Dog Training Newbie

Best Dog Training Solutions, Tools, and Toys for New Pup Parents

Ask The Trainer: Favorite Training Tools and Toys For Aggressive Chewers

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So you want to get supplies for your new dog or puppy – sounds easy enough. But if you have an aggressive chewer, you might find yourself in a tough spot, desperately seeking toys and chews that can stand up to your pup’s powerful jaw.

But when you first walk into the pet store, you’ll be instantly flooded with tons of different products – many of them claiming to be “indestructible.” They all look cool, but will they be tough enough for your dog?

Before going down the rabbit hole of buying all things dog, you want to ask yourself four important questions:

  1. Will this product be useful for my particular dog?
  2. Will this product do what it says it will on the packaging?
  3. Are there better products available that will do the same thing?
  4. Will this product really hold up to my dog?

Personally, I am a sucker for new dog products, so I have purchased a LOT. And more than once, my dogs have destroyed the indestructible toys. At one point, we kept taking pictures of my dogs with the toys they would destroy as a joke.

Between my personal experience and some tips from some of my friends (many of whom are dog-care professionals), let’s look at some of our favorite dog supplies that hold up to our big chewers.

Toughest, Indestructible Crate Mats

I do not believe anything is 100% indestructible. 

But there are definitely mats that are more difficult to chew up than others. And there are dogs that aren’t as likely to chew their bedding. 

So, are there safe dog crate mats for chewers? There are a few things to consider.

Crate mats are safer for heavy chewers than most beds. There are fewer edges for their teeth to grab onto!

Still, before leaving your dog alone with a  mat, please spend some time watching your dog with his bed. Does he chew it? Does he ignore it? If he doesn’t, try leaving him with the mat briefly.

If a dog is stressed (for instance, by being alone), it makes them more prone to chewing.

Note that if you try the above, and your dog still manages to chew the crate mat, leaving them without bedding in their crate is okay. I have a lot of experience with foster dogs new to a home environment and high-energy working dogs, so I never put bedding in our home crates.

Keeping your dog safe from choking hazards is #1 priority.

I polled some of my colleagues with sports/working dogs, as they tend to be much harder on their mats. Many of them do successfully keep bedding in crates. Below are their top choices. 

CratePads

Primo Mats

By far, the top recommendation was for Primo Pads. This is one serious dog bed, custom-sized to your dog’s crate.

They also offer a “lockdown” system that will enable you to secure all four sides of the dog bed to the crate, making it harder for your dog to get a hold of an edge to chew.

And if your dog somehow still manages to chew through the pad? Their filling is non-toxic and will not expand in your dog’s stomach, making it a much safer alternative to many other beds.

A friend (and fellow trainer) has a Labrador Retriever that will eat anything within reach. The Primo Pad is the only bed that has worked for him.

And knowing this dog, that info makes me declare that this product is as close to indestructible as any I’ve seen so far! 

The Guarantee: Primo Pad will replace a pad for free if your dog destroys it within the first 30 days of receiving it.

K9 Ballistics

K9 Ballistics makes a crate mat with metal edges that protect the material edges from being chewed. And reviews reflect that most dogs are not able to chew through them. However, they could be more padded.

Also, before ordering, double-check the size of your crate and compare it to the size of the pad you are ordering as a few people mentioned the pad did not fit into their crates.

The Toughest Dog Beds

Dog beds tend to be fluffier and supply more padding for our dogs. Some can fit into dog crates, too. For aggressive chewers, crate mats are the best place to start.

But if you want to see if your heavy chew can handle a bed, below are the recommended brands. Remember that, just like with the crate mats, you will want to supervise your dog with these products first. 

DogBeds

K9 Ballistics

K9 Ballistics also appears on this list as they offer different styles depending on how your dog likes to interact with their bed.

For aggressive chewers, they make a Chew Proof Elevated Dog Bed. This bed has metal edges that protect the fabric from a dog’s teeth. These beds do not fit well in crates.

For dogs that are moderate chewers or like digging holes in their bedding, they make a Tough Nesting Beds and Orthopedic Bolster Beds. These are made with rip-resistant materials and come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. These beds are also water-resistant, making them easy to clean.

The Guarantee: They offer a 120-day chew-proof warranty. If your dog chews up their K9 Ballistic bed within 120 days of receiving it, you will receive a store credit.

Big Barker

These beds were created out of a need for supportive beds for big breeds and use a strong microfiber that holds up better to digging.

The Guarantee: This bed has a one-year trial and a 10-year guarantee! That means this company really stands behind its product.  My rescue friend has had her Big Barker bed for 10 years ( and multiple dogs), and she says it still looks brand new.

Tools For Aggressive Chewers

If you have a dog or puppy that chews through leashes and harnesses, you may look for products that stand up to your little land shark. If your dog eats everything, having a harness or leash that stays in one piece may seem like an impossible dream.

As I mentioned above, I do not believe there is anything that is 100% indestructible. So, let’s first talk about how to prevent the behavior from happening. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Do not give your dog access to the leash or harness when you are not there to supervise. Giving him the chance to destroy these items will only reinforce the behavior and create a choking risk.
  2. Please take steps to work with your dog so he does not get so excited when he sees these items come out. Here is a great video to watch if your dog likes to bite his leash.

What about dogs that bite at their harness while you are trying to put it on? Watch this video.

In a perfect world, we will teach the dogs not to bite their equipment! I am an optimist when it comes to training dogs, but I am also a realist. Life happens! So, let’s look at some of the equipment that keeps coming up when I talk with friends and colleagues.

Chew Proof Leashes

I have had a handful of clients that I have recommended chain leashes (to be clear, only leashes, not collars). If you are trying to stop a dog from playing tug of war or chewing on the leash, chain links aren’t as comfortable for the dog. 

But this is not my favorite recommendation. My main concern is that some overzealous dogs keep biting on the leash, breaking their teeth. Chain leashes are more challenging to handle, too.

I walk my dogs with both hands on the leash, walking up the leash with my hands if I need their attention. You will get less grip with a chain leash than with nylon or leather.

I have also heard several stories of chain leashes breaking. I have not had clients report this to me, but I have found enough stories online that I would use a more reliable tool instead.  

Below are the top chew-proof leashes I have found – keep reading!

Kong Comfort Ultra-Durable Leash

Kong is known for making everyone’s favorite dog toys. But they also make other gear. A friend with a new puppy named this leash as her favorite piece of dog gear.

This product uses heavy-duty stitching and hardware to hold up longer. For handler comfort, it features a neoprene padded handle and a traffic handle for going through busy areas.

Vivaglory Heavy Duty Bungee Leash

A double layer, tightly woven nylon gives this leash extra strength. 

The bungee feature is excellent for dogs that might suddenly pull if they see something in the environment. It also reduces the shock of a sudden pull on both the dog and their handler.

Chew Proof Harnesses

I cannot stress enough that, in most cases, your harness should only be on your dog when they are with you. 

If they are fit correctly, it should be difficult for your dog to get a hold of any piece to chew when they are wearing them. Visit the manufacturer’s website for fit recommendations for whatever harness you choose.

RuffwearHarness

Ruffwear Harnesses

Only one brand was recommended time and time again – Ruffwear.

Ruffwear designs products for use in outdoor sports, meaning they want their product to last, even after being out in the elements of nature time and time again.

They make several different harness styles, which is important because you need to determine which one will provide the best fit, which will help prevent your dog from escaping or chewing on the harness.

Their Web Master is a good bet for tough construction that can hold up to a lot of use. A fellow trainer tells me she has had one for 10 years, and it is still in excellent shape.

Toys and Bones for Aggressive Chewers

If you have an aggressive chewer, you may try every recommendation to find something to keep your dog busy. I used to swear by bully sticks. But while a 6″ bully stick can take most of my dogs an hour or so to chew, my Lab can finish one in 10 minutes.

So, before you spend any more money, let’s look at some of the top recommendations for toys and bones. I will share my personal experiences with each one.

As always, when trying a new chew treat, supervise your dog so you can see how they will interact with each bone. For instance, my dogs always did well with bully sticks, but the Lab mentioned above? She shocked me by swallowing larger pieces than I was comfortable with.

But now that I know this, I can limit and manage (using a safety device like this one).

Benebones

Benebones was the brand I heard about most when asking people about chew toys they trusted with their dogs.

When I was working with scent detection dogs (typically heavy chewers), this was one of the brands determined safe enough to give them in their kennels.

While they will wear down eventually (and need to be replaced), I have yet to see any big chunks come off of them. 

They come in different flavors and shapes, too. I will say only half of the dogs in my house show much interest in them – but they are a safe toy to start with.

Nylabone

Nylabone makes a wide range of chew toys, from soft puppy chews to chews made to withstand aggressive chewers. So when trying this product, be careful to select the correct type of Nylabone for your dog.

And again (I know, I sound like a broken record), please supervise those first interactions.  

Black Kong

All dogs need a stuffable toy, like a Kong. You can create interest by stuffing a million different dog-safe things in it (canned dog food, peanut butter, cheese, yogurt, fruit, etc.).

But I have had one of my own dogs, a Boston Terrier I had years ago, chew the whole top ring off of the red Kong.

That is when I started only giving my dogs the extra tough black Kong when unattended.

Kong color codes their products so you know exactly what you are giving your dog, which I love because when I’m in a hurry, I can quickly grab the extra strength toy to give to my dogs.

Tuffy

Tuffy claims to be the toughest soft toy on the market, with 4 layers of fabric between your dog and that squeaker. This interested me a lot because my greyhound’s mission in life is to destroy a stuffed toy on sight.

So far, I have had good luck with Tuffy’s stuffed toys. Because of those 4 layers, I will throw out my Tuffy once they get through a layer. So, this is a great toy for play.

However, Tuffy does state that these toys are meant for play only and should not be used as a chew toy.

Beef Cheek Rolls

Natural chews are pricey. So when you pay a chunk of change for a chew treat, you hope it will last a while. I was searching for the best natural bone for aggressive chewers.

I struggled to find something to keep my Lab busy for more than 10 minutes. So when kept recommending beef cheek rolls, I was skeptical.

But I finally got some, and I am pleased to say she chewed for 90 minutes! My German Shepherd and Greyhound chewed until they were bored (over 90 minutes) and even had some bone leftover.

Now, before going out and buying a bulk package, I recommend buying one for your dog to try. A friend’s dog got through a beef cheek roll in 10 minutes. I suspect it may be how it is manufactured.

And for big dogs, make sure to get a roll as there are beef cheek chips available, too. I get these for my Chihuahua, and while it lasts a while for her, my big dogs would demolish it quickly.

I have also heard people say this product gave their dog diarrhea (a hazard when introducing any new food), so observe them closely when they enjoy their first chew!

Himalayan Yak Chew

My dogs love Yak Chews. And a good quality chew can last most dogs for several weeks. But I have accidentally purchased Yak chews that they could bite through.

I once paid $15+ for a chew that my dog ate like a biscuit, so make sure you are purchasing long-lasting chews.

And a tip for when they get chewed down so small you are worried they will be a choking hazard? Soak them in water for 5-10 minutes, and microwave them for 30-60 seconds. This turns the leftovers into a chewable dog treat that your dog can finish off.

In Conclusion

If your dog is a heavy chewer, it will change how you shop for dog supplies. And while many toys claim to be indestructible, many dogs see that as a fun challenge.

For the dogs that eat everything, I hope these recommendations (and training in some cases) will help you find the supplies tough enough to hold up to your dog’s aggressive chewing habits.

And just a reminder that when you have a heavy chewer, always supervise their interactions with any new product to be sure it is not something they can destroy or, even worse, get hurt.

If you have suggestions of indestructible beds, toys, or tools that have worked for you, please let us know in the comments!

Authors

  • Devene Godau, CPDT-KA

    Devene obtained a BA in Journalism from Michigan State University and spent several years working in marketing. However, when she adopted her first greyhound (who came with some behavior challenges), she began researching ways to modify her problem behavior and found help with a local dog trainer. She became a volunteer assistant to learn more, and eventually started teaching classes and conducting private lessons. She currently trains puppies full-time to become scent detection dogs. Devene lives in Michigan with her husband and kids, as well as 4 dogs, 2 cats and a tortoise.

  • Morgan Messick

    Morgan Messick is a content creator for Dog Training Newbie, a website that is all about dog training tips, techniques, news, and more. Morgan has two dogs, three cats, and a lovely wife who support her passion for writing. Morgan loves reading murder mystery novels and listening to true crime podcasts in her spare time. She is also passionate about supporting small businesses by creating dynamic content that customers want to see.

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