If your dog has been pulling the stuffing out of toys, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you four common reasons why dogs do it and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my dog pull the stuffing out of toys? Possible reasons why your dog pulls the stuffing out of toys are that it does it is an inherited trait and it is due to its nature, boredom, frustration or having learned that the behavior is rewarded.
Your dog might actually be doing it for a number of different reasons and it might be due to a combination of them. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main causes and there are many things you can do about them.
Reasons why your dog pulls the stuffing out of toys
Below are a number of possible causes and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.
In the wild, dogs would have to perform a similar act in order to eat meals that they caught. The reason why it does it could be that it has a natural instinct to do it. This would be more likely if your dog is one that is known for having a high prey drive such as a husky or German Shepherd. But, it could still be the case if it is not a breed known for a high prey drive.
The cause could also be that it is bored and looking for a way to stimulate itself. This would be more likely if it tends to act that way before getting exercise but it is calm afterwards. It would help to ensure that your dog is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed.
Encouraging the behavior
The cause might also be that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give your dog things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it tears up toys, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Another possible cause is that something has been causing it to be frustrated. It might be because it has an injury or because it is being made to stay somewhere it does not want to be. This would be more likely if it has started doing suddenly since showing signs of injury or if it does it more in specific situations such as when it is locked in a certain room.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main cause.
What else happened when it first started
If your dog did not always do it, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started. If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as learning that the behavior gets rewarded, getting less exercise or something causing it to become frustrated.
If it does it more at a certain time
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that it does it since the timing could also have something to do with it. If it seems to do it when you are around, it could be doing it because it has learned that you give it things when it does it. Whereas, if it does it at random times, it would be more likely that it does it naturally.
What to do about it
Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior. It is important to make sure to get it to stop because it will sometimes eat some of the stuffing and it can cause digestive and intestinal issues.
Give it toys that are hard to tear apart
The first option would be to give it toys that are not very easy for it to tear apart. Things you could give it would include a Kong rubber toy that is meant to be very durable and difficult for your dog to tear apart.
Avoid encouraging it
As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. It would help to avoid giving it anything it might want when it tears up toys and to reward it when it is behaving the way you want it to.
Redirect its focus
Another thing to do would be to redirect its focus towards something else whenever it seems likely to tear things apart. Things to redirect its focus towards could include durable toys, a bone or performing a trick that you taught it.
Give it exercise
It would also help to make sure to give it the recommended amount of exercise for its age and breed.