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.
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, what is the best way to deal with it?
How to deal with chewing
Dealing with chewing is another topic over which people are divided. Some think that the dog should be caught and punished, others think he should be confined to prevent him damaging stuff.
I fall into the latter category.
Punishment is a quick 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 monitor in your kitchen and some kind of remote punishment device, it simply cannot be done.
Effectively, all that punishment does, is teach your dog to be sneaky about chewing.
Another approach is to redirect chewing on to more suitable items, kong toys and so on. This makes good sense whilst you are there to supervise the dog, but I have to say, it will not necessarily prevent chewing when your back is turned.
For some reason, your chair legs are much more attractive than the lovely food filled toys that you provide for your dog.
You should definitely provide a puppy with things of his own to chew, but should not rely on these to prevent him damaging your home.
The single most sensible solution to chewing and general destruction is the dog crate. A dog in a crate cannot empty the bin, destroy your furniture, or electrocute himself on your fridge cable.
Big Labradors need big crates and chewing can persist until around the end of the second year. Many people struggle with the concept of having a huge crate in their house for that long.
But it really is the best solution for when you cannot supervise your dog closely.
Protecting your car
Crates are really useful in vehicles too and can save a lot of heart ache.
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.
How about you?
Is your Labrador a chewer? What is the most expensive / precious thing your dog ever destroyed? Share your pain with us in the comments box below!
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