This will definitely catch your attention but my dogs or any dog I train are not allowed to be left alone with toys. This is a huge NO for me. There are a few different reasons for this but the main one is I have seen too many customer dogs pass away from blockages from toys. My dogs and any dog I train are allowed to have a toy only when we are retrieving. I want the dogs to have rules with their toys just like any other game would have rules. I will give the dogs something to chew on a few times a week but ONLY when they are with me. If I were to leave the dog with the toy to chew on all day then essentially I am teaching the dog when they are bored to lay around and chew on things. Dogs are extremely smart but not smart enough to know the difference between your shoes, couch, baseboards, etc. from a toy. I always compare dogs to children and ask my customers if they would let their kids play video games all day long? Hopefully the answer to this question would be no. Dogs thrive on structure and rules just like humans.
Labs especially have a TERRIBLE name for being chewers and this is simply because they are taught to chew on things when they are bored. When my dogs are bored, they know to lay down and hang out. They know we will go play in a little bit but they don’t need to be doing something 24-7. It is human nature that tells us we need to occupy them all the time. Just like children, dogs need to learn to just sit still and be calm.
I often hear people telling me their dog was chewing on something so they gave them a toy to chew instead. Giving them a toy pretty much just rewarded your dog for chewing on something. I like to compare dogs to kids and this isn’t what we would do (hopefully) if we caught little Jimmy setting our house on fire. We wouldn’t give him a brand new Xbox because he was bored and wanted to play with fire would we?
I am not trying to scare you with this post but instead save dogs lives. Some of the best dogs I have had the pleasure of knowing have passed away to soon from a blockage that could of been prevented. Please be sure to supervise your dogs when giving them toys.