She is an amazing Certified Therapy Dog but, she will steal resident’s stuffed toys if I would allow her to. Now, for those of you who are handy with the needle, you could remove the stuffing, and fill the toy with tough fabric instead, that way, it will last forever!
I think that dogs feel closer to being a dog when they actually have a stuffed toy in their mouth. They feel that they have caught it. They can carry it around, they can claim it, they can retrieve it (especially retrievers), and it’s theirs. And, it feels good to them. After a while, the smell of this stuffed toy becomes awful to us, but great to the dogs.
Depending on the breed you have, some dogs will kill the stuffed toys, some dogs will love it, sleep on it and snuggle with it. Retrievers will consistently have it in their mouth when you return home.
By far, the cheapest way to keep your dog in stuffed toys is buying cheap, right sized stuffed animals at garage/yard sales. I wash them in hot water, and a bit of Solumel (Melaleuca household cleaner that helps get rid of bacteria and it is animal and nature friendly), this is very important! Then, I remove all the detachable; lose things like eyes, whiskers, etc. These toys are a very cheap alternative to expensive pet store toys.
Be very careful though that you check and make sure that this toy is not stuffed with small, styrofoam beads. Avoid those. You can easily tell by squishing the toy in your hand. Dogs often rip open their stuffed toys, and the styrofoam beads could become a hazard to your dog.
I know of some big dogs that shake their stuffed toy to so much that they are actually killing it. If you have more than one dog watch that the other dog doesn’t get hurt by the toy that is being shaken. It is easy to have your other dogs eye get punctured or hurt.
So to repeat the question, why do dogs like stuffed toys? Well, it seems that we all love stuffed toys. Adults have them, kids love them, cats play with stuffed mice, and dogs claim them to kill it, to claim it, or just to love it.