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Why do dogs cry for a toy?

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Why do dogs cry for a toy?

There are few dogs that don’t like a certain toy. Even if it's not the kind of dog toy we usually think of, like a stuffed toy, most dogs will gravitate towards one type of toy or another. Or they might make their own toys from non-toy items, such as a wad of paper or a stick. There may be a deep-seated attraction to the toys they choose, and sometimes it's nothing more than pure fun.

I spent a lot of time observing dogs and what they did, and spent many years at pet resorts to demonstrate this curiosity. The knowledge gained from working with dog trainers and other animal experts that we encounter through this business does not make me a dog psychologist, nor does it make me a dog behaviorist or trainer. But it gave me a unique opportunity to gain insight into some interesting dog behavior. Dogs and their "relationship" with toys is one of those interesting and sometimes puzzling behaviors.


Why dog toys are important for dogs

Toys are actually important for your dog’s development. We seem to know this instinctively because when we get a dog, one of the first things we do is buy them a toy! Toys provide mental and physical stimulation to our dogs. If they are bored, they will reach for the toys. If they need to chew, they will go looking for a toy. If they just want to rest, they may curl up with a toy. Toys meet the needs of our dogs.

Safe chew toys for dogs

I often see my own dog come into the living room and interact with his toys, whether he's shaking them, rolling on them, or just putting his head on one of the toys for a nap. You should have seen his face when I started organizing the living room and putting his toys in the toy box. It's like he's saying, "Hey, those are mine!" I think he'll find comfort in knowing his toys are right there with him. Maybe mixing their stuff with stuff from our house will give our dogs a sense of belonging.

Toys often satisfy our dogs’ instincts

Retrievers may instinctively want to pick up a ball or Frisbee due to their desire to "retrieve." Many dogs, especially hounds, like squeaky toys because they sound like prey when they pounce and chew on the toys. Female dogs then develop an emotional attachment to toys that remind them of their puppies. Of course, some dogs just prefer a good chew toy simply because they love to chew!


Dogs show emotional attachment to toys

I remember giving our dog a yellow stuffed chick. It's smaller than most of her stuffed animals and makes the cutest little chirp sounds. Usually, a new toy means grabbing it and running with it, shaking it, and throwing it around, but that's not the case with this toy. She gently picked it up, put it on the bed, and sat on the bed as if to protect it. She acted almost motherly about it. Isn't this unusual? Sometimes the dog acts like the chicken confuses her. Perhaps she was also questioning her unusual attraction to the toy.

Dogs are social animals and can feel lonely or anxious when left alone for long periods of time, such as when we go to work. This is where toys can play a vital role. Providing your dog with a range of toys while you are away can help them cope with the separation. Toys can provide mental stimulation, help your dog focus and reduce feelings of boredom or anxiety. Interactive or educational toys can be particularly effective because they require your dog to figure out how to get a treat or other reward. Plush toys can also provide comfort, especially for young dogs or dogs who like to snuggle. By rotating the toys you leave behind, you can help keep your dog interested and make each day a little different.

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