Dog Psychology: How your Dog Picks its Favorite Toys
We’ve all experienced the situation where you decide to purchase a new toy for your pet. Upon bringing it home and giving it to them, it is tossed aside in favor of an older, worn down toy or object. A new study published in the Journal of Animal Cognition has shed light on why dogs will ignore some toys, while others become fast favorites.
One of the lead researchers behind the study claims that dogs prefer toys that either taste like real food, or feel like it; especially those toys that can be torn apart. It has to do with the brain’s connection to the feel and manipulability of objects while in the dog’s mouth and those toys that are softer, find more favor than those that have hard and unyielding textures and materials. Toys that make noise also spark a dog’s interest more so than ones that do not.
Dogs are hardwired to explore any new object or toy. Any mixture of attributes including taste, smell, color, texture, and sound can influence whether or not the dog may like the toy. It is after the initial contact and examination that a dog may quickly lose interest in the new object. A dog can also become bored with a certain toy after a long period of exposure, much like we humans do.
The study also found that dogs perceive toys as more interesting when they are associated with a game with another animal or human. If your dog is apprehensive about a new toy, jump in and play with it. Of course, human interaction is one of the most beneficial things you can do to shape your pooch’s behavior and attitude so remember to not only buy your pet those toys they love—but play with them too!