Why Does My Dog Cry When He Plays with Squeaky Toys?

It's not a secret, dogs love squeaky toys! The comical sounds emitted by these toys can elicit joy from even the toughest dogs. But if you wonder why your dog howls at squeaky toy, there might be some root causes behind it. In this article, we explore the psychology of our furry friends to uncover the truth about this popular question.

Why does my dog cry when he plays with squeaky toys?

What makes your dog cry when seeing a squeaky toy? It turns out there are various reasons for this behavior, and they are all good intentions.

Why Dogs Like Squeaky Toys?

Hunting instincts

In general, squeaky toys pique a dog's prey drive. Put simply, when your dog plays with these toys, the high-pitched noise they emit resembles the sounds made by prey animals. Consequently, this sound triggers a dog's hunting instincts.

To understand the origin of this behavior, it's essential to consider the time when dogs were still wolves. Wolves relied on hunting rodents and mice for food and heavily depended on detecting the sounds these creatures produced for survival.

That's why dogs instinctively show an interest in squeaky sounds, as they closely resemble the sounds of frightened animals when caught. The joy dogs derive from hearing the squeaky toy can be linked to the satisfaction a wolf experiences after a successful hunt, capturing its prey.

Furthermore, dogs perceive the squeaky noise as a reward for their 'catch.' With each bite, the toy squeaks. Dogs perceive this as instant gratification, which motivates them to keep chewing on the toy, simulating the act of devouring their 'prey.' In today's world, numerous interactive squeaky toys gamify this process, further engaging dogs.

Many squeaky toys are of small size, resembling the shape of small animals - wolves' typical prey. This strengthens the hunting sense in dogs and makes them excited.


Do you often find yourself speaking to your dog in a high-pitched voice? Well, there's a good reason for it – they absolutely love it! Researchers from the University of York conducted an experiment that demonstrated dogs are more attentive when a human speaks in a high-pitched, emotional tone. This is why dog owners often resort to using baby-talk when addressing their furry companions – it instantly captures their attention.

The main reason behind this is that dogs can hear rhythms in much higher frequencies than human ears can detect. They possess a heightened sensitivity to these higher-pitched noises, which naturally triggers their instinct to pay attention and respond.

Conversely, low and deep tones, such as growls, are often perceived as threatening. In contrast, high-pitched sounds signify a heightened sense of emotion, happiness, and enthusiasm.

It's this very sensitivity to high-pitched noises that makes squeaky toys so irresistible to dogs. The screeching sounds produced by these toys can have a similar effect, drawing dogs in and captivating their natural tendencies.

Signal for play time

Since dogs associate the sound of a squeaky toy with fun and games, hearing those familiar noises can instantly get them excited for playtime.

When a dog plays with a loud squeaky toy, they often receive attention from their owners. As a result, picking up or chewing on a squeaky toy can be seen as an invitation to play by our four-legged companions. When playing with a squeaky toy, a crying dog is typically an excited dog.

Engaging with their favorite squeaky toy provides dogs with an excellent opportunity for exercise, both physically and mentally. Chewing and biting on these toys not only strengthens their jaws but also promotes a sense of calmness. Furthermore, playing with these toys involves plenty of playful tossing and running, helping dogs get their daily dose of physical activity and maintain their overall fitness.

Do squeaky dog toys make your dog more aggressive?

Discovering your dog whining at a squeaky toy might make you wonder whether these toys can lead to aggressive behavior in dogs. The short answer is: probably not. Here's why.

Prey drive and excitement are not aggression

Why Does My Dog Cry When He Plays with Squeaky Toys?

Aggression in dogs often arises from fear and anxiety, natural instincts that help them cope with uncertainty and threats. Typical signs of aggression include barking, growling, or showing teeth. While some dogs may exhibit extra excitement around their favorite squeaky toys, this is perfectly normal behavior.

One note of caution: too much emotional attachment to a toy may make your dog territorial when you try to take it away from them, or when other dogs play with the toy. This means they possess a strong resource protection tendency, making them diligently guard and protect their food, toys, and cubs. Though not serious, it could lead to more aggressive behavior in the long term. As a dog owner, it's crucial to monitor your dog's behavior to prevent it from escalating.

Some dog breeds enjoy squeaky toys more than others

While individual dogs may have unique toy preferences, certain breeds are more inclined to enjoy squeaky toys.

Breeds bred for hunting, such as a golden retriever and a pointer, often find squeaky toys captivating due to their genetic predisposition to pursue prey. If you have a hunting breed dog, their enthusiasm for squeaky toys might be mistaken for aggression.

On the other hand, herding dog breeds, like a border collie and a german shepherd, may not show the same level of interest in squeaky toys. However, it's essential to remember that toy preferences can vary widely among dogs, and there's no universal rule for breeds that do or don't enjoy them.

Your dog may be spooked by the new toy

Some dogs may find the sound of squeaky toys annoying, especially puppies who may not understand where the noise is coming from. If you accidentally step on a squeaky toy and startle your dog, they might bark or whine. It's essential to recognize that this is a normal reaction and not a sign of aggression.

Could my dog be pregnant?

Some may argue that, if your female dog cries when holding a squeaking toy in their mouth, there's a chance that the dog may be pregnant. This argument stems from the maternal instinct in female dogs, which becomes extremely strong and inherent during pregnancy. Some believe that a female dog's protective instincts are triggered during this stage, making the dog whine when she sees a small toy or stuffed animal.

Although these arguments may seem plausible on the surface, this is not a reliable or definitive indicator of pregnancy. Dog owners must consider changes in appetite, weight, behavior, and other physical changes. When in doubt, speak to a vet. Don't depend solely on the behavior with toys as that can lead to misunderstandings

Any downside to squeaky toys?

Dog carrying toy

Many dogs enjoy chewing and demolishing their squeaky toys. They view the toy as a rewarding experience, and the satisfying feedback loop encourages them to keep playing.

However, it's crucial to be cautious with heavy chewers and dogs that have strong prey drives or powerful jaws. These dogs can quickly rip a toy to shreds, posing a choking hazard.

Understanding your dog's chewing habits is key. If your dog becomes overly destructive due to toy overstimulation, it's wise to be selective in choosing the right toys to give them.

How to keep your dog engaged with squeaky toys

Discover the most indestructible squeaky toys

Squeaky toys have long been a favorite tool for dog trainers, serving as valuable prizes for positive reinforcement. The squeak itself can act as a marker signal, indicating to the dog that they've performed correctly and will receive a reward. Squeaky toys also assist dogs in associating particular sounds with specific commands or behaviors.

Besides playing with a squeaky toy, there are various other ways to incorporate these toys into your dog's daily routine and keep them active. Here are some suggestions:

Teach your dog to find the toy

Teaching your dog to find their squeaky toy offers numerous benefits—it's a fun game that also keeps them mentally stimulated, tapping into their natural hunting instinct.

This game can also be a quick trick to help dogs relax when they're feeling stressed. Dogs learn to use their noses to locate things, making it an excellent distraction for anxious moments.

To start, use a verbal command like 'find it' and toss the toy to a nearby area. When your dog finds and retrieves the toy, reward them with a treat.

Over time, increase the distance and difficulty of the game. You can also incorporate commands like 'sit' and 'wait' when asking them to wait for your when you hide the toy in another room, making it more challenging. Rubber toys and oversized rubber balls would work great for this type of activity.


Dog whines when playing with squeaky toy

Who doesn't enjoy a game of tug? It's not only fun but also an excellent way to teach your dog self-control and enhance their physical strength. Dogs with excess energy can particularly benefit from this activity.

For a safe playtime, opt for a non-slip surface like carpet or grass. Let your dog grab onto the toy and allow them to tug and pull it. Using a squeaky toy can make the game even more enjoyable, as your dog gets rewarded with a satisfying sound when they bite it. Teach your dog the 'drop it' command for when you want them to release the toy.

For a less labor-intensive game (for you), you can play fetch by throwing the toy away so your dog can chase after it and bring it back. This is a classic game that your dog will never grow bored of and will keep them happy.

Using interactive toys

Interactive toys and puzzles are fantastic for keeping your dog entertained, especially on rainy or busy days. They're a great way to capture your dog's attention and promote calmness.

These toys engage your dog's mind, providing mental stimulation that can be just as tiring as physical exercise. Plus, they can help reduce separation anxiety and destructive behaviors that may arise from boredom, ensuring a happy and well-balanced pup.


In conclusion, the joyous howls and cries that your dog makes while playing with squeaky toys are a reflection of their natural instincts and heightened sensitivity to certain sounds. It's a testament to their playful and hunting nature, as well as their deep connection with us, their human companions.