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Training Rodrigo Not to Destroy Stuffed Toys #Petco

Valentine's Day Toys from Petco

Valentine’s Day Toys from Petco

Now that we have puppies who love their stuffed toys, I started getting tired of Rodrigo destroying to after toy.  Now that the puppies are in puppy class, I started wondering what else we could teach our dogs to do – can we teach Rodrigo not to destroy dog toys.

So one day I got started.

When Rodrigo would pick up a stuffed toy, instead of taking it from him, I treated it as a new day.  He would chew it, poke his nose into it, get it to squeak, and then right when he went in for the kill, I’d say “Nope” firmly and take the toy away.

I did this several times a night for a few nights until he started choosing a toy, chew it a little, poke his nose in it, then he’d just lay next to the toy.

Rodrigo sleeping with a stuffed toy, not destroying it.

Rodrigo sleeping with a stuffed toy, not destroying it.

A few days would go by where I’d mentally pat myself on the back for my training prowess and then we’s start all over again when I heard the tale tale sound of a toy being ripped to pieces for the squeaker inside.

It’s been a few weeks and the number of toys being ripped to shreds has reduced drastically.  We still have a casualty here and there, but Rodrigo does understand that ripping toys (in our presence at least) isn’t okay.

So to recap…

  1. Let your dog have the stuffed toy.
  2. As long as s/he isn’t ripping it to shreds, don’t interfere.
  3. The second your dog goes in to start ripping the toy, say “Nope” (or a similar word – but be consistent) firmly and take the toy away. Option: you can swap it for a tough chew toy; I do this sometimes to show Rodrigo what he can chew on.
  4. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
  5. Oh and more dog walks.  We find that the more exercise Rodrigo gets, the less he needs to get out that energy in destructive ways.


Do you have any simple training tips that have worked with your dog?


  1. I am going to attempt this as well! Neeko is a master toy dissector. Thanks for the advice!

  2. I try to have safe toys that are ok to destroy (no squeakers). I don’t think it’s such a big deal. But I have one thing that works with Honey (although it won’t work with every dog). Get a toy that’s too big to destroy.

    I bought Honey a big, overstuffed lamb at the Salvation Army. It’s almost as big as she is. She can barely get her mouth around it. And it’s in better shape than any other toy in the house.

    • Love that idea; I’m going to see if I can find one this weekend.

    • Pamela – Love the idea of getting a big toy they can’t destroy so easily. With my little furkids – the NO in a stern voice works well once they learn what it means.

  3. I guess that’s really what I do with Ace for pretty much anything I don’t want him to do. Seems to work really well. He’s so sensitive and really wants to do the right thing so a “no” is usually what I use.

    A similar example to Rodrigo with toys is I told Ace “no” a few times when he would sniff the cat bowls during their feeding time. Now he knows to leave those bowls alone (when I’m present anyway!).

    He doesn’t destroy too many toys so I haven’t had to train him not to do that. Every now and then he’ll try to shred one and I just put it away before he has a chance. Or if it’s a cheap toy I’ll just let him ruin it and then throw it away.

  4. Wow, this is interesting! I’ve actually never considered training a dog not to stuff up his toys but more chewing on inappropriate items in and around the home.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. You’re right making sure that they have plenty of exercise really helps with toy destruction as well as other behaviour. I really like Pamela’s idea of the big toy. Thanks for this great article.

  6. Great training tip! Wynston has destroyed 2 toys in his lifetime. All of the others (2 years worth!) are sitting in 2 toy boxes because he is obsessed with stuffed toys – and I enable his addiction! But this is fantastic advice to give to someone who is having issues with their dog killing stuffed animals!

  7. I did this with Maya without even realizing I was training her. I just simply got tired of her tearing all the toys up, so I made an effort to take them away every time she tried to do it. It has been a long while since a toy has been chewed up. :)

    • Ahhhh, thanks for sharing! Gives me hope. We still have a destroyed toy at least 1x a month, but that’s so much better than before.

  8. My new little fellow was never given the opportunity to play with toys before I got him so is not interested in them. He just loves electrical cords. I have to make sure they are all turned off and higher enough that he cannot reach them.

    • I know what you mean; we finally made it out of the stage when the puppies have everything in their mouths. They understand “leave it” and “drop it” now :)

  9. It’s never that simple surely? We don’t give our dog any soft toys only rubber ones and he chews through them pretty quick. More long walks me thinks!

    • I’m certain that it depends on the dog. With Rodrigo, it’s just a matter of consistency. Every opportunity to train him is fun for him and beneficial for us.


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