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Categories: Puppy Biting/Chewing

Q. My 80 lb Labradoodle puppy chews and eats any items he can find, including his harness. I want to train him to be a service dog, but I need a chew proof harness. I’ll buy whatever you suggest. Thanks.

I have an 8 month old 80 pound labradoodle. He is intended to become my service dog, but for 4 of his 8 months I have pretty much been unable to train him in any manner that requires physical interaction on my part. Yes, he can be out of control, but in general he prefers the attention I give him and behaves himself. He is very energetic and hunts out all possible items he can chew, then literally eats whatever he may find. This includes his harness!!

Simon has chewed through 3 harnesses while wearing them. I do leave the harness on him except at night. When he is crated he destroys his harness. I am at my wits end since I cannot control him in any way except to grab the harness on his back to get his attention; I am unable to exert any force to get his attention so I calm him down verbally. This action has slowed my healing process from a cervical spine fusion surgery 5 weeks ago.

Simon does respond better when wearing a harness and seems to respect it (as long as he is in my line of vision). When out of sight he chews through the harness in under 5 minutes ? the straps on the chest are destroyed! He seems to be especially annoyed by buckles on his chest, belly, and near or under his front legs.

Can you recommend a harness that he cannot chew through? I need one that will attach to a car seat restraint, make it possible for me to grab it for balance and control, and will not rub and agitate his body. I have not tried leather due to the great financial loss I will incur if he chews it up, but I will buy what you recommend.

Thank you very much for taking the time to offer advise. I truly appreciate it!


A. I’m sorry but there isn’t any harness I can recommend that is chew proof.

In situations like this, prevention is the only way to keep a harness intact. Don’t leave him unattended or unsupervised with a harness. The more he practices this behavior, the more likely it will become a lifelong habit.

If he’s looking for items to chew and eat, then he’s not being given enough structure and supervision. My 8 month old dogs are not given this kind of freedom, no matter whether they are family pets or working dog prospects.

I’d recommend training him in basic house rules and obedience commands before worrying about specialized training with a harness. Only put the harness on when he’s otherwise occupied. Set yourself up for success.

I’d recommend making sure he’s getting enough physical and mental exercise, a tired puppy is less likely to be destructive.

Become a student of marker training: I would read our article on training dogs with Markers.

I’d also recommend

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers
The Power of Training Dogs with Food

For future questions, you might benefit from learning to use our SEARCH function, which is located in the top left corner of every page of the website. If you type in your key words or question it will find you articles, Q & A’s, free streaming video and links to threads on our discussion forum. Our website has over 16,000 pages and it’s very likely you’ll find the information you are looking for. I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes
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