Should I let my dog destroy their toys?
Written by Louise Glazebrook
A black and white dog chewing on a dog toy

Is your dog regularly destroying the toys you buy them? There could be a number of reasons behind this behaviour however, it’s not necessarily something bad that you need to worry about.

In this blog, I’ll explain whether you should let your dog destroy their toys and provide some potential reasons behind their behaviour.

Is it ok to let my dog destroy their toys?

The short answer is yes, you should allow your dog to destroy their toys and I’ve shared some insight on this below.

Why do dogs destroy their toys?

Here are a few common reasons for why your dog could be destroying their toys:

1. Your dog was bred to use their mouth

For many of our breeds we have created them to use their mouth and then when they live with us, we don’t give them tasks that actually use their mouth so they go about looking for ways to fulfil that need and toys are often the items that get a hammering. But then owners will remove the toys as they don’t want the mess and the cost, however, I’d strongly suggest that you actively purchase toys with destruction in mind, toys that you can repair and sew up, toys from charity shops that don’t cost a fortune. Your dog needs to use their mouth. It isn’t a once a week treat, it is a fundamental part of being a dog.

2. It is how your dog explores new things

A dog using their mouth is incredibly fulfilling – it is how they explore the world. They don’t have hands and fingers, so putting things into their mouth and clamping down is part and parcel of being a dog. Many toys aren’t really designed for dogs even though they are marketed at dogs, poorly made, with dangerous stuffing and not sewn up well, so don’t get annoyed with the dog for destroying the toy. Do look in your local charity shop to see if there are any toys you can purchase that will allow your dog to destroy them and you won’t feel upset that you spent £10 on it.

3. It gives your dog a job they can complete

It creates an end to a job, many dogs have been bred to do a job and finish that job e.g. a Patterdale terrier sent in search of vermin to track, hunt, and shake to immediate death. Toys can be used to replicate those breeding traits and provide enormous fulfilment. Rather than you completing a task in your chosen career field, it can weigh heavy when you don’t get to do it how you want to or if someone interferes with the way you want to do it. I see the destruction of toys in a similar light.

4. It is a way of relieving stress

Some dogs need to relieve their stress on their toys. Chewing, picking apart and shredding can relieve stress – rather like how some people do cross fit, boxercise and have a very physical output, the same is true with the destruction of toys. It can provide an outlet for frustration, so once again, we don’t want to remove those outlets, we want to encourage productive channeling of energy. If we don’t then we may not like the other ways our dogs use that energy and output.

5. It’s a sign of boredom

Your dog may be bored and is desperately trying to let you know because they can’t give themselves more stimulation, more play, more outings, more adventure. So it might be time to chat to someone like me and assess what is going on with your dog and to see how we can ensure their daily routine and needs are being met.

Conclusion

I actively encourage my clients to provide destruction toys, shredding, items to be pulled apart, and to give their dog permission to do all of this. Mess is easy to clear up, but an unhappy dog is harder to resolve.

If you would like to discuss your dog’s behaviour in more detail and explore options for adding healthy stimulation into your dog’s daily routine, sign up for a 1-2-1 session with me today.

Alternatively, sign up to The Wonder Club and access a wide range of resources that will help you create a happy life for your dog.

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