Is your dog a squeaker seeker? If you have a pup who goes wild over toys that squeak when squeezed, you are not alone. Most pups find squeaky toy sounds to be alluring and pleasantly stimulating, and will go to great lengths to dominate the source of the squeak.
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,” says Alynn Evans, assistant product line manager at Outward Hound. “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. Satisfy your dog’s inner wolf (sans live prey) with Outward Hound’s Invincibles Geckos. This dog squeaky toy features two layers of super-tough fabric and a special squeaker that doesn’t stop squeaking even after it is punctured. Ideal for those ultra-determined dogs, you can expect hours of play with an Outward Hound Invincibles toy. Plus, these toys have zero stuffing, so there’s no mess to clean up after the fun is over.
Another great toy that will appeal to your dog’s hunter instincts is the Outward Hound Plush Squeaker Matz Mallard dog toy. It spans a total of 33 inches and features multiple rows of squeakers for endless play. You’ll find this toy has an exciting shake and flap factor that is perfect for tossing when your pup wants to play, and cuddling when he’s ready to rest.
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.
The Outward Hound Firehose Squeak N Fetch dog toy is made with double-stitched seams and real firehose material that is durable enough to withstand even the toughest of chewers. If you thought fetch couldn’t get any more fun, just watch to see how your dog reacts when there’s a squeaky toy involved. The Firehose also floats, just in case the toy makes its way into the water or if you want to play fetch in the pool on a hot summer day.
Also constructed with the ultra-durable fire hose material is the Outward Hound Fire Biterz Lizard dog toy that comes with either two or three squeakers. With a ballistic toughness that won’t quit, and a squeaker that can endure almost anything, this toy is as long-lasting as it is fun.
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,” says Evans. “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,” she says.
It’s important to supervise squeaky toy play, Evan says, 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,” she says.
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.