Does your dog bark, growl, or even try to escape from that bright-colored squeaky toy you just bought him? Dog experts say many hounds have a phobia for deafening noise, such as those that squeaky toys produce. An animal phobia is an overreaction to a particular situation which they can feel is creepy and frightening. Some of the common dog noise phobias are thunderstorms, heavy rain, and loud door closing. Now the squeaky toy sounds make it to the list. Dogs will react to their object of fear or hate in different ways. For example, while your pup could be aggressive and wanting to bite, others try to run and escape. In the process, they might easily cause damage, harm you or themselves.
What Animal Experts Say About Squeaky Toys
Animal authorities think a typical squeaky toy can be too overstimulating for your dog. Your pup naturally has predatory instincts, and the noises coming out of the toy drive those instincts further, making your dog want to go for the kill. It could also be the reason some dog trainers are opposed to the squeaky toys because they somehow nurture your hound’s prey drive. They say the toys can be the reason your dog also becomes so dominant and aggressive overnight.
How to Effectively Deal with Your Dog’s Dislike of Squeaky Toys
Many owners try to calm their dog once they see fear or aggression in the face of a squeaky toy. But this could backfire and reinforce the nasty reaction as your dog knows you will reward them with a hug. Some vets can prescribe anti-anxiety medications for your dog, but that is a short-term solution. One of the best ways to eliminate that anxious streak for any loud noise is behavior modification.
For example, to reprogram your dog’s attitude towards the squeaky toy, only start when your canine is calm and without the toy. Reward him even by simple praise for keeping quiet and relaxed. You can then introduce the toy, and if they momentarily stay calm, give them a treat. The training should be repetitive and consistent so that your dog associates the toy with only good energies. Always keep off any situations that make your dog anxious. Say, if they start to stress around the toy, remove it, and schedule the same exercise for the next session. The training may take a lot of your time, but only your patience can make the difference.
Desensitization Can Also Eliminate Your Dog’s Fears
Experts say that the best way to remove your dog’s object of fear is to expose it to the same fear in copious amounts. In this case, you can introduce your pup to increasing squeaky toy sounds until they begin to relent and feel calm and less anxious. If you do not have enough of the toys, you can purchase audio and even videotapes to produce a scary sound. Have your dog listen and watch the videos. Eventually, they will start to relax around the toys.
You Can Introduce Alternative Play Activities That Your Dog Loves
You do not have to use toys if all they do is cause anxiety, stress, and anger to your dog. Instead, you can introduce other fun dogs’ activities, such as a game of tug. Even a simple flirt pole can do, and in the process, nurture your pup’s natural drive. The games also have a way of expending any pent-up energy leaving your dog refreshed and happy. But what if you must leave your dog at home and you do not have time for the outdoor kind of games? Then get only those toys that your dog can gently respond to without being overly agitated. You can also remove the squeaking sound from those you already have.
In conclusion, dogs react differently to squeaky toys. While some may love them, yours may detest them to the extent they can’t stay in the same room. It is up to you to take the cue. For example, you can altogether remove your dog’s object of fear and have them play with other lovely toys. But you can also train them to face their fear. A few reprogramming or desensitization classes can help him learn to play with just about any toy without the fear streak.