Short Story

Is my dog doing ok? He destroys toys, but not other stuff (yet). He gets 2 walks a day, each is 2 miles and 1 hour in duration. He is alone and sleeps during the day (9 hours) He's 2 years old.

Mostly it's the toy destruction that has me wondering: is he getting enough exercise or is it just his personality? He LOVES chewing his toys. I'm fine with getting more expensive/durable toys, but I don't want to mask an underlying exercise need that isn't being met.

Long Story

I adopted a 2 year old American Staffordshire Terrier / Boxer mix a week ago. I take him for a 2 mile / hour long walk morning and evening before meals.

He's alone for 9-10 hours per day while I'm at work. I leave the radio on, have a video chat with him at lunch, and give him a Kong with wet food for entertainment. I do not have a backyard.

He cries for 2-5 minutes after I leave, then he sleeps all day. He usually grabs 1 or 2 things he's not supposed to during the day. He doesn't destroy them or heavily chew them, just leaves them strewn about my apartment. He does destroy his toys however.

I'm hoping to eventually play fetch with him in the morning for 30 minutes, but I'm waiting until I have a better idea how he is around other dogs. He'll always have a muzzle if there are other dogs and I'll try long line training first.

  • 1
    My 1 year old GSD also sometimes destroys toys but it's after she has chewed it and basically the chewing rips the fabric and she will take the stuffing out. She doesn't actively try to destroy toys. You can give your dog a bone to chew on or antler, increase its mental stimulation of chewing. I know the antler are about 20-40 bucks but they last a long time, much longer than a toy. I bought an antler for 35 dollars about 3 month ago, and my dog has been chewing on that since and it's only about 10% eaten
    – Huangism
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 19:27
  • Thanks! I've heard antlers are a good idea and that you can get them cheap on ebay.
    – Lindsay
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 1:31
  • My Cocker destroys a baseball in 5min if he sets his mind to it. He's very methodical about it once he finds a seam that'll give him an angle of attack. He does this happily while I'm in the room and usually right after a play session but, crucially, not while he's home alone. Though, same as yours, he sometimes drags his bed or other things across the room when alone. I'd worry if he did it only when left alone and to things that aren't his. Otherwise it's a normal, healthy behaviour. Dogs will often ignore toys that don't yield even a little to constant chewing.
    – ThomasH
    Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 14:25
  • We've also found that short training sessions to teach them to do something instead of just playing works well. As others have mentioned, some dogs need mental as well as physical exercise, and figuring out what crazy thing the human wants you to do this time can be quite challenging for them :)
    – user3324
    Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 14:13

2 Answers 2


I don't think your dog destroying his toys means that he doesn't get enough exercise. I think it's just something he enjoys doing that helps satisfy his need for mental stimulation. My dog is also super high energy and even when I tire her out mentally and physically (11 mile hike after 3 days in a row of multi-hour dog park visits, having to get her dinner out of puzzle toys, 30 minutes or so of rough tug of war), she will still be happy to destroy any new toy I throw her way.

It sounds like you give him plenty of physical exercise, but you can try other things for his mental stimulation. Kong, and a few others make a bobble toys that dispenses kibble or small treats when your dog knocks them over (my dog LOVES hers and will even play with it for kibble she won't touch in her food bowl). You can also try hiding treats around your house, so your dog can go hunting during the day (a few times a week I hide caches of food at dinner time for my dog to find around the house... as she's gotten better I've had to increase the difficulty now - I hide the food in shoe boxes and under cups and her blankets). Interactive toys and training are also great for burning off that mental energy.

Good luck, sounds like your pup is a normal happy guy. It's so cute that you video chat him at lunch.

  • Thanks, good tips on the mental games! He's very smart. I already have a Kong, but I'm going to find a few more too. I'm hesitant to hide stuff around my apartment because I'm worried he'll start getting into stuff he shouldn't.
    – Lindsay
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 17:40
  • To chew on bones to get access to the marrow is a natural behavior of dogs. Maybe the destroying of the toys is similar to this behavior. Like snacks on the couch after a long day... Commented Oct 15, 2020 at 12:09

Two walks are too little and leaving it for 9 hours is too long. You could half the long walks and then complement them with two short, 10 minutes or so, walks, during the day. Would you be satisfied with just two visits to the toilet/day?

Don't leave the dog alone for more than 4-5 hours a time. You need to find someone who visits the dog in the middle of the day for half an hour or so.

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