I have a chewer!! I need HELP!!
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Thread: I have a chewer!! I need HELP!!

  1. #1
    Dentalmom's Avatar
    Dentalmom is offline Junior Member
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    DefaultI have a chewer!! I need HELP!!

    Our dog Jack, who is an 18 month old lab is constantly putting stuff in his mouth. He ate my daughters eyeglasses twice this weekend. He is constantly getting into everything! He seems to do this every morning when we are all busy getting ready for the day.
    I need some advice! We are not sure how to get him to stop or discipline him .

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    steveandginger's Avatar
    steveandginger is offline Senior Member
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    Hey Dentalmom --

    Is Jack new in your house, or have you had him since he was a pup? If he's new, then he probably needs time to learn the rules of your house, but if you've had him since he was a pup -- then is this "chewing" issue something new, or has it just gotten worse recently?

    Since Labs are "retrievers," they are naturally "mouthy" dogs. My suggestion would be (and this is going to take consistency and persistence) to A.) dog-proof your house as much as possible, for awhile, and then B.) Use a FIRM NO when he has something he shouldn't, and take it from him, but AT THE SAME TIME, replace what he is chewing that he shouldn't, with something that he CAN chew, and then PRAISE him for chewing the "right" thing. Doing this over and over, consistently, and he should begin to learn what is "OK to chew," and what is NOT. I don't think you can (or would want to) really teach a Lab to put their mouths on NOTHING. Picking up things in their mouth is what a Lab DOES, and has been BRED to do, obviously! To me, it's about consistently re-directing him toward APPROPRIATE things to mouth/chew.

    Also, this chewing COULD be exacerbated by him being bored, and wanting attention, while you all are busy. Remember, he just woke up and is FULL of energy, and you all are busy with your routine, so he is finding "something to do" (albeit destructive). Is it possible that you could set your alarm 15 minutes earlier, and take him for a brisk walk for 15 minutes? THEN, bring him home, and give him an appropriate thing to chew on?

    Just some thoughts...

    Steve
    Last edited by steveandginger; 11-01-2011 at 10:45 AM.

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    Samson is offline Senior Member
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    Crate crate and crate while he is not being supervised !

    I learned the hard way too ! TV remotes, spectacles, three piece suite, door....the list was endless.

    See the best puppy advice sticky Training Tips and Puppy Advice
    Last edited by Samson; 11-01-2011 at 10:46 AM.

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    Dentalmom's Avatar
    Dentalmom is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for your advice. We got Jack this summer and yes i guess he does need to follow the rules of our house.
    And he does get a good walk in the morning as soon as i get up in the morning (5:30!!)...and yes I'm sure he is looking for attention once we get back from our walk and he sees the kids are up.

    Thanks for your advice
    Tracy

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    tammyhuffman is offline Senior Member
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    The walk 1st thing in the morning works for our dogs. Of course the 1st thing they want to do in the morning is go out to potty but then we go for a walk and things seem to go much smoother in the morning. Maxx can only walk in the yard at this point but it still keeps the "early morning craziness" under control.

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    Couple of helpful things:

    * Teach LEAVE IT. Use a collar correction to show him that certain things are to be left alone. And this advice is above, but I'm suggesting that LEAVE IT is a clearer command than simply NO

    * Redirect. Substitute a toy for eyeglasses

    * Teach your kids to be more diligent about putting things away. Yes, some training is needed on both ends of this equation. As was stated above, this IS a retriever. Putting things in his mouth and carrying them around is kinda what he was bred for.

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    My first guy is a chewer/steeler. Well, maybe not now that he's 10.5, but he's been a terrible dog ever since I let him be.

    The neck dogs I learned...don't let them start!

    I keep NOTHING but toys in their areas, and slowly add other things, shoes, newspaper, laundry etc.

    Then, I start training a 'hey!' command!

    Sounds ridiculous huh? The minute they're near something they shouldn't be, say 'HEY!' and throw a treat. Thats what I do.

    Now, at 4.5 months old, my puppy is able to be loose all the time, with just a 'Hey!' she forgets about whatever she was thinking. She doesn't touch things much anymore.

    But yes, picking up your crap is the best idea.
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    I have to agree with dweck -- "leave it" is a better command than the generic "no." I should have suggested that in my post, instead. "Leave it" is very useful, once learned, on walks, etc. etc. If you can teach that command, it's a very good tool -- and a necessary one, with a naturally mouthy Lab.

    Also as Samson said, the crate can be a very effective tool to help, at times when you can't supervise him directly, until he begins to learn. Reason being, all your effort to teach "leave it" can be undermined, if -- while unsupervised -- he gets away with it. In other words, he might learn "I can chew eyeglasses when no one is watching," versus "I cannot chew eyeglasses, but I can chew my toy."

    To illustrate this...I have friends who have a Lab. The Lab learned that there is often good, tasty food on the counter -- and she obviously learned to help herself. Well, it became a problem very quickly, so they began to crack down on it; problem is, they were not consistent with eliminating the food on the counter (or, alternatively, with crating the dog when they weren't home). SO, while they were pretty diligent in "stopping" her from eating off the counter WHEN THEY WERE HOME, she was given plenty of opportunities to eat the yummy treats that were still left on the counter WHEN THEY WERE NOT home. As a result, she learned "if I eat off the counter when someone is watching, I'll get in trouble; but, if no one is home, I can get away with it." It got to the point that she NEVER even TRIED to eat off the counter when they were home; as soon as they left, though, all bets were off. They tricked her once...they left food on the counter, and she ignored it. Then, they went out through the garage, closed the garage door (as if they were leaving), and then snuck around back to look in the window. In a matter of minutes, they saw her head for the kitchen and up on the counter. Again -- my point is, you have to be consistent, AND at the same time, you have to remove -- as much as possible -- the opportunities for the dog to "get away with" the problem behavior when no one is watching, or else they MAY learn the wrong lesson.

    You are walking him in the morning, that's great. Maybe another 5-10 minutes, or maybe a bit brisker pace, might help use up a bit more of his energy.

    I think of it as almost like having kids...consistency is key! Consistency on your part with commands/training, and allowing him time to understand your (hopefully very clear) expectations, will go a long way toward helping with the issue. Make it clear to him what IS allowed, and what is NOT; CORRECT him, on what is wrong, PRAISE/ENCOURAGE him, on what is right, in terms of your house and your rules, and I think things will greatly improve. These are very intelligent dogs who want to please; if you are consistent and clear, they will "get it," in most cases.

    You'll get there!

    Steve
    Last edited by steveandginger; 11-01-2011 at 12:01 PM.

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    blackandyellow is offline Senior Member
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    Lots of toys for him to chew and carry on his mouth.

    Part of his retrieving "heritage" is to carry things in his mouth, most labs love to have things in their mouths. Looks like he´s trying to get your attention by stealing forbidden things. Perhaps besides the morning walk he needs some time to play fetch also and wear out a bit more.

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    As Dan Says. Best advise is teach leave and when you can't supervise them crate.

    Ernie is 9 and still has the odd moment.If he does it for attention he will let you know he has it and stand a foot away. If you move then so does he. Depending on what I do or his mood he with either spit it out or crunch it.
    Hasn't crunched in a long time.
    No matter how much excersise, play or whatever Erns has been terrible. I adopted him at 3.5 so maybe if he had been trained as a pup he may not be as bad as he is.

    New sheepskin on his bed.This used to be a common sight going into the dog room. This was after an hour long walk.


    This is the most he does now.
    He has taken a cushion from the living room into the dog room.


    Each time I was in another room. Takes 5 seconds. I have lost ear rings, glasses, clothes, you name it, it is chewed. A behavourist shut him as she said this was the way to treat him. He ate a hole in the wall.

    Erns earned the "I can be alone" badge about 6 months ago.

    Gems is 5 and still can't. Tessa is new and seems o.k. Except when I went looking for my wallet and an hour later found she had it in her mouth. This is more of a need to put something in her mouth rather than chew.
    Last edited by kassabella; 11-01-2011 at 04:03 PM.

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