How Do I Keep a Labrador From Chewing Things?

I have a 6 month old labrador who keeps chewing everything when I’m out of the house. How do I stop him?

Since dogs have no sense of the value of the items they explore and chew, they can often be seen as destructive in our eyes. Rather than looking to inhibit chewing, you should be looking to focus your dog’s chewing on those items you are happy for it to chew on. The first step is to teach your dog to understand the difference between what is yours and what is theirs. To do this they must see toys as a reward, something that is special and very different to the chair leg for example. Here are some hints and tips to help achieve this:

•To start with, make only 3 toys available to your dog. Make them all different in taste, texture and shape.
•Use these toys and play regularly with your dog. This lets them associate these toys with good things and it is therefore more likely your dog will play with them when you are not there.
•Make one of the toys a hollow fill toy that can be filled with food and treats, further encouraging them to use them. See our article on how to use a Kong and the other activity toys that are available.
•Remove valuable items or put them out of reach. Discourage your dog from chewing other objects (furnishings etc) with deterrents such as Johnstons Anti Chew. This has a bitter taste and if sprayed on furniture, its taste deters chewing.
•Keeping your dog confined when you are not watching them. Crate training is seen as one of the best ways to do this (see our article - Dog Crates & Crate Training). Alternatively you could use a play pen to restrict movement to a specific area.
•When you see your dog chewing the correct items, praise them. This gives further positive reinforcement around chewing the correct objects. Avoid over doing this such that it interrupts their chewing.
•If you catch your dog about to chew on something they are not meant to, catch their attention with a firm "NO". Immediately give them something they can chew on and praise them when they do.
•The best form of correction is from the objects themselves! Ok, this sounds odd and needs to be explained. If you discipline your dog for chewing an incorrect object, it can lead them to mistakenly believe they cannot chew at all, or cannot chew in your presence. If however, by chewing a certain object, a certain negative consequence occurs, it will deter them later. The best way to do this is to startle your dog with a squirt from a water pistol (on the back of their head) just as they are about to chew the object. It is important that the dog does not see you do this. It must think it is the object itself. This can be considered slightly aversive and is recommended as a last resort where all other methods have failed.
•MOST IMPORTANTLY, keep it all positive and reward correct behaviour. Treat any mistakes as your fault for not correctly teaching your dog those items it can or cannot chew

11 Responses to “How Do I Keep a Labrador From Chewing Things?”

  1. TrAvi3s0 says:

    put hot sauce on what ever he chews on, he wont do it again
    References :
    personal experience

  2. Tominator says:

    Make sure the dog has a fresh supply of beef bones should help.
    References :

  3. mysty says:

    Get ready for people to disagree with me. The only thing that worked for me to get the beagle to stop chewing on everything was putting chili powder on everything. Like window sills anything that had wood. Anything she chose to chew on. It did not make her choke, sneeze, or cough. Which is what some people will think happens. I lightly dusted things with the chili powder. Vacuum it up up when the dog has got the point.
    References :

  4. DRAGON says:

    Put him in a cage with food before you got out,problem solved!
    References :

  5. There is no cure for Ignorance!Ask a vet says:

    put him in a crate or put him in the kitchen with a baby gate
    References :

  6. Spicey says:

    Labs are great for that, and for a LONG time. Go to a meat market, or at your local grocery store, ask the meat cutter for femur bones. Get the long ones-the sliced ones could choke them or get stuck on their lower jaw. (Just happened to my dog) With the long ones, you should boil them to get the marrow out, or the dog can get food poisoning.

    Also, make sure the dog has plenty of harder rawhide. You’ll go through quite a bit for at least another 6 months, but that’s better than your favorite shoes or the rungs of your kitchen chairs.
    References :

  7. eharri3 says:

    You need a dog crate. Alot of people hate the idea of it. Not doing this is quite a gamble. Dogs need to be conditioned to behave in your absence. Until they are CONDITIONED to NOT vent their excess energy in destructive ways, they shouldn’t be trusted home alone without confinement. Otherwise in order to work through the boredom they act out on whatever their doggie impulses tell them to do. Whether that’s chewing your favorite pillow to shreds or unraveling the paper towewls. Now they’re LEARNING bad behaviors which owners mistakenly think can be erased by some magic-pill training technique. However, the stuff a dog gets into the habit of doing while you’re not there can be EXTREMELY difficult to fix.

    The dog feels anxious, nervous, excitable, or bored. They go looking for something to do. They do what their instincts tell them, and it becomes a learned habit. If something in particular is REALLY fun it’s the first thing they’ll do every time you walk out. Learned habits don’t go away very quickly if you’re not there to correct it every single time when it could potentially happen. Crating would stop this and prevent her from practicing this behavior starting now. And maybe over time she would get out of the bad habit and learn new ones that aren’t destructive, and you could start gradually offering her more freedom again.

    Or… you could bring chew toys and bones into the mix and hope that gradually, over the next several months, the situation will improve. I had a dog that broke out of crates. I made the mistake of giving up and trying to create a situation where she was less tempted to chew things while I was gone. The behavior GRADUALLY improved over several months, but I still occasionally came home to unpleasant surprises. Alot of times I would THINK I had sterilized the environment and removed all tempting targets, but then she would set her sights on something new.
    References :

  8. Tillieeeee says:

    A lot of people believe in punishing their dogs when they have done wrong, however with puppies, this doesn’t really work as they don’t really understand.

    Instead, you have to channel the energy into something else. So, you could go to a pet shop or a market stall and buy a rubber, hardy toy. Now, you can either buy them specially made to but things inside or put a hole in yourself.

    Then put your dogs favourite treats inside and leave him to it. This will keep him occupied for a while.

    There are a few reasons why your dog chews things :

    1. Boredom
    2. Teething
    3. He’s a puppy!

    So, if you use my tip or if you use your own, targeting these reasons will stop the chewing of things that you don’t want him to chew!

    Hope this helps
    References :

  9. Lucy Hewlett says:

    the exact same thing happened with my border collie, he was 6 months old and he chewed the window sills and i sprinkled chili powder on everywhere where he’d chewed and he soon stopped trust me it will work!
    References :
    experience

  10. s c says:

    Since dogs have no sense of the value of the items they explore and chew, they can often be seen as destructive in our eyes. Rather than looking to inhibit chewing, you should be looking to focus your dog’s chewing on those items you are happy for it to chew on. The first step is to teach your dog to understand the difference between what is yours and what is theirs. To do this they must see toys as a reward, something that is special and very different to the chair leg for example. Here are some hints and tips to help achieve this:

    •To start with, make only 3 toys available to your dog. Make them all different in taste, texture and shape.
    •Use these toys and play regularly with your dog. This lets them associate these toys with good things and it is therefore more likely your dog will play with them when you are not there.
    •Make one of the toys a hollow fill toy that can be filled with food and treats, further encouraging them to use them. See our article on how to use a Kong and the other activity toys that are available.
    •Remove valuable items or put them out of reach. Discourage your dog from chewing other objects (furnishings etc) with deterrents such as Johnstons Anti Chew. This has a bitter taste and if sprayed on furniture, its taste deters chewing.
    •Keeping your dog confined when you are not watching them. Crate training is seen as one of the best ways to do this (see our article - Dog Crates & Crate Training). Alternatively you could use a play pen to restrict movement to a specific area.
    •When you see your dog chewing the correct items, praise them. This gives further positive reinforcement around chewing the correct objects. Avoid over doing this such that it interrupts their chewing.
    •If you catch your dog about to chew on something they are not meant to, catch their attention with a firm "NO". Immediately give them something they can chew on and praise them when they do.
    •The best form of correction is from the objects themselves! Ok, this sounds odd and needs to be explained. If you discipline your dog for chewing an incorrect object, it can lead them to mistakenly believe they cannot chew at all, or cannot chew in your presence. If however, by chewing a certain object, a certain negative consequence occurs, it will deter them later. The best way to do this is to startle your dog with a squirt from a water pistol (on the back of their head) just as they are about to chew the object. It is important that the dog does not see you do this. It must think it is the object itself. This can be considered slightly aversive and is recommended as a last resort where all other methods have failed.
    •MOST IMPORTANTLY, keep it all positive and reward correct behaviour. Treat any mistakes as your fault for not correctly teaching your dog those items it can or cannot chew
    References :
    http://dogobedienceadvice.com/how_stop_dog_from_chewing.php
    http://www.canineconcepts.co.uk/item-How-can-I-stop-destructive-dog-chewing-dog-chewing—guides
    http://www.dog-obedience-training-review.com/stop-dog-chewing.html

  11. Mag says:

    put pepper on the surface
    References :

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