Why do Dogs Chew up Toys?

why do dogs chew up toysI don’t imagine that it would be hard to get a dog to lie down on a comfy leather sofa inside a psychologist office. Embedded with the smell of thousands of rear ends, well-worn leather, some tears, and faint hint of disinfectant, it would seem an inviting place to lie down. But then, the inevitable questioning begins; “Why do dogs chew up toys?” The inquisition has begun.

Dogs Tear up Toys because they’re there

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And, a dog chewing up a toy is just where predisposition meets predation. All dogs are descendants of supreme hunting machines. They still have that programming in them and they like to execute it; some more than others.

Terrier breeds, among others, may love nothing more than tearing the stuffing out of a chew toy to get to that most prized of internal organs, the squeaker. I have a terrier mix that will destroy a chew toy in nothing flat if it resembles any type of animal, but he leaves the donut shaped ones intact. Go figure. I’m the other way around.

Dogs Destroy Toys because they’re Bored

Dogs need mental and physical stimulation on a daily basis. A bored dog may take matters into their own canines. And hey, it’s not their fault if they mistake your brand new Uggs for a toy in need of de-stuffing; all that fleece must be hiding something good.

Dogs Chew up Toys because we teach them to

Even when they are doing something we don’t want them too, we still find dogs cute. We laugh at their grunts, tugs, and growls as the rip open their prey and begin de-stuffing the toy. Trying to get a picture of that face they make as they shake the stuffing from their mouth in their quest to get to the squeaky plastic center of this tootsie roll pop.

They get to do something enjoyable and we reward it with attention, laughter, and encouragement. Why wouldn’t a dog tear up a dog toy?

Since we seem to enjoy watching our dogs chewing up toys as much as they enjoy doing it, my advice is to hit the clearance racks and dedicate some closet space.

3 thoughts on “Why do Dogs Chew up Toys?

  1. Totally about finding toys that are durable that can’t be destroyed within 5 minutes….hard with 2 pitties that love to chew!

  2. We watch a friends dog and she only chews toys up when she’s around our dog, when she’s by herself she never does but I don’t know if she’s doing this as just a selfish act or doesn’t like to share.

    • Bob,

      I think selfish would be the wrong way to describe it. It could be a nervous reaction resulting in anxiety where the destruction brings some stress relief; or, a resource guarding behavior among many other things. Getting the dogs interested in toys that are a bit sturdier could be of help. Also teaching the dog to release the toy on command could be another. This video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JO2cxHgIzX0, by Victoria Stilwell, might be just the ticket to get things back on an even keel.

      Good Luck.

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