Have you ever been frustrated by your pup's tendency to destroy his toys? Before thinking about a solution to this, it's helpful to understand why he might be behaving like this. And the solution isn't to stop giving him toys to play with or finding indestructible dog toys.
First things first, you’re not alone! Many dog owners experience the very same thing. The image of dog owner returning home to find a wave of destruction with dog sitting innocently by, tongue hanging out, as if to say ‘Who, me?’ is a common one.
Our dogs love playing with toys, to them they’re not toys, more an outlet for their base instincts. To understand why he’s destroying his toys, ask yourself the following questions.
Is he frustrated or stressed? If he’s frustrated or stressed he’s going to act out in some way. For some dogs that outlet will be destroying something that’s nearby. They can’t tell you how they’re feeling but dogs are wonderfully skilled at showing us how they feel. We just need to know the signs.
Is he bored? Just like humans, dogs need to entertain themselves and have their brains stimulated. They get bored sometimes and that can result in some toys getting treated roughly. Does his toys force him to use his mind? If not, get some puzzlers for him to play with. Toys that have a treat at the center that he has to figure out how to get to are fantastic for stimulating his mind. Is he getting enough exercise? If he’s not burning enough energy he’s going to find a way to purge that excess energy and his toys could suffer as a result. Ask yourself, am I providing enough opportunities on daily walks to tire him out? The LINK Smart Collar has a great activity monitoring feature that can be tailored for dog breed, age, weight and size to keep you on track.
Does he have separation anxiety? This is one of the big reasons dogs destroy their toys. Our dogs are very attuned to how we feel. We have to teach them how to be okay when we leave and they’re on their own. Here are some tips for how to deal with separation anxiety.
Did you encourage him to chase his toys when he was a puppy? Without realizing it we may have encouraged this behavior. Because let’s face it, what’s cuter than a puppy chasing a toy around a room? As they grow and get stronger it gets easier for them to destroy stuff.
Do you give over his toy whenever wants it? Don’t do this. Think of this as being a reward rather than something he gets whenever he wants it.
Does he just love to chew on stuff? When it comes to chewing it doesn’t matter what size he is, some dogs just love to chew on stuff. If this is the case give him toys that suit this behavior. He will need a strong and durable toy that he can chew on to his heart’s content. If you’re struggling to find the right chew toy we’ve got a great chew toy guide.
Does he love to murder that squeaky toy? All dogs have a natural killer instinct. So if he’s got a squeaky toy, to him that represents a dying animal, so it’s part of his nature to want to tear his prey apart. Kinda gruesome but just part of his makeup.
It’s easier to cope with a toy killer if you remember that dog toys are no different than toys for babies, they just aren’t designed to last forever. One last piece of advice, rotate his toys regularly, this will help them last longer and keep his mind occupied!