It's not completely unusual for a dog to use an item as sort of security blanket. Whether the dog's anxious or feeling insecure, holding something with his owner's scent may comfort him. See the advice the Dog Expert offers for one visitor's pet.
Dog Needs Something for Security
I have a 16-month-old German Shepherd, and I have to say he's the best dog in the world. My question is this: everytime we come in the door, or even when we are at home, he has to have something in his mouth. He usually carries it until we take it out and then sometimes he will carry it into the closet (his favorite spot) and leave it there. If we are ever missing a shoe, sock, or even a toy, we know where to look.
Is there a reason why he does this? Is it like a pacifier? The other day we were gone and came home to find a bag of buns in the closet, not chewed or anything, just in his spot. He doesn't really chew anything, just carries it. We do have two other dogs, but they all get equal time and attention, together and apart. The behavior doesn't bother us, in fact it is kind of cute, but there must be a reason for it. If it is a problem, then we should be correcting it.
Please let me know your opinion.
Thanks for your question MUMSY2.
In my opinion, It just sounds like your pet needs a little something to hang onto for security.
My suspicion is he picks up something that is carrying your scent and clings to it so he always feels like you're near, even if it's just a pack of buns you've recently touched. I once had a dog that was so devoted, she'd go lay down with a pair of my shoes until I returned home.
If you are worried he might one day select something he really shouldn't have, you could try to modify this behavior by getting him to focus on an object of his own. I would suggest getting him a special toy or blanket, sleeping with it for a night yourself so it has your scent, then give it to him. You can even hand it to him when you are preparing to leave, so he already has a suitable "security blanket" before you go.
Thank goodness he's not a problem chewer, but you never know when that behavior could start, so think about giving my suggestion a try.