I have a 5 year old, 85 pound black lab/dane mix that currently has a hard time staying home alone when I'm at work the whole day. I think he's bored. If I leave the couches uncovered, he'll tear up the cushions. If I leave anything on the countertops that close enough for him to reach, he'll pull it down and chew it up.

What I'm looking for is a toy that he can play with and not get bored of during the day. On top of that, it has to be durable enough for him not to destroy. I have a Kong Wobbler treat dispensing toy for him that he likes well enough, but I'm looking for something durable like that, but a different type of stimulation.

Things I already do for him: -Walk him 3-4 miles a night, he sleeps during the night and has energy all day the next day -Goes to day care once a week, the day after he's tired enough and sleeps through the day, but it's too expensive to do every week day -Bring his bed down to the living area I block him off in so he has a familiar smelling place to sleep

Any suggestions are appreciated.

2 Answers 2


Have you considered to split the walking up into two stints. One in the morning and one in the evening. It might just be possible that it only takes 1.5 to 2 miles each time to help him expend his energy.

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    If I could do that I certainly would. At this point I have to get up pretty early for work so getting up even earlier to walk the dog would be a bit of a lifestyle change. If that's the only thing that's going to stop him from tearing up our living room, I might have to though. Commented Sep 24, 2015 at 18:38

Have you tried filling a regular Kong with a mix of his kibble + some peanut butter or apple sauce or something similar and freezing it? This would last a lot longer than the Kong Wobbler as your pup will have to work hard to get the food to melt and come out. If you're worried about him chewing up the Kong, there is also the Kong Extreme version which is more durable.

Another good option is this Goughnuts ring, which is guaranteed indestructible (they also have a tug toy). I would certainly take the guarantee with a grain of salt, but the ring may be a good option for when he's bored.

Additionally, you can look into puzzle toys like these:

Outward Hound Star Spinner Interactive Doy Toy Puzzle for Dogs

TRIXIE Dog Activity Flip Board

Ethical Pet Seek-A-Treat Shuffle Bone Dog Puzzle

They are great for giving your pup a small job to complete to get a reward. Also, since your dog destroys things sometimes you'll want to use your judgement about what is safe to leave him alone with.

At the end of the day the best way to ensure your pup isn't destroying all of your furniture and belongings is to make it more rewarding to practice another behavior or to remove the reward from this behavior. It will be a bit easier to remove the reward than to compete with it, so that's what I'll focus on. Your dog sounds pretty bored if he's chewing up the couch while you're away - especially given that when he's well exercised at daycare he doesn't act out like this for a day or so after. Daycare is expensive, but you're going to pay one way or another. Right now you're paying in the destruction of your stuff. With daycare you pay with your money. Another option is to pay is in time. Spend more time exercising your dog - take him to the park every morning (even 30 minutes of running around with other dogs might be enough to get him through the day).

I'm also assuming you've gone through basic obedience training when you first got your dog. If not, start there. Your pup should be reliable with basic commands, such as sit, stay, and come (that last one is a life saver). Aside from daily trips to the dog park or dog daycare (assuming this is your only dog), you can practice obedience training throughout each day as this will expend a lot of your dogs mental energy. If you can afford to, getting your dog into a sport (like agility or flyball) will alleviate a lot of his excess energy which he's currently releasing onto your couch. You can search for a training club near you here.

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