Why Do Dogs Like Squeaky Toys?
Why do dogs like squeaky toys? Some owners ask out of curiosity, others out of exasperation! You can buy your dog all the fancy silent toys in the world, and they’ll still be drawn to the ones with the most obnoxious squeak. They always pick the inconvenient moments too, like when dog parents are working or sleeping!
Still, they love it, so we suffer through the squeaking. But why, exactly, is it such a big draw to them?
Why Do Dogs Like Squeaky Toys?
Dogs like squeaky toys because they simulate the experience of catching real prey, and it brings them back to their wolf days. The squeak provides some instant gratification if they sink their teeth into it, which they love. That sounds morbid, and you may not want to think of it as that, but it’s true! Your dog loves it because it’s like catching a real animal.
Dogs love instant feedback, so hearing that squeak the moment they close their jaw on the toy is very satisfying. Some dogs will play with squeaky toys alone for hours on end because they love hearing the sound.
Does It Encourage Prey Drive?
Some people are worried that letting their puppy play with squeaky toys will encourage their prey drive. They’re worried that the gratification will make them chase small animals, looking for the same sound. This can be unnerving for those who have dogs that already like chasing small animals.
The answer is that while it definitely stimulates their prey drive, it provides a safe outlet for it, and shouldn’t encourage them to go after anything else. The only problem is that if your dog already has a high prey drive, they can become obsessed with ‘killing’ the squeaky toy and tearing it apart. This can be dangerous for a number of reasons, not least of all because they could eat the squeaker inside.
Keep your dog safe by inspecting the chew toys every now and again. Make sure no loose parts have come off, and that it’s completely intact. If you have a big dog that chews heavily, you can buy the toys that are built to be indestructible to ensure they can’t get through it.
Regardless, if your dog has a tendency to chew, don’t leave them alone with the toy. That way, you can ensure they aren’t going to do themselves any damage.
If your dog loves squeaky toys, you can try buying one where the pitch is so high that a human can’t hear it. That means your dog will be able to enjoy the same gratification they would from a normal squeaky toy, but you don’t have to hear it!
If you’re looking for something they’ll become just as focused on that doesn’t make a noise at all, you can try toys that rustle when the dog shakes them. The sound is less piercing, but still satisfying!
Enrichment activities should also keep your dog entertained. Buy a snuffle mat to work on their nose skills so they can forage for treats, or buy some puzzle toys. Dogs need mental stimulation as much as they need physical, so this can be a huge help when it comes to finding them a healthy outlet for their energy and obsessions.
So, why do dogs like squeaky toys? To put it simply, it’s because they were once wolves and they still have that drive for prey! It’s not the nicest thing to consider, but it does provide them with a healthy outlet for that drive. Give them some squeaky toys and keep an eye on them to make sure it’s safe, and find some alternatives for when the noise just gets to be too much.