How to Teach Dog Not to Destroy Toys? Playtime Without Destruction

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Author: Jacob Kay

Dogs are natural chewers, and their instinct to chew is a normal part of their behaviour. However, destructive chewing, especially when it comes to toys, can be frustrating for pet owners. Understanding why dogs destroy toys and implementing effective strategies to address this behaviour is essential.

dog destroyed a toy

By gaining insight into the underlying causes and implementing appropriate training techniques, you can help redirect your dog’s chewing behaviour and encourage them to enjoy their toys without destruction.

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Why Do Dogs Destroy Toys?

Interestingly, there’s not a single reason to contribute. There are many reasons why your dog might destroy toys. It totally depends on the individual. However, it is important to keep checking on your dog for unusual behaviour.

There might be reasons like boredom, frustration or anxiety and therefore the owners should know the correct reason for their activity and act accordingly.

Some of the reasons commonly believed for this destructive behaviour of dogs are:


The root cause of why dogs destroy toys is that they are domesticated animals. This means they were once wild and enjoyed the freedom of being a predator. Thus, hunting is one of the inherited qualities of dogs.

It is noteworthy that this behaviour can develop at any stage of their life. Even if the dog used to be calm and peaceful as a puppy, it can be aggressive in adulthood.


Puppies, in particular, chew on objects to lessen the discomfort of teething. Just like human babies, puppies go through a phase where their teeth are erupting, causing itching and discomfort in their gums.

puppy chewing a toy

Chewing on toys helps relieve this discomfort and facilitates the process of teething. This can serve as a reason for puppies who destroy toys by chewing them.


It may also happen that the dog feels bored when the owner is not around. In such cases, the dog has nothing else to do and so it starts destroying its toys nearby. Firstly, it starts out of curiosity, as a playful activity and then out of boredom.

As an owner, it is important to spend quality time with your pet and not leave him alone for a long time. This would definitely make the pet bored and slowly it will develop such destructive activity.


Animals, by nature, are very curious about their surroundings. When the owner is away, the dogs get no chance to investigate the environment or the noises from the outdoors. Moreover, they can’t get anything, they desire.

This frustrates the dog. The inability to explore or the feeling of loneliness often creates frustration. One way to get rid of it is to stay with your pet, to engage it in different activities.

Poor Training

When dogs live with humans their behaviour towards us is their previous training and not their own instincts. This is because they are never inherited as domestic animals. Thus, it becomes crucial to train your pet from an early age.

Education and training is necessary to set boundaries to what is appropriate for your pets. Pets should be taught sign and basic command language so as to educate your pet. Sometimes owners are also at fault for reflecting negative reinforcement. Negative or harsh behaviour can lead pets to be more destructive.

Is It Normal for Dogs to Destroy Toys?

Destroying toys can be a completely natural behaviour for dogs but can also be a sign of boredom or frustration. If your dog has been destroying toys since childhood then there’s nothing to worry about. Though, it is important to stop them doing so.

Destroying toys can lead to unnecessary replacement of toys, which could be expensive. Moreover, it could be harmful to the dog as it can swallow broken pieces of toys.

dog chewing a toy

If your pet has recently developed this habit, then that is something you need to worry about. You should keep an eye on the dog to know the reason for it. Give your pet more time. Consulting a vet or a professional would be a better choice.

Teach Your Dog Not to Destroy Toys

Teaching a dog not to destroy toys requires patience, consistency, and appropriate training techniques. Harsh behaviour or negative reinforcement can make the situation worse. This could make the dog more destructive.

Some tips to teach your dog are listed below.

Choosing The Correct Toy

Though this seems to be completely illogical, choosing the right toy for your dog is important. This is because a particular toy can keep the dog busy and entertained while you are not around. Having a variety of toy types and rotating them helps keep them interesting for your pup.

owner buying toy for dog

The size of the toy also matters for your pup to find it interesting. Never buy small toys for your large-sized dogs. Smalls toy in the mouth of a large dog can easily become a choking issue. Make sure that the size of the toy matches the size of your dog.

Toys should play a huge role in the raising, training and bonding process with your dog. Aside from the dog’s perspective of toys equals fun, they can provide oral activity, relieve boredom, be a reward for good deeds and also provide activity and exercise.

Ensure that your dog has a variety of toys specifically designed for chewing and play. Choose toys made of durable materials such as rubber or nylon that are designed to withstand a dog’s chewing habits.

When selecting toys, consider interactive puzzle toys that provide mental stimulation. Some of the best dog puzzle toys uk involve treats hidden inside that dogs need to strategize to uncover.

Teach Them How to Play With Toys

When you buy a new toy, teach your dog how to play with it. You can play tug of war or hide and seek with it, accordingly. By this, you will know how much your dog is interested in the toy. It will make them understand the purpose of the toy.

While the dog is under the training make sure you do not give the toy when you are not around. Keep the toy aside and hand them only under your observation. Once the dog is trained, it will automatically ask for the toy to play with rather than for chewing or destroying it.

Teach Verbal Commands

Train your dog to understand the ‘leave it’ or ‘drop it’ command. This can be very useful in daily routine with other kinds of stuff too. It is very important to teach your dog verbal commands like this. Whenever you see your dog trying to rip off a toy or using other toys for chewing tell them to leave it.

owner teaching command to dog

After a few days of training your dog will adapt itself to this command. Reward him with verbal praise or a treat whenever the dog follows the command and leaves the toy. This will have a positive impact on the dog.

Enjoy The Play Time

Enjoy the time with your dog when it is playing with the toys. Play a variety of games with your dog. This will also help to observe the activity of the dog closely. On the other hand, the dog will get a companion to eradicate its boredom.

If you notice them starting to chew destructively or attempt to rip apart the toy, calmly redirect their attention to an appropriate chew toy. Use a positive and upbeat tone to encourage them to engage with the appropriate toy instead.

owner playing with dog

Boredom can contribute to destructive behaviour. Ensure that your dog receives plenty of mental and physical exercise throughout the day. Engage them in interactive play sessions, provide puzzle toys, and consider daily walks or other forms of physical activity.

Pay attention to how your dog interacts with toys during play. If they start shaking toys violently, use a positive tone to redirect them to more appropriate chew toys. Understanding why do dogs shake their toys can help you manage this behavior


Why does my dog destroy all of his toys?

Dogs just wanna have fun, and toy destroying is fun. It gives your dog mental stimulation as they enjoy finding the weak points in the toy.

Is it okay if my dog destroys toys?

The behaviour is perfectly natural since your dogs don’t really see toys as toys. For your pup, a brand new, perfectly intact toy is nothing other than a vessel for their primal instincts!

Why do dogs destroy toys when left alone?

Separation anxiety is triggered when dogs become upset because of separation from their guardians, the people they’re attached to. Due to this, it starts destroying its toys.

Why does my dog steal all the toys?

Your dog might be stealing things because they are looking for something to do or for some interaction with you. Dogs need both physical and mental stimulation to prevent boredom.


In conclusion, teaching a dog not to destroy toys requires a combination of appropriate toy selection, supervision, positive reinforcement, training commands, environmental management, and providing mental and physical stimulation.

Puzzle toys can provide mental stimulation and help keep your dog engaged. If your dog does not seem interested in typical toys, you may want to look into how do i get my dog interested in puzzle toys.

By following these steps and maintaining consistency in training, you can help redirect your dog’s chewing behaviour and promote a healthy and respectful relationship with their toys. Remember, every dog is unique, and it may take time and patience to effectively train your dog.

With proper training and guidance, you can encourage your dog to enjoy their toys without destructive behaviour, allowing for a happier and more harmonious interaction with their playthings.

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Jacob Kay
Jacob Kay is a Veterinary Advisor and Editor at WWD. He’s also a dog lover and has two pet dogs of his own. He has extensive knowledge in the field of veterinary medicine and is always happy to share his insights with others.

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