Dogs have a natural inclination to chase, capture and kill prey. From the Dachsund to the Saint Bernard, dogs will exhibit this instinct when playing with toys. It’s called the prey drive.
Dog owners know this scene. The pet grabs a toy and shakes it violently. It looks like he’s having fun – and he is. On another level, it’s serious business. What the dog is doing is nothing short of killing his prey, the toy. Hide the toy and your dog might start barking excitedly trying to “flush” its prey out of hiding. Dogs also exhibit the prey drive when they chase a ball and won’t give up when it rolls out of reach. A dog with a strong prey drive will need equally strong toys and lots of play time.