As pet parents, we love to spoil our pups with numerous different types of toys. From plushies to squeaky toys, we often don’t mind splurging when it comes to spoiling our dog.
However, most pet parents are perplexed when they see their dog shaking their toy violently. Dog owners, especially if first-time dog owners, are often worried about why their pup insists on shaking their toy when they don’t exhibit any other aggressive behaviors.
It is normal to have these questions about your dog’s well-being, and it encourages good behavioral habits and correcting bad ones if need be. So, if you are worried about your dog shaking their toy, then here is a detailed guide on this dog trait.
It’s Natural Instinct
Dogs shaking small items is not a new occurrence. In fact, you will find nearly all dogs of all shapes, sizes, and ages indulging in some good old fashion toy shaking. Though there are a few plausible theories that explain this behavior, the most concrete explanation is only one - instincts. Dogs, by nature, are hunting animals.
The species has spent eons searching for prey, especially small prey that they can easily overpower and kill by shaking it. This would likely cause the prey to break their neck or back without putting up much of a fight.
Why Do Domesticated Dogs Shake Their Toys?
Although dogs have now been domesticated, and most of their hunting habits have mellowed down, they still exhibit some classic behaviors that are reminiscent of their natural predatory tendencies.
No matter how domesticated the animal is, these predatory instincts will remain present to varying degrees in all dogs and are often released during playtime. It is believed that like chewing on soft toys, shaking may also help dogs release endorphins that help them to feel happier and calmer.
Are Some Breeds More Prone To Toy Shaking Behavior?
Dogs have numerous breeds, each with its own unique quirks and characteristics. Just like greyhounds are known for their speed, terriers such as Jack Russells have stronger predatory instincts when it comes to hunting small animals. This is because the terrier breed has been bred specifically over centuries to hunt small to medium-sized animals - ideally, these were rodents on farms.
Terriers have lightning-fast reflexes and can burrow into small spaces thanks to their size, making it easier to catch and shake vermin. Other breeds that were bred for retrieving games, such as golden retrievers, labradors, and spaniels, have softer mouths. They were bred to not be too harsh while handling and retrieving the game so as to not bruise it. For this reason, such breeds often don’t have a strong desire to shake their toys aggressively.
Since shaking a toy is normal behavior for many dogs, it is best to let them indulge in this behavior.
So, allowing enough playtime, giving your dogs the necessary exercise they need, and buying them plenty of enrichment toys will help them release their natural instincts in a controlled and healthy manner.