Pet owners enjoy giving their beloved canines toys to play with, especially when they see how their dogs are having fun. If you’re a pet parent yourself, you’ve probably accumulated a collection of toys just for your pup. However, you may have noticed that dogs have preferences for certain toys. In some cases, your dog may even have a favorite one that they’re very attached to.
Although you shouldn’t worry about your dog favoring a certain toy, it can become an issue when the toy becomes due for replacement. Toys that have begun to rip or break need to be taken away from pets because they can become a choking hazard. You can also get into a challenging situation if your pet becomes obsessed with an object they’re not supposed to play with, like regular household items rather than appropriate pet toys. Your pet might reach for this particular item whenever and wherever they see it, so they might even attempt to take someone else’s belongings. As such, it’s a good idea to learn what tickles your dog’s fancy when it comes to choosing a toy they’ll like, so you can provide them with an object they can safely play with.
In this article, you’ll find out how your dog picks their favorite toy, so you can fill up their toy box with pet-appropriate items that they’ll certainly love.
The Toy Gives Them Comfort
Similar to kids and their stuffed toys, some dogs like toys that feel comfortable to touch and are plush enough to snuggle with. It’s possible that your dog is attached to the soft wine plush bottle dog toy you got for fun as it makes them feel safer, especially during stressful situations like when there’s a thunderstorm. Holding onto their toy is your pup’s way of overcoming distress or reinforcing a positive emotion, whether they’re around you or alone.
If your pet typically grabs their favorite plush toy when you’re about to leave the house or go to bed, your dog could have separation anxiety. This happens when a dog is overly attached to their owner and feels stressed when they’re left alone. To help your pup better cope with your leaving, make sure to give them plenty of exercise every day. The activity will keep them happy and tire them out, so they feel less stressed.
The Toy Feels Good in Their Mouth
In some cases, you’ll see dogs that like to carry their toys around. They may be doing this because the toy has a particular texture that feels good in the pet’s mouth. Typically, this happens because your pup is teething, so chew toys are particularly appealing to them.
Because you can expect the toy to be frequently in contact with your dog’s teeth, it’s best to get them toys that don’t break apart easily or have small parts your pup might swallow. Soft plastic and rubber toys that easily show teeth marks can also pose a health risk to your dog as the material can fray and be accidentally ingested. Instead, get toys that are durable and free from sharp edges so that they don’t harm your dog’s jaws or teeth.
The Toy Satisfies Their Natural Instincts
If your pup is attached to a toy that they play fetch with, they’re simply acting on their instinct to hunt down a moving target. Observe your dog’s behavior when you play together. Do they seem particularly excited when asked to chase a ball or fetch a toy? If your pup seems to love running after whatever you throw, they may have strong hunting instincts. This trait can be found in all kinds of dogs, but may be particularly common among hunting dog breeds.
For example, terriers and shepherds love retrieval games involving frisbees and tennis balls due to their having an ancestry of hunting and herding dogs. On the other hand, English and French bulldogs are usually more than happy to engage in a good game of tug of war. This type of game is perfect for their powerful jaws and muscular bodies, and it won’t require them to run around too much since they get tired quickly. In both instances, getting a durable frisbee toss toy is a great idea. The toy is softer and lighter than the common plastic frisbee, so it's gentler for your dog’s jaw and easier to catch. It also features a rope loop that won’t break easily, even if your pet is a strong puller.
The Toy Has a Significant Memory Attached to It
Sometimes, it isn’t exactly the toy that your pet is attached to, but the special memory they have with the item. For example, your dog may remember getting rewarded or receiving a lot of attention when they first played with the toy. This special time can have a large impact on your dog, and it can last forever because dogs don’t outgrow emotions. Typically, this won’t be a problem, unless your pet gets attached to an item that’s inappropriate to play with in the first place, like a toilet cleaning brush or your old underwear.
If it’s necessary for you to stop your dog from fixating on a certain item, you can break your pet’s habit by turning the experience with the object into a negative one. For example, you can make loud noises to distract your dog whenever they see the item. Then, introduce them to an appropriate pet toy. Make sure to give your dog lots of praise and treats as they play with their new toy so that they’re encouraged to change their behavior.
It’s common for dogs to have favorite toys, but it can become an issue if the toy needs to be replaced and your pet refuses to part with them. As such, it’s a good idea to understand how and why your precious pup is so fond of their toy. This way, you can help them transition to a new toy that’s more appropriate for their needs.