Who doesn’t love to have fun? Dog toys are a great way for dogs to play and exercise. Still, no matter how many toys we give our dogs, they tend to gravitate toward one or two favorite items.
Why do dogs have favorite toys? The reasons can vary, although your furry friend’s choice can help share some insight into her personality and background. Here’s what your dog’s favorite toy can tell you about your canine companion.
If your dog loves playing with squeaky toys, you’ve got a furry little hunter on your hands. The squeak made by these toys is comparable to sounds that potential prey would make if frightened or injured. As such, dogs with high prey drives that have the instinctual urge to hunt may be more attracted to these types of toys.
Another reason why dogs love squeaky toys is because they’re great at providing immediate gratification. If your dog loves hearing compliments or being rewarded for tricks, squeaky toys will give her that immediate reaction every single time she chews on it.
Balls, Frisbees, and Other Thrown Toys
While throwable toys come in all shapes and sizes, they each have something in common to your furry friend: the thrill of the chase. Dogs who prefer these toys tend to have a need for speed – or at least have a lot of energy to burn. It’s also a great way to play for dogs who want to feel like they accomplished something. Triumphantly returning to a pet parent with ball or some other toy in mouth is a joyous occasion indeed.
If you find that your dog prefers a game of tug-of-war, you have a competitor – and one that understands you’re her favorite person to play against. Tug-of-war is a collaborative game that allows your canine companion to get out a lot of energy, but in a way where she can show off her strength to her best friend.
A penchant for pulling can also indicate that your dog likes to channel her predatory instincts. Your dog likely doesn’t get the opportunity to hunt down prey in her normal life, so her preference for pull toys is a good sign that she likes to get back to her roots every now and again.
A love for stuffed animals can indicate a few different traits depending on how your furry friend likes to play with that plushie. Some dogs are fans of using stuffed animals as substitutes for potential prey, except instead of hunting down critters in the woods they can track teddy bears in the living room. If your dog has a tendency to rip stuff animals to shreds, it’s a good sign that she’s having some fun with this pseudo hunt. While also a hunting instinct, certain breeds like Labs and Retrievers may also play out instincts to take care of recovered animals.
Other dogs take much more care of their stuffed animals, to the point where it’s a regular companion for years. Carrying around and sleeping with a stuffed animal are signs that your canine companion is tapping into her maternal instincts. She may also want to make sure that she has a friend when you’re not around and she becomes anxious. As long as your dog doesn’t become obsessive about her stuffed animal, this is normal behavior – it just means she’s got plenty of love to give to both you and her stuffed animal friends.
If your dog is a fan of bone-shaped toys, it’s probably because she has food and nutrition on the mind. According to psychologists, the drive to chew up bones stems from past dogs trying to feast on the fatty bone marrow during trying times. While today’s canines have access to much better food sources, that need to feed still influences their choices, even if that bone toy isn’t going to yield some tasty marrow any time soon.
The Classic Stick
Who needs toys when you can find your own outside? Dogs’ love of sticks likely started with the fact that they are similar in shape to bones, but a fondness for stray bits of wood extends beyond that. Dogs are inherently curious animals, and sticks give them the ability to seek out their own treasures and show them off to you. If your dog loves seeking out sticks, she’s probably a curious treasure hunter who likes to explore the fascinating sights and smells of the outside world.
It’s always exciting to learn more about our favorite furry friends. Want to know more about how you can support your canine companion? Join our Best Friends Club today to receive our exclusive email newsletter full of articles on training tips, healthy habits, and members-only discounts on Bil-Jac dog food, treats, and other products.