Dogs love to play which, my favorite dog author, Dr. Stanley Coren, writing in Psychology Today, suggests is one reason we find them so entertaining. We love their excitement when we give them a new toy.
The average dog owner spends nearly $50 a year on toys.
When choosing a toy for a dog, think hungry wolf in the wilderness. Dogs think of toys the same way that wolves think of prey. They prefer toys that involve food, can be ripped apart, or make dying screams of pain.
But typically after 15 or 20 minutes the ungrateful mutt either totally destroys the toy or completely ignores it. There are exceptions. For reasons known only to them, some dogs will carry one particular toy around for months or even years.
Why dogs get quickly bored with their toys
Most dogs, like some children (and some adults), prefer new toys. There is a word for this. Psychologists call it "neophilia." That means that often it is the novelty of the toy they find most attractive rather than the nature of the toy. Price or a good review is never a consideration to dogs.
In a German study dogs were offered a lineup of three toys, two that they had played with. The results were clear – 78% of the dogs chose the unfamiliar new toy. New was clearly more interesting.
If it were up to dogs they would get new toys several times a day.
Most of us have other financial obligations, however, and one solution is to tuck the toy away after boredom sets in, wait a while and add a new smell by rubbing it in grass or dirt (or something more interesting) or giving it a quick spray.
Most of all, the toy will be interesting to your dog if you become a playmate.