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lab chewing the house contents

(18 Posts)
drowninginlaundry Tue 27-Sep-11 07:12:04

any ideas why and what I could do? our 1 year old black lab chews the back of car seats, bean bags, toys, she has just eaten a hole into a wall next to her bed, she has munched through sofa cushions and carpets. She ignores the chew toys we buy her. She gets walked every day off the lead, usually accompanied by a swim in the sea, she has a field behind our house where she can run at her leisure. She gets left in the house for 5 hours every day when I go to work in between school run, then she has our older lab for company. The chewing doesn't just happen during the day, but often at night as well as in I find stuff eaten in the morning. I'd be grateful for any advice!

LeoTheLateBloomer Tue 27-Sep-11 07:16:48

My labrador used to chew the kitchen table and skirting board. A few brushes of tobasco on the areas he'd already attacked seemed to do the trick, although I wouldn't recommend that on soft furnishings!

Has he only recently started this or has he always been a chewer?

drowninginlaundry Tue 27-Sep-11 07:28:16

she's always been a chewer, but we thought it was a puppy thing. I forgot about the tabasco trick, thanks will try that. There are so many holes everywhere in the house thought that I don't know where to start... open plan kitchen/living room so short of putting her in a crate for the night and when we are out, which I don't want to do, can't really stop her from getting at things.

saffronwblue Tue 27-Sep-11 12:22:09

Other trick on anything wooden is Vick's Vapour Rub.

TheReturnoftheSmartArse Tue 27-Sep-11 12:25:55

Apparently black pepper works too. I tried it yesterday, sprinkling it liberally in the hole he'd just dug in the garden to try to prevent him from digging down to the centre of the earth. It seemed to do the job, though he's now focussed on the pepper mill ... hmm

belindarose Tue 27-Sep-11 13:24:57

Do you have a particular objection to a crate? Our dog is younger, only 5 months, but perfectly happy in his crate when we can't supervise chewing. Has had one paperback so far, but even toddler's toys have been safe.

Elibean Tue 27-Sep-11 13:29:07

Oil of cloves, someone told me this morning. A few drops on all furniture legs etc....apparently Battersea told her to do it when she got her pup years ago, and it worked beautifully.

TheReturnoftheSmartArse Tue 27-Sep-11 14:29:16

Where on earth do you buy that, Elibean? I'm off to google!

DooinMeCleanin Tue 27-Sep-11 14:32:04

5 hours is a long time to a dog, even with another dog for company. She is probably bored. Do you do any training with her to give her mental stimulation? Could you stretch to a dog walker to come in halfway through and give them a quick walk?

drowninginlaundry Tue 27-Sep-11 15:35:24

thank you for your advice, vicks vapo rub, pepper and oil of cloves all sound like they could work. I'll be busy this evening applying them liberally smile

off to take them to the beach now...

Elibean Tue 27-Sep-11 16:01:19

Apparently the local chemist smile

I do agree that 5 hours is a long time, I think 4 is probably the max my old dog would have coped with even in midlife/old age.

DooinMeCleanin Tue 27-Sep-11 16:05:02

I leave mine for two hours and come home to find they've teamed up and managed to open the bathroom and raid the bin that I have hidden in the bath (the terrier can open the door, the Grey can reach inside the bath <sigh>).

I dread to think of the damage they could cause in five hours. Mine are just greedy though. The two sighthounds are too lazy to need mental stimualtion and the Terrier is a pain in the arse, but does get short clicker training sessions and games throughout the day.

YNK Tue 27-Sep-11 16:08:51

I got a spray called 'No Chew' by Naf (nearly £7). Accidentaly left it in the dogs reach and came home to find it well chewed and the contents gone.

notmeagain Tue 27-Sep-11 16:29:55

Ummm 5 hours is way too long to leave a dog regularly and that is the reason she is chewing.

Chewing is a great way for dogs to relax if they are stressed or bored.

Never tell a dog off for chewing unless you actually catch them in the act - then just say a gentle no remove the item and give them the correct item to chew.

If you do tell them off when you get home for something they have chewed earlier they will just equate your coming home with being told off and this will increase the stress levels even more and hence more chewing.

I would not recommend using any of the above methods eg sprays definitely not the vick that is just cruel.

Getting a dog walker to let the dog out in the day would help but I guess a habit has now been formed so you will have to ensure that the dog is in a safe area with only things around it that she can chew. Maybe introduce a crate BUT not if you are going to leave for 5 hours.

I think you need to look at the complete day for your dog and make major changes to help her with this behaviour.

drowninginlaundry Tue 27-Sep-11 18:38:51

so the chewing at night time, are we not supposed to sleep or should we set our alarm to stimulate our labrador, say, 3am?

belindarose Tue 27-Sep-11 19:05:41

I think the suggestions are trying to help...

Onlyaphase Tue 27-Sep-11 19:13:29

Our labs chewed everything in the house when they were young, and it started to wear off at about 15 months, and by 18 months they were safe to leave anywhere in the house. It is a boredom thing but mainly habit as well - they would chew anything left near their mouths even if we were sitting right next to them. Someone described it perfectly to me as labradors have "itchy teeth" and so they need something to chew on.

We tried the sprays etc in a rather half hearted fashion, but found it impossible to spray everything, each day, that they might think of chewing. We lost a fair amount of furniture this way - this was 10 years ago, before crates were mainstream.

For me, I think leaving your freshly-walked young lab in a big comfy crate, with a kong full of peanut butter and a rawhide chew, for 5 hours is fine. Opinions as always will differ on this, and ideally, someone could pop in and spend some time with them in this 5 hour period. But, I'd suggest you get through this in the best way you can.

notmeagain Tue 27-Sep-11 21:08:33

"chewing at night" - you could get up and play with her if you likegrin but it would be better to do so in the day and tire her out. But what you are creating from leaving him so long in the day is separation anxiety which means that at night on his own his is becoming stressed.

Why is he awake at 3.00am? Most dogs if happily stimulated and exercised especially a lab would be crashed out for a good 10 hours each night. However a crate would certainly stop the night time chewing as already suggested

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