How Can I Stop My Dog From Chewing Everything?

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Question
I have a lab mix and he will be one year old in February. He is chewing everything he sees. We buy dog bones, toys, chews, biscuits and he will literally chew it up. We bought a picnic table and he has chewed it up. He chews the wires on the house and our son’s toys. On Monday he chewed the pull-rope on our mower and tried taking my cell phone. Anything we buy, he chews it up and then he has no toys, leaving Otis without anything to play with. Can you help?
Terry’s answer
I can help you, but it is going to take a big effort from every member of the family. An almost year old lab is a chewing machine. He is also at the age that he may be chewing more because he is getting his adult teeth. There are several things you can do to make your life easier. More exercise for him is the best medicine. If there is a dog park in your area, take advantage of the running space it provides. If not, nice long walks will help tire him out.
Search in your area for a good basic obedience class to take him to. The practice for class will help tire him out, as well as help him have good manners. Keep watching for the toys that say they are for heavy chewers, KONGS (the black ones are for heavy chewers) filled with something yummy, and frozen can keep him occupied also. If he is not yet trustworthy in your house because of cords, phones, shoes, and such, investigate getting him a crate where he and your belongings can be safe when you can’t watch him for awhile.
Lastly, I would say it’s a big wake up call to keep the human toys and shoes picked up and put away. He will most likely outgrow most of this, but, being a lab, he may always have the urge to put things in his mouth – it’s what they were bred to do. His urge to tear up things should lessen with time. And the more activities you include him in, the better your bond with him will be. Then you can just sit back and laugh at his goofy lab antics and not worry about him getting into trouble.
Terry Meeks is a dog trainer, APDT Member an CGC Evaluator in Pinellas County, Florida.  Find Four on the Floor Dog Training at FourontheFloor-Dogtraining.com and on Facebook.
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