So you think your Labrador Retriever chewing is getting out of hand and you want to do something about it. Fine, that’s a good thing, but before we start looking at ways to prevent your cute and cuddly Labrador Retriever chewing up everything in your house, there’s a couple of things you need to understand first.
First up, the’ urge to chew’ is particularly strong with a Labrador. They have been bred to ‘retrieve’, to put something in their mouth, it is instinctual for them. The second thing you need to understand is that chewing is an acceptable part of a Labs life – at the puppy stage that is.
Labrador Retriever chewing habits usually begin at the puppy phase and this is normal puppy behaviour. Puppies are going to chew on things out of curiosity, because they’re teething, playing or just plain bored. However it’s important not to let the chewing go beyond the puppy stage. The best thing you can do to stop the chewing is to work on employing diversionary tactics and other proven methods.
How to Stop Your Labrador Retriever Chewing
Your bright and lovable little Labrador will stop chewing as long as you deal with the issue the right way. Remember that your Labrador will respond to firm but gentle training, positive reinforcement. Don’t yell or hit your dog – ever. Negative treatment will lead to your dog becoming confused, not knowing what they are doing wrong, and could lead to further behavioural issues. It’s essential that you let your puppy know that chewing is not acceptable, but you must exercise restraint when training your Labrador to stop chewing, no matter how frustrating it may at times get for you.
Here are some methods you can use to stop your Labrador chewing:
But before you start implementing any training the very first thing you must always ensure is that you have established that you are the boss, the pack leader. If this is not clear to your Labrador, you will have a difficult time getting your dog to take your directions.
- Diversionary Tactics – this is where you go with the chewing, but teach them to chew on something acceptable, such as a soft toy or a specialised dog chewing item. Whenever your puppy starts chewing the slipper, the cushion or your favourite sweater, place the soft toy in their mouth instead. Your intelligent Labrador will very quickly learn to focus their chewing on the chew toy. It’s important that you make it clear to the puppy, or older dog, that you own the toys they are playing with, and it is you, as the pack leader, who allows your dog to play with the toy. Don’t leave the toy lying around as it will send the message to your Lab that they can chew on anything lying around any old time.
- Labradors get bored easily if left alone. They love company, being with their family, and they need to be active. A bored Labrador puppy will chew whatever they come across. So what you can do is give them what they need – exercise them, take them for walks, play with them in the backyard. Be with them. When you have to leave them alone, ensure they are in a controlled environment – such as a closed room – and have the appropriate toys to play with to keep them stimulated.
- Crate Training – this is a safe controlled environment, and there is nothing wrong in placing your dog in a crate when you are away from the house. It will help your Lab, by taking it out of the run-of-the-house environment, full of all sorts of temptations to chew on.
- You can try Aversion Sprays – spraying a ‘bad taste’ product on things your dog likes chewing may help stop your Labrador Retriever chewing habit, by associating the target of their chewing with an unacceptable taste. Just ensure that the spray you buy is non-toxic to your dog, and follow the instructions for use carefully.
As with all training for your Labrador retriever, consistency is key. You need to make it clear to your dog what is and isn’t acceptable. Don’t let them know chewing on your slippers or clothes is not right, and then leave your slippers or whatever lying around, accessible to your dog. If you give them a toy to chew, ensure there aren’t other toys lying around in temptations way for your dog. Control your dogs environment at all times, let them know you are the boss and work gently but firmly with them in a loving, positive way.
Your wonderful Labrador, born with the instincts to retrieve with their mouth, will eventually stop their chewing problem.
There are a number of solutions available for you to help stop your Labrador Retriever chewing.