Are Squeaky Toys Too Stimulating For Your Dog?
I keep reading that squeaky toys can cause aggression, resource guarding, and predatory instincts in dogs. I’ve yet to see any of those behaviors with my dog, but they certainly create extremely high levels of excitement. Is it just innocent fun or are squeaky toys too stimulating for dogs?
Laika Has A New Favorite Toy, and It’s a Squeaker
I recently discovered a super cheap toy that Laika will not destroy – even though it’s not tough at all. It’s become her new favorite fetch toy, and when I’m busy she’s usually off by herself tossing it around.
Her new favorite toy? It’s just a cheap old plastic squeaky toy from the local grocery store. It was one of those waiting in line ‘oh that looks interesting’ buys. And the best part is it’s not a traditional squeaky toy with a squeaker inside. It’s shaped like a long narrow tube and a hole at the end makes the noise.
She doesn’t get regular squeaky toys anymore. Those are thoroughly destroyed until she gets that squeaker – and that’s too much of a choking hazard.
She Loved It So Much I Got Her More
She loved her new green squeaky toy so much I decided to get her another one, and then another. My once quiet home is now filled with high pitched squeaks. And yes, I keep asking myself why I got her more, one was more than enough…But a dog likes what a dog likes, and they certainly make her happy.
While they’ve been amazing for the most part I am starting to worry that they might be too stimulating.
When we play fetch with them her bottom lip quivers. She still sits and waits for her release, but her bottom lip shakes the whole time. Is that much excitement a good thing? It it just innocent fun? I wish I knew.
Squeaky Toys Do Stimulate Prey Drive
Whether we like it or not our dogs still have a lot of predatory instincts, and squeaky toys stimulate that drive. What sounds like an innocent squeak to us is emulating the noise of prey to our dogs – some cute little furry animal, no doubt.
I’ve read that some dog trainers are against squeaky toys because they nurture a dog’s prey drive. And yes, I definitely see that. But my question is – is that always a bad thing? Is my dog more likely to go off & kill little animals now? Does it depend on her impulse control?
Most of the trainers that claim squeaky toys cause aggression are the same ones that practice dominance theory. Whether disagreeing with that one idea should discredit all their others is something I’m struggling with.
Perhaps any toy that brings out a dog’s prey drive has the potential to cause unwanted behaviors, but shouldn’t that be decided on a dog by dog basis?
Are Squeaky Toys Too Stimulating?
Lots of activities stimulate prey drive, does that mean they’re all bad? Does it just depend on where that drive is focused? A game of tug or a flirt pole encourages dogs to harness their natural drive – is the difference just in the predatory aspect?
We used to play with a flirt pole before Laika got arthritis, and I never noticed any bad behaviors as a result. All that pent up energy she used to chase it seemed to be released when I’d let her catch it.
And I’m assuming squeaky toys work in a similar fashion, unlike laser pointers where a dog never actually gets to “catch” anything. Is any toy that makes a dogs lip quiver too stimulating? Or is it just a sign of anticipation and excitement?
For now I’m going to let Laika keep those stupid squeaky toys, even though my ears are telling me otherwise. It’s not every day that you find a new favorite toy or three, and they’re certainly making Laika one happy pup.
Do You Give Your Dogs Squeaky Toys?
Does your dog play with squeaky toys? Does he or she get obsessive or aggressive with them? Are you nuts like me and buy 3 of the same toy in different colors?