Why Do Dogs Shake Their Toys? Quench Your Curiosity Now

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Author: Jeanette Hampton

Generally, dogs want to hunt small animals like squirrels, mice, and sometimes cats. Since it’s normal behaviour for dogs, you should know why they shake their toys.

Dogs also like to destroy their toys, if he is doing it when he is playing then it might be dangerous. If you find out after playing like this, your dog started showing more aggregation then it is something wrong. It is necessary that you keep checking and stop it before it converts into a habit.

Mostly all dogs are descendants of wolves, so their hunting instinct and this behaviour are acceptable. But first, you need to know why dogs shake their toys, and there are many reasons.

Why Do Dogs Shake Their Toys
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Why Do My Dog Keeps Shaking Its Head? Let’s Find It

Although it is normal behaviour for dogs, still you should know what is the actual reason. A few reasons show that your dog is suffering from some things. I have mentioned a few reasons.

Hunting Instinct

Hunting is in the blood of canines and felines. They have that hunting legacy from their ancestors in their genetics. Therefore, they try to kill animals smaller than them. In order to hunt, they try to break their prey’s neck by grabbing it tightly and shaking it.

Since your dog doesn’t have access to go and hunt down their other animals, therefore they break their neck and enjoy fake hunting, whenever they get toys.

Just For Fun

Most of the dogs have the same schedule, like eating, playing, sleeping and repeating. So if they want to play with you, they will fetch a toy and shake their head. Most probably you might have praised them when they do this kind of thing. So now dogs show happiness and excitement by shaking their head.

Dog shaking head just for fun
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Moreover, in order to grab your attention towards them, they want to convince you to play with them and spent some more time. This relates to why do dogs bring you their toys – they want you to join in their play. You can differentiate this behaviour by noticing their tail. As when they are happy, they wag their tail also along with shaking their head.


Sometimes it also implies that your dogs might have aggression so they shake their head. But dogs slightly jump when they are shaking their head if they are in aggression, which means they are showing aggression.

Dogs behave like this when they see someone they don’t like and also an animal they want to hunt very badly. This aggression is sometimes harmful to you, your dog, and other people and animals.

It’s your duty to teach your dog and to do that you should take your dog to the vet. There are many dog trainers available in the market, you can consult them also.


Dogs are very energetic animals. They love to be with their owner. “A general rule of thumb is that dogs should get between 30 minutes and 2 hours of exercise every day,” says a veterinarian from petsmed. That means every dog is different and the time for daily exercise can not be certain, it varies from breed to breed. Some breeds of dogs need a little more exercise than others.

If you do not play with them and also do not let your dog go out to play, then there is a high chance that your dog will get frustrated. They act like children when they cannot play or go out, they start destroying things around them and they show that they are not happy with their owners.

You should spare some time for your dog from your daily routine and either go on a walk with them or play with them. It will make your dog healthy and happy. Providing enough physical and mental exercise is key to avoiding frustration in dogs.

Along with daily walks, consider getting puzzle toys or food dispensers to keep their mind active. Some of the best dog puzzle toys uk involve sliding blocks, rotating discs, or treat-release toys.

When Should You Stop Your Dog From Shaking Its Toys?

Normally, dogs shake their head when they have toys in their mouth. They either do that for fun or they want to show that they are very happy with their toys. But sometimes shaking their head is not safe for them so you should not keep your dog alone with toys or similar things around. It may cause serious issues.

How to stop him shaking head
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  • There are some conditions where you should strictly avoid your dog from shaking his head like head, neck, and spinal conditions. If you keep your dog alone with toys, then there are chances that he ends up harming himself seriously. To avoid that kind of health emergency, never keep your pet alone.
  •  “Lot of dog owners don’t even realize that, like a human, a dog can choke on their food, treat, toy, or another object“. stated by Jen Karetnick from AKC.
  • Toys with small and delicate parts sometimes cause serious health issues if he swallows them. If your dog is consistently shaking his head or eating toys accidentally, then there are many chances of blockage and choking.
  • Dogs are very sensitive about their surrounding and when someone enters their area, they either feel anxiety or discomfort. When a new infant joins the family, your dog will lose toys and then he gets frustrated. result in destroying toys.


Why Do Domesticated Dogs Shake Their Toys?

Wolfs are the ancestors of dogs. Therefore, their predatory instincts cannot be washed away even if they are domesticated. Whenever dogs play with any toy, they want to destroy it like that is their hunt. Therefore domesticated dogs shake their toys.

Are Some Breeds More Prone To Toy-Shaking Behavior?

Definitely, there is some breed of dogs that are super aggressive to hunt. Because they are very aggressive, those breeds of dogs mostly use for the purpose of security. Whereas other types of breed are either playful or calm. It entirely depends upon the type of breed they are.

Do dogs always shake their heads when they play?

No, they do not always shake their head when they play. They usually shake their head when they are energetic and excited during playtime only to show that they are enjoying their time or grab your attention.

How do you train a dog not to destroy?

Whenever your dog destroys anything, you should start teaching. Even you should teach your dog when he is a puppy. So either you stop providing things he destroys or start a reward system, so whenever your dog starts destroying order him to stop and give some treats.

Should you let your dog destroy their toys?

No, you should never encourage this behaviour because it looks cute. It may cause his blockage and choke. Moreover, you might have brought an expensive toy for your dog, which you never want to see destroyed.


There are many reasons why dogs shake their toys. The most common reason for dogs shaking their heads is their hunting instinct. Dogs shake their toys for various reasons, including instinctual behaviour, play, and releasing energy.

My dog keeps shaking his head, and I was curious about why dogs shake their toys. It turns out that this behaviour is a natural instinct for dogs and serves multiple purposes, such as simulating the hunting and killing of prey and providing a form of play and exercise. Understanding this behaviour can help us provide appropriate toys for our dogs to play with and improve their overall physical and mental well-being.

By providing appropriate toys for our dogs to play with, we can encourage healthy and safe play behaviour, enhance our bond with our pets, and improve their overall well-being. Also y teaching your dog not to destroy toys, as outlined in the ‘How to teach dog not to destroy toys‘ section, you can encourage more positive play behaviors.


  1. Meyers, H. (2022, April 18). Why Is My Dog Shaking? Causes & Solutions. American Kennel Club. Retrieved February 13, 2024, from
  2. Coates, J. D. (2022, August 12). Head-Shaking in Dogs: When to Worry. Retrieved February 13, 2024, from
  3. Fuller, M. (2022, September 21). Why Does My Dog. . . Shake His Head All of the Time? Vetstreet. Retrieved February 13, 2024, from
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Jeanette Hampton
Jeanette Hampton is a content writer at WWD and an expert on all things pets. She’s been writing pet blogs for over 5 years and knows everything there is to know about dogs. Jeanette enjoys writing about pet-related topics because she enjoys helping people learn more about their furry friends.

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