Because our cleaner was here today and it was so nice out this afternoon, Gozer and I went for a long walk. We went to the nearby pet store to wander around and see what was there. In a clearance bin I found a plush squeaky dog and when I squeezed it, Gozer perked right up. I figured that since she responded to the sound, I'd buy it for her. I also dropped a squeaky ball that's part of a puzzle thing and she started playing the ball and carrying it around the store. I bought that toy, too.
It turns out that the squeaky dog squeaks unlike any squeaky toy I've ever heard squeak. It has different squeaks depending on how hard and where it's squeezed and Gozer loves it. She left it upstairs when we came down to watch tv and before sitting down she had to run up and get it.
She doesn't just squeak the dog: she sleeps with it in her mouth. She's done that with all of her plush squeaky toys when they're given to her. It seems like it would be really uncomfortable because for a couple of these toys, she has to keep her mouth open fairly wide. She seems to like it, however. Her mouth does get very dry when she wakes up, which is kind of funny to watch.
I've looked up this behaviour on the interwebs and there are dogs out there that love to sleep with a blanket or plush toy in their mouths (squeaky or otherwise). Apparently once the behaviour has developed it's there for good. They'll give up the object when they have to but as soon as they have the opportunity they're sleeping with it in their mouths again. No one seems to know why some dogs do this but some seem to think it happens when dogs are taken from their mothers too soon (especially if they knead the object, which Gozer does not do), or have had more than one owner, or were rescue dogs.
We don't usually allow Gozer to have a plush toy in her kennel at night - she only gets one when we're going out - but I wonder if she would be happier with a regular kennel plush toy and a special one when we go out. She's been good in her kennel overnight so a regular plush toy probably isn't strictly necessary... although I do want her to be as happy as possible.
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