s an awesome puppy.

  • Reply Cathy April 4, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Finally a link that explains this behavior. My 8 month old female maltipoo has done this as a pup and continues. But it’s always been towards me. If I’m on the couch. It will be my backside. If I’m on the floor. It will be my crotch or upper leg. Usually after some praise if I’m sitting. Some times I tell her she is going to suffocate. She digs her nose so far into the area…then I end with. How will I explain this? Does anyone else experience it in this manner. I take her to dog parks. She is a bit timid.

    • Reply Skyblue May 11, 2019 at 7:41 pm

      Mine does that to my upper thigh everytime i am wearing shorts. Hes a 3 yr old mini Schnauzer.

  • Reply Rania Fakhoury April 8, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    My dog kneads his toys and you guys hit it on the nail. He was rescued from a crappy breeder who most likely would have sold him to dog fighters. He was 5 1/2 weeks old when we got him, he will be 8 in October and he kneads all his stuff animals when he first gets them. Aww my poor baby

  • Reply Bethann Siviter April 12, 2017 at 2:53 am

    I have an intelligent, confident, gentle-spirited black lab, she is specifically trained as an assistance dog- her routine is — find the ‘baby-du-jour’ (she has way too many= her current fave is an elephant she had as a puppy), thrash me with it (my job is to animate it and tug it, and she makes this clear), thrash herself in the face and head with it (she likes floppy babies) and then only after it’s been adequately “subdued” she sucks on its face or head (its the only part she does this to)…. she doesn’t like when the babies are ripped (she brings them back and pushes them at me). The trainer said it was important to ensure I can remove the baby from her during any part of this process, which I can, but despite some people saying you shouldn’t let the dog “win” a game of tug, I let her as its clear she really enjoys “chawing” like this. She doesn’t chew or shred anything (unless its edible then its all over).

    She was from not only a reputable but a prestigious breeder (if her parents knew she worked for a living they would ‘roll over’) and was assessed by a specialist dog behaviourist before being placed into the development programme, so I doubt she was not properly weaned. She is not anxiety prone: on a daily basis she handles large busy crowds, loud noise, being started- she even likes fireworks (she wants to watch). I really enjoyed your blog: thanks so much!

  • Reply Sandra Sandel April 30, 2017 at 2:09 am

    My MinPin Ruby lays on her side, sucks on the fuzzy blanket we sleep with, or her bed and kneads her front paws. It is absolutely adorable. She is very attached and needy for a dog. We rescued her and she shows her love for us every day!

  • Reply jacki slonin April 30, 2017 at 6:55 am

    I have a male Cocker Spaniel, Truman, who has done this since he was a puppy. His favorite item is what we call his “love ball”. It is a soft stuffed soccer ball. We have smaller one sand big ones. During the day he will grab the smaller ones when he is looking for a nap bit at night the bigger one is the one he takes to bed. With paws on either side and the ball placed ever so comfy in his mouth be is off the dream Land for the night. Always the same routine. He is not aggressive over his love ball but if our Frenchie takes he just looks like he is about to cry.
    He fits all the criteria. He is anxious, very sensitive and sweet.

  • Reply Natalie April 30, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    I have a 4 month old Siberian husky that was separated from the litter and his mom at 18 days old and the does this

  • Reply Sue June 11, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    My jack russell has always done this just before going to bed his mum colapsed a day after he was born so had to be hand fed and 5 others for the remainer of time till we brought him

  • Reply Shana Rufatt June 18, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    My toy Pomeranian does this with his teddy’s foot all the time! I found it so bizzare but adorable, now I find it even more adorable ❤ I just hope he isn’t sad/missing his mum.
    He usually falls asleep while doing so, on his teddy ?

  • Reply Wendy Brown June 24, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    My dog sucks on a squeaking tennis ball and goes to sleep.we take the squeaker out as soon as we get them home.he looks so cute doing it.he kneads it and starts sucking on it when we go to bed

  • Reply Pat August 26, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    Our 2 year old white husky is one of the dogs that was absolutely taken from mom way too young. We were not his first or even second owners, or I might actually want to throttle the breeders that tossed this pup out into the world far, far too early. She was still figuring out how to eat from a dish and bowl when we got her, and she had already been away from mom for at least 1, maybe 2 weeks. The people who had her before us, said that their little boy was allergic, but I am willing to bet that it was more a case that they could not control her behavior, and the problems she was having. She was whiny and missing her family, nursing, and the comfort of the pack. In short, she was actually an emotionally abused pup. I do not know if she had begun to form any attachments to the family before us, but I am willing to bet they did a lot of scolding, because she chewed on everything even people. So we were her 3rd family in her short confusing life, and it is no wonder that she still has some separation problems even as an adult. Some of the things that helped with our little white fur ball was surrounding her with big stuffed animals. They took the place of the first family she had lost. I also spent nearly 24 hours a day at her side for a very long time, helped her to figure out the eating business, and stopped her from biting people. She still has separation issues if all the people leave the house for any length of time, but not like she did in the beginning. and when she is anxious, she will suckle on one of her stuffies paws or snout, and occasionally will knead the stuffed animal at the same time. It is her way of self calming when she becomes fearful, or over wrought. She has her quirks, but other wise is this gentle loving animal, who is so very sweet that you can not help but adore her.

  • Reply Sierra September 4, 2017 at 11:38 pm

    I have a beagle who does this at nap time, bed time, and when he’s just chillin. He also like to share his bed and blankets and will attempt to drape them over people before he starts sucking and kneading it. It definitely isn’t because he was weened too young as he was about 5 months old when he was adopted out from his mom. Personally I find the habit adorable.

  • Reply Marcella September 29, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    I have a blue heeler who is a year and a half. She sucks on her blankie and kneads it with her paws. Also she’ll suck on my hand like a straight up sucking like a baby. I don’t know why so was just researching it. She’s a mommas girl so she follows me around and cries for attention.

  • Reply Shaz2028 October 20, 2017 at 4:46 am

    My jack Russell pup is 5 months old and he does this too .it is quite cute, but my throws and anything else he gets his paws on have soaking wet corners ,!! I.makes me wonder if it’s because he misses his mum ❤️

  • Reply Lisa Brundridge October 24, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    I have a 6 month old Corgi she does this every night. Her mother died during birth, she was bottle fed, I think this is why she does it

  • Reply Cheryl S. November 3, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Our two litter mates who are Cocker Spaniels left their mother dog at age 14 months. They love suckling at nap time and bed time. We think it is adorable and would never stop them. We are retired and they get loads of attention and are very happy dogs?.

  • Reply Cheryl S. November 3, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Oops! 14 weeks. Not months.

  • Reply Lorraine Borgese November 5, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    My male dog, a 4 year old Shi Tzu has been kneading and sucking on blanket since a puppy. He was 8 weeks old when I got him from pet shop. He’s doing it right know as I text this. I always thought it was bcoz he was taken from his mommy prematurely.

  • Reply Lorraine Borgese November 5, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    My dog kneading and sucking His blanket ❤️

    • Reply Lorraine Borgese November 5, 2017 at 9:32 pm

      Actually it’s my blanket but I let him bcoz he so dang cute ?

  • Reply beachinfrizzy November 17, 2017 at 6:20 am

    Our 8 month old female Couton puppy does it with my daughter’s stuffed animals. She humps them and then kneads them when she’s settling down to go to bed. She’ll even fall asleep with still a mouthfull of teddy bear ear or snout. My 12 year old Bichon never did this; but he was almost 6 months old when we got him (the Couton was 9 weeks) so maybe it’s something they eventually grow out of, like a little kid thumbsucking.

    • Reply Sandy March 31, 2021 at 4:13 pm

      My 1 year old Boston Terrier sucks and kneads on my blanket while she is in my lap. I think it’s sweet

  • Reply Lisa November 20, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    My 5 year old king Charles spaniel has just started exhibiting this behaviour with his favourite teddy. He lies on my legs holding teddy in his mouth and kneads my legs underneath teddy! He is a very clingy dog and quite anxious but he only does this on a night before bed.

  • Reply Lynn Seddon January 26, 2018 at 10:30 am

    My 10 month female lab kneads whilst suckling on her soft toys, then sleeps, seems to comfort her and very cute ??

  • Reply Cassandra Watson May 11, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    My female pit is a little over 2 yes old and has just recently started putting a large section on whatever blanket I have at the end of my bed for the dogs to lay on in her mouth while laying down, then moves her feet like what I normally have only seen cats/kittens do. My other two dogs don’t do this and she just started recently so I wasn’t sure if it was weird. Its definitely cute and I’m glad to know its not just her.

  • Reply GiftofGalway2015 May 11, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    I have had two Gordon Setters that do this. I thought it was a Gordon thing, but going by all the comments, apparently not! Kelty, the first Gordon did it his entire life, over 9 years, with stuffies large and small. His two favorites were a four-foot red lizard and a five-foot whale. My present Gordon, Gilty, is four and just started a couple of months ago. Neither one of them cared about toys otherwise and both had a perfect “puppyhood.” I agree with everyone else…so darn cute!

  • Reply Skyblue May 11, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    My 3 yr old mini Schnauzer nurses on my thigh when I wear shorts. He will knead on my leg and nibble on it like hes nursing.

  • Reply Kim May 11, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    My boy Goliath (18 lb terrier x) looooves sucking/playing with little pebbles (he’s not mineral deficient & doesn’t have PICA ?) – I love how google brings those up first. He also ‘gums’ on his toys in the morn. He was a maaaajor chewer as a pup – ate up everything he could. I think this is a relaxing soothing behavior in his older age…

  • Reply Sarah May 18, 2019 at 12:15 am

    Our 9 month old mini schnauzer sucks and kneads on his corduroy narwhal, and seems to almost go into a trance like state. It’s weird and also absolutely endearing and adorable. He does suffer from separation anxiety so you could say he’s less independent (much less than my previous schnauzer) and tries to self soothe. I hope he never stops 🙂

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack May 18, 2019 at 4:14 pm

      Isn’t it adorable? My Kitsune is 10 years old now and still does it almost daily.

    • Reply Per May 21, 2022 at 12:29 pm

  • Reply Cheri May 22, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    My Fozzie Bear has done this since the day I brought him home at 8 weeks old. He is a Cairn Terrier. He started with a stuffed lamb toy but once he got bigger than the toy he moved on to a throw pillow. I’ve had to buy him several ‘babies”- all beige micro suede and he never does this to any other pillow that isn’t his. He kneads it and sucks on it at night and it seems to really soothe him. He is a sensitive pup for sure and is a big ole mama’s boy.

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack May 30, 2019 at 6:33 pm

      Aw his personality sounds very similar to my Kit! I wish it was easy to get Kit to switch toys. He has a handful of favorites but a few of them are about as old as he is, and have seen much better days. He has a crazy amount of toys to choose from but always seems to stick to the same handful of toys.

  • Reply Ashley June 22, 2019 at 12:43 am

    I have a 10 month old American Bully, named Athena, that suckles and kneads a decently sized puppy dog that was originally got for my son. After she realized he wasn’t going to play with it, she took it upon herself to rip all the cotton out of the head and body, so only the legs and ears are actually stuffed now. She completely ignored the toy when she first unstuffed it, but a few months later, when she was about 6-7 months old, I noticed that she had it in her mouth. I told my husband and we both agreed I had probably just imagined it. But sure enough, she was kneading and suckling it. She was extremely destructive when left alone prior to getting her “baby”, but now she’ll just curl up with her toy instead of tearing my house apart. She’s also extremely protective of it if our GSD pup tries to take it, but she’s fine if I grab it. It’s the cutest thing ever and I could not ever take it from her. I had read that it was actually a compulsive disorder in dogs that the owner should stop, but I honestly don’t see any harm in something that calms and makes my girl happy.

  • Reply KD June 27, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    My jack is some sort of pit mix, we found him when he was only about 5 or 6 weeks old so we don’t know what he went through in his first weeks of life he could’ve very well been taken from mom too early considering we’re pretty sure r was dumped. He sucks and kneads specifically on furry toys. He also has a tendency to poke other dogs with his nose and chest bump them too I’m not sure if he’s trying to play, assert his dominance, or both! But it’s pretty cute when he’s not being obnoxious about it lol!

  • Reply Ally August 13, 2019 at 10:17 am

    My family recently adopted a basenji (the vet says shes between 2-3 years old) and she’s been sleeping with me since there is no longer any room for her sleep with my parents because the bed it taken up by our other three dogs. But ever since we got her I’ve woken up with a wet spot by my pillow and I honestly dismissed it as me drooling in my sleep but I woke up this morning to find my dog kneading instead! We have two cats who don’t knead but I know its a common occurrence in cats and because Basenjis are basically cat like dogs I figured that’s why she did it but now I know other dogs do it too.

  • Reply Tiffany October 18, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    Our 75 lb pitbull Sasha does this! I googled because I’ve always seen cats do it but never a dog. She gets into this really relaxed state and closes her eyes while she kneads and chews on a stuffed animal….which she eventually chews and tossed to pieces and I replace since it brings her so much joy! Thanks for the post

  • Reply Julie October 28, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    My 3 year old standard poodle does before her afternoon nap and before bed. I was just googling it because I’ve never heard of a dog doing this. She has one squeaky, stuffed toy that she shoves in her mouth when she’s going to relax. Her eyes roll back into her head and she kneads her paws on me, or on the couch right next to me, until she falls asleep. She was old enough when we got her, but she’s an incredibly sensitive and timid dog. I think this is one of the sweetest things she does.

  • Reply Cheryl Smith November 4, 2019 at 10:56 am

    My Lola was given to me at 6 weeks, ( so I was told), I felt that was early! 1st day we got her, we took her to the vet. We were surprised to find she was only 4 weeks old!! She has some quirky habits. This article helped us understand why Lola doing this! Thanks! It makes complete sense ☺️

  • Reply Doxie/Chi Lover Parents December 16, 2019 at 2:53 am

    Has anybody witnessed a dog (older chihuahua) latching on to other canine housemates (mostly chi’s) fur on their back with his mouth & periodically licking the area, along with attempts to further a more secure hold on the fur area?

    We call it “Vampiring” at our house. We’ve been rescuing Dachsies & Chi’s since 1985. By choice, we chose needy dogs (abandoned, behavior/medical challenges, etc.) over children. We’ve never seen this behavior with our other “children”, perhaps dozens/hundred? before.

    Has anybody else experienced this before? Thanks, Doxie/Chi Lover Parents

  • Reply Keith Hennessy January 4, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    My dog is two and she “sucks her thumb” meaning when she is enjoying a petting or cuddling from us she will turn on her side/back and put her paw in her mouth. She will gently bite down but she isn’t at her paw. Just sticks the whole thing in Her mouth. Bubbles is a havenese and has done it since she was a pup.

  • Reply Kelly Thompson January 29, 2020 at 10:30 pm

    My Staffordshire terrier, Trouble about 10 weeks old, does this with blankets and her plush toys. I think it is cute and it does relax her. She is very high strong. But what I think is crazy is she does this before she “gets friendly” with them as well. My male blue pit, Zeus 2 years old, has never done that at all. He also had never played with the toys before her either. Maybe because he was raised up with a mini pig. Who knows.

  • Reply A Valentine's Day Love Story: Kit & his "Wife" - The Most Epic Dog Toy Repair Ever! – Paw Print February 13, 2020 at 11:04 am

    […] displaying some interesting behaviors with his snuggle puppy (and a select few other toys).  I wrote about them back in 2014.  He would suck on his toys, while at the same time "dancing" with them, or kneading them with his […]

  • Reply Arielle May 4, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    My 3 year old English cocker spaniel has been doing this ever since he was a puppy. He was I think 10-12 weeks old when we got him, so definitely wasn’t weaned too soon. He’s always been a happy dog, tail wagging so hard he can hardly walk straight sometimes, hands down the sweetest and most mild-tempered dog we’ve ever had. But he is VERY sensitive and will follow you wherever you go, he’s just happy to be close to you. He has this fuzzy rainbow ball that he likes to suck on while he’s kneading. It must relax him because after a few minutes of that, you’ll look over and the kneading has stopped, but he’s asleep sitting up with the toy in his mouth. He’s my sweet little weirdo and I love him!

  • Reply Jennifer J Vallot July 25, 2020 at 3:52 pm

    My German Shepherd/Boxer pup sucks on her right rear paw almost exclusively. She is 18-months and has done this for a while. I think it is cute and it always makes me smile.

    • Reply Norma Gonzalez July 31, 2020 at 7:02 pm

      My great pyrenees lab mix nurses on her toy monkeys head every day when I get home from work and sits on the couch with me. We got her when she was 4 weeks and is the only one out of the litter that does it. I think it’s cute that she waits for me.

  • Reply Mary Keyser October 4, 2020 at 9:45 am

    Our pup is 7 months old and does it with his stuffed gorilla.. he does it before bed, after meals, when he’s preparing for a nap. He was separated at 2 ish days as his mom was killed and he was bottle fed.

  • Reply Alina November 13, 2020 at 9:06 am

    My 2 year old Labrador does this to his pillow. Just like Kitsune, he does this before falling asleep. But the weird thing is he humps the pillow and then when I tap on his legs, he’ll start kneading. Its been a pattern, hump-knead-hump-knead. Maybe humping and kneading relaxes him? Somedays he would just knead in his dream while sleeping and its just adorable.

  • Reply Estee December 2, 2020 at 11:28 am

    My 7 yr old pom wiggles on floor, moves his head back and forth at same time while patting his front paws. My husband and I call it swimming. He has done this since day one. He only will do it on the rug. Has anyone got an idea what he’s trying to say to us?
    It’s darn cute whatever the reason.

  • Reply Peter westervelt March 13, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    Kino our pug/bichon mix is almost 13. Still kneads and sucks bedding before naps and sleeping. He also will do this when girlfriend and myself are intimate.

  • Reply Emily white March 22, 2021 at 9:58 am

    I know this is an old post and it is now 2021 but my puppy (well she’s 2 almost 3 now) she was the runt of the litter. Taken from the mom and had to be bottle fed in the house because her bigger siblings wouldn’t let her get to the mama to feed. She kneads and sucks on her toys (she is obsessed with toys- the minute someone comes home she runs around gathering 3-4 toys in her mouth). She typically does this when she is sleepy. It actually is now indicative to me that she is tired and likely falling asleep soon. I find the behavior admirable. I just love her to bits. It does at times make me sad that maybe she misses her mama… and maybe wishes she could have spent more time with her.

    She also has epilepsy and severe allergies, therefore we are very reluctant to leave her completely on her own at home. So she is not used to being by herself and is very dependent on us. When she was a puppy- she used to suck on our arm/hand/finger. She now only does it to her favorite toys. Just precious really.

    • Reply Emily White March 22, 2021 at 10:01 am

      I should follow up with she is a sporting dog (hunting dog) German short haired pointer.

  • Reply Wanda Obermark April 17, 2021 at 7:05 pm

    Until two weeks ago (April 1, 2021) I had never viewed a dog sucking/mock chewing on a blanket or padding as if they were still a puppy. Lucky, who I just rescued and is old, maybe as much as 12 to 15 came to me via a vet, a groomer and a good soul who fostered him until he could get a good home. Well, along came me. I had lost two aged small dogs starting in 2019 and again in December of 2020. I felt a very large hole that needed to be filled. My sister called and said Lucky had been found wandering the streets of a small town. A good person picked him up and took him to a vet where he received all of his shots, heart worm check and several more things including an antibiotic for an abscessed tooth (or teeth). The vet recommended a groomer who could get him a home for his waning years. The groomer managed to find a foster person who kept him for two weeks. That is when I came along. I brought him home and immediately scheduled another vet visit for his tooth/teeth. Made the appointment to get a good cleaning and pulling all the bad teeth of which there were many. He began a new life. He was very reserved in the first few days not discounting his mouth hurting and him getting used to a new home and routine. I have kept him on a long line for over two weeks because I am not sure how he will respond to being loose on our 21 acre farm. He has become a Velcro dog. I am sure he is partially deaf and as the doc said, “he is old.” But to my surprise I discovered that he lays in my lap next to me and sucks on a blanket corner and then pads with his feet. I try to invent a story of why Lucky was found on the streets and have come to one that might explain why many dogs are found loose during this pandemic. They are the cast outs from the house when their people can no longer afford to feed them. I suspect that many dogs and cats are cast out or just wander away when their elderly owners are forced to go to a nursing home or pass away. Many people will not try to find a home for dogs before they take this drastic step and turn them out in hopes that they will find a home on their own. I allow this sucking and padding as I think it is an anxiety and comfort tactic that may go back to his story. I hope he has found his forever home with us.

  • Reply Tiffany July 11, 2021 at 7:25 am

    A friend’s dog would do this to his toys. He is a golden retriever. First dog I had encountered with this behavior. Never knew how common it was!

  • Reply Ruth Epstein July 11, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    My old lady Layla does neither but its really interesting to read about and learn from

  • Reply Marjorie at Dash Kitten July 11, 2021 at 5:02 pm

    I have seen this mostly in cats so seeing it in dogs is soooooo cute. I am guessing that as long as Kitsune doesn’t come to any harm he will be fine. (He never fails to charm me with his sweet looks!).

  • Reply Sweet Purrfections July 12, 2021 at 9:34 pm

    I didn’t know dogs did this. My cats tend to knead when it’s time to settle in for a nap or if they are content beside me.

  • Reply Cathy Armato July 14, 2021 at 1:54 pm

    My dogs don’t knead, but little Phoebe definitely sucks on a lot of soft materials. I try to discourage it when it’s a wool material or has any fringe on it. She has coughed & ingested particles of wood & string, which could make her choke. She’s also a big licker of both people & objects!
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs luv us and we luv them

  • Reply Rachael Farnstrom July 28, 2021 at 2:24 pm

    I have a two year old Chihuahua/ terrier. She sucks and kneads a stuffed dinosaur. She carries that thing with her every where she goes

  • Reply Holly Knecht September 4, 2021 at 11:49 am

    I have a 1 year old Lagotto who has sucked on plush toys since he was a puppy. We’ve always thought he would grow out of it, but he continues to wrap his paws around the stuffed rabbit, prop himself up and suck. He seems to do this mostly before he naps. Sometimes it seems excessive to me, so I’m happy to see this is relatively common. He would stay busy following me around all day. This is a nice outlet for him and gives me a break from a dog that wants to stay busy all day.

  • Reply Dennise Romine October 21, 2021 at 11:09 pm

    Our one year old Aussiedoodle has done this since we got her at 9weeks. She love to put her “ baby” as we call it, in her mouth and suckle it while kneading on her soft blanket. Every night about thirty minutes before bedtime she does this. I think it relaxes her for the night! She’s a great sleeper when lights are out!

    By the way I think it’s adorable and she how it comforts her.

  • Reply Holly J February 12, 2022 at 9:52 pm

    My 1 year old border collie kneads and suckles on the lower back of his “brother” my German shepherd. My shepherd doesn’t mind at all and has never tried to stop him. It’s so interesting to see!

    • Reply Angelica M February 25, 2022 at 1:36 am

      I have a boonie( is what they call them here in Guam) that does this to our other foster, it was weird seeing in he first time lol but I think they both get something out of it. It’s cute and funny to see them both nap after their “bonding” moment

  • Reply Robin April 16, 2022 at 5:27 pm

    I didn’t realize that dogs knead too! We call it “happy paws” in my home, though my cats do not do the sucking part of it. The video of Kitsune is soooo cute! I love it. It’s good to know that it isn’t a harmful behavior in dogs.

  • Reply Dorothy "FiveSibesMom" April 25, 2022 at 6:08 pm

    It was a funny thing…my Wolfie started “nesting” and sucking on and carrying around a toy Santa he had received as a gift when he 13! I could not figure it out! He never did it before. The only thing I could think of he had lost his sister and was the only Husky left of my pack. Possibly it was soothing when he missed her. It was the only toy and time he ever did that.

  • Reply Andrea August 28, 2022 at 8:34 pm

    My dog Barkley is 8 months old ( cockapoo) I got him at 8 weeks. He does this all the time and it’s so cute! He is very Needy, He won’t go outside or stay outside unless I’m out there, He has to lay on me or against me organs me all the time. He attacks my clothes if I try to get dressed because he knows I’m leaving. However, If he knows he can’t come with me Goes into the other room, And will either sleep or play with his toys until I get home. He doesn’t mind staying with other people or being kennelled if I leave town and doesn’t seem to have any other anxieties. He just has to be close to mama lol

  • Reply Davis Mae January 17, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    Our 5 month old American Bully puppy Bear does this! He has done it since we got him at 9 weeks. His breeder is a good friend and he was definitely not waned too early either. We’ve always thought it was sweet and silly, he always does it with a big soft plush toy or pillow. I got curious and researched it (finding this article) bc I thought it was interesting my 2 older dogs have never done it but he does so religiously. My 2 big girls are much more independent than he is, and he looks up to them immensely but has just always been much more of a big baby than them lol. We call it him “going to work at the muffin factory” bc it reminds me of kneading dough. He also tends to do this before naps/ bed, or if his sisters ignore him during playtime in the den. Most of the time he falls asleep with the toy still in his mouth (loosely, he can still breathe of course). So cool to find this and hear there are other fur-ever babies that do this sweet quirky behavior!!

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