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Labrador Chewing on Everything? How To Teach Your Lab To Stop Chewing!

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when does labrador stop chewing

Is your Labrador transforming your beloved shoes into chew toys? Fret not, you’re not alone! Labradors have an inherent fondness for chewing, and it’s deeply ingrained in their genes. But fear not, as we’re here to help you bring an end to this chewing frenzy!

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the fascinating world of Labradors and their chewing habits. We’ll equip you with practical tips and expert advice to put a stop to your furry friend’s munching spree. From understanding the underlying reasons behind their chewing frenzy to implementing effective training techniques, we’ve got you covered.

So, if you’re ready to bid farewell to chewed-up furniture and welcome a well-behaved Labrador into your home, let’s embark on this journey together. Get ready to discover how to transform your lovable chewer into a well-mannered companion. Let’s dive right in and put an end to the chewing madness!

When do Labs Stop Chewing?

Labradors chewing often continue this behavior until around their second birthday. This habit can stem from various factors like teething, boredom, anxiety, or simply enjoyment.

While teething-related chewing typically decreases as they move past puppyhood, around 6 to 12 months, individual variations exist. Some Labs may persist in chewing as a learned behavior for stress relief or entertainment.

To manage this, provide appropriate chew toys, limit access to items prone to destruction, and ensure they get enough physical and mental exercise. Consistent training and understanding the reasons behind their chewing are crucial.

Without intervention, a Labrador might not outgrow this habit, potentially leading to costly vet visits for ingesting inedible items.

Why Your Labrador Chews Everything?

Labradors chew for various reasons, each requiring a different approach to manage.

1) Boredom

A primary reason for chewing, especially in adolescent or adult Labs, is boredom. Lack of physical exercise and mental stimulation leads them to seek their entertainment, often through chewing. Well-exercised Labs are less prone to destructive chewing.

2) Teething and Oral Discomfort

Puppies chew due to teething discomfort, and this behavior can persist even after adult teeth have developed. In older Labrador chewing can indicate tooth pain or gum disease, providing temporary relief from discomfort.

3) Stress and Anxiety

Chewing can be a coping mechanism for Labradors experiencing stress or anxiety, especially during significant life changes like a new home or family dynamics. It’s crucial to address these issues early to prevent them from escalating.

4) Natural Instinct

Chewing is an instinctual behavior for dogs. It helps strengthen their jaw, clean their teeth, and provides mental stimulation. Providing a variety of chew toys can satisfy this natural urge safely and productively.

5) Habitual Behavior

If a Labrador develops a habit of chewing while teething, they might continue this behavior into adulthood. It’s important to redirect this habit towards appropriate items like chew toys, especially for tough chewers.

6) Exploration and Relaxation

Similar to humans who chew pens or nails when bored or stressed, Labradors chew as a form of relaxation and exploration. They enjoy the sensation on their gums, and it can also help clean their teeth.

7) Taste and Curiosity

Labradors being naturally curious, may find certain items like leather shoes or socks appealing in taste and texture, leading to chewing.

8) Separation Anxiety

In cases of separation anxiety, chewing can be more destructive. Professional training may be required to address this behavior effectively.

Tips To Stop Your Lab From Chewing

Chocolate Labrador Chew Toy

Your Labrador will inevitably chew on things during puppyhood, a natural but sometimes challenging phase. This behavior typically occurs in two stages.

The first, related to teething, usually subsides by 5-6 months as adult teeth emerge. The second phase, driven by boredom and entertainment, can start around 7-8 months and last up to 2 years. Like teenagers, adolescent puppies chew for fun, unable to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate items.

To manage this, employ similar strategies for both phases, starting early in your pup’s life and continuing through adolescence. Keeping them engaged and busy is key to preventing unwanted chewing.

Here are a few tips for dealing with destructive Labrador chewing:

14 Tips to Stop Destructive Chewers

To ensure early training, socialization, and effective chewing behavior management for Labradors, consider the following tips:

1) Provide Nutritionally Balanced Food on a Schedule

Ensure your dog has nutritionally balanced meals at regular times. This prevents hunger-driven chewing.

2) Make Reprimands Effective and Clear

Catch your dog in the act of destructive chewing and respond with a firm “No!” Replace the object with a chew toy and praise them for using it.

3) Avoid Chasing Your Labrador

If your dog runs with an object, don’t chase them. Instead, wait for them to return, avoiding turning it into a game.

4) Praise Appropriate Chewing

Encourage good chewing habits by praising your dog and offering treats when they chew the right items.

5) Dog-Proof Your Home

Keep valuables and dangerous items out of reach. This reduces the temptation and risk of destructive chewing.

6) Rotate Chew Toys and Treats

Keep your Lab’s interest in chew toys high by rotating them and offering different chew treats.

7) Engage in Play and Supervision

Spend quality time with your dog to prevent boredom-related chewing and correct any destructive behavior immediately.

8) Ensure Adequate Exercise

Regular physical activity is crucial. Plan for daily exercise sessions tailored to your dog’s needs to reduce excess energy that might lead to chewing.

9) Keep Their Mind Active

Mental stimulation through new walking routes, obedience training, and teaching tricks can prevent boredom chewing.

10) Introduce Puzzle Toys

Use puzzle toys for meals and play to engage your dog’s mind, diverting them from destructive chewing.

11) Use Taste Deterrents

Apply safe deterrents like bitter apple spray on objects to discourage chewing, complementing your training efforts.

12) Address Stress or Fear

Identify and mitigate any sources of stress or fear in your dog’s environment to reduce anxiety-related chewing.

13) Crate Training

If needed, crate train your Labrador, ensuring the crate is a comfortable, safe space with appropriate chew toys.

14) Seek Professional Help

For severe cases, consult a professional for personalized advice and training strategies.

Signs of Reduced Chewing Behavior

labradors chewing together

When do Labradors typically reduce their chewing behavior?

As Labradors transition from puppies to adolescent dogs, their chewing behavior naturally reduces. It’s important to remember that chewing remains a part of their behavior throughout their lives. To manage their chewing behavior, ensure to provide appropriate chew toys and alternatives that fulfill their natural chewing needs. 

Labradors can benefit from the use of bones, which have been found to effectively remove dental calculus and reduce gingival inflammation in dogs. It’s crucial to use specific pieces of bone for oral home care programs to achieve optimal results, as they remove nearly 90% of dental calculus and allow longer intervals between periodontal cleaning procedures.

What behavioral changes signal a decrease in chewing behavior?

Labradors typically ensure a reduction in their chewing behavior as they develop from puppies to adolescent dogs. It’s crucial to spend time understanding that chewing is a clear and natural behavior for dogs, and they may continue to chew throughout their lives. 

Here are some behavioral changes that indicate a decrease in chewing behavior in Labradors:

  1. Ensure a decreased appetite is associated with increased chewing frequency and decreased appetite due to psychosocial stress.
  2. Clear that a decrease in chewing behavior may signal destructive chewing directed towards inappropriate items.
  3. Spend time understanding that a decrease in chewing behavior can also be linked to a lack of interest in food, which may be caused by various factors such as illness or stress.
  4. Absorb the information that providing appropriate sensory input can lead to a decrease in the frequency of chewing behavior in children with autism who chew and swallow objects.
  5. Understand that a decrease in the frequency of biting can be achieved by reducing stimulation or creating a calming environment for children driven by over-excitement or anxiety.
  6. To manage destructive chewing behavior caused by anxiety, set up a videotape to determine the underlying cause and redirect chewing to appropriate items while providing mental stimulation.

How does a Labrador’s chewing pattern evolve as they grow?

Labradors typically exhibit a decrease in chewing behavior as they transition from puppies to adolescent dogs. It’s important to understand that chewing is a natural behavior for all dogs, including Labradors, and they may continue to engage in chewing activities throughout their lives. 

Chewing serves multiple purposes, such as maintaining strong jaws and promoting dental hygiene, while also enabling them to explore their surroundings. As Labrador Retrievers mature, their chewing patterns evolve as they learn to differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate objects to chew on. 

It is essential for owners to closely supervise their Labrador chewing behavior and provide suitable alternatives when they engage with inappropriate items.

Dealing with Persistent Chewing

Why Your Labrador Chews Everything

Why do Labradors chew persistently and how do dental issues affect them?

Labradors, being retrievers, are genetically predisposed to enjoy having objects in their mouths. Dental issues can contribute to excessive chewing as Labradors may try to alleviate discomfort or address oral problems.

To address persistent Labrador chewing, provide appropriate chew toys, ensure regular dental care, address underlying behavioral issues, and offer ample exercise and mental stimulation.

How can professionals assist in managing chewing behavior and ensuring a secure environment for Labradors?

Can Labradors Retriever be effectively managed with professional guidance:

  1. Seek professional help from a positive reinforcement dog trainer or veterinary behaviorist if your Labrador shows aggression when attempting to retrieve objects they shouldn’t chew or engages in extremely destructive behavior when left alone.
  2. Provide appropriate chew toys and reward your Labrador for choosing the right items to chew.
  3. Limit your dog’s access to items you don’t want them to chew by creating a secure environment.
  4. Address the causes of chewing by ensuring regular exercise and companionship, especially for young dogs prone to boredom when left alone.
  5. Supervise your Labrador closely, redirecting them with a dog-safe chew toy and offering praise when they choose appropriate items to chew.

By incorporating these strategies, you can effectively manage your Labrador’s chewing behavior and promote a healthy and safe chewing habit.


Addressing your Labrador chewing behavior is crucial for a peaceful home. Provide appropriate chew toys, mental stimulation, and consistent training to redirect their chewing impulses effectively. Reinforce positive behavior and tackle any underlying issues contributing to excessive chewing.

Join our community of Labrador owners by sharing your experiences managing their chewing habits. Together, let’s create a chew-free home and enjoy the company of well-behaved companions. Take the next step towards a harmonious living environment and say goodbye to destructive chewing today!

Daniel Rowe
Daniel Rowe
Daniel is an experienced writer who specializes in canine topics. He has gained firsthand knowledge from years of research and engagement with dogs. This has given him deep expertise in breed profiles, behavior insights, and more. Fellow dog enthusiasts recognize Daniel for his authoritative content. He is dedicated to sharing reliable and trustworthy information. He is committed to enriching the lives of dog lovers through his writing.
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