Are wondering if you should let your dog destroy toys? Although it might not seem like a big deal at first… There are some things that you should consider before allowing our dogs to destroy their favorite new toy.
Letting your dog destroy their toys isn’t a good idea. Unless the toy is edible, the dangers of what they could ingest while destroying their toy are too large to allow it to continue to happen. Not only is there a choking hazard but they could even end up needing a trip to the vet.
It’s important to know exactly why your dog destroys toys to really understand the behavior. This will allow us to figure out how to stop them from destroying toys.
In this post we’ll be discussing the importance of understanding why your dog destroys toys. After that we’ll be looking into whether or not you should stop them from doing it, or, to find ways to allow them to continue while staying safe.
Let’s dive in.
Should You Let Your Dog Destroy Toys?
It is a common sight to see dogs chewing and destroying their toys. But should us dog owners let them? There are arguments for both sides. But, it is important to know the pros and cons before you decide what’s best for your pup!
Some people believe that if you let your dog destroy their toys they are simply getting rid of built up energy and it helps relieve stress. In some cases, dogs love ripping apart toys and it makes them happy.
If this is the case for your pup it might be best to consider getting them toys that are edible and designed for complete destruction with limited risk.
The downside to letting dogs destroy toys is when they break down the toys into small pieces. When they do this these pieces can quickly become choking hazards. It’s also dangerous if the toy is made with chemicals that are toxic to our pups. This is why, regardless of if you choose to allow it or not, supervision is always required if your dog is destroying toys.
Living with a family of vets I constantly saw animals come into the clinic with foreign objects stuck in their stomachs and intestines. So be careful with allowing them to destroy toys. Especially if you know your dog loves to eat anything they can.
Reasons Why Your Dog Destroys Toys
It can be frustrating to see all the toys you’ve purchased for your pup get torn in pieces within minutes. As a pet parent, it’s important that you know why the destruction happens. This way you can prevent them from doing it anymore and teach them not to tear up their favorite toy(s). Here are some common reasons your dog may ruin their toys:
Your Dog Is Bored
One of the most common causes for your dog tearing toys to pieces is simply boredom. Your pup could just need more mental stimulation. Without mental stimulation it can lead to destructive behaviors. Like, oh I don’t know, being a little devil and tearing apart anything they can! Including all those new toys.
If you’ve been neglecting them for a while, or if you haven’t taken them outdoors often enough, they may be bored. And when they get bored they may choose to tear up their toy simply as something to do.
Your Dog Is A Hunter Or Prey-Driven
Wolves are dogs ancestors. So in some cases your pup may think the toys are real animals that need to be hunted for food (from there predatorial genetics). Some dogs have been bred specifically as hunters, which can make them more likely to destroy toys than other breeds.
In addition, it’s also possible that your dog sees you as a leader of the pack. Because of this they want to please you by “killing” something for you.
They’d be shocked to know you don’t appreciate it!
Wrongful Teachings / Attention
Your dog is always learning from your behaviors as an owner. In some cases, dogs learn that destroying toys is a “good” thing. Maybe you are praising them, and giving them attention every time they do it, without even realizing it.
Some dogs love the attention it brings them when they destroy toys, so they continue. All in the hopes that pay attention to them or because they think it’s what you want.
The Joy Of Tearing Down A New Item
Some pups just love tearing apart new things because they’re excited and overly stimulated. When they get a new toy it’s like Christmas Day for them and ripping it apart is just part of the fun!
They Need A Different Toy To Play With
The toy you have given your dog may not be appropriate for the behavior they’re exhibiting. They destroy the toy because it cannot withstand their chompers. In some cases it can be accidental that they are destroying the toy.
How to Stop Your Dog from Destroying Toys
Many dog owners have gone through the same struggle as you. It’s frustrating when a pup destroys toys with such ease. Often times, most owners don’t know how to stop them from doing it.
The good news is there are ways to stop this behavior from continuing! Follow these 2 simple steps outlined below and you’ll be able to stop your dog from destroying their toys in no time.
Step 1: Identify the Cause of Your Dog’s Behavior
It’s important to determine why your dog feels compelled to destroy their toy in order to make it not to happen again. So let’s take some time and figure this out!
Try looking at what types of toys he/she likes best (do you have a chew-type?). How long do they typically play with them?
If there are any potential triggers which might cause stress, related specifically towards objects, then make note of those too. This is because these will affect being able to stop the problem behavior once identified. Once you’ve identified the cause you can move to step #2. This will help you know if you should let your dog destroy toys or not.
Step 2: Move Towards Solving The Problem
- For those who have determined that their dog behaves destructively towards toys because of boredom. It’s important to make sure they are provided with enough physical exercise. Try carrying out a variety of playtime activities for your canine in order keep them entertained and moving around the house as often as possible. Make sure you give them toys with plenty of challenges such as puzzles.
- For those who have determined your dog is a hunter or prey-driven dog. You will need to train your dog with obedience commands to prevent them from being so interested in “killing” toys. This is because if they are hunting prey or chasing something it becomes more difficult than just playing around.
- For those who have determined that their dogs destroy toys from wrongful teachings and for attention. It’s important for you to stop giving them attention when this occurs. You should simply ignore their behavior. Or, when you do notice a toy being destroyed, without making a big deal of their actions, take the toy away.
- For those who have determined that their dogs destroy toys from the joy of tearing down a new item. You will need to train your dog with obedience commands as well. Otherwise your alternative would be to just allow them to destroy toys since they enjoy it! Just make sure the toys are safe in case they ingest some (and that they aren’t crazy expensive)!
- Lastly, for those of you with dogs that just destroy toys because they are being given the wrong type of toy… Give them the right kind of toy! Simple as that. If you have an aggressive dog you will want to opt for a tougher toy that has the ability to withstand their aggressiveness. If you are noticing softer, plush toys just constantly get ripped apart, try rubber toys with more durability. After reviewing thousands for different toys here is a list of the best dog toys for aggressive chewers.
Step 3 (Optional): Learn Training Commands
You can use training to teach your dog not to destroy his toys.
Ask them to perform a trick they are familiar with, such as “come”. If they come, you can reward them with the toy and supervise playtime. If they play with it appropriately, offer praise and treats.
As soon as the dog starts trying to rip the toy apart, interrupt him with deterrents like “Stop!”
If they stop and start to play nice you should try rewarding them for proper behavior.
Do not just give the dog the toy and then walk away. Make a toy fun in other ways, including playing fetch or tug. That way they may not want to break the toy.
What To Do If Dog Eats Plastic Toy
What should you do if your dog eats a plastic toy? Dog emergencies are common, and you may be tempted to wait till the morning to consult the vet if your pet swallows their toy at night.
The faster you act, however, the quicker your dog can be alleviated from the symptoms of swallowing dangerous objects.
As a rule of thumb, dogs are able to digest most items that they swallow. If you believe your dog has ingested something dangerous or toxic (such as a plastic toy), contact a vet immediately and seek medical attention without delay!
If your dog swallows their toy you have a two-hour window to have them examined with the possibility of safely extracting it. Once this window passes, your dog may require surgery. It’s important to not wait around once you realize that they have swallowed foreign objects.
To sum, you can stop your dog from destroying toys with enough training and attention. It’s normally not a good idea to let your dog destroy toys but with supervision and using the proper types of toys it can be okay. Especially if you can tell it makes them really happy.
Make sure to get strong, durable materials when buying a toy for your destructive pup. Also make sure to experiment with your pup to find what’s best for them!