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The Importance of Playtime & How to Prevent Dogs from Being Destructive

Does your dog have a favorite piece of furniture to gnaw on? Or have you ever come home to find your shoes have now become your dog’s favorite new chew toy? It may feel like your dog is trying to teach you a lesson (and maybe they are), but in truth, this probably means it's time for you to train yourself on how identify what’s irking them, or divert the bad behavior.

There are a number of reasons why your dog has become a problem chewer, and much depends on their age and environment. Here are a few of the top reasons why dogs choose to chew on your valuables or otherwise cause a commotion:

  • They’re teething
  • To subdue hyperactivity
  • Because they’re bored
  • To relieve anxiety
  • Out of frustration
  • Lack of attention
  • Lack of toys
  • They’re not feeling well or are in pain

As a pet parent, there are easy ways to help train your dog to chew and play in a way that keeps them out of trouble. Part of the secret is setting the stage for success. When your dog chooses to chew on items that are not made for that, they may be doing so to grasp your attention, especially if your dog has outgrown their puppy years. However, puppies and younger dogs, who are keen to “sniff out” their new surroundings, are likely to target anything that piques their interest, like table legs, leather goods and pillows.

If your dog is “acting out”, you can offer them more attention by scheduling some of the following actions:

  • Set aside time for play
  • Interactive toys
  • Take them for walks or out to exercise
  • Hire a pet sitter
  • Crate train for times when you can’t offer additional attention
  • Work from home if/when possible
  • Doggie day care

The Importance of Playtime

Playtime provides brain and body stimulation as well as socialization benefits for your dog, while also being a great outlet for releasing energy! As puppies, playtime allows your dog the space to get to know you, increase the bond between you and your pet, strengthen their grip, clean their growing teeth, expel energy and learn about the limitations of their own power.

Dogs are among a limited number of animals who continue to play into adulthood. So even as they grow, their desire to play doesn’t diminish. Limiting their playtime, either by not providing stimulating toys or by not making time to play with them throughout the week, could instigate a slump in behavior. Doing things like playing “fetch” with your dog is a great way to fit in playtime with them! 

Pacify & Prevent

Here are some training tools and toys that we recommend to keep your pet happy, playful and pacified:

Plush Toys

Plush toys are a fan favorite for all dogs. Not only can they keep your dog occupied for hours, but plush toys are great to play fetch with. Many are developed with sensory features, including squeakers and crunchy, crinkle accents, which also keeps the attention of your dog. Plush toys are a smart inclusion in your pet’s toy box because they can take a beating and may even last longer than edible toys. We offer a wide selection of environmentally-friendly plush pet toys, all designed with our mission at heart: “Snuggle. Cuddle. Play

Natural Bones

In this case, “give a dog a bone” is excellent advice! Dogs love to chew and gnaw on all-natural bones. Not only does it help satisfy their desire to chew, but choosing the right bones also helps fight plaque and tartar buildup on their teeth while promoting a strong, healthy jaw. At Health Extension, we don’t recommend choosing rawhide varieties, as they often contain chemicals from the production process, and can also cause digestion issues. Instead, we offer a selection of all-natural antler chews, which provide a natural source of calcium, glucosamine, iron and potassium.


Natural chews and treats are another excellent addition to your pet’s playtime pantry. Sold in the form of bully sticks, our natural chews will occupy your pet for hours on end while helping promote tooth and gum health. These varieties are free from any additives, hormones or unhealthy chemicals and are easily digestible, so you never have to worry about gastrointestinal upset.

Rope Toys

There are two games dogs love most: fetch and tug-o-war! You need to ensure you have a durable companion for this playtime favorite, and that’s why we have a wide selection of expertly engineered rope toys. Each is outfitted with uniquely designed rope, ball or pully mechanisms so you and your dog can enjoy hours of tugging time!

Deterrent Spray

If your dog is especially attracted to a certain item or room in your home, you can actively try to prevent them from retargeting that area with our Pet Deterrent Spray. This non-toxic spray is formulated to keep dogs away from treated areas by utilizing their strongest sense, their nose! Our all-natural formulation includes sensory ingredients such as sassafras oil, cinnamon oil, citronella oil, eucalyptus oil, lemongrass oil, tea tree oil, cloverleaf oil, plant-based citrals, sage oil, fennel extracts, and ginger extracts. Although this smell is pleasant to many pet parents, most dogs are deterred by it. And that’s how this powerful training tool got its name! 

Problem Chewer Spray

Of course, if you really want to train your pet to stop feasting on a favorite item, you can use our very own Problem Chewers Spray: a 100% natural formula made to discourage your dog from chewing on treated areas. Three active bittering agents: tobacco pepper, orange peel and denatured alcohol are used to make this spray. Follow formula instructions to help your dog break their chewing habit in about 2 weeks! 

Positive Reinforcement
Nothing will help your pet clean up their behavior better than positive reinforcement. This means rewarding them every time they do the behavior you’re looking for. Contrary to popular thought, scolding a dog does not help prevent bad behavior. Rather, rewarding your dog for exhibiting good behavior will encourage them to keep it up!

And there is no better way to reward your dog than with a delicious, nutritious treat. Especially if they are being rewarded multiple times a day, the best thing you can offer them are all-natural treats, free of filler ingredients. Our consciously developed training treats include ingredients that are traceable to the source and never made with sub-standard products or additives. They’re formulated with cutting-edge ingredients like turmeric, apple cider vinegar and ginger plus natural probiotics for proper digestion. To shop our much-loved heart-shaped training treats, visit this page. To shop our wider range of treats and bones, visit this page.