Why Do Dogs Like Squeaky Toys?

Here’s one popular theory shared by canine experts as to why dogs love squeaky toys: The squeaks sound similar to the prey they are hardwired to hunt and kill.

The thrill of the chase

Think of it this way: When something feels good and is fun to do, you want to keep doing it. The same is true for dogs, of course. When a dog chomps down on a squeaky toy, they hear a sound that triggers an immediate gratifying auditory reward.

Squeaky toys activate the feedback loop

Pet parents can pick up certain communication tactics from the subtle cues of a dog’s tail to the more obvious signs of an anxious dog hiding under the bed. But other messages from our pups are more cryptic and charmingly clever.

It’s an invitation for you to play

A squeaky squirrel has a tail your pooch may love to swing around and chomp on to make it squeak. Or maybe he goes nuts over his favorite goose toy, wildly shaking it to activate the squeaking sound.

Squeaky toys seem like real prey

Does your dog act differently when playing with high-pitched and low-pitched squeaky toys? Maybe. “Generally, high-pitched, staccato noise tends to encourage activity, while lower-pitched, longer-duration noise tends to be more calming,” Dr. Sueda says.

High-pitched vs. low-pitched squeaker toys

Just when you thought you knew all the dog trainers’ training secrets, the squeaker toy comes along and proves you wrong. Whether it’s a squeaky rope or chew toy, it can be a sneaky way to reinforce your dog’s behaviors, Farricelli says.

How to use squeaky toys for training

What’s the danger in some good, old-fashioned, instinctual fun? Nothing…unless your pup ingests the squeaker and/or stuffing after he’s torn the toy to shreds.

The potential dangers of squeaky toys

There’s no shortage of squeaky toys to choose from. Some toys are cuter and look more fun to play with than others, but what really matters is durability and safety.

How to choose safe squeaky toys

As pet parents, we might not appreciate the seemingly endless loop of the squeaker, and we might hope for what Dr. McCarthy calls a “squeakectomy.”

When you need a break from squeaky toys