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Why Do Dogs Like Squeaky Toys So Much?

Oh, what a joy it is to watch your pup scramble after a new squeaky toy.

You know you’ve hit the mark in getting your pet the right toy when he proceeds to attack it with glee.

At the same time, you may be asking yourself – what’s the attraction?

The squealing noises the toy makes when pressed? The feel of rubber or plastic between your pup’s teeth?

The challenge to pursue and conquer?

Well, canine experts have wondered about this as well and come up with various theories on the matter, all of which make perfect sense once you stop to think about it.

If one of your pup’s favorite pastimes is chasing and playing with plush or rubber squeaky toys, here’s food for thought on why he may find these toys so compelling.

Instinctive Predator Behavior

You may consider your little lap dog the sweetest, gentlest, most mild-mannered creature on the face of the earth, but that’s not his ancestral heritage.

Our canine pets descend from dogs in the wild who had to hunt and kill prey in order to survive.

Although our pets don’t have to hunt to eat, they still possess that predator instinct to some extent.

In fact, many of today’s breeds have a history of chasing and capturing small animals.

Labradors, for example, and Weimaraners were originally bred to be gun dogs.

The loveable Yorkshire Terrier was at one time used to hunt rodents.

One reason your pup may be attracted to the high pitched noise of squeaky toys is that this noise is similar to the sound made by scared or wounded animals of prey, which he has an inbuilt desire to pursue and capture.

Like dogs in the wild, your pup may not only be compelled to capture his “prey”, but also to kill it.

This could be why some dogs relish tearing up that squeaky toy until the noise stops.

Some dogs even wind up eating that squeaker or torn-up toy parts if not caught in time.

Once the squeaker has been destroyed and doesn’t make any more noise, your pup may lose interest in the toy altogether – or what’s left of it.

puppy with squeaky toy

Gratifying Experience

The second theory has to do with gratifying experiences.

When you do something that’s fun or exciting or makes you feel good, you want to continue doing it – right?

The same is true of your pup.

Some dogs find it extremely gratifying to chew on squeaky toys and listen to their squeaky noises.

The noise they hear is like a reward for chomping on the toy.

According to studies on the subject, dogs enjoy hearing certain types of sounds.

Certain sounds – such as those produced by squeaky toys – trigger the release of “feel good” chemicals in a dog’s body.

These chemicals promote a positive, happy response in your pup.

The happy feelings your pup gets from playing with squeaky toys encourage him to keep coming back for more.

It’s like he’s on a feedback loop to continue partaking of this gratifying experience.

Pet Owner Reaction

Yet another theory as to why dogs like squeaky toys so much is that it almost always prompts a reaction from pet owners.

Consider how you respond to your pup wrestling with a squeaky toy.

Doesn’t it tend to get your attention?

Don’t you feel like yelling at him to stop or grabbing the toy away or, better yet, joining in on the fun?

Dogs are intelligent creatures.

If you’ve been ignoring your pup for too long, what better way to get your attention than produce a high-pitched wail from a squeaky toy?!

On the flip side, if your pup isn’t a fan of squeaky toys, count your lucky stars!

Some dogs are afraid of the noise made by these toys, while others are simply not interested.

There’s no shortage of toys you can buy for your pup.

Find what he likes and be thankful you can enjoy the peace and quiet of a non-squeaky toy home.

Importance of Supervising Squeaky Toy Play

Now that you understand why your pup loves his squeaky toys so much, hopefully, you can be more supportive by supervising his squeaky toy playtimes to avoid accidents.

This is especially important if your pup likes to rip his toy apart.

The danger lies in your pup swallowing that squeaker or parts of the toy once it’s all chewed up.

There’s no guarantee your pup will simply pass ingested toy parts in his poop.

These parts could get stuck inside your dog’s intestinal tract and require surgery to have them taken out.

If you’re going to give your pup squeaky toys to play with, it’s good you know the risks and take measures to prevent incidents with these products.

By keeping an eye on your pup during squeaky toy playtime, you can step in before things get out of hand.

The type of squeaky toys you buy can also help reduce the risk of accidents.

If you own a large, rough-playing dog, it’s best to invest in heavy-duty rubber squeaky toys that hold up better than their plush counterparts.

Squeaky toys with ridged or spiked surfaces can double as teeth and gum-cleaning chew toys.

Toys made of food-grade, antibacterial material are even better as they can withstand dog slobber and constant cleaning.

You might also want to train your pup early on to drop squeaky toys or leave them when told to do so.

A simple command of “drop it” or “leave it” should do the trick.

Otherwise, you might have a hard time taking that toy from him, even if it’s totally destroyed and no longer making noise.

By taking precautions, squeaky toy playtime can be a safe, positive experience for your dog, even if it does, on occasion, drive you up the wall.

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National Canine Research Association of America