How to Stop Your Labrador Chewing Things


Having a large Labrador Retriever munch his way through your furniture is no joke.

Chewing is very destructive and even small puppies can do a lot of damage with their little teeth.

So, in this article, I’m going to show you how to stop your Labrador chewing up your things.

We’ll be looking at why puppies chew, why older Labs sometimes start chewing, and at the different options for fixing your chewing troubles.

And I’ll give you an ‘action plan’ to put an end to problem chewing for good.

Is chewing normal?

There is no doubt that some Labradors can be very destructive.  But is constant chewing normal?  Or is your Labrador suffering from some kind of behavioural problem?

I have read some interesting threads on forums, usually started by frustrated owners of puppies around six month of age that are systematically destroying the family’s possessions.

labrador puppy chewing
all puppies chew things – it’s normal

The responses are divided between those that think this behaviour is abnormal (“none of my dogs ever did that”) And those that think it is completely normal.

Over the last thirty-five years I have had usually had five or more dogs living with me at any one time. And have raised many puppies.

kong gyro dog  toyIn the early days I had countless chair legs ruined,  entire vehicle safety belts devoured, base boards eaten, and numerous other items scoffed, chomped or otherwise dis-assembled.

I have learned from these experiences,  though perhaps not quite as quickly as I should have!

My take on this issue is that chewing, including extremely destructive chewing, is so common as to be absolutely normal. Particularly in young Labradors.

So if destructive chewing is pretty normal,  how long does this stage go on for, why do dogs do it, and what is the best way to deal with it?

How long does the chewing stage last?

Many people assume that chewing is to do with teething.

And they naturally expect that puppies will stop chewing everything in sight once their baby teeth are lost and their adult teeth have come through.

And for some dogs this is the case.  But for many Labradors, chewing continues long after the puppy has his full set of adult teeth

In fact it is fairly normal for a Labrador to continue to chew quite destructively up until around his second birthday.  Chewing tends to fall off quite dramatically after that.

Why do dogs chew?

It helps to understand why most dogs chew, and why labradors in particular chew a lot.

There are a number of common reasons for chewing, apart from teething, including

  • Boredom
  • Anxiety
  • Relaxation and pleasure
  • Habit

Dogs that chew when they are bored

We all have different boredom thresholds, dogs are no different.  Some dogs are quite happy to do very little for hours on end, others, not so much.

Labradors are intelligent, sociable dogs, and are particularly prone to boredom if left alone for long periods.

One way of relieving boredom, if you are a dog, is to chew things up!

It isn’t uncommon for chewing to become a problem once a dog gets to around a year old and his owners start leaving him alone for longer stretches of time.  So it is worth bearing in mind how you are going to occupy your young dog when you are not there, and we’ll look at that in a moment.

Chewing as a means to relieve anxiety

Ideally, all dogs need to learn to spend time alone from puppyhood onwards.  A well adjusted adult dog is then happy to be left from time to time, and will simply sleep when you are gone.

How to stop your Labrador chewing things!

Dogs which are not taught to accept some periods of solitude in puppyhood, dogs which are left alone for far too long, or dogs that have had traumatic experiences when left alone may develop a disorder called separation anxiety.

A dog which becomes very anxious when left, may resort to destroying your possessions, or even the fabric of your home, in order to relieve his anxiety.

Which brings us to the point that the act of chewing is in itself, is very pleasurable and calming to many dogs.

Dogs chewing for relaxation and pleasure

There is no doubt that many dogs simply chew for fun.   They aren’t anxious, they are not particularly bored, they just enjoy having a good long chew.

It relaxes them, and makes them feel happy.

The problems arise, when that chewing activity is directed at the wrong items  –  your items!

Relaxation chewing is particularly common in Labradors and other retrievers.  This is probably partly because we have bred them to enjoy having things in their mouths.

Unusual causes of dogs chewing

Occasionally a dog will start chewing because he has some kind of medical problem.  This is more likely to be the cause if the chewing starts quite suddenly in an older dog that has never had a chewing problem before.

As with any other unusual changes in your dog’s behaviour, a chewing habit that suddenly appears in a mature dog, needs to be reported to your vet so that he can rule out any physical problems that may be affecting your pet.

Is my dog hungry?

Chewing isn’t really related to hunger, though of course a hungry dog may be bored or even stressed while waiting for his meal, and chew for those reasons.

Eating is a fairly transient affair for  most Labradors in any case, so you can never hope to prevent chewing by giving your dog something to eat.  It’ll be gone in a moment, doesn’t satisfy the urge to chew, and he’ll soon be as fat as a barrel.

Is chewing a habit?

Like many other stress busting or pleasurable activities, chewing can become a deeply ingrained habit.

Habits can be difficult to change and breaking a habit may involve physically preventing your dog from parts of your home. We’ll look at that in more detail below.

Now we have looked at all kinds of reasons for chewing, let’s make a plan to improve things.

Action plan to stop your Labrador chewing

Whether you have a small puppy in the throes of teething, or an older dog that is chewing from boredom or just because he can, there are three parts to our plan

  • Remove causes
  • Redirect the chewing
  • Break the habit

We’ll look at each of these in turn in a moment.  But some people will tell you that its a good idea to punish your dog if you catch him chewing up your things, so first let’s look at the role that punishment or corrections have to play.

What about punishing dogs for chewing?

There are a number of problems with punishment in general, but punishment for chewing is especially problematic.

Punishment, even very mild punishment, focuses a lot of attention on the dog and perversely, this can make things worse, especially with a dog that is bored, and/or craves more of your attention.

Many Labradors are quite attention seeking, they have been bred to work closely with their human partners and being together, is very important to them.

If your dog feels rewarded by your attention, even though you are angry with him, it won’t stop him wrecking your stuff in the future.

Behind your back

Most destructive chewing in older dogs goes on behind your back, or when you are out.  Punishment can sometimes be a way to teach your dog not to chew things in front of you.  It is however nigh on impossible to teach a dog not to chew things in your absence.

Short of setting up a video, monitoring it around the clock, and operating some kind of remote punishment device in your kitchen, it can’t be done.

Naughty LabradorPunishing the dog ‘at the scene of the crime’ so to speak, has been proven to be ineffective if there is any kind of time delay.

Punishment only works, if it occurs during the bad behaviour.

It won’t work if you punish your dog when you get home, for chewing up the sofa cushions while you were out.

He’ll just think you are grumpy and unreasonable.

Effectively, all punishment does, is teach your dog to be more sneaky about chewing.

Staying friends with your puppy

Remember also, that punishing a puppy will not prevent him chewing – he needs to chew and chewing is completely normal and natural for him.

What punishment will do, is make your puppy afraid of you.  So I really don’t recommend it.

#1.Remove the causes of chewing

So, let’s look at practical ways to stop your Labrador chewing things you don’t want him to chew.

The first step is to make sure you have removed the causes of chewing that can be avoided.  Let’s begin with boredom.

Preventing your dog being bored

Labradors need plenty of exercise and some company.  In many homes, everyone is out at work all day, and young dogs can get very bored when left alone for long periods.

Try to give your dog a good long walk before you leave for work, and arrange for someone to come in and take him for another walk part way through the day.  He is more likely to relax and sleep rather instead of dismantling your sofa cushions, if he has had enough exercise.

If your day is a very long one, consider sending him to doggy day care  where he will enjoy the company of other dogs while you are at work.

Combining a dog with full time work  can be challenging and you may need some extra help. You’ll find lots of information in that link and you can get support from other working dogs parents in our forum

Preventing separation anxiety

If your older dog has a separation anxiety issues do consider getting a consultation with a behaviourist.  They will be able to assess your dog in his home environment and give you a plan to help him.

If you have a young puppy, you can avoid separation anxiety developing by teaching your puppy to cope with being alone for short periods of time from an early age.

Check out my click for quiet article for more information on helping puppies that cry when you leave them.  And keep separations very short to begin with.

Make sure that puppies left alone for more than a minute or two, have something appropriate to occupy them.  Rescue dogs may need to be treated in a similar way, and introduced to separation gradually, when you first bring them home.

Chewing for pleasure

Of course there is one cause of chewing you cannot and should not try to remove, or prevent in your dog,  and that is chewing for pleasure.

What we do instead with dogs that like to chew for pleasure, and that includes all puppies, is redirect their chewing onto something more appropriate than your favourite shoes

#2. Redirect the chewing onto appropriate toys

Once you have tackled the causes of destructive chewing, you need to tackle your dog’s natural need to chew for pleasure.

This means redirecting his chewing activities onto sensible alternatives. This isn’t always as straightforward as it might seem.

Most people give their dogs chew toys.  And wonder why he prefers to gnaw on the table legs.  The fact is, most chew toys are rather boring.

labrador puppy with rope toy
some puppies like a knotted rope

Some puppies enjoy those giant knotted rope toys, though they are not indestructible and you’ll need to keep an eye on them and remove them when they start to come apart.

The ideal chew toy

To really make chew toys appealing you usually need to add something interesting.  And for most Labradors, that means food.

Dipping chew toys in savoury spreads like marmite or peanut butter can help extend the pleasure time, but not for long.

The answer lies in the wonderful Kong toy.  In fact what you need is not one, but several Kongs.

Why Kongs help stop Labradors chewing your things

The kong is a hollow, tough, rubber toy that most dogs cannot destroy. The Kong Extreme is especially sturdy and great for very aggressive chewers.

greenies for dogs
The important part however of a Kong’s structure is the hollow in the middle.

Your job is to fill this hollow centre with something delicious and then (this is the important part) freeze it solid.

When you leave your puppy or young dog alone or unsupervised for long –  give him a frozen Kong first.

This will keep him happy for quite some time.

Choosing the right kong

You can get Kongs in puppy sizes for little ones, and in extra strong rubber (black) for really strong chewers.  The red ones are suitable for most adult Labs.

kong1You’ll need several so that there is always one ready and frozen in the freezer while the others are being washed and refilled.

Kongs are not the cheapest toy, but they are an indispensable aid to the long term prevention of destructive chewing.  Don’t leave home without giving one to your dog.  This is especially important with dogs that have an existing chewing habit, or suffer from boredom or anxiety.

So, now you have tackled your dog’s boredom, and any anxiety issues, and you have an alternative system for redirecting his chewing onto his frozen kong toys.  What next?

#3. Avoid or break bad habits

The final step in the plan is to break any existing bad chewing habits, and in young puppies, to prevent those habits developing.  In both cases this is a physical issue.

When it comes to avoiding or breaking bad habits, it means physically preventing the puppy from being able to indulge in them.

Some people struggle with this. They are hoping for a command or cue to give their dog, that will prevent chewing in their absence.  But this isn’t going to happen.

Putting things away

Before we have our first dog, we are all used to being able to put things down on the floor or low tables, and for them to still be there when we come back.

Life with a puppy isn’t quite like that.  If you leave the TV remote on the chair, your puppy will pick it up.  He’ll then run around with it for a bit, and when he’s done running, he’ll lie down and chew it up.  That’s what puppies do.

Trying to deal with this one incident at a time is exhausting and you’ll soon fall out with your puppy in a big way.

The best way is to prevent your puppy having access to rooms with important items in them, and to teach yourself and your kids to pick up your stuff in rooms where puppies have free access.  Obviously, you can’t put your sofa away, or your favourite lamp, so let’s look at protecting things that cannot be moved.

Repellent sprays

You can buy spray on repellents that will put some puppies off chewing.  You can try spraying it on your table legs and so on.

Bitter apple spray is a popular one, and it does work, for some dogs.  Sadly not for all.

Some puppies and young dogs seem indifferent to the taste and will happily carry on chewing your furniture or baseboards, even when liberally coated in unpleasant substances!

A more effective solution, and one that is particularly suitable for puppies that are not yet fully house trained, is physical exclusion.

Methods of physical exclusion

To keep puppies away from your more precious possessions and soft furnishings, at a minimum, you’re going to need some baby gates.

Put these across doorways or anywhere you don’t want the puppy to go.  Upstairs for example.

For older dogs, you can get taller baby gates that even a Labrador can’t jump.

You can even get extending baby gates for large openings in open plan homes.

If you are interesting in finding out more about this then check out our puppies and baby gates article.

Crating your puppy

Many people use a crate to keep their puppy out of mischief at night, and when they leave the house.  Some of you won’t want to do this, but for those that do, there is plenty of information in our crates and crate training section.

If you are going to crate your puppy you need to do so for very short periods of time and leave the puppy suitable chew toys to occupy his need to chew while you are gone.

If you are going to go out for longer periods, then you’ll need to get someone to care for your puppy or use a puppy play pen or puppy proof room, instead of a crate.

Don’t forget your vehicle!

Crates are really useful in vehicles too and can save a lot of heart ache.  One small dog can run up a very large bill when left alone in the interior of a car for a few minutes.

Many years ago my young Labrador ate through both the passenger and driver safety belts in our Landrover when left alone for less than twenty minutes.   That was a pretty expensive lesson for us as a young hard-up couple.

You can buy safety harnesses for young dog to sit on the back seat of your vehicle, but these and the interior of your car are vulnerable to the attentions of your labrador’s teeth.

A crate in the vehicle is often a better solution until your Labrador has got past the chewing stage.

What about puppy bedding?

People often ask me what they can do about their puppy chewing up his own bed.
This is a tricky one.

None of us wants to see a puppy without a bed, but if your puppy is tearing lumps off his and swallowing them, you are going to need to remove it for a while.

A firm mat, or some vet bed is often the best option for bed chewers, but you’ll need to watch and supervise to make sure your puppy isn’t swallowing that too.

When the chewing finally stops

At some point, most dogs, even Labradors, grow out of constant chewing.

At this point, having broken the bad habit or successfully prevented one from starting, you’ll be able to give your dog the freedom of the house.  You can heave a sigh of relief and put away your bitter apple spray.

The moment at which you reach this point will vary from dog to dog but is easily misjudged.  I recently answered a question from the owner of a young Labrador that had been de-crated at seven months old.   He had been very well-behaved in the house for a couple of weeks, and then the chewing had begun.

The problem was that his owner had de-crated him a little too soon, while he was still in the chewing stage.

De-crate carefully

In the article I set out a de-crating plan for her, which you might find helpful if you are wondering if now is the right time to give your Lab some more freedom.

It is very tempting to de-crate big dogs too soon.  This is because large dogs need large crates, and large crates are an unsightly nuisance in all but the biggest houses.

It may help to remember that many Labradors will carry on chewing things they shouldn’t chew, well past their first birthday, and some will continue until they are around two years old.

So, a little patience is required.

Remember to be very generous with those frozen Kongs during the de-crating process and for the next few months.

If your dog hasn’t started a chewing habit by then, he probably never will.


As you can see, chewing is pretty normal, especially in Labradors, and it can last for much longer than early puppyhood.

Most experts now agree that destructive chewing is best avoided by reducing boredom, treating any anxiety problems, providing appropriate chew toys, and preventing very young dogs from having access to your more precious things.

With dogs that have already become destructive, it is especially important to break the habit by preventing access to the things he was destroying.  This can take a little time and patience, but gets long term results.

More help and information

Don’t forget that de-crating needs to be done in stages, and there is a de-crating plan in this article to help you.

Happy-Puppy-jacket-image1-195x300For a complete guide to raising a healthy and happy puppy, including managing puppy problems and misbehavior, don’t miss The Happy Puppy Handbook.

It will help you get your puppy off to a great start with potty training, socialisation and early obedience.

The Happy Puppy Handbook is available worldwide.

Do you have a chewer?

Is or was your Labrador a chewer?  What is the most expensive / precious thing your dog ever destroyed?  Tell us your story and share your pain with us in the comments box below!

This article was originally published in 2012 and has been extensively revised and updated for 2015

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Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of several books on dogs. She is the founder of the Labrador Site and a regular contributor. She is passionate about helping people enjoy their Labradors and lives in Hampshire with her husband and four dogs.


  1. I have a four yr old lab and he loves to CHEW. He lives in a cage with a plastic floor pretty much all the time with no bedding at all and it makes me so sad it has to be this way, I’m going to try and find a super tough comfy mat for him and buy several kongs. We love him dearly I assure you that. He is my dads prize hunting dog, he has been receiving some allergy shots for his 27 allergies.

  2. So far, so good…Grizz is 5 months and is so smart and good. I think my secret is I hike him every other day, at first not too far watching him when he started to slow down. At 3 months, many small walks. Lots of toys, sturdy rubber teething type. Frozen green beans, raw carrot and celery treats. For the first two weeks I took him out every 20 min even at night to pee-yes, it was tough but outside of a once in a while pee on rug from being gone too long, he was house trained at 2 weeks (he got a treat of kibble food every time he went out and went). This is the first time I got a large crate and I will never be without one. He was put in when I left (never more than an hour at a time which I extended slowly with a treat when I left and treat when I got home and toys). Now the crate is still here but I don’t close the door. He goes in when I leave, sometimes out when I return but good. I make sure when I’m going to be gone to hike him 4 miles before…he is ready to nap then. Its been good for me I have lost 12 pds!!! And I’m nicer!!! Smiles… It’s far from over I know…I keep an eye on him always, it’s easy because I don’t have children or distractions. It’s only for awhile but paying attention to his training and growth has always paid off in my having really great dogs. If I had to work I would check out doggie day care. Part of being a responsible pet owner is knowing there will be costs and being responsible for the pets proper care. Labs need to be worked out and challenged. Good Luck to us All!

  3. We have. 2 labs..chocolate is one year old and silver girl is 6 months. We have lost a futon, numerous pairs of glasses, remotes, magazines or any paper within reach, dog beds, furniture, blankets, pillows, plants(I was really excited about that olive tree guys), cords, shoes, clothes, dish towels, baseboards, and the latest my husbands wallets with only the credit cards chewed up(trying to help maybe?). It has been a huge learning experience but these 2 are the joys of our lives. We have learned to put everything away which has made us become very organized?. Wood furniture has been replaced with steel for outdoors, learning to love the industrial look! I love the frozen Kong idea and will be trying this myself…fingers crossed!

    • Yours sounds like my one dog from hell? a lab mix, adopted rescue at 2mo old, today he’s 1yr old. We’ve done everything correctly and nothing at all has worked. He has company 24/7, he’s walked and played with, he has every Kong thing that exists, he’s fed, bathed, loved, and he has continued to eat his many different beds, and Swallows everything, his POOPS are very entertaining but I’m worried as I know it can cause severe obstruction to his intestines and othere medical problems. Ok, he’s only 1today, but I believe Cody will never stop chewing, I believe he has a neurological issue, not boredom. He’s insanely in love with us, he could care less about restrictions, he finds a way out of that too! After reading your post, I wanted to feel hope…again we’ve done all that you have…yours is successful so far, but I fear our Cody will always be insane?

  4. Our “kids” are older now, but when they were puppies we had just about everything in our home “tasted”. Sampson and Delilah are now 8 yrs old, but from babies (6 weeks old) until they were 2 1/2 we had walls, doorknobs, carpets, fences, bed knobs, clothes, crates and anything else they found interesting – EATEN! After the age of 3, the chewing stopped – with the exception of “The Incident”….. When Sampson was 5 years old, our neighbors were running a daycare on one side and the neighbors on the other side were getting a new roof. Between the kids screaming on the right and the nailgun shooting on the right, Sampson (the Neurotic Son) had no chance. Anxiety hit him and by the time husband and I got home – our kitchen island was shredded and in a heap in the middle of the floor. We still laugh about the island and pity Sam over his anxiety issues. Sometimes chewing is all a guy can do.

  5. We have an 8 month old black lab she is only chewing up my things not my husbands things. She gets my shoes and underwear and chews them up. My husbands shoes are never bothered. I work 15 hours a day for 7 days then home 7 days. I can not understand why she only gets my things and no one else’s. Does anyone have any ideal as to why it’s just my things

  6. Our 10 month old lab Cherokee is a big chewer! He has mostly eaten tennis balls and a tugging rope, no people stuff thank heavens! We found the best things for him are white bones (don’t remember the company name, but I think they preclean the bones) that come pre-filled. It comes in a bunch of flavors for the inside and it’s a solid gel so it won’t come out or leak or get all over the room. Its costs about 6 or 7 dollars. He chews on this for hours! We tried antlers but he ate a whole antler in a week! Another treat we give him is raw carrots, messy but he usually gets all the bits up.

  7. My 10 month old choc Lab ‘Bear’ has really bad seperation anxiety. He with not so much chew but try and get out the front door of I’m out which has caused him to lift the whole carpet up! Yesterday I left him in the car. He loves being in the car and he will wait in quite happy if I nip into the shop or doing the school run. He enjoys it! But as I said yesterday I left him in for maybe ten mins and came back to car to see he had chewed (or clawed) his way through my roof lining of car and had airbag in his mouth!
    I am thinking about using a cage for him now whilst out. I have bought a big comfy bed for it and I am collecting it tonight. Will it work? Wil he be happy enough? Apart from this he is an amazing, clever and loving boy! But I’m stressed out with the money he is causing me!

    • Leaving dogs in a car alone, for any reason for any amount of time here in Miami, is illegal, just like it is for a parent to level their child alone in a car. Yet many people do it regardless, with consequences they regret after. Don’t know where you live, but in most states it’s illegal. But more importantly I hope you stop Leaving doggy in car alone! Karma bit you…and he ate your car? Just some friendly advice, don’t get angry or offended, this info might be a good favor?

    • I have a 10 week old lab pup and i have frozen fat free yoghurt in one and peanut butter in the other. I keep these on rotation and my dog loves it. Keeps him busy for a while…until he wants to chew on my fingers again.

  8. What do people fill Kongs with to freeze and what size do you use? my Black Lab, Floyd is 5 months and going to be really big. The old Kong I have was bought for my very very destructive Shepherd Cross rescue and has a really large hole, so to fill it with peanut butter or Kong paste would not only be expensive but not a great compliment to his pretty careful feeding plan. Any healthier suggestions would be great thanks!

  9. Our nearly 1-year-old male lab is such a good dog EXCEPT for the destruction of any bed we give him and several blankets and sheets on our bed! He’ll also destroy bed pillows if we don’t catch him. I am home all day with him most of the time, and he gets plenty of attention and exercise. He has a gazillion chew toys, rope toys and balls. My office is in our bedroom, so this week I stripped the bed…he started gnawing on the corner of the mattress!! Very frustrating.

  10. I had a yellow lab 120 pounds of love and best dog I ever owned…..after he turned 2ish. as a puppy he ate two sets of furniture, carpet, drywall, and any thing he could get his teeth on. for those of you struggling with these chewing demons possessing your dogs all I can say is when Ben had to be put down at 13 I cried like a baby. I still miss him so hang in there, it sounds like some of you may have the best dog you will ever own….. if you can hang in there with them.

  11. Our yellow lab GATOR is chewing everything. He is a rescue dog, so we dont have any history on him, but boy does he chew. The vet says he’s between 1-2 years old based on his size and teeth. He has chewed up a wooden sailboat, childrens wooden puzzles, pens, white out, craft paint,…..the list goes on and on. He even chewed up the dog taining/puppy school calendar and the business card for the training. He has gotten a hold of lots of shoes, dentures, glasses, remotes, magazines, boxes. Last night I caught him nibbling on a flat wall!! He is happily crate trained and gets plenty of attention. I am going to try the kong with frozen peanut butter.

  12. I’ve just been reading this discussion and find it really scary! My labrador Monty is 15 months old, sometimes lovely but has his hyper moments when he bites and holds on to whatever I’m wearing and chews – furniture, bank cards, glasses. But until I read all the above comments, I was enjoying the illusion that he’d grow out of the chewing and biting once the puppy phase was over. In fact, one of the reasons I had a labrador was because I’d read that they were ‘easy to train’! How about some more success stories, something positive? Incidentally, Monty has a crate, but I leave it open. He also has a bed in the living room, but his preferred ‘quiet space’ is in my bedroom.

  13. We are the proud pet parents of our 4th Lab, a beautiful black 9-year old who is a big puppy at heart! Despite all the chewing, which we have experienced, Labs are still in our hearts forever as the best dogs ever! Our first yellow Lab literally ate, a little at a time, a naugahyde sofa, the wooden windowsills, my husband’s boss’s cherry poker table, and a nice chunk out of our livingroom carpet. All the tips offered in this article do work well, and I’ll offer another – get another Lab pup after the first one is around 2, and they will play and wear each other out instead of your stuff! We have had 2 LAbs at a time for years and they are twice the fun!

  14. My lab/ retriever is with me all day at home, he is only caged at night, he has long walks twice daily very fit and very active, just one problem we have, when I do pop out somewhere I can’t take him, he howls and barks, I feel sorry for my poor neighbours.

  15. My 11 month old black lab hardly chews now and apart from an old shoe has not chewed anything for months! Today I came home and she has chewed the pew in our hall along with skirting and the stair bannister! It’s so frustrating when she is so good most of the time. Why do it randomly?

  16. Bella is 7 month old she start a destructive behavior like chewing TV cable …etc only when i am not with her and when i am start scramming or yelling she don’t want to take her food till i play with her.
    pls advice what is the suitable way to deal with her.

  17. Surely most of the comments must be from the UK or USA?
    Here in South Africa i have never heard of any Lab owner to crate his dog but must add that Labradors are not kept indoors here.
    I have had 2 Labs in the past and never really had much damage except their pulling the washing from the line.
    I am getting a black 8 weeks old Lab on saturday and hope to be lucky with her too.

    • Hi Louis,
      I am also from South Africa and have a 6month old golden lab, she is also outside during the day and destroys our irrigation system, which we have fixed several times and our porta pool was destroyed yesterday hahaha it is exhausting, but I love her to bits hoping she will grow out of her destructive chewing ways. 🙂

  18. I have a 16 month old black lab and I have been extremely lucky in perspective (cant believe i can even say that) but though we have not lost furniture, we live with frustrations of the loss of countless flipflops, sandals, hat brims, super balls, toys- the more stuffing and plastic the better, and if they talk or sing, double bonus, then theres the basketballs, tennis balls and dollies without faces or fingers. I could go on, but our Abby doesnt chew…she shreds. The bigger the spray of materials the more accomplished she is…and we are home all day. Kids sit and play video games, she curls up by them, and then she disappears and takes toys sandals or balls and sits just out of sight tearing it into bits n shreds as if its her own game. I get her bones hides chewys kongs dog toys, and she burys all her things with the countless loaves of bread that she sneaks outside with. Shred the bag n eat the bread. And dont set food down around here for sure cuz shes always staking out a tasty snack. Abby is sweet as can be, but boy do we have a lot of messes from her shredding, and by the look of her head hung low…she knows she did wrong.

  19. Diesel is a chocolate lab mixed with a blood hound and just turned one this past weekend and has definitely chewed quite a few things in our apartment! He loves the baseboards, our coffee table, kitchen chair legs, pillows, blankets, remotes, cell phone, paper… the list goes on. His newest destruction is he doesn’t like plug outlets and tries to scratch at them, so now our walls have scratch marks near all the outlets and his most favorite thing to do is scratch at the drain in the bathtub!!! Crazy Dog 🙂 And of course he has a bunch of toys to play with that, but choses not to… BUT, every time I get home he gives me the warmest welcoming with lots of kisses. He’s just so sweet and cute sometimes.. so unfortunately you take the good with the bad. Hopefully he will get out of his chewing sooner rather then later!

    Sylvie 🙂

  20. My now 4yo male black lab, chewed the corners of every cupboard and the door knobs and completely through a wall in 2 places when he was teething. He loved chewing anything wood. The only thing that worked was confining him to a pen or a crate when I wasn’t around to supervise.

  21. Although my Dallas chewed as a pup…tv remotes, rugs, dog beds, etc. etc. I thought this little story might give you a giggle. Once, when Dallas was about 8 years old, I returned from grocery shopping and started taking the bags from the car to the kitchen. When everything was unloaded, I started to put everything away and notice that the 1 lb. of hard salami that I had purchased was no where to be found. I looked everywhere in the kitchen and the car. I called the store and they said to come back up and they would see what they could do. I returned to the store and they had actually checked the security tape which showed the cashier ringing up my salami, putting it in a bag and me putting the bag in my cart. So, now I am very confused. On my way home, I got a call from my son who was laughing so hard he could barely speak. It seems that Dallas must have grabbed the meat from a bag in the kitchen while I was outside unloading more groceries from the car. But here is the bizarre part. Our deli meat is put in plastic bags by the store employee and a sticker which shows the weight and price of the item keeps the bag closed until you get home. Somehow, Dallas got the bag, did not rip the sticker or the plastic bag, got the whole pound of meat out, flattened the bag and put it neatly under my son’s bed. How did he do that? Not one tooth mark!

  22. My wonderful little Bailey is a six month old black lab. Her daddy has given her more than ten toys to play with that are all over the fenced in back yard. I have spent countless hours and over 200 dollars replacing tag lights, trailer lights, and pigtails thanks to her. She is the spawn of Satan. When I punish her it doesn’t phase her. She thinks I am playing. With other dogs the only thing I have found that works is punishment with whatever item they are chewing yet this doesn’t work for her either. Before a have to dig a hole bigger than the ones she digs, what suggestions do you all have?

  23. I have an older Lab that came to live with us anout a year ago. He eats everything. He ate the seat cushions off of our trail wagon. He ate our 14′ above ground pool. No joke. He eats every cushion on our patio furniture. I take them off at night now. He lives outside, and has the company of two other dogs (who have learned his bad habit). I have never caught him tearing up anything. He does it at night. I don’t know how to get him to quit!!!

  24. Sirius and Luna are our 7 month old black Labs, we’ve had them since they were 6 weeks young. They are an absolute treasure to have and their love for us is unending… their love for everything else however is also unending. We’ve had countless items of clothing ripped from the washing line and a small forest of tree stumps brought to our patio and turned to sawdust. Cables, cushions, blankets, buckets, clothes, trees, beds, patio fixtures and even each other have been sampled. Our outdoor bar stools and the bar itself have been gnawed down with time, to such an extent that we’ve removed the lot entirely. and replaced it with an outdoor wooden campsite bench, suffice to say it lasted a day.

    In the beginning we would shout and punish but honestly don’t like that approach. We moved on to seclusion and stern talks relating to what is deemed a “NO” item and a “YES” item (ropes, chew-toys etc) but to no avail. Then we started using the bitter spray, and this worked… for a while. The thing is that they seem to enjoy the spray, sitting next to the bench licking it.

    Not sure where to go from here other than replacing all wood items with steel. None the less, my wife and I are starting their puppy training tomorrow so please wish us luck! Without them we would feel incomplete, so a little loss in the big picture is nothing in return for their love.

  25. Our 4 year old lab cross has been left on her own since a puppy for upto 4 hrs with NO problems but the last few months she has managed to open all our doors when we are out and has ate 6 remote controls.4 telephone cables. A babies nursery musical plastic teddybear moon including all contents.and wires.she always manages to find my shoes and eats only my left shoe!! The sparklier the better. She helps herself to logs out of the fire. Loves emptying rubbish bins in our rooms upstairs and spreading the contents on the landing.and has just recently destoyed the whole staircase and spindles.
    We are not sure why after 4 years she has started this and she never destroyed anything as a pup??? Really dont know what to do next. We have even got her a stress reliever plug in from the vets but she ate this too. If you can help please email me

  26. Oh wow I am so glad I’m not on my own with this situation. My chocolate lab is 17month old and has ate carpet, 4rugs, his dog beds countless times. 4 sky remotes, 2 tv remotes, and constantly ripping apart my fence (metal) I have had to have it redone 5 times Tuesday how is that possible? Clothes, shoes. Basically anything he can get! He has 2 long walks every day as well as bones and toys, ropes. Every one says he will grow out of it at the age of 3. So only another year and half of it I suppose haha.

  27. I have a one month old lab. pup. He chews anything and everything. He has recently started to bite aggressively and he is too small to be published. Are there chew toys for puppies this small?
    Kindly name some.
    Thanking you.

  28. I just found this web site and am enjoying is immensely.We are picking up our 3rd Lab in a few weeks and now being retired I am very excited with all the time I will have for the puppy. Reading this reminded me when Sam, now 9, got my wallet down and opened it never chewing the leather wallet and tore up 2 $100’s, 1$50 and 2 $20’s. Left all the $1’s. You can send the pieces to the treasury dept and they will send you new bills BTW.

  29. Hi there, I have a 6 month old black lab cross rottie, and lately she has been jumping up trying to pull clothes off my line even though the clothes line has been put up high.. How do I stop her from jumping and trying to chew our clothes?

    Also cause she is an outside dog she has a habit of sleeping right under our bedroom in the garden even though there is no window where she is lying? Does any one else’s dog do this and can any one tell why she is doing this?

    Thank you monique

  30. Hi pippa
    i have a 5 month old male lab but he is very very naughty.he had started chewing things when i decided to get a dog house made for him but surprisingly he chews his own house too.its a wooden house and he tends to chew on the sides.he eats my plants too.i keep him on a leash but the problem is that he pees and poos near the house as far as his leash goes .i am unable to keep him do i manage ?

  31. Dottie is our 5 1/2 mo old lab/pit mix. She is a wonderful addition to our household. The one thing that exasperates my husband is she likes to chew up the cables that go to our Comcast cable tv. Of course she will chew up any toy or ball left outside by our 3 yr old grandson, but the cable is our biggest issue. I must add that we provide many chew toys for her to munch on (Kong is her favorite). She does not have this need to chew any other cable, knock on wood, in the house-just those outside. We just had the cable company hide the wires under our vinyl siding. That lasted all of 10 minutes. She not only pulled it out but was able to detach the piece from the connectors and chew through it. Any suggestions?

  32. My black lab is about 6 months old. She is very intelligent and knows when what she is doing is wrong. However, i tend to come home to everything destroyed! Just to start off with, she has chewed extension cords(outside of her pen), and electric blanket that was folded up, cups that were sitting on a table, an ornament off our Christmas tree, our cable cord to our tv’s, attempted the legs of our kitchen table, and sticks like i have never seen before(luckily sticks are her favorite). When i go up to her mad and say NO! or simply give her “the look” she knows what she has done is wrong! If i say no she will immediately drop it, sit and look at me like “Im sorry”. I just can’t seem to find away for her to not chew up stuff when i’m not around! i have tried toys, picking everything out of the room up, and food. She still seems to find something from somewhere to destroy! I need help.

  33. It’s been hilarious reading these posts about Labs who chew, I’m starting to feel much better about my Choc Lab called Monty! Monty specializes in reducing dog beds to shreds. We’ve gone through 6/7 and the amount of foam we have to pick up is amazing!(How can one bed produce so much foam!) Monty is 1 and we have a black Lab called Archie who is 8. Poor old Archie is so patient even as his bed is disappearing from underneath him! He looks at me sometimes as if he’s saying”Why did you have to get him?” But they do get on very well and I think Archie’s patience is starting to rub off on Monty. He has never destroyed anything inside because he has some inside toys which are only allowed on his inside mat and the dogs are only inside when we are home too. They have a secure garden to be in during the day if I’m at work but Monty does retrieve things in the garden and piles them up at the back door. Garden rocks, small twigs, pegs any thing left out really. He doesn’t destroy them but leaves a well stacked pile! One weekend after a big cleanup in the garden and the making of a burning pile for after fire restriction time, I came home to find a meter high pile of garden prunings that he had relocated from 100 meters away propped up against the back door! Must have taken him a good few hours! He was exhausted that night but very happy with himself,

  34. My black lab has just turned one but has been a chewer since a very early age. You name it, I’ve tried it to stop him from chewing, toys, citronella, chilli sauce, ice blocks with chicken necks inside, bones and even more toys. He seems to want to chew everything that he’s not supposed to and it seems impossible to spray the whole backyard with citronella, because although he does stop chewing on that particular item, he moves on to destroy something else. I can’t leave anything in the back yard without him chewing it to pieces, even getting things on the table. Please help, I am seriously at my wits end!!

  35. My 2 year old Labrador Lily has eaten my Wii controller and the nunchuck to go with it. She eats everything.. I buy her toys, she shreds them in hours. She only is really destructive when we are not here, but she has our other Labrador, Bella, to keep her company. Even right now she is aggressively chewing on a marrow bone. Help!!! My mum is going ballistic.

  36. Hi! We have a Chocolate Lab (almost 1 yrs old) and it’s our first big dog. He’s always outside and sometimes is kind of hard to give him the exercise and attention that he needs. We live in a lease home and he’s chewing all of our bushes. I tried with bitter apple, chili powder and cayenne pepper and nothing seems to work (Specially when it rains). While we’re out, he’s in a crate but when we let him outside he waits until we’re not paying attention to do it. I don’t want to have him all the time in the crate but I can’t find another solution. It’s causing a big trouble because it’s not our house…I need HELP!!!

  37. Hi, our boy Tucker has recently started tearing rugs, his beds, our bedspreads any paper he finds , even if he has to steal it from the table top. He has every aggressive chewer toy sold. I believe that creating is great to keep the dog safe as well as your stuff, but at about 3 months of age, we had to stop putting him in his create as he was having anxiety attacks. We came home to find puddles of saliva inside and out of the create his chin,chest and front of his legs were soaking wet . We never used the create as punishment. He is a rescue that we brought home at about 6 weeks of age. He is not a full Lab, looks to be a mix of Lab, Border Collie and Newfoundland. Since a create is not an option and neither is getting rid of him what do you suggest? please HELP!!!! Thanks for listening.

  38. My 7 month old Puppy Jessie has always loved her crate. She only goes in it at night but recently she has been waking us up at 5.30am. She barks so loud she wakes up the whole household. We have tried ignoring her until she stops but this is really hard. We have taken her out to the toilet and put her back in, but she still barks. Help!

  39. my 8 month old fox red lab has chewed about 6 pairs of shoes, 3 rugs, ate money. Most expensive this was my husbands iphone! time to crate him!

    • Hi Christine,
      Just wondered how you are getting on if you decided to crate your 8 month old. Ours is a year old and his chewing is increasing! He was crated at his previous home but not here but we are seriously thinking of crating him now. He is fairly laid back so hopefully he won’t have an issue.

  40. Hi, wonder if you can advise. We have a 5 year old lab and have also recently rehomed a puppy lab…he came to us when he was 9 months he is now 1 year. He was crated at his previous home but we didnt crate him here as he seemed very laid back and he is very big for his age. He has started chewing stuff eg our sofa, the leather case of my tablet, xmas cards and tree decs and even a present I’d bought. So before he does any more significant damage I am thinking of getting the crate out. As he is a year now would it be difficult for him to be confined as such as he never has been here and has had the freedom of most of the house with our other lab. I dont want to stress him out but on the other hand I dont want to be stressed out!
    Any comments please! Thanks

  41. my husband and I have two dogs. One is a two year old black lab Doberman mix who is mostly fairly calm and laid back and never really had much of a problem with chewing. Our chocolate lab puppy who is about 18 months old used to have issues chewing furniture but we have since broken him of that with the application of many many dog appropriate toys that he can’t instantly destroy. Now the problem is getting him to leave house hold items alone specifically fabrics and pillows. Recently he got a hold of a home crocheted potholder shredded it and swallowed it. Now Merlin has done this before but not with a potholder and not something that was crocheted, so far the things he is consumed and successfully passed is a regular sized dish towel and most of the stuffing from inside of a throw pillow, not to mention many many paper towels, I really have no idea where he gets them from now because we keep such a strict eye on them and have a locking trash can, and a few other odds and ends. But the crocheted potholder is the one that got him he ended up needing to have emergency surgery where he had his stomach opened, his intestines opened in 3 different places, and a 20in section of the small intestine removed. this whole event was extremely terrifying for me and my husband fortunately we have pet insurance so the $5500.00 bill will be reimbursed. The really horrific part was not the bill but that he very nearly died in a fairly short amount of time after eating it, just because of one small insignificant household item got knocked off the counter by accident. He is now just under 3 weeks out from his surgery and has completely recovered. Normal happy crazy kid again. I know he should be crated, but he’s been used to being able to roam most of the house for his entire life and I don’t want to make him feel like he’s being punished when we leave for work. Especially when his older counterpart would get to be out and about. Trying to explore other options before jailing him. I was thinking of a large play pen type thing so he’s not completely enclosed in a box but not sure where to get one sturdy/big enough for an 80lb rambunctious lab. Or is there a way to just put him off fabrics? Ideas anyone? I really just don’t want him getting ahold of any thing that could be shredded into strings and swallowed ever again, these dogs are essentially our children and losing one of them so young would be heartbreaking. One close call is enough. If something else can’t be thought of I am going to start crate training, but as of now he’s still scared of it, even worse now since his two day hospital stay.

  42. As a first timer, ( I have a 6month old lab, on loan from the guide dog association as a puppy raiser), I have been astonished at how she can chew and what she chews.

    The latest item to be ‘scoffed’ were my prescription glasses. I don’t even know how she found them. I never leave her on her own but she is so clever at finding new items to chew.
    A list of items in the months we have had her are:
    2 Persian carpets, 3 slippers, numerous plants, heaps of toys,and of course the glasses! It is amazing but the love between her and family just grows.

  43. Wow reading all these comments has had me in stitches, tears and feeling slightly less anxious as I sit here watching my 7 month old fox red lab chew through his rope toy!!! He is very much a chewer but hasnt chewed any mjor furniture in the house. He has destroyed countless pairs of shoes (he likes to rip the insoles out!), hats, toilet rolls, childrens crayons, pens, hos own bedding, a bible (something he is going to have to explain himself to the big guy!!!!), and I have lots count of the amount of knickers he has retrieved from the washing basket and chewed his way through (watching him pass an entire pair of knickers was not a nice sight). Anyway, although he is our first dog I have put all of this down to normal puppy behaviour. I try really hard to provide him lots of stimulation and toys to play with and he has plenty of exercise. I have to leave him 3 days a week while I am at work and leave him with a frozen filled kong and a variety of toys. He is in a metal run with a wooden kennel and has plenty of room to move around. However, he is chewing the inside of the kennel to shreds. I come home to hige splinters of wood all over the inside of the kennel and while I am worried about the damage he is going to the kennel, I am more concerned about the damage he could do to himself in ingesting any of this wood. I have tried spraying it with bitter apple but this has no effect whatsoever and alos Vicks vapour run but again no effect. The entrance and corners of the kennel are metal lined but the inside joints arent. Any suggestions as to what else I could do to protect both the dog and the kennel? He is crated over night and although he wakes eary and starts barking, he is good in the crate but I dont want to leave him in there for 8 hours a day while I am at work.

  44. Little help please. Our baby girl, Bella Rosa, is 11 months old and has been the most angelic of lab’s (she is our third lab). Tonight, after leaving her at home for 2.5 hours, we came home to find the truly first disaster. Bella is a water foul dog and goes duck/goose hunting at least 3-4 times per week, in season – which we are in season right now. So when I say she is exercised, I really MEAN exercised! She also has two brothers that are Cairn Terriers (8 years and 6 years). Prior to these three fur-babies, we have had 2 lab’s we raised for Paws with a Cause, 1 Shar-Pei, 1 Cocker Spaniel and the current dynamic duo that are Cairn Terriers. Plus we have 4 grand-dogs that visit often. 1 Boxer, 2 Pit Bulls and 1 Hybread (mutt). So to say this family is a DOG’S family – really is an understatement. If our local laws allowed, we would all have more dogs in our homes, but we are capped of at 3 dogs per house. Anyway, Bella has trained out beautifully. Potty trained in two days, crate trained, gun trained, field and stream trained, returns to command on a dime, is whistle trained, voice trained and hand signal trained. Sounds like I am bragging. Well this is why I am so confused. Tonight Bella ate: 1 really large heavy book, 1 slipper, 1 GPS system, 3 CD’s, 1 CD case, 2 dog beds, 1 black marker, 2 black pens and I can’t remember the rest. She is 11 months old and has only destroyed the odd thing or two in her first 3 months. I am at a loss why she has done this. Right now, she is in her crate with an appropriate chew Kong and positive reinforcement while she is calm. Any clue why she might have done this? Thank for any help.

  45. My husband and I found Bae a black lab mix when she was a few weeks old, she is now about 8 months. She has been chewing on things since she figured out she could. Lately it seems like she has turned her attention toward things that are my husbands such as his Xbox controllers his new cell phone (even got through the otter box) and ear buds. People have been telling us that she is jealous of these thing because they take his attention away from her and that I should watch out. Would she go as far as hurting me or either of the 2 other dogs in the house (who are both small)?

  46. WELL….we have two labs now. our female chocolate and her 10 month old white son.. I don’t know if he is so smart he knows not to listen or is just stupid. Bella. (momma) is a joy. she is so very well trained (pat on back) and so well mannered. apart from a little food aggressive since having 11 little nippers stealing her grub.. BUT caliber oh ..Caliber.. he is the chew Aholic. are the meetings i can take him to. . He is massive and goofy so sweet but a colopadop big food long gangly legged gentle giant. the kiddos left the garage door open. and well. the garage door leads I. to the back yard. so caliber pulled out every last thing from the garage and proceeded to chew it to peices. then moved on to the brand new trampoline with netting for desert .. he chews cloths pillows tours ANYTHING butvthe chew bones i get him.. I am now looking for a crate but I’m worried he will chew that up too.

  47. Thought my chocolate was “cheeky” but after reading the comments, I think he’s been “good” so far….sure he’s eaten a few socks but they appear after 24 hours one way or another…chewed on and unstuffed the dog pillows and the firewood is good too- he was free in the house with the other dogs when we went out/school/work but after two days of re-stuffing and sewing up the pillow plus the vomitting- he’s now back to a crate. Today all my labs were eating the box of kleenex….yup I have 3 – one of each color! Age has nothing to do with the chewing etc, my black is 6, yellow almost 3 and the chocolate just over 1. Sometimes, just like children, I think they are doing it to get my attention beit good or bad and sure you maybe mad/disappointed momentarily but that happy wiggly lab smile and greeting somehow always wins your heart….now two are curled together at the fire, the other at my feet 🙂

  48. We have had 3 labs 1 which was cross, none have been a chewer until this one we have now named Rocky is 7 months old and so far chewed all his toys up, slippers and came home yesterday to him sitting I. His crate with his bed in tattered all around him. The grass he digs up and tries to chew with clumps of dirt attached and forever jumping up the side when preparing food. Got new bed today, but he is a constant chewer. If we are reading he attacks the book to chew too, he is shocking! Training is a chore not like my other 2 dogs what so ever.

  49. I have a 10 month old chocolate lab named Loki. He is a really sweet dog when he wants to be, but he can be a real bully. He has chewed his way through 6 books, 2 pairs of oven mitts,2 blankets, 3 table chairs, a very sturdy rope toy, 2 pairs of slippers, at least 10 pairs of socks , 4 tennis balls, 2 ps3 controllers, 1 xbox controller and my stuffed teddy. We put up 2 baby gates to keep him out of the kitchen and the washroom because he likes to eat the bathmat and anything else he can get his paws on. I so can’t wait til he is 2. Training is turning out to be a lot harder than it’s cracked up to be.