April 2020 Training Challenge: Explore DIY Destructible Toys

We hope you’re all doing well and staying safe in this crazy time! I’m personally really excited about this month’s training challenge as it’s something that I recommend to clients all the time:

Explore DIY Destructible [Trash] Toys

Not only is this a simple and cheap activity, but it’s often great enrichment, too! Dogs were made to destroy and gut things. But, unfortunately for them, we humans don’t love that natural doggy behavior. We get upset when they destroy their toys. We get upset when they steal tissues and paper towels and shred them to pieces. We get even more upset when they destroy our furniture. 

Toys that we purposefully give to dogs to destroy serve a wonderful purpose. Our pets get to do what they were made to do and we don’t get upset with them for it. It’s a win-win! An even larger bonus is that when we allow our pets to express their natural behaviors in appropriate ways, they are less likely to express them in ways that we’ve deemed inappropriate. Yep, that means that you can curb that annoying stealing-tissues-and-playing-keep-away-before-your-dog-inevitably-shreds-it behavior by providing these sort of toys. 

I’m always looking for a cheaper way to provide enrichment for Oso (who LOVES shredding things), so while I’ll occasionally get him stuffed toys to destuff from clearance bins, our go-tos are DIY trash toys. As the name suggests, I make them out of literal trash. Supplies include:

  • Newspaper
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Paper towel rolls
  • Empty tissue boxes
  • Granola bar, cereal, and similar boxes
  • Take out beverage holders
  • Treats

Check out our video on how to put it all together here:


And here’s a video of Oso enjoying one of those creations:


It’s truly as simple as it sounds!

Now what?

  • Make some of your own destructible trash toys! Watch the above video for tips on how to make them. 
  • Give one to your dog and let them go to town! Watch your pup the first few times you’re giving them new items. While the majority of dogs will not ingest inedible items (especially if you’re not actively trying to get the item away from them), we want to double check to make sure they’re not ingesting them. A little bit of paper swallowed along with the treat isn’t a big deal but we don’t want them eating the whole thing!
  • Routinely provide your dog with these items for a couple of weeks. Do you notice any changes in their behavior? Let us know at [email protected]!
  • As with all challenges, we’ll check in with you on our Facebook page (@petharmonytraining) at the end of the month. Be sure to post pics and videos of your pets enjoying their toys there! 

Happy training!