If your dog is like most, he loves squeaky toys. Just walk through the door with a bag from the pet store in your hand, and your dog will erupt into squeals of rapturous delight at the very thought that there just might be a noisy present in there with his name on it. While the appeal of a squeaky toy is hard to deny, it’s a little more challenging for owners to understand. What does your dog get from tearing open his brand new toy to de-stuff and “kill” the squeaker? From an owner’s perspective, this makes little sense. After all you just bought the toy, and five minutes later, there it lies decapitated and gutless on your living room floor while Fido pants happily alongside his “kill.” What is it about squeaky toys that seems to drive our dogs wild?
There’s Just Something About the Sound
Interestingly enough, it is quite common for dogs to discard their toys once the squeaker is no longer active. By considering the modern dog’s origins, we are often able to come to some logical conclusions about what motivates our dogs to do the things that they do. This is definitely the case when it comes to our dogs’ seeming fascination with all things that squeak.
Dogs in the wild were dependent upon their hunting skills to survive. Because of this, the wild dog’s sense of smell and hearing was quite keen and attuned to even the mildest sounds. His life and the lives of those under his leadership depended on it. Food was not always plentiful, and the wild dog knew what it meant to suffer true hunger.
One of the strongest indications of the presence of prey is the noise they would make. Many canine theorists surmise that the sound a squeaky toy makes is reminiscent of prey that a wild dog would encounter during his hunting expeditions. This squeak activates ancient desires in our modern domesticated dogs and compels them to find and kill the source of the noise.
But why a squeak? In the wild, it was often kill or be killed. Because of this, animals became very good at learning to camouflage themselves. To be seen, heard, or smelled could spell certain death for any animal. An animal that was heard making a squeaking noise was one that was either injured or sick and thus vulnerable. Easy pickings for a predator! Our dogs are wired to enjoy the thrill of the chase, but once the prey has been captured, the game ceases to be fun. This makes perfect sense in comparison with how our dogs react to the sound of a squeaky toy. They pounce on it with ferocious delight and commence their mission to destroy the toy, but once the toy has suffered defeat and lost its squeaker, most dogs are just as happy to saunter off and take a nap. In Fido’s eyes, he’s completed his task, and it was a job well done.
Squeaky Toys Are a Natural De-Stressor
Since prey drive plays a role in most dog breeds’ genetic makeup, the idea of a game of chase or even keep away is very appealing to our dogs. This can be channeled to help your dog learn new skills.
Chewing these types of toys is extremely beneficial for our dogs, particularly when it comes to providing stress relief. The act of licking, chewing, and even de-stuffing helps your dog to feel calm, making squeaky toys a fun way to find relief from anxiety.
However, some dogs can become overly stimulated by this type of play. For this reason, it is best to assess what type of effect squeaky toys have on your dog and allow your dog access to them only if it is healthful for him. In addition to this, since some dogs not only chew their toys, they also eat them; it is important to make certain that your dog spends his toy time under your direct supervision. Eaten remnants of plastic or fabric can cause obstructions which may require veterinary intervention to remedy and in extreme cases can even lead to death.
I Want It Now!
Some dogs are motivated by the reaction they receive in response to their bite pressure on the toy. The act of using their jaws is very satisfying for a dog, and there is no better or safer way for a dog to experience this satisfaction than on a harmless toy. Many dogs perceive the squeaking noise was a reaction, and it encourages them to continue trying to elicit the same response time and time again. For dogs like this, killing the squeaker can almost be a letdown.
Yes, dogs do love squeak toys. While some dogs don’t express much of an interest in toys in general, most dogs are deeply impacted by the satisfying sound of the noise of a brand new toy just waiting for some quality one on one time with Fido. Whether your dog is motivated by ancient primal instincts or he simply likes to relax and have a good “chew,” playing with squeaky toys is a natural and healthy form of release for our dogs. Why not take Fido on a toy shopping spree today? He will thank you for it!