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Does Your Dog Love Stuffed Toys Or Love Unstuffing Them?

There’s more than one way to enjoy fleece toys
By Karen B. London PhD, April 2019, Updated June 2021

“He pulls the stuffing out in less than a minute!”

It’s a common lament among dog guardians that fleece toys don’t last. That’s because so many dogs unleash their inner beast on these unsuspecting soft balls of fluff. Sure, they have a good time destroying them, but the fun is over too quickly considering the price tag on these items. People whose dogs are fleece toy killers surely envy the dogs who are not just gentle but actually loving towards stuffed animals.

Stella, shown here with a pink stuffed poodle, is one such dog. She treats this toy much like a child treats a teddy bear. She loves this stuffed animal and seems to draw comfort from it. My family was taking care for Stella for a few days due to a death in her family that necessitated traveling out of state. At first she was a little nervous in our house, but her guardian had wisely sent the stuffed poodle along with her, which helped.

A very affectionate dog, Stella’s first choice is to snuggle with people she knows and loves, but her stuffed toy is a close second. Within a day or two, my husband (in the picture with Stella) was a favorite companion, but she still seemed most at ease when she was also holding her “security poodle”.

Fleece toys offer different benefits to different dogs. It’s common to enjoy them by pulling out the stuffing, but it’s not the only option. Plenty of dogs treasure them, treat them gently and appear to gain confidence from holding them. Does your dog?

Photo courtesy the author

Karen B. London, Ph.D. is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral issues, including aggression. Karen writes the animal column for the Arizona Daily Sun and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University. She is the author of six books about canine training and behavior, including her most recent, Treat Everyone Like a Dog: How a Dog Trainer’s World View Can Improve Your Life