Have you ever wondered why your dog takes so much pleasure in disemboweling the toys you so lovingly select for them? Does it seem like you spend more time choosing the perfect plushie than your pup spends tearing it limb from limb? Don’t worry, your pooch isn’t a serial killer, they’re just doing what dogs do!
For many canines, soft, noisy toys awaken their inner wolf. For others, it comes down to boredom or learned behavior. Pinpointing your pup’s destructive motivations will help you choose toys that can withstand his savage play style.
Many dogs seem to retain traces of their wild ancestors’ instincts to hunt, capture, and kill weaker prey. While scientists and animal behaviorists differ on just how similar our domesticated dogs are to their canid cousins, it makes sense that certain innate impulses remain.
Those who support the prey drive theory say it is the high-pitched sound of a squeaky toy – eerily similar to the cry of a frightened or injured rodent – that sparks the instinct to hunt and kill. They rip and tear at the “flesh” of the toy in an attempt to destroy the squeaker and render the toy “dead.”
Without adequate exercise and mental stimulation, dogs are bound to get into mischief. Some bark incessently or gnaw on your furniture. Others take their frustrations out on their toys.
Alleviating boredom is as simple as spending more time with your pup. Instead of putting them out in the yard alone, head out back with them and throw the ball. Or snap on his leash and take a walk around the block.
If your dog only destroys toys when left home alone, they may be suffering from separation anxiety. Left untreated, this problem can escalate into more dangerous behaviors. Set up a consulation with your veterinarian and consider altering your routine to better meet your dog’s needs.
You have to admit, it’s pretty adorable when dogs vigorously tug and shake their toys – especially when they’re puppies. However, every time you giggle and engage in rough play with your pup, you reinforce their behavior.
Interactive play with their favorite human is pure bliss for your dog, so don’t stop the fun. However, you may want to stash your dog’s more vulnerable toys before leaving the house. Shredded bits of fabric can pose a choking hazard or cause an intestinal blockage. Instead, give your dog a fresh chew or a stuffable treat toy to keep them occupied.
Dogs Love A Challenge
Exercise is just as important for your dog’s mind as it is for his body. Whether it’s puzzle toys, brain games, or nose work, dogs love to meet challenges and solve problems. For some, dismantling their toys until they reach the squeaker is just another way to test their mental acuity.
You May Be Choosing The Wrong Toys
No matter the reason for your dog’s destructive tendencies, if they is consistently making minced meat of his toys, it is time to invest in some tougher play-things!
Dogs with high prey drives belong in Bark’s exclusive Destroyer’s Club. These toys are designed with ruff and tuff pups in mind. Some are built to last, while others give your hunter just what they wants, shredding to bits in his powerful jaws.
Puzzle Toys may be just the thing to keep bored or brainy dogs occupied. They challenge your dog to use his body and mind to earn treats. And if toy-shredding is a learned behavior for your pooch, try something the two of you can play with together. Tuggable and tossable toys allow you to spend quality time while also providing the exercise and mental stimulation they needs to thrive.
Of course, if you’re okay with your dog destroying their toys, you might want to consider buying a BarkBox subscription to replenish their wares and keep the destruction going month after month. A classic box contains 2 large bags of treats, 1 long-lasting chew, and two sturdy but definitely destructible toys for as little as $21 a month.
On the flip side, if you’d rather the toys stick around a little longer (i.e., basically forever), you can upgrade to the Super Chewer BarkBox. The toys in this version are made to withstand even the strongest of canine teeth for as little as $29 a month.