If your dog loves squeaky toys more so than even bones or tennis balls, it’s likely because these toys activate your dog’s hunting instinct.
There are a couple theories that explain why dogs are so fascinated by the squeaky sensations emitted by these noisemakers. Some say dogs are motivated by an instinctual drive, while others claim that dogs revel in the feeling of immediate gratification. If you want to understand why your dog goes bonkers over the squeaky toy sound, keep reading for some insight.
Dogs are descendants of wolves, and both share a strikingly similar DNA construct. So, it’s no surprise that they share similar behavioral qualities, as well. The squeaky toy noise is comparable to the sound of prey that’s frightened or injured, which may ignite their innate wolf-like drive to keep attacking. When the dog squeaky toy stops squeaking, this tells the dog that he has successfully “killed” his prey and he can cease the attack.
Playing with squeaky toys simulates chasing and capturing prey, a behavior that exists in all dogs, but is more persistent in terriers, sporting and herding breeds.The explanation of prey drive goes back thousands of years to when dogs evolved from their wild, wolf ancestors and had to hunt to survive. When people started breeding dogs, prey drive was bred to be more intense in certain breeds and less intense in others. Although a dog squeaky toy is far from a small animal, that doesn’t mean your dog won’t go crazy over the squeaky toy noise.
Another theory as to why dogs love the squeaky toy noise is that they can’t resist the immediate reward that comes from the sound. The constant auditory feedback characteristic of a squeaky toy lets them know their bite is effective enough to create a reaction. The squeaky toy sound is telling your dog, “Your bite is working! Keep biting!” As opposed to a silent toy, which gives no response when your dog is chewing on it.
Squeaky Toy Health Benefits
There are a ton of health benefits associated with squeaky toy playtime. “Like people, playing is a very healthy behavior for dogs,” aside from the well-known benefits of exercise, stimulating your dog’s natural prey drive helps them just ‘be a dog.’ Making room for these healthy outlets where dogs can act naturally, they will be less likely to take out this behavior on other things, like your furniture and nicely landscaped yard.
Squeaky toys also make effective training tools for getting your dog’s attention and rewarding good behavior. Because squeaky toys often get dogs excited, they can be a good way to motivate your dog.
It’s important to supervise squeaky toy play, especially with dogs that get overstimulated easily. If this is the case with your dog, keep squeaky toy play confined to short durations. Also, “ask your dog to sit before giving or throwing the toy to them,”.
Make sure to remove and replace damaged toys, and always watch that your dog is not eating any parts of the toy, as this can be a serious health concern.