Labradors are great dogs. They keep you company, they motivate you to exercise, and they cuddle you. But sometimes you might come home to a mess of chewed-up furniture and you wonder “when do Labs stop chewing?”.
Labradors will stop chewing because of teething after their second year of age. But there are other reasons why a Labrador might continue chewing. You can do a few things to prevent this behavior from continuing.
- Why Labradors Like To Chew On Everything
- How To Stop Your Lab From Chewing
- Should You Punish Your Lab For Chewing?
Why Labradors Like To Chew On Everything
You come home after a long day at work to your destroyed furniture and wonder why your Labrador keeps doing that. There are a few reasons why Labradors chew on the furniture.
All puppies go through the stage of losing their baby teeth and having their adult teeth come out. This is called the teething stage and it is followed by pain. You will catch your Lab puppy chewing stuff because it helps relieve its pain.
The teething phase for Labradors ends around six months of age. Unfortunately, the chewing doesn’t stop in older dogs after the teething stage. It will usually last to around the second year of age.
Labradors are social dogs and they need consistent love and attention. If you leave for work and don’t come back for too long, your Labrador can develop social anxiety. This is a behavioral problem that manifests with barking, chewing, urinating, defecating, whining, and restlessness.
To prevent it, don’t leave your Labrador alone for more than 4 hours. If it is left alone for a longer period of time, make sure you have someone to check up on your pup.
Everyone has a different tolerance for boredom. Some can chill for long periods of time, while others need constant stimulation. Some dogs may be licking your legs as a way to relax and pass the time. Labradors are high-energy dogs and they need their regular physical and mental needs met.
You will catch your Labrador puppies chewing on your furniture if they become bored. This is a way to spend all that energy and frustration they have built up throughout the day. Make sure it gets enough exercise to prevent this behavior.
Some dogs display behavior of licking, sucking, and chewing certain fabrics. The current scientific belief is that this is a behavioral problem that happens in puppies that get weaned too early. This is before it reaches seven or eight weeks of age.
If this behavior is happening for a long period of time it might become difficult to distract your dog from doing it. This means that it has become compulsive. There are many behavioral specialists that can help with this problem.
Relaxation And Habits
You will wonder why do Labs chew everything and you simply can not find the reason. Your Labrador might be chewing for fun. There might not be a specific reason why it does that besides the fact that it finds it relaxing.
The problem will become more serious once your Lab develops a deeply ingrained habit to chew on the furniture every time it wants to relax. Habits can be quite difficult to change so you should do some serious training to prevent them from developing.
Your Labrador might end up chewing on your furniture or other things if it gets too hungry. A calorie-restricted diet will lead to more hunger and frustration. This is why you should feed it a healthy low-carb diet full of protein.
If you notice your dog chewing and swallowing stuff that is not food, it might have a health condition called pica. You should consult your vet as soon as possible to prevent any more problems.
Before you find out how to stop a Lab from chewing, you should make sure it doesn’t suffer from any health problems. Usually, health problems are not a common reason for chewing but they are possible.
Some diseases can make your Lab aggressive. These include painful diseases like arthritis, ear pain, and stomach pain. They can also be diseases like thyroid problems, or mental diseases like anxiety and depression. Consult your vet if you suspect that your Lab is suffering from some illness.
How To Stop Your Lab From Chewing
We talked about the reasons why your Labrador might be chewing. Now, here is how to stop a Labrador puppy from chewing furniture.
One way to get rid of this behavior is with careful supervision and training. This might take more time of your day but it is an effective strategy.
Keep an eye on your dog when you are around it. To make things easier, get a leash on it so you always have it in your sight. You could also choose a “safe space” where it doesn’t have access to your more valuable items.
Once you are set up, observe its behavior. When it starts chewing or licking an item it shouldn’t chew, react immediately. Make a sound like “uh-oh” or “no” and remove the item from its mouth. Then replace that item with something it can chew like a toy. Give praises afterward.
Use A Chewing Deterrent
Another way to stop your puppy from destroying the furniture is to use a chewing deterrent. This usually comes as a spray bottle filled with some bad-tasting liquid. You can spray this liquid on any object you want to preserve so it will stop your Lab from chewing it.
If this is the first time you use this, follow these steps. First, apply a small amount of deterrent to a piece of tissue. Gently place it in your dog’s mouth and allow it to taste it. Once it realizes it tastes bad it will spit it out or retch. Hopefully, it will learn its lesson and connect the smell with the taste. Once it smells that scent on the furniture it will avoid chewing it because of the bad taste.
Ensure Proper Exercise
Do Labs chew a lot because they are bored and filled with energy? Yes, they do. Labrador Retrievers are high-energy dogs and they need proper physical and mental exercise.
An adult Labrador needs around 1 hour of exercise every day. If you don’t meet these needs, be ready to face a frustrated Lab that chews.
You can do daily walks, but you should also do some more demanding exercises. These include running, swimming, hiking, and playing games. You can also socialize your Lab with other dogs and let them play in the dog park.
For mental stimulation, you should do regular training sessions or get some mentally stimulating toys for your Lab.
Try Crate Training
Another great way how to stop a Labrador puppy from chewing furniture is to use a dog crate. You first need to do some crate training so your Lab can get comfortable in its crate.
Then, whenever you leave your home, or during the night, you can leave your Lab in the crate. That way it won’t be able to reach any furniture or other valuables it wants to chew on.
Make sure that you leave some safe chew toys for your Lab inside the crate so it has something to do. Don’t leave your dog in the crate for more than 6 hours.
You can also choose to use baby gates or other barriers and confine your dog to an area of the house if you don’t want to use a crate.
Offer Other Things For Chewing
We know at what age do Labs stop chewing everything, but you should also know to get them some chew toys. Chew toys may seem like a luxury, but they are essential for keeping your dog entertained and away from its destructive chewing habit.
If your puppy is teething, get a rubber toy and freeze it. When it gets to chewing it will soothe its gums. One toy we like to recommend is the Kong chew toy. It is a rubber toy that is hollow on the inside and can be filled with food. You can also get other things like bully sticks, bully stick holders, rawhide bones, pig skin rolls, or other natural chews.
When your dog chews on something valuable get its attention and try to exchange it with the chew toy. Once it gets the chew toy, give it some praise.
Hide Your Valuables
Do Labs grow out of chewing? Yes. But until then you need to make sure your valuables are safe. You should “dog-proof” your house. Get your clothing, shoes, eyeglasses, books, and other stuff that is important to you out of your dog’s reach.
Another thing that is important to remove is the stuff that is dangerous to chew. This includes your dirty underwear and sanitary items like napkins and tampons. If ingested they might expand and cause problems with your dog’s digestive system.
Also, make sure to remove the detergents and other cleaning products from your dog’s sight. It might poison itself if it chews them. You should also remove the spoiled food if you have some lying around. Also, make sure you dispose of your trash appropriately.
Should You Punish Your Lab For Chewing?
We talked about a few ways to prevent Lab puppy chewing. But never punish your Labrador for chewing.
If you come home from work and see your furniture destroyed from chewing you might get upset. But if you start yelling at your Lab it won’t understand what the reason behind that is. Dogs will only react to scolding if you do it right after it does something wrong.
Another thing you might do with punishing your dog after it does something bad is to make the outcome worse. Some dogs crave attention even if it is negative. So if it does something wrong and you yell at it, it might think it’s just succeeded in getting your attention. So it will do it again.
This is why you should avoid punishing, and instead use positive reinforcement methods like the ones we already talked about.
Conclusion – When Do Labs Stop Chewing?
Labradors will stop chewing around the age of two years. However, there are many reasons why this behavior might continue.
The most common reason for chewing in Lab puppies is teething. Luckily this process ends around six months of age.
Other reasons include separation anxiety, boredom, hunger, illness, or just bad habits. Some fabrics can also cause your dog to chew on them compulsively.
If you want to stop your Labrador from doing this behavior you should never punish it. Punishing will only lead to more destructive chewing and tension between you and your dog.
Instead what you should do is properly train your dog. Remove your valuables from its sight, supervise your dog carefully, and get it some chew toys to replace the furniture. You can also use crate training and chewing deterrents to help you with this process.
How to stop a Lab from chewing during teething?
Labs need to chew on things during teething, but you should give them appropriate things to chew on, like chew toys. You can also give it ice cubes or frozen chew toys to chew on. They will numb the teething pain.
Are Labradors good house dogs?
Yes. Even though Labradors tend to chew until their second year, they are excellent family dogs. They are protective of their families but also very friendly. And they also love playing with kids.
How strong is the Labrador Retriever’s bite force?
Labradors can bite with a strength of up to 230 PSI. This is not the highest bite force out of all dog breeds, but it is stronger than for example the Belgian Malinois bite force.
When do Labs stop chewing their beds?
If your Labrador has an ingrained habit of chewing on its dog bed you should remove it for a while. Replace it with a firm mat and supervise it. With training, you will be able to stop it from chewing its bed and get back to normal.