Our dog, Tenor, uses this one huge stuffed animal as a "pacifier." No joke.
Whenever he’s stressed, anxious, or even happily excited, he sprints to find his dolphin toy. And it legitimately seems to calm him.
He just holds it squarely in his mouth, while wagging his tail rapidly and blinking his eyes — watching us closely to gauge our next move and how that move will (or will not) involve him.
It’s the sweetest thing!
But it gets even funnier:
- This dolphin is 2 to 3 times larger than most stuffed dog toys.
- It has actually been passed down from three (3) dogs now.
- It’s nearly 20 years old! (A college boyfriend won it for me at the State Fair.)
- It’s missing both eyes, and the stuffing seaps out of those spaces on a regular basis. I just keep stuffing it back in.
- None of our 3 dogs ever chewed on this dolphin as if to destroy it. They each simply carried it around. So the body itself is still in good shape.
- No matter how many times I wash it, it manages to stay in one piece! (…although it has become badly stained in the one area where the dogs’ mouths have latched on to it.)
The Stuffed Dog Toy "Switcheroo"
So… Tenor has had this dolphin stuffed dog toy since he first entered our home as a puppy. He’s now 5 years old.
We were recently in the Florida Keys on vacation. When I spotted a very similar stuffed dolphin for sale in a gift shop, I just had to get it!
I was mostly eager to see if Tenor would take to it. And secondly, I was looking forward to getting rid of that old stained dolphin (…if this little switcheroo experiment worked).
Call me a hoarder, because I’ve decided not to toss the old cruddy dolphin. And you can call my dog one that doesn’t play favorites, because he still shows a fondness for both dolphins.
Yep, both stuffed dog toys still have a spot in our home to this day. And this is from a dog that does NOT play with dog toys! Just tennis balls, that’s it.
As it turned out, since the "old" dolphin was on this trip to The Keys with us (as was the dog — we were spending a week in a motorhome), the moment I introduced the "new" dolphin to him, Tenor took right to it. But he still picked up his old one at times. (And I wasn’t gonna toss it on vacation, where 90% of things were strange or new to him.)
So when we got home, I tried the same experiment… I left both dolphins on the floor and waited to see which one he gravitated to. The result: BOTH! It’s as if he likes to keep one upstairs and one downstairs. Or one near the door and one near his bed.
I know, I know. I’m WAY over-analyzing this. Trust me, I get it. It’s just a stupid stuffed toy! But you’ve got to admit, sometimes dog behaviors seem really interesting — especially when it’s your dog and you’re not sure if other dogs behave the same way not.
What Do You Say?…
Does your dog behave similarly with one particular toy?
Does your dog have a "pacifier" — one specific toy that seems to calm him differently than others?
I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” ideas that most wouldn’t think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I’m truly passionate about. I’ve worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).