Why Do Dogs Pounce on Toys? 3 Reasons Explained

My favorite part of the day is watching my dogs play, it can be so cute and sometimes funny.

The way they pounce on their toys always makes me laugh but I never knew why they do it and after spending some decent time wondering why I decided to finally know the answer and here’s everything that you need to know.

So, why do dogs pounce on toys? Dogs can pounce on toys because they are excited while playing, due to their high prey drive, or they are trying to show their dominance in front of other dogs, however, you shouldn’t be worried in either way except for the dominant behavior because it can lead to one of them getting hurt.

If you want to know more about why dogs pounce on toys and if you should let them pounce or not then just keep on reading.

Why do dogs pounce on toys?

dog jumping to show why do dogs pounce on toys

Dogs can pounce on toys for so many reasons and it can depend on their breed and personality.

So here are the most common reasons why dogs pounce on toys.

  • High prey drive 
  • Dominance 
  • Playing 

High prey drive

Dogs can imagine and pretend while playing just like kids, so they can pounce on their toy to pretend they are hunting their prey, if the toy is squeaky then it probably triggered your dog and due to their high prey drive, their instinct kicked in and they decided to hunt their toy.

Here are some things your dog is going to do if it’s because of their high prey drive.

  • Find 
  • Stalk 
  • Pounce 
  • Kill (probably destroying the toy completely)


If there are other pets in the house then they may pounce on toys to show dominance and to show the other pet that it’s their territory.

They are more likely to try playing tough with the other pet as well if they are trying to show their dominance.


Dogs love to play and pouncing can be just playing after all, especially if they are playing with their favorite toy because pouncing can also be a sign of excitement.

It’s totally normal for them to behave that way when they are playing and there’s no need to worry, however, if you think that there is more to their pouncing then it’s probably safer to consult your vet.

Why do puppies pounce on toys?

When puppies are bored, they can start pouncing on everything, even invincible objects, so if your puppy doesn’t have anyone to play with, they may start pouncing on their toys and that’s how they play.

You can make time to play with them daily besides their daily exercise so that your puppy doesn’t pounce on his toys. 

Should I let my dog pounce?

No, you shouldn’t let your dog pounce, however, sometimes there are some breeds that can’t resist pouncing and it’s because of their prey drive.

So when your dog pounces, there are a few things that you can do to make sure that your dog will stop doing it.

  1. Don’t give them attention when they ask for it.
  2. Try to remain calm because eventually, they will be too.
  3. If they know the basic command, you can tell them “no” in a firm but gentle voice.
  4. If your dog pounces when coming home from work, don’t pet them until they completely calm down.

High prey drive can also cause your dog to shake their toys aggressively.

Why does your dog pounce like a fox?

Dogs can pounce like a fox if they are growing up around other pets, it’s their way to show that they are strong and dominant so they can be part of the pack.

It can also mean that they have a high prey drive and it’s more likely if your dog enjoys chasing after small animals such as rodents or birds.

How a fox pounces

However, if they pounce with their rear ends up in the air and their front legs are on the floor then they are inviting you to play with them.

Here are the breeds that pounce like a fox.

  • Icelandic sheepdog 
  • Pembroke  welsh corgi 
  • Shiba Inu 
  • Finnish spitz 
  • Schipperke 
  • Basenji 
  • Japanese spitz 
  • Jindo 
  • Canada dog 
  • Nova scotia duck tolling retriever 

What is acceptable puppy play?

The acceptable puppy play is lowering their head and raising their hind legs, emitting high-pitched barks, wagging their tail back and forth, attacking toys or objects spontaneously, holding their ears up, growling playfully, and presenting their side and front to their owner.

Why does my dog stalk and pounce?

Dogs usually stalk and pounce out of love, they probably want to get your attention and want to play with you, or just spend some time with you.

However, if that stalking and pouncing is for other dogs and not you then it’s a predatory behavior that they can display while playing with other animals such as wrestling, staring, nipping, chasing, grabbing, stalking, and finally pouncing. 

Here are the most common dog breeds that stalk.

  • Beagles 
  • Alaskan Malamutes 
  • Samoyeds 
  • Australian Cattle dogs 
  • Afghan hounds 
  • Basenji 
  • Bullmastiffs 
  • Doberman pinschers 
  • Siberian husky 
  • Whippets 
  • Jack Russell terriers 
  • Yorkshire terriers 
  • Weimaraners 
  • Shiba Inus 

What breeds of dog pounce?

Most dogs pounce but there are many that display this behavior more than other dogs.

So here are the dog breeds that pounce 

  • Malamute 
  • Husky 
  • English springer spaniel 
  • Rottweiler 
  • German shepherd 
  • Great Dane 
  • Pharaoh hound 
  • Jack Russell 
  • Akita 
  • Airedale terrier 
  • Rhodesian ridgeback 

Is it normal for dogs to pounce? 

Yes, it’s normal for most dogs to pounce because they can’t resist it and it’s in their nature, it’s more likely to happen in dogs that have a high prey drive, however, if your dog is only pouncing to get your attention then you should probably train them not to because it can lead to them pouncing on every guest or strangers.

Now that you know why your dog pounces on toys, you can learn why dogs parade their toys here as well.

If you liked this article and found it useful, you can share it with your friends and family.

Also if you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Related Questions 

Why does my dog pounce on me?

Dogs can be Pouncey if they have a lot of pent-up energy and it’s more likely if they didn’t get enough exercise in that day, they can also pounce on you all of a sudden when they are excited and it’s more likely if they do it when you come back home after a long day or if they saw their favorite toy.

Why does my puppy pounce on me?

Puppies tend to pounce on their owners when they crave attention, however, when they do it, you should not give them attention because they are going to do it more often since they are getting exactly what they want so try to give them attention throughout the day and stop when they pounce on you.

Why does my dog pounce on the bed?

Most dogs pounce on the bed due to boredom and not having enough exercise which can lead to them pouncing on the bed or they can show destructive behavior such as chewing on the furniture, breaking things or even trying to escape. 

Helpful Resources 


Why Do Dogs Bring You Their Toys to Greet You?

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources

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