A toy is always welcome, but not all toys are created equal and dogs are experts when it comes to what makes a toy fun.
Our quick search for the top 10 best selling dog toys from Amazon around this time revealed that half of them are from the Kong Company. Kong creates interactive toys for pets, many made from tough rubber. But Amazon's list also showed chew toys and plush toys to be dog favorites.
On July 2012, Animal Cognition Journal published the results of a study on “Habituation and dishabituation during object play in kennel-housed dogs” which shed light on how dogs “choose” or perceive their favorite toys and what bores them.
Labrador Retrievers were used in the study wherein they were presented with one toy for successive 30 second periods until interaction ceased. Overall, the animal behaviorists established that dogs' loss of interest in any toy is highly due to habituation or familiarization to the overall stimulus properties of the toy.
Toys with color and odor highly appeal to dogs. Even better if the toy makes a sound or can be easily destroyed by chewing or pulling. This is probably a fact that Kong knows well therefore they designed lots of interactive pet toys. However, many of Kong's products are really tough even for a Labrador, which could be why my dogs didn't want to spend lots of their energies on the Kong Bounzer.
The Kong Bounzer was designed to be stuffed with treats so dogs will make an effort prying kibbles out of it. But perhaps the “prize” was too small for the effort required that my dogs eventually lost interest.
For dogs, any toy would be fun if you, too, would play. My six-year-old black Labrador often invites me to play tug using his old, ratty towel. He also would pick up any old rubber toy as long as I make an effort to throw it so he could joyfully retrieve it back.
I think dogs value their playmate more than any toy. Anything other than you is second best.