dogs playing fetch

Why Does My Dog Tear Up Her Toys?

Many dog owners have experienced this pattern- you choose a cute new toy for your furry best friend, throw it to them, and it's in pieces on the floor within minutes (a few hours if you're lucky). It's difficult to tell your dog to treat their toys with respect explicitly, but the reality is that many dogs immediately start going crazy the minute they get their cute paws on a fun new object. So why does your dog constantly destroy and rip up his toys? While the occasional destruction of a toy is not much to worry about, a consistent pattern of behavior needs to be addressed. This article discusses why your dog keeps destroying and ripping up his dog toys

Related: Are Your Dog Toys Covered in Dog Slobber? Here's How to Wash Dog Toys

Why Your Dog Keeps Ripping Up Their Toys

Below we list some possibilities why your dog may continue to tear up their toys. 

It's Not The Toy They Need

Unfortunately, we don't always give our dogs the right toys to satisfy their needs. Sometimes we throw our dogs toys to feel better about not giving them the attention and time they need- and the toy acts as a placeholder to keep them occupied when we can't be with them ourselves. Although it comes from good intentions (RunBall offers many fantastic toys that are up to your dog's demands), you have to ensure that you're giving your dog the correct type of babysitter toy. 

A thin latex or plush toy can't stand up to the attack of a determined (and probably bored) puppy and won't give your dog the kind of constructive activity it requires when left alone. On the other hand, hard rubber toys, especially those that dispense treats- toys that generally come with a durability guarantee- are a better choice for unsupervised playtime and can take the vigorous chewing that your dog doles out. 

Runball is specifically designed to keep high-energy dogs entertained and stands up to even the most excited chewers!

Related: 20 Best Dog Toys for Small and Large Dogs


You've taught your dog not to rip up your rugs, furniture, and shoes, but once in a while if he gets too much alone time, he needs an outlet for his pent-up energy. That's where plush dog toys come in. Maybe the toy has happily resided in his toy box for months, and then you find scraps of the eviscerated toy littered through the house. If this happens, think about how much attention you've been giving your pup around the time they tore up the toy. Perhaps they tore it up because they needed to burn off some energy. Maybe your pup is begging for a good romp or long hike. Sometimes one-on-one playtime with you, where you focus all your attention on them, can help stave off boredom and save their future toys.

Looking for safe, durable dog toys to keep your dog occupied? Get your dog Runball!

They Have A Prey Drive

No matter how tame your lap dog may appear, there's still the shadow of a predator coded in their genetics. When they get a toy that produces a high-pitched squeaky sound, most dogs will automatically revert to some form of the "shake and kill" pattern of their hunter predecessors. This prey-cry trigger can result in dogs tearing apart their toys to try and get to the sound's source and "kill the squeak." Have you noticed that once the squeaker is vanquished, your dog loses interest in the toy? By ripping through the plush and silencing the squeak, your dog experiences a sequence that fulfills part of the wild dog ancestry in his DNA.

 dog playing with hose

It's Fun! It Feels Good!

Dogs love having something to do, and if we don't give them the proper work, they will gladly arrive at a career on their own. Tearing through a toy is a fun job with a clear start, middle, and endpoint. First, they surgically explore the item to pinpoint a weakness (where is that loose seam!), then they work through the enjoyable act of tearing the toy apart piece by piece, and then finally, when they decide the toy is "dead," they look over the results of their work. However, destroying toys is not only an expensive habit but can be dangerous as well. Certain dogs are driven to consume the pieces they pull off, resulting in emergency vet visits to take care of obstructions. Bones are a better choice to keep the jaws busy, but remember that anything your canine companion chews on can be a potential hazard, and you should keep an eye on your dog when he's chewing on bones or playing with toys

We Tell Them It's Cute

It's adorable when a tiny puppy tries to look ferocious. Whether it's mini-barking when the doorbell rings, or continual attempts to deconstruct a toy, we often encourage them because it looks cute, without thinking about the bad habits that could form. The positive attention we give encourages dogs to keep pulling toys apart until it's a difficult habit to break. You can curb a young dog's yearning to destroy his toys by playing with him while he has the toy through games like tub, fetch and find-the-toy. Take the toy away when he begins to get too excited; developing a strong "drop" cue can make your dog let go of the toy easier. 

Destruction Can Be Dangerous

Other than the expense of constantly replacing new toys and household items, destroying stuffed things can be extremely harmful to your pet's health. After ripping the stuffing out of a pillow or toy, your dog may decide to consume it, which can cause a choking hazard or impede their digestion. If there was a squeaker in the stuffed toy, the squeaker might feature the same dangers. If the habit extends beyond toys and impacts stuff-filled furniture like beds and couches, your dog may be experiencing severe stress that needs to be handled through behavioral training. 

To discover the root cause, closely watch your dog's behavior and what they destroy. For example, try changing out their plush toys for harder rubber or plastic ones, or give them more challenging toys to occupy their attention. If your dog continues to destroy pillows or other furniture, think about reaching out to a professional to deal with any underlying behavioral problems.

Related: Dog Not Playing With Toys? Here's How to Get a Dog to Play With Toys

Runball Exercise

A Safe Toy That Keeps Your Dog Occupied

Runball founder Leo Gomez created Runball for his dog Lulu, a large dog with vast amounts of energy who never seems to tire! But, if Lulu doesn't get tired, then her toys and house get tired. Runball is a multipurpose dog toy made of safe, hard materials designed to tire even the most energetic dogs out. Try Runball today!

Looking for safe, durable dog toys to keep your dog occupied? Get your dog Runball!