Why Do Dogs Shake Their Toys?

Every dog has a favorite toy that they love to grip in their mouth and shake from side to side – I certainly do. When you catch us shaking our toys in this manner, you might interpret this as aggression. 

However, this actually stems from a behavioral instinct that was leftover from our ancestors – the wolves.

In the wild, we’d capture our prey like this and then shake it aggressively from side to side until we know it’s dead.

So that’s what we’re doing with our toys – we’re pretending that we’ve got a critter in our mouth! 

Does this mean my dog is aggressive?

No – this doesn’t mean we’re aggressive! Just because we do this to a toy, doesn’t mean we’d ever harm a human! 

This is just a trait leftover from our ancestors – it’s in our blood! Truth is, we do this for a bit of fun, and we’re not actually on a killing spree.

That said, it’s best not to pull the toy off us when we’re doing this, as we might accidentally nip you! 

Do dogs like tug of war?

Do dogs like tug of war

Yes – we love playing this, as it’s the perfect way for us to tune into those natural instincts while also getting to bond with our favorite human.

Tug of War is a healthy display of our predatory nature, and it also provides us with great mental and physical exercise.

However, it’s best to only play this game once we’re fully trained, otherwise, we can have a bit too much fun playing it and can go overboard a little.

Before we play, it’s best to establish a command that makes us release the toy which will also signal an end to the game, such as ‘drop it!’

This allows you to set some boundaries and will enable you to stop the game when necessary. If we’re well trained, we will drop the toy as soon as you say the 

command word, and this will give you better control over the game. That’s why it’s important to make sure we’ve mastered the command word before we start playing this game! 

Why do dogs shake when they get up? 

Us dogs are active beings, and that’s why we shake when we get up: we’re activating our muscles and stretching them out ready for activity.

It’s just like how humans stretch in the morning (or are supposed to!) – it’s a way of recharging and waking ourselves up after we’ve been lazing around or sleeping.

In our opinion, we can all benefit from a good shake or downward dog every so often! 

Why does my dog carry his toy everywhere?

Does your pooch have a favorite toy that they like to carry in their mouth? If you’ve got a labrador or retriever, you’ve probably noticed they do this quite a lot.

This is mainly because these breeds were used for hunting in the past, and they have a strong innate response to this.

For example, once the prey was killed, these breeds would carry the remains in their mouths very proudly and carefully. So if this is something your dog is doing with their soft toy, it’s completely normal.

If your dog is a bitch and she hasn’t been spayed yet, she might be carrying her toy around because she’s experiencing a false pregnancy.

This is because hormone changes and an excess of prolactin combined with a loss of progesterone activates nurturing behavior, and it can even bring on the production of milk. 

If we don’t have a puppy to nurture, a toy seems like the next best thing, and we female dogs usually go for a fluffy toy very close to the weight and feel of a puppy.

Hormonal and instinctive behavior after we’ve been on heat can cause stress levels to rise and that’s often why we find comfort in nurturing a toy and acting as though it’s one of our own! 

Why do dogs love stuffed animals? 

Why do dogs love stuffed animals

We love stuffed animals for the same reason you loved your teddy bear when you were a kid – they’re comforting! We all have our favorite toys, and I’m sure your dog has theirs.

Perhaps they carry it around, shake it, toss it, use it as a cushion, or even cuddle it.

These toys can be soothing to us and help calm anxiety, but we all have different reasons for liking a particular toy, whether it’s for its smell, texture, shape, or size.

No two toys are the same, and there’s always a secret reason why we’re so drawn to that raggedy old toy over the new ones you buy us. 

Like I mentioned earlier, if your dog is female and hasn’t yet been spayed, she may treat a stuffed animal like a puppy if she’s experiencing a false pregnancy.  Female dogs have a tendency to bond with toys that remind them of a puppy.

In this case, they’re likely to carry it around in their mouth and handle it with absolute care. They may even lick it as though cleaning a puppy! 

Why does my dog lick his toy? 

Dogs create many positive associations by licking, and it often represents pleasant activities for us, like food and companionship. Many dogs find licking relaxing, which is why some of us lick our toys.

This has a self-soothing effect just like when toddlers suck their thumb or pacifier – it calms us down and brings us comfort! 

Final Say

So now you know why dogs shake their toys – it all comes down to our natural instincts, whether we’re carrying a toy in our mouths thinking it’s prey, shaking it furiously from side to side, or even treating our soft toys like puppies – we’re reacting like this because it’s in our nature. 

And above all, we’re having fun!

We love shaking our toys around, and playing fetch or tug of war with our owner, and most of all, we love the comfort that our toys bring us – which is why every dog has that one special toy they always go for.