Why Do Dogs Destroy Their Toys?

Why Do Dogs Destroy Their Toys?

Sep 21, 2021
7 min

Does your pup take great pleasure tearing his toys to pieces? Don’t worry, your dog is just behaving as dogs do. Certain toys awaken their predator instincts, while some dogs are just plain bored. For some, it can be a learned behavior. Taking steps to identify what is causing or motivating your pet to behave this way can help modify his behavior towards toys.


Prey drive

Even with domestication, the prey drive of dogs is still very much intact, although, for most dogs, it’s not as strong as that of their wild ancestors. Experts believe that the sound made by a squeaky toy may trigger a dog’s prey drive, causing them to shake, rip, and tear the toy apart until it is “dead”, to successfully complete the hunt sequence.





bored dog



Dogs are active creatures and they will need lots of physical and mental stimulation, without which, they can become bored and find ways to keep themselves occupied and burn excess energy. Unfortunately, their frustrations can fuel undesirable behaviors and mischief, such as destructive behavior, excessive vocalization, digging, escaping, etc. They can also vent their frustrations on their toys. Dogs that are left home alone most of the time can suffer from separation anxiety and may engage in destructive behavior.



You should provide enough opportunities for your pets to be stimulated physically and mentally through various activities, regular exercise, and frequent interactions. Give him plush toys such as Kong Wild Knots Bear Dog Toy and Zee Dog Alien Flex Gro Plush Dog Toy and always remember to rotate his toys to preserve their novelty.



You can also try giving your canine buddy more activities and mental enrichment. A tired and content dog is less likely to engage in destructive behaviors.



Reinforced behavior

Some pet owners are guilty of unintentionally reinforcing their pet’s undesirable behavior. Every time you laugh when your dog bites and tugs at his toys can reinforce the behavior, more so when you engage in rough play or games of tug-of-war with your dog. When you see your puppy ripping a toy, you should nip the behavior in the bud. If you continue to encourage the behavior, it will come to a point when it becomes a deeply ingrained habit that can be hard to get rid of.



Mental challenge

puzzle ball



Dogs love mental challenges and dismantling a toy until they find the squeaker gives them a feeling of success. For these dogs, puzzle toys, such as the Foobler Self-Reloading Puzzle Feeder, keep them busy and away from boredom. You can also let your pooch play with interactive toys to motivate him mentally while keeping him busy.



Wrong toys

There are so many kinds of dog toys out there, but you should know which ones are ideal for your pet. A 10-pound Pekingese does not share the same type of toys with a 100-pound German shepherd. Dog breeds that are bigger, stronger, or heavy chewers need toys that are more durable and can withstand their sharp teeth and strong jaws, such as the Kong Extreme. Dogs with destructive tendencies are better off with tougher toys, such as toys made of hard rubber, or treat-dispensing toys, like the Kong Gyro Dog Toy, for unsupervised playtime. Bones are also a better option, but be sure to keep a close eye on your dog while he’s playing or chewing on bones.