Why Do Our Dogs Have Favorite Toys?

Grunt. Grunt. Squeak! Grunt. Squeak! Squeak!

There’s something about those dual sounds in hedgehog dog toys that make our pups go cuckoo for cocoa puffs. With a grunting squeaker and traditional high-pitched squeakers, Outward Hound Hedgehogz is often a favorite toy amongst dogs.

But what is it exactly that makes this plush dog toy so appealing? Why do dogs single out a favorite toy?

Dogs Are Good Listeners

As you might already know, dogs have spectacular hearing skills. A dog’s sense of hearing is four times as sensitive as a human’s. For example, what our human ears can hear from 20 feet away, our dogs can hear from 80 feet away. They can also hear higher frequencies that we can’t.

How well dogs hear, combined with their natural hunting instincts and prey drive, contributes to why squeaky toys and grunting toys are so much fun for them at playtime. It’s that extra auditory element that gives them the mental stimulation they crave.

Interactive dog toys like our honking and squeaking stuffed hedgehogs encourage healthy play and trigger a dog’s natural instincts.

While they love the sounds, they also love playing with them around you, building a bond that makes the toy extra special.

What about silent toys?

2020 Bestseller Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Tennis Ball Yellow

Your pooch may favor a ball dog toy over a squeaky toy for the same reason — those natural hunting instincts and getting to play with their favorite person. Dogs who live for fetch with their favorite ball are triggered by their instinct to chase down prey.

“Some dogs may prefer a stuffed toy that reminds them of a puppy and they may ‘mother’ it,” veterinarian Chyrle Bonk explained to Outward Hound.

“Other dogs may choose a toy that they can tear to shreds to satisfy their hunting or predatory desires. Still, others may have a favorite ball or another retrieval-type toy that reminds them of retrieving ducks off a pond.”

Fetch/retrieval is an activity that comes naturally to them. After all, when dogs were first domesticated, they were trained to help hunt and retrieve game for their humans.

Speaking of hunting instincts, your dog may favor a puzzle toy over a ball or squeaky toy. Especially if you have a breed like a Basset hound, which was bred to sniff out the smaller game like rabbits.

Breeds with super-sniffing skills love practicing nose work by seeking out hidden treats in dog puzzle toys. Let them unleash their inner hunting dog by foraging for dog treats in the hidden compartments of a Nina Ottosson game.

YOU Are Your Dog’s Favorite

human and dog with hedgehog dog toy

No matter which toy speaks to your dog the most, it’s likely they love it so much because of the bond it builds with you, their human. Whether it’s a game of fetch with a ball or tug of war with a grunting, crinkle duck dog toy, they want to spend that quality time with you.

Professional dog trainer Ali Smith told Outward Hound: “Dogs leverage familiarity for comfort during socialization as a puppy, so it stands to reason [a favorite dog toy] can become a ‘familiar’ object also, and work long into their adult life. Think of it like a security blanket!”

A dog’s favorite toy “becomes the most valuable toy because of what it represents,” said Smith.

It smells the most like you and it’s the toy that you play with your dog the most. Naturally, they’re going to dub that toy “my precious” à la Gollum.

About Our Hedgehog Dog Toy

french bulldog with hedgehogz

Just because your dog has that one favorite toy, doesn’t mean they don’t want variety. To give them the daily enrichment and mental stimulation they need, add a new toy or puzzle game to the mix next time you go shopping for pet supplies.

The best toy for one dog might not be the best for another. For example, if your dog prefers a stuffed animal over a tennis ball or dog puzzle, a plush hedgehog dog toy is probably on their wish list.

Hedgehogz squeaky plush dog toy has soft faux-fur to mimic a natural feel. Dogs love snuggling up and playing games with this cuddly companion!

They are available in a range of sizes for small dogs, medium dogs, and large dogs. The small and medium-size Hedgehogz feature the classical squeaker while large and jumbo-sized hedgies feature a grunting squeaker and rattling noisemaker.

Our soft and huggable hedgehog dog toy has a rounded shape for dogs who love to carry, roll, and snuggle up for naps.

If you have a multipet household or your dogs are strong chewers, supervised play will help keep plush toys lasting longer. Take pet toys away when it looks like they’re going into de-stuff mode. For dog chew toys, check out our selection on our website.

What kind of toy is your dog’s “precious”?