Don't you wish you could just chow down on a sweaty, smelly old sock? Well, probably not, but your dog does. A nasty sock is a delicacy to him, and while it's kind of gross, it's also natural, so you can't blame him too much for gnoshing on your knee-highs.
It Feels Good
Your pooch doesn't nom-nom on your socks because he's hungry -- he does it because it feels good. When he's a puppy, chewing is part of the teething process, but when he grows up, it's more like chewing gum to him. The soft, squishy texture is irresistible, especially if he favors soft, plush chew toys. Don't forget, too, that dogs use their mouths like you use your hands -- it's how he experiences the world around him, and part of that is chewing.
He Loves You
Only humans like clean socks. Your dog would much rather have the nastiest, dirtiest old gym sock from the bottom of your duffel bag. Don't judge him, though -- it's just because he loves you. Your dirty socks smell like you, and chewing on them makes your dog feel a little bit closer to you. This is especially prevalent in dogs who have separation anxiety. Chewing on your smelly sock is like wrapping himself up in a security blanket.
What's a "Sock?"
Some dogs just don't have an appreciation for fashion. Your dog could be chewing on your sock simply because he doesn't know what it is, and can't tell that it doesn't belong to him. Don't think of him as greedy -- he just doesn't know any better. If that sock is on the floor alongside his food, his water and his toys, what's he supposed to think? Keep your socks off the floor and out of reach, so that he can distinguish between what's his and what's off-limits.
It's Just There
Look, dogs don't necessarily have very refined tastes. Some of them eat poop. Your dog might like chewing on socks just because it's there, and he doesn't have anything else to occupy his time. A dog that chews destructively is a dog with too much energy and not enough entertainment, so make sure he's getting enough exercise, attention and toys. Soon he'll see that there are much better ways to spend his time than chewing up your dirty old clothes.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.