So you’re back home from a day out, and as soon as you open the door, you freeze; as a hurricane has passed by your house, you see: clothes pulled off the clothesline, plastic bags are torn and thrown all around, and handles have been chewed – all by you fluffy four-pawed Labrador. There are several causes for this destruction, and here’s what to do about it.
So, are Labradors Destructive? Labradors can be massively destructive; this may be due to their high energy levels, teething, wrongful ways of playing, fear, or even separation anxiety. To prevent your Lab from becoming destructive, make sure they get at least 40 minutes of exercise on a daily basis.
Carry on reading to know all the reasons behind your Labrador’s destructive behavior and solutions that work.
Are labradors destructive?
Yes, Labradors can be destructive, even if the word sounds too aggressive for these fluffy, playful creatures, but it is true. It’s true for any dog breed, actually, but it’s especially true for energetic, large dogs like Labrador retrievers. For more proof, go watch Marley and me. They were not exaggerating in this movie, Labradors really can be that destructive.
It can happen for so many reasons, including some that they should not be blamed for alone.
Reasons Why Your Labrador Is Destructive
Reasons may vary, but here’s why you Labrador is doing significant damage:
High Energy Levels
Labradors are an extremely active breed with great energy pent up inside them; they might do it destructively to release this energy.
You know that destroying things around your house is no joke, but do they? Labradors are playful by nature and always in for some playtime, so while they are ruining your favorite pair of shoes, they might be thinking, “I’m only playing around; I mean no harm.”
For the six months of the teething stage, your Labrador will become abruptly disruptive and begin chewing on items excessively.
So you’ll need to be patient with your puppy at this time, as it’s only doing that to relieve its discomfort.
Little physical activity
This one is on the owners; before getting a labrador, you need to know that this breed is one that needs daily physical Exercise to release energy, so the more you stay indoors, the more likely your Labrador will adopt destruction as a way out.
Do you find yourself leaving your Labrador alone for a long time? Labradors may keep themselves busy ruining things instead of dying of boredom.
Your Labrador being destructive may be due to feeling anxious whenever left alone; you will notice that the damage is more severe when you’re away than when you’re home with your dog.
Is your Labrador a rescue puppy? Did you adopt it from a shelter? Past experiences may impact dogs, which makes them fearful, and they find themselves only able to express that by destroying their surroundings.
Dog aggression is a widely current issue; Some dogs tend to have violent behavior that needs to be handled by training and behavior management.
Destruction can at times be a result of pain; If your dog is experiencing aches of any kind, it is common he may become irritable and snappy. In addition to that, if your dog is getting older, losing his sight or hearing, he may be often startled and snap at what caught him off guard.
You can also learn why some golden retrievers are destructive here.
7 Solutions to calm down your destructive Labrador
You can always do some damage control and save yourself the hassle, and I’ve got just the solutions you need.
Crate when alone
Suppose you are leaving for a little while. In that case, it’s best to leave your dog in his crate and not to wander around the house with many possibilities of damage flashing before his eyes – make sure you don’t crate it for too long, though, not to develop a negative perception about being crated.
Daily Exercise and physical activity
Since it is the most common that destruction comes from pent-up energy that your Labrador needs to release, make sure your dog gets daily exercise (at least one hour a day).
Chews & Toys
Labradors are “mouthy” dogs – most of the damage they do comes from chewing up surrounding things, so keep their mouths busy with anything to nibble and bite on, especially if they are still teething.
I have many excellent recommendations for chew toys in my guide to the best dog toys for retrievers here which you should definitely check out.
If there’s no specific cause for this behavior, maybe all your dog needs are a bit of discipline.
You can train your dog not to destroy things through positive reinforcement or seek a professional behaviorist.
Keep him confined
Put yourself in your dog’s place. If you’re left alone with loads of things in reach, wouldn’t you think, “why not?”. If you want to minimize damage, I advise you to use fences, gates or keep your Labrador confined in a dog-safe zone at your house.
If your daily routine forces you to leave your Labrador for a long time, it’s best you resort to daycare – this will keep your dog busy and playing all day long with no excess energy to ruin things at home.
Keep your precious things away.
Your Labrador will not seek things to destroy; the damage done will mainly include items in front of his eyes, do if there are certain valuable things, and keep them out of sight.
When should you get professional help?
When there’s more to the damage than usual, abnormal behaviors are often backed by psychological issues, too violent actions are not part of their inherent tendencies.
You can aid in treating these issues, yet; you will want expert assistance from a dog behaviorist or your vet to identify the source of the problem and treat your dog.
How do I stop my Labrador from destroying things?
You can stop your Labrador from destroying things by identifying the reason behind the destruction and solving it. It’s best to keep your dog busy, integrate lots of daily physical activities, try crate training and behavioral training, resort to daycare if you tend to leave your dog a lot.
At what age are labs most destructive?
Labradors are most destructive between the age of 8 to 12 months. This is the stage in which they are growing out of their puppy phase and experiencing loads of changes; it’s best to keep them under the supervision and integrate lots of training to keep them disciplined
How do I calm down my hyper Labrador?
You can calm down your hyper Labrador through slow and steady walks, using time out if you are indoors, placing your lab in the crate for a couple of minutes until it calms down, reward him regularly for being calm.
For more ideas and solutions, you can check out my guide to calm down a golden retriever here and follow the same instructions, they will work just as well for Labradors as they do for Goldens.
You are not alone if you are left with picking up the pieces after your dog destroyed almost everything around him, but it is something solvable and easy to handle with the proper steps and solutions.
The Everything Labrador Retriever Book: A Complete Guide to Raising, Training, and Caring for Your Lab – by Kim Campbell Thornton (A Great read for any Labrador owner, and you can check it on amazon here)
Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources
- Want the best diet for your dog? Check out the best and healthiest foods for golden retrievers at every age here – Dry, Wet, Homemade Recipes, and Treats!
- Looking for new toys? These toys will prove to be fun, engaging, and will stand their heavy chewing.
- Make them look GLAMOROUS with the best shampoos and conditioners and the best brushes here.
- Taking a walk? These are the best leashes, collars, and harnesses for the buck that you can find.
- Find my list of recommendations here.