It’s no secret, dogs love getting new toys. Even when their toy basket is overflowing with fluffy, squeaky, bouncy toys, they still cannot contain their excitement when you rip the tag off a brand new toy you brought home for them. You may wonder, has your dog lost interest in all their other toys or is there merely something special about receiving a new one?
Studies have shown that dogs, like children and many adults, have a tendency known as neophilia. According to a publication by Animal Cognition, dogs prefer a new toy over their familiar ones in 38 out of 50 tests. It has even been stated that neophilia may be an adaptive trait that domestic dogs have inherited to help their adaptation towards humans over time.
While presenting a dog with a new toy gives them a great level of excitement, it doesn’t usually last long. Your dog is more excited about the idea of a getting a new toy than actually having that toy to continue playing with. After this phase, the toy becomes one of the familiar ones and loses its luster.
Does that mean that in order to keep your dog’s interests peaked you need to purchase them a new toy every week? Thankfully that’s not the case. A great technique is to rotate different toys by only leaving a few out at a time. Every few days you can introduce their “old” toys that you have hidden away, and replace the ones that you left out.
One trick to make an old toy seem like a brand new one is to disguise its smell. You can do this by rolling their toy in leaves, or if it is a plastic or hard toy you might try putting a little bit of peanut butter on them. When you get excited about presenting your dog with one of their toys that have been hidden away in a closet, they will get just as excited as if it were a new toy.
Does your dog have one favorite toy?
Some dogs can bond with certain toys. According to The Dodo, some dogs can choose one toy that they love above the rest. While the reason for this isn’t clear, it has been shown that dogs can get particularly attached to toys that remind them of other puppies or dogs. Some researchers go as far as to say that toys can symbolize a special moment for a dog particularly tied to their “person.” For example, maybe your dog is especially fond of the first toy you ever gave them, or a toy that you gave them during a special event or outing you took together.
Dogs preferences about toys are just as unique as they are. Some dogs prefer chew toys while others may prefer fluffy stuffed toy. There are even pet technology toys that can keep dogs entertained for hours. Another fun idea is to make your dog a toy out of items from your closet. You can even use an old shirt that you haven’t washed so it will smell like you!
Does your dog have the greatest toy bin of them all? Or maybe your dog has one toy they just can’t seem to live without. Share your photos with us and get going on making those toys their new favorites!