Why Do Your Dogs Shake Their Toys?


Pug with toy
Chris Gladis / Flickr

Who doesn’t like to have a pooch home? Their playfulness and loyalty make them really “paw-dorable”. And, given the fact that canines are associated with happiness, lower levels of stress, better heart health, and many other scientifically-backed benefits, it makes a great sense to have dogs at home. But, having a pet is a massive responsibility. Taking into account that animals cannot speak, it becomes a greater responsibility to understand what the dog is trying to convey.

Canines are intelligent. Their actions imply their feelings. When they are happy and playful, they pounce, wag their tail, and smile. Their puppy-eyed stare tells that they are hungry. Their nose licking, panting, yawning suggests that they are scared. It is on us to understand what our dog is feeling at the moment. However, problems arise when one action suggests more than one thing. For instance, a dog shaking a toy can have a greater and dangerous meaning.

Dog Shaking a Toy: Is It Good or Bad?

Dogs love to shake their toys. You may have, on several occasions, observed your dog bouncing with a toy in his mouth and shaking it. The shaking is normal if it is playful, and the upper body of the pooch is lowered. But if the dog is jumping slightly, raising its head, or shaking the toy vigorously, this behavior is aggressive.

Daniel Tejedor / Flickr

The aggressive behavior may escalate to a point where your pooch may shake small animals or young kids and may even bite them. Hence, you need to monitor the body language of your pooch and stop it immediately, especially if it portrays such aggressive behavior.

Why Does My Dog Shake Its Toys?

It is in their genes. It is deeply associated with their ancestry. Dogs have wolves for their ancestors, and thus, hunting instincts. Though dogs are pet animals, they still harbor their predatory instincts. As the dogs no longer need to hunt down prey for their food, they channel this instinct in their play. They grab the toy in their mouth and shake it aggressively just as they and their ancestors would do with their prey in the wild.

Darren / Flickr

Another theory hints that when dogs chew on toys, it causes a release of endorphins in their body. It may be possible that shaking a toy also releases calming endorphins and hence, relieves stress and makes the pooch feel happy. However, no concrete study suggests the certainty of this theory.

How to Deal With Aggressive Shaking?

You must teach your dog to pick only its toys in its mouth and spare the other things like your purse, shoes, or other smaller pets. If your dog grabs something that it isn’t supposed to pick, you can use a water pistol. But make sure the water pistol is your last resort as you just want to startle your dog and not harass it.

The Bottom Line

Dogs generally shake their toys when they are in a playful mood, but you must watch out for aggression in their behavior. If they get aggressive while shaking their toys, it is time for you to take action.


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