Dogs have been man’s best friend for thousands of years. Way back then dogs were used for hunting and for guarding livestock. Back then, they weren’t these fluffy cute little spoiled babies we have today.
No, they were bigger, stronger, and deadlier than you could imagine. Dogs had to hunt for their food as many farmers back could only feed themselves so they couldn’t spare enough food to feed a dog.
So, what does this have to do with why they destroy or tear up their toys?
Well, it's simple really. They want it to kill it. When a dog hears the squeaker inside of a toy, they are instantly reminded of their ancient desire to hunt and kill. That squeaker is reminiscent of the screams a wounded rodent or other small prey would make and it turns your dog agressive. Basically, it is your dog’s primal instinct activating telling it to put the animal down. When the squeaker goes silent the toy is dead.
Yep, your dog isn’t just being a jerk when he wants to tear stuff up. Try to realize that these primal urges have existed within canine DNA for thousands of years. Kind of how a baby sea turtle knows exactly where to meet up with its parents. This huge ocean and beach ahead of them yet they know exactly what to do. It’s all embedded in their DNA and dogs are no different.
How do you stop this behavior?
The best thing you can do is try to redirect them when they start to destroy something. Teach them to play and engage your dog in a way that teaches them that a toy is not a wounded animal and that it doesn’t have to die. Easier said than done sometimes but it is possible.
The important thing as with any training is to start as early in life as possible. The younger your pup is when you start to teach them about toys the more receptive they will be and the less likely they will feel the need to rely on their basic instincts.
Furthermore, a little research can go a long way. Many toy manufacturers have realized that some dogs have very powerful jaws and have made a great effort to make their toys more durable. If your dog destroys every fluffy thing put in front of it maybe you could try a toy that is made of something more durable like a pet-friendly rubber or fire hose material – often called indestructible dog toys. These new materials can still be destroyed but it will take a lot more effort and may give you more time for redirection.
It is always important to stay positive and help your dog realize that toys are “friends not food”.
Another reason a dog may destroy his or her toy is that they are just bored. You may notice that toys frequently get destroyed when you have not had the time to spend with your pup.
Dogs need exercise and when they don't get enough there is a lot of energy that needs an outlet. Unfortunately, that outlet tends to be a destructive one and that’s when the cottony white snow of toy guts is found scattered all over the living room floor.
To be honest, sometimes there really is no good reason as to why they destroy their toys. Sometimes it just happens. They're not trying to be malicious and think well I'm just going to tear this up and make you buy me another one. Sometimes during regular play, the toy just doesn't hold up and ends up all over the place. This is where purchasing a toy better designed for your dog's stature can really help you save some money in the long run.
Some of the more durable toy brands can be a little expensive but if you are having to buy on once a month versus every week then you are probably still saving some money. Cheap toys are cheap for a reason and unless it is a toy chihuahua playing with it or your dog is low energy, they will not hold up for long.
There can be any number of reasons why dogs destroy their toys, but when you get down to it everything boils down to instinct. That innate desire that is present in all animals that were once feral and roamed the land in search of food. So the next time your dog destroys his or her toy just remember that there are options out there and always stay positive. You should never punish your dog for doing something nature intended it to do because to it there is nothing wrong with killing the squeaker and they may actually be quite proud of it. Thousands of years of instinct are flowing through canine veins but with time and patience, you can help them realize they are loved and no longer need such instincts to survive.