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How to Teach Your Dog Not to Destroy Toys: 6 Vet-Approved Methods

Written by: Patricia Dickson

Last Updated on April 5, 2024 by Dogster Team

How to Teach Your Dog Not to Destroy Toys: 6 Vet-Approved Methods


Dr. Lorna Whittemore  Photo


Dr. Lorna Whittemore

MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

As pet parents, we think of our dogs as little angels, no matter the size or breed of the dog. What we’re often not prepared for are our canine angels to rip, tear, and chew their toys to shreds.

The last thing you want is for your dog to turn their play area into something resembling a crime scene, but what do you do? Why is your dog suddenly destroying his toys, and what can you do to stop this behavior?

We’ll give you a few reasons for the behavior and a few methods to stop it in the blog below.


Why Does a Dog Chew His Toys?

There are a few reasons that a dog will start chewing on and destroying his toys.

The Dog Is Bored

Dog playing with toy
Image Credit: KobiKadosh_Unsplash

A dog starts destroying his toys because he’s bored and looking for something to do. This often happens with dogs that are left alone for long periods. Just like humans, being alone makes them bored and anxious.

The dog becomes bored and has excessive energy to burn, resulting in him chewing on your furniture and his toys, ending in destruction.

His Toy Isn’t Breed Appropriate

No one toy fits all dog breeds. There are toys for little dogs and toys for bigger dogs for a reason. For example, if you’ve given a toy for a small breed dog to a massive dog, then that dog is going to easily destroy that toy without even meaning to.

Purchase toys depending on the size of your dog and how mouthy the dog is. For example, you’ll need durable toys for dog breeds such as the following.

  • Jack Russel Terriers
  • Pitbulls
  • Tibetan Mastiffs
  • Siberian Huskies
  • The Dog is Frustrated

Some dogs will take to destroying their toys when they are frustrated. Frustrations can range from being hungry, over stimulated, needing a potty break or not being able to play with their playmate.

Is It Normal for a Dog to Destroy His Toys?

While it can be normal for a dog to destroy his toys, it’s not a behavior that should be encouraged. Not only is it expensive to keep replacing your dog’s toys, but it can also be a hazard to your pet. It’s possible that the dog will swallow a loose piece of the toy and choke or end up with the toy piece lodged in his intestines.


The 6 Methods to Stop Your Dog from Destroying His Toys

There are a few methods that you can try to stop your dog from destroying his toys. We’ll give you five of the most effective in the sections below.

1. Purchase the Right Toys

Happy couple with their puppy buying dog toys in pet shop
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

Not only do toys need to be durable, but they should also be interactive. If you’re going out for a short time, try giving your dog a toy that keeps him entertained until you return. Food puzzles are perfect interactive toys, as it requires the dog to work for the treat inside and rewards him in the end. Having a variety of toy types and rotating helps keep them interesting for your pup.

2. Replace Destroyed Toys Right Away

Whether the toy is slightly torn, ripped, or completely destroyed, it’s essential to throw away the damaged toy, ideally replacing it right away. While many pet owners think this is a waste of money, it’s a whole lot less worrying than having to take your dog to the vet because he swallowed pieces of a ripped, shredded, or destroyed toy.

3. Teach Your Dog to Respond to Verbal Commands

person training dog outdoors
Image Credit: Valeria Boltneva, Pexels

Teaching your dog to respond to your verbal commands will help quite a bit. When the dog is playing too roughly with his toy, tell him to drop it. Once he drops the toy, give him a treat. This will reinforce this behavior, letting him know listening to you and not destroying his toy will be rewarded.

4. Don’t Give a Large Dog a Small Toy

If you give your Great Dane a toy that’s meant for a Poodle, you can’t expect the dog not to destroy the toy in a matter of hours, if not minutes. Make sure that the size of the toy matches the size of your dog for the best results.

On top of that, a small toy in the mouth of a Great Dane could easily become a choking hazard. Size up if you’re in doubt, for safety’s sake.

5. Join in on Playtime

dog owner playing tug of war with his pet
Image By: thka, Shutterstock

Having fun with your dog is a given for most pet owners. If you join in at playtime, the dog is less apt to destroy his toys. Whether it’s playing tug of war with a durable rope or fetch with the tennis ball at the dog park, playing with your pet is also a great way to bond and help your pet burn off that excess energy.

Once playtime is over, take the toys and put them up where the dog can’t reach them for the best results.

6. Training

To keep boredom at bay, work in short 3 to 5 minute training sessions several times a day. This will stave off boredom and reinforce behaviors that you want your dog to master. Praciting sit-to-stand, middle, wait, stay and walking at your side will only take a couple of minutes a few times a day.



Dogs are going to play. However, the last thing you want is your dog to become injured over destroying the toy he’s supposed to be having fun playing with. It’s also quite expensive to keep replacing the toys as your dog destroys them.

Try the methods above to teach your dog not to destroy his toys. If these methods don’t work, then it’s time to consult your vet to see if there’s an underlying cause for the problem. Do you have tricks and tips for teaching dogs not to destroy their toys that aren’t on our list? Tell us what they are in the comments below.

Featured Image Credit: Przemek Iciak, Shutterstock

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