Everyone knows that puppies are notorious for chewing on things they shouldn’t. However, not a lot of people know that some Labrador Retrievers never grow out of such a phase. Labs were bred to be hunters and as such, they feel the need to have something in their mouths at all times. It is up to the Lab or puppy owner to teach these dogs what is and what is not alright to put in their mouths.
During the training period, it is important that the pup’s home and habitat be free from anything you don’t want Lab drool on, don’t have to have destroyed, or want to protect your Lab from eating. Here are some precautions to make sure your home and surrounding area are Lab and puppy safe.
Pick up, put away, secure, hide or keep the dog away from or out of reach of:
- Small pets (hampsters, gerbils, fish tanks, etc.)
- Houseplants (see Poisonous Plants)
- Children’s toys
- Crayons, pens, pencils, paper clips, pins, tacks, staples
- Paper shredder
- Books, magazines, mail, newspapers, important documents
- Money, paper or coin, checks
- Electrical cords or wires
- Telephone cords, computer cables
- Drawstrings from drapes or blinds
- Clothing items
- Television and other remote controls, VCR tapes, DVDs, CDs
- Kick-knacks, figurines, collectibles
- Firewood or fireplace debris
- Throw rugs or bathmats
- Candles, potpourri, air fresheners
- Food, candy dishes, food crumbs, bones (see Toxic Foods)
- Ovens, cooktops, hot pans
- Alcoholic beverages
- Trash compactor, garbage, trash cans, bags
- Paper towels, napkins, tissues, toilet paper
- Bed and bath linens
- Clothing, gloves, hats, shoes, dirty laundry
- Jewelry, combs, toothbrushes, hair ribbons, pins
- Medication, drugs, toiletries, cosmetics
- Cleaning items, rags, sponges, household chemicals, detergents
- Sporting equipment, hunting or fishing gear, craft-working items
- Tools, nails, string, fasteners, glue
Remember that any place in or around your house could be hazardous to your Labrador. Make sure to install baby gates when needed to keep them out of those rooms with too many hazardous materials. Check yard fencing for weak or broken areas, keep pup away from swimming pools unless otherwise attended, don’t use fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides on the ground your Lab pup plays on or goes potty, and always watch your Lab while outdoors to ensure that it hasn’t gotten into something that you have forgotten or missed. If you can’t watch your pup, please keep it somewhere safe or use crate training.
Labrador Retrievers are great for finding things you don’t want them to so beat them to it! If you aren’t careful, you could end up with a very sick pup, like we did. We still don’t know where our Cheyenne found a glass reflector and when she would have ever had the opportunity to eat it. Alas, she did and became deathly ill. It was a $1,000 vet bill and almost losing our Lab pup to prove to us that the Lab is truly a smart dog breed and very keen to getting into things when we least expect it.
Once all areas have been made as safe as possible, it is time to begin mouthing training. Sure, it is a good deal of work and a slight adjustment where items are stored but, in the long run, the well behaved and safe Lab you get in the end is well worth it!