I’m Nell, and I’m a kleptomaniac

Nell has long had certain kleptomaniac tendencies and I’ve recently become more curious about it.

A most precious stone

By kleptomaniac I literally mean randomly picking up items that were of no value whatsoever and resource guarding them like Gollum. We’ve worked a lot on her resource guarding and mostly it’s predictable and managed (especially when we got a second dog), but occasionally she will just pick an item like this small stone she brought in from the garden and considers it highly valuable.

Other examples include a piece of styrofoam that had fallen on the floor, a t-shirt, bra, pieces of plastic, slippers, flipflops etc.

Usually she will engage in this behaviour when our younger dog enters a room, but it’s not something she does every time the other dog enters a room she’s in.

Other times, like this stone, it’s spontaneous (she came back in the house with it and paraded around). Often, she likes to go to bed with an item, ANY item that happens to be nearest, which is largely how this hoarder situation happens.

Because there is very little pattern to it, it’s difficult to predict (i.e. I haven’t been able to work out a reliable antecedent) but thankfully it’s not a big problem because we have established a good relationship between the dogs and she doesn’t get aggressive in this situations – it’s mainly amusing.

If anyone has a possible explanation or similar experiences I’d love to know – it’s been puzzling us for years!

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