Why Do Dogs Shake Their Toys?

by | Dec 4, 2022 | Behavior

Whether you have a puppy or a dog, there are certain things that you will need to keep in mind when deciding to buy your dog a new toy. Some of the things you need to consider include whether or not your dog will like the toy, what type of toy it will like, and how durable the toy is.

Hunting Instincts

Whether you like it or not, your dog has hunting instincts. These are the driving forces behind the way they act. You can see these instincts in their behavior and treatment of toys.

Some dogs shake their toys with a lot of passion. Others do so for the fun of it. Whether they’re shaking the toys for fun or because they think they are prey, it’s definitely a good idea to keep an eye on them.

Another reason your dog may shake their toys is that they’re not getting enough exercise. This can make them feel frustrated and it can also trigger their hunting instincts.

Toys are often designed to look like small furry animals, so dogs see them as their prey. They then shake the toy vigorously, like they would shake real prey. Some dogs are even known to break their toys into pieces.

Demonstrating Aggression

During the course of their play, some dogs will shake their toys in order to display aggression. This behavior is sometimes called resource guarding or possession aggression. It is often triggered by the dog’s natural hunting instincts.

These behaviors are often accompanied by growling, twitching, snapping, or biting. It is important to understand the warning signs that your dog may be showing. For example, if you notice your dog wagging his tail and making noises, he may be nervous or uncomfortable.

In addition, when your dog shakes his toys at a shorter animal, he may be showing aggressive intent. You should pay attention to his behavior and consult with your veterinarian if this behavior persists.

Other warning signs include your dog’s posture and the way he shakes his head. He may also make noises or growl when you approach him.

Is Shaking Their Toys a Bad Thing?

This behavior is considered normal in almost all respects. Shaking their toys allows your dog to demonstrate their natural instinct as they show that toy who’s boss. As they “practice the kill”, your dog is simply acting out what has been bred into them for generations.

Although it’s rarely a bad thing, there are some instances where you may want to curb your dog’s toy-shaking behavior. For example, if your dog has decided a child’s toy or your shoe is the new toy that requires shaking, you will need to stamp out that behavior through training. Additionally, dog toys can be expensive. So, if your dog likes to kill their toys, ensure you get toys that are strong enough to take a beating.

Are Some Breeds More Likely to Shake Their Toys?

In short, yes, some breeds are more prone to shake their toys. Breeds such as terriers have a high predatory drive, which is one of the factors in dogs shaking their toys. Other breeds with a high predatory drive include Huskies, Whippets, Weimaraners, Dobermans, Beagles, and many others. These types of dogs have been bred for hunting rodents and vermin for many years. While today’s domestic dogs are almost never used for hunting rodents, these breeds have inherited that instinct that makes them shake their toys more regularly than other breeds, such as Labrador.

Although some breeds are more likely to shake their toys, it doesn’t mean it’s a hard and fast rule. You may find that you have a Jack Russell terrier that wouldn’t waste its time shaking a toy. Each dog is its own animal with their own personality. If you think your dog shakes their toys often, look into their breed and you may learn that they are known for this behavior.

How to Stop Your Dog From Destroying All of Their Toys

Training your dog not to shake its toy is similar to training your dog for other tasks. Develop a command you can teach your dog to release the toy when told. Additionally, you will need to train your dog to play with the right toys and not your clothing.

One of the best ways to prevent your dog from constantly destroying its toys is to buy strong toys. One of the most popular manufacturers of toys that can take a beating is toys from Kong.


Dogs can be funny animals. Shaking their toys is one of the reasons that many love them so much. While it may be disconcerting watching your dog “kill” his favorite toy, it is a natural part of being a dog. Instinct and breeding are the main reasons that your dog is probably trying to kill his toy and it’s nothing to worry about. Additionally, dogs will show their dominance by manhandling their toys on a regular basis. It’s important to ensure your dog is playing with the right toys and not your favorite shoes. This can be accomplished through training and patience. If you feel that there is something off about your dog shaking their toys, it is best to consult a professional for their opinion to determine if steps should be taken.