Labrador Retrievers are known for putting things in their mouths – maybe more than any other breed (they were bred to retrieve, after all!). But they don’t just put things in their mouths, they destroy them. Lab puppy owners are often shocked and dismayed at the things their puppy has found a way to eat. Not only does it cost them to replace the items, but many times they end up at the vet with a hefty bill for removing inedible items from their Lab’s stomach. And if not stopped as a puppy, Labradors will continue to destroy and eat things their entire lives (no, they will not grow out of it). Thankfully, you can teach your Labrador Retriever to stop chewing on your things with some training and diligence on your part.
Why Your Labrador Chews Everything
There are a few reasons why your Lab chews on things. If you have a puppy, it’s possible he is teething. But this does not mean he will grow out of it and you can just ignore the behavior. If he develops the habit while teething, he will continue it once those strong adult teeth have come in. Other common reasons Labs chew are:
- Boredom – it’s something to do and definitely uses energy.
- It feels good – dogs like the sensation on their gums and it cleans their teeth. They NEED to chew.
- It tastes good – you may not think your leather shoes or stinky socks taste good, but you are not a dog.
- Separation anxiety – if your Lab is destroying things due to separation anxiety, you will need help from a professional dog trainer.
Tips To Stop Your Lab From Chewing
Now that you know some of the reasons, you can help stop the behavior. The following tips will help you curb your Lab’s chewing problem, no matter his age.
#1 – Trade for Something Appropriate
Whenever you see your Lab going for something he shouldn’t be chewing on, give him a dog-safe chew, toy, etc. instead. This teaches your dog, “you can’t have that, but you can have this.” And any time you see him electing to chew on his own toys instead of yours, praise him!
#2 – Exercise
If your Labrador Retriever is chewing out of boredom, then exercise can help tire her out so she doesn’t feel like she needs to chew.
#3 – Provide Chews
Since dogs need to chew, make sure you are giving your Lab something to chew on to clean those teeth and massage his gums. Dental chews, bully sticks, and dried fish skin are all great choices.
#4 – Management
The last part is on you. If you know your Lab is still learning to not chew things, don’t leave him unattended somewhere with things he can chew! A crate may be the safest place for him when you are gone… not just for your things, but for his own safety. Eating non-edible items can be fatal, so crating is the kind thing to do.
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