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Do Dogs Think Stuffed Animals Are Real? Signs & Reasons

Adam Mann

By Adam Mann

a dog playing with a stuffed animal toy

When your dog is constantly carrying around, cuddling up with, and protecting their stuffed animal, it’s easy to start assuming that they think it’s real. But while your pup might treat their stuffed animal like it’s real from time to time, they know it’s not.

Dogs realize that stuffed animals are toys since they don’t have any of the same behaviors or characteristics as living creatures. But why do they spend so much time with their stuffed animals, and when should it worry you? We’ll answer those questions for you here.


Why Does Your Dog Spend So Much Time With Their Stuffed Animal?

If your dog loves hanging out with their stuffed animal, it’s not because they think it’s real, but it’s because there is an underlying reason for it. We’ve highlighted three reasons your dog might want to spend a ton of time with their stuffed animal for you:

They Like It

If your dog wants to spend a ton of time with their stuffed animal, it might just be because they like it! Maybe they like the way it feels, sounds, or it’s just fun to play with. It’s something they can call theirs, and just like you have things that are yours that you like, they might simply like their toy a lot!

dog with a stuffed animal soft toy lying on bed
Image Credit: enchanted_fairy, Shutterstock

They Need More Attention

Sometimes your dog will spend a ton of time with their stuffed animal because it’s their only outlet. If you notice your dog doesn’t care much about their toys after a long walk, time in the yard, or after spending a ton of time with you, it could be that they’re using their toy as an outlet.

It’s a great way for them to get some mental stimulation and burn some energy. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with it, but if you can give them a little more attention and get them out a bit more, it’s a good idea!

They’re Practicing Hunting

If you watch your dog with their toy and they are shaking it around and throwing it all over the place, they’re practicing their hunting instincts. They know their toy isn’t real, but that doesn’t make it any less fun or interesting for them to practice.


The 3 Signs of Aggressiveness to Watch Out For

Normally, there’s nothing to worry about if your dog wants to spend a little extra time with their toy. But sometimes, it’s a sign of an over-attachment which can lead to aggression. If this is the case, it’s something you’ll need to address and correct right away. With that in mind, there are a few signs you’ll want to keep an eye out for.

1. They Won’t Give It Up

This is usually the first sign that a dog will exhibit if they’re starting to get too attached to a toy. However, this is a fine line to address because sometimes your pup is just trying to play with you. It’s up to you to try and determine if they’re being playful or aggressive, and if they’re starting to get aggressive, you need to do something about it.

beagle dog takes a stuffed toy from a man's hand
Image Credit: Denns, Shutterstock

2. They Growl, Bark, or Bite When Someone Wants to Take It Away

If your dog is growling, barking, or biting when you try to take their toy away, it’s a clear-cut sign of over-aggressiveness. This behavior isn’t cute, and you need to address it right away, even if it means taking away their favorite toy for good.

3. They Start Fighting With Other Dogs

Over-aggressiveness can happen with people, but it can also happen with other dogs. If your dog is unwilling to share their toy or starts to get aggressive with other dogs when their toy is around, you need to take it just as seriously as if they were acting this way around people.

Not only can this behavior lead to problems with other dogs, but if you let it go, they can start getting aggressive around people too.

dogs playing tug-of-war with stuffed animal
Image Credit: Hero Images Inc, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

Sometimes it’s cute when your dog wants their stuffed animal all the time, and other times, it’s something you need to worry about. Now that you know a little bit more about why they could be acting this way, it’s up to you to figure out if they’re getting overly attached and aggressive or if they’re just being cute.

Featured Image Credit: Catherine Murray, Shutterstock

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