Do you ever wonder, ‘why do dogs shake toys?’ One of my dogs shakes her toys so hard I am worried she is going to hurt herself. And it makes me laugh because of how goofy she looks! It’s more than just a funny little trait they have. It goes way back. Back way before dogs were domesticated, and they needed to survive. So let’s get into the answer of ‘why do dogs shake toys.’
While dogs no longer need to depend on hunting for their food, they still have their prey behavior. The drive for catching and killing still exists within them. The toy supplements this desire, and the noisy squeaker adds an extra touch for them to destroy something. The toys provide a safe outlet for them to fulfill their instincts that come natural to them. It’s typically just a healthy element of their play.
Dr. Margaret Gruen, a clinician at the NC State University Animal Behavior Service, states “They like the tactile stimulation of the toy hitting the sides of their face. It’s just another part of exuberant play.”
My dog looks ridiculous when she has her big toy squirrel absolutely driving into her face because she’s shaking so hard. I was always worried she was hurting herself. Guess it’s opposite!
This can become problematic if the behavior progresses to things beyond their toys. If they try to pick up other pets (or children!) this is an immediate cause for action to rectify this behavior.
But, if your pup is just having a good time getting their energy out with their toys, and you don’t see this behavior in anything other than toys, let them play away! Playing with toys, whether if they are shaking them or not, provides tons of benefits for your pup. They are able to get their energy out, it provides mental stimulation, and they are having a fun time.