Labradors can be a very active breed that is known to be very destructive occasionally. There are a number of possible reasons for their destruction and there are a number of things that you can do about it.
So, why is your Labrador destroying everything?
There are a number of possible reasons why it could be happening.
The main ones are that it’s teething, boredom, separation anxiety, fear or it might be in its nature to be on the more destructive side.
The best way to diagnose the cause of its destruction will be to consider the time that it happens, if you’re around or not and the Labradors age.
How to stop your Labrador from destroying everything?
There are a number of possible options that you can try and the best will depend on the cause of its destruction.
Some options that you can try are giving it lots of exercise, doing lots of “leave it” training, crate training, doggy daycare and getting help from a certified dog behaviorist.
There are actually a number of reasons why your Labrador might be doing it and it could be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are also a number of things you can do about it.
Reasons Why Your Labrador Might Be Destructive
Below are a number of possible reasons why your Labrador might be doing it and what would make them more likely to be a main reason.
If your Labrador is a puppy that has just started teething then it’s likely that this is the cause of its destruction. This would be more likely if it has started being destructive suddenly and if it has started chewing on things a lot.
This stage can last for around 6 months so you’re going to need to be very understanding of your Labrador during this period.
To alleviate the destruction of things that you don’t want to be destroyed you should give it lots of things to chew and to follow the advice given in the next section below.
It might be tempting not to do anything since it should calm down once it stops teething but you shouldn’t do this. The best time to get your Labrador into good habits is while it’s still young. It’s easier to change the habits of a Labrador that’s a puppy than an adult Labrador. If you don’t take measures to stop its destructive behavior now then it might continue into adulthood.
Labradors are a breed that is meant to get exercise on a daily basis. When they do not get enough exercise it can cause them to behave abnormally and to start being destructive. A lack of exercise would be more likely to be the cause if it tends to be more destructive on days that it does not get exercise.
Generally, it is recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day as healthy adults.
The reason why it does it could be that it has some separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and being left alone causes it to become anxious. This would be more likely if it starts being anxious when you are leaving and if it is mostly destructive when you are away.
You can watch the video below for some tips on how to deal with its separation anxiety. This book on Amazon also shows you what you can do about it.
It could be that something happened in the past that has caused your Labrador to become fearful of something which could result in it becoming destructive. This type of destruction is more likely if it was adopted from a shelter.
You can try the advice given in the section given below to correct this type of destruction but you’ll often find that help from a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist in your area will go a long way.
It could just be that your particular Labrador is more destructive than others. This would be more likely if it has always behaved that way. To get this to stop you’re going to need to be patient and to be consistent with your training. If it’s not working then you could consider solving the issue when you’re not around by using doggy daycare or crate training.
How To Stop Your Labrador’s Destruction
Below are some things you can do to get your Labrador to be less destructive.
Train it to not be destructive
One option you have is to give it lots of positive reinforcement training. This is where you encourage the behaviors that you want to see by rewarding your Labrador when it shows signs of displaying them.
The training to stop your Labrador being destructive will be quite spontaneous since you’ll usually be doing it when it starts to destroy things. To train it you’ll need to keep treats that it likes handy. Then, when it starts to chew things, get its attention and then when it gives you its attention get it to sit or lay down then reward it with a treat. This teaches them to pay attention to you when they’re feeling impulsive rather than destroying things.
You can watch the video below to see how to reduce your Labrador’s destruction
It will take time to change their habits and to teach them what to chew and what not to so it’s important to be very patient.
Reduce its ability to destroy things
It would also help to reduce its ability to destroy things. Ways to do this would be to use dog fences to prevent it from entering certain parts of the house, to move things you don’t want destroyed and to leave your Labrador in an area where it won’t be able to destroy things when you’re away.
Do crate training
One way to make sure that your Labrador can’t destroy anything while you’re away would be to get them used to staying in a crate.
It’s important to get it used to going into the crate because it wants to and not because you’re forcing it to otherwise it won’t go well.
You can watch how to do crate training below
Use doggy daycare
Another option to make sure your Labrador can’t destroy anything would be to use doggy daycare. This option is good if your Labrador is older and doesn’t want to use the crate and it helps them to socialize with other dogs more.
Give lots of exercise
As mentioned above, Labradors are meant to get daily exercise. It would help to make sure that yours is able to get exercise on a daily basis if it is a healthy adult. Generally, it is recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day.
Have lots of toys
One way to get your Labrador to stop chewing on things that you don’t want it to is to have lots of toys around for it to chew instead.
Get help from a dog behaviorist
If you cannot get it to stop or you can’t figure out the cause, one option would be to get the help of a dog behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to see why it has been doing it and how to get it to stop.
Things to consider
When you’re training your Labrador to stop destroying things there are some things that you should keep in mind.
Try to avoid the spray products
The problem with using spray products is that they don’t teach it what not to chew. Instead, they simply make it choose not to chew the particular thing that you sprayed. What you want is to teach it the things that it can and can’t chew instead.
Avoid physically punishing
If you physically punish your dog when it destroys things you’ll be risking making it lose trust in you and it will become fearful. This can lead to other problems such as anxiety and often won’t stop it from being destructive.
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