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Almost every owner experiences their Lab having behavior problems at one stage or another in their lives.
And it’s a sad fact that many dogs finding themselves in animal shelters are placed there owners claiming behavior problems as one of the main reasons for giving up their dog.
But what are behavior problems? There are actually two kinds.
Firstly there are genuinely abnormal behaviors that are true behavior problems.
Secondly and quite sadly, often what people call behavior problems are just natural behaviors for a dog.
The problem isn’t with the dogs behavior but with the owners unrealistic expectations instead. And, quite often, simply a lack of structure and training
Many Labrador Behavior Problems Are In Fact Just Normal Behaviors
Something every owner should keep in mind is that many unwanted behaviors from their point of view are perfectly natural and normal behaviors for a Lab.
Barking when people approach, eating poop, digging in soil, growling when feeling threatened, chasing small animals, peeing to mark their territory, these are all perfectly normal behaviors but most of us simply do not want to see them from our dogs. So we call them behavior problems.
But the real problem is that owners just don’t know or fail to remember what it actually means to be a dog and what the natural instincts, drives and behaviors are for a Labrador, the breed of dog they’ve chosen.
It’s simply wrong to get a Labrador, an athletic sporting breed and then be shocked when they become hyperactive and restless if they aren’t exercised enough.
It’s simply wrong to get a Labrador, a retrieving breed and then be shocked when you find they’re very mouthy and love to carry objects in their mouths and tend to chew.
It’s simply wrong to get a Labrador, where loyalty, sociability and companionship are sought after traits bred into the breed, and then be shocked when they develop behavior problems if socially isolated and kept alone.
Part of being a responsible and caring owner is having knowledge of your dogs breed and tendencies, providing activities and outlets to satisfy their natural urges and drives.
Instead of calling many behaviors a problem, it’s a duty to know they’re natural and provide alternative and more acceptable behaviors, train your dog to know how you want them to behave but still find ways to satisfy their needs.
Some Behavior Problems Are Abnormal Behavior And Are True Problems
When a dog starts behaving in ways outside of normal canine behavior, this is the true definition of a behavior problem.
Behaviors such as self-harming, being very destructive, aggressive to everybody around them, going to toilet anywhere around the home, compulsive and obsessive behaviors, these are true behavior problems that signal true problems that need to be addressed.
Some dogs may also become very quiet and withdrawn, suppress their natural behaviors, become inactive and sleep all day or hide away from people all the time. Basically showing common signs of depression.
These too are true behavior problems, not normal for a dog and equally as important and worrying as any of the other behavior problems listed above.
Some people may be happy with a quiet dog that sleeps all the time and mostly keeps out of the way.
But for Labradors that are a very active and social breed, this is not normal behavior.
It signifies problems in the dog’s life. Being withdrawn and inactive is a behavior problem but many people may not recognize it as such.
Why Do Behavior Problems Develop In The First Place?
Like humans, all dogs are individuals with different genetics, personalities and life experiences that all go toward shaping how a dog is and behaves.
This means we cannot over generalize and give a one-size-fits-all reason for why a dog behaves the way it does. But there are some well known common causes of behavior problems developing in dogs.
Usually the problem is a symptom of something being wrong or missing in the dog’s life and the behavior is the way they try to cope.
Some possible causes of Labrador behavior problems are as follows:
- Poor health, pain or illness
- Fear or being scared of something or someone in their environment
- Inadequate socialization when they were a puppy
- Feeling socially isolated
- Lack of exercise
- Lack of mental stimulation
- Genetic, hereditary issues
- Sudden changes in diet
- Sudden changes in daily routine
- Being inconsistent with the rules you place on them
- Lack of comfort (quiet time, a nice place to rest)
- Inconsistent or lack of sleep
But perhaps the biggest reason is simply a misunderstanding or lack of understanding of what natural dog behaviors are and not providing outlets for their natural urges and desires.
The Role Of Dogs Has Changed In Life But Their Genetics And Needs Have Not!
One of the biggest causes of Labrador behavior problems is that as humans lives have changed, the role that dogs play within them have changed too.
It used to be that Labs had jobs, a specific purpose in life. But today they’re mostly just kept as pets.
Where Labradors had specialized jobs they were bred for and genetically, physically and mentally suited to, they now just sit at home with a family looking forward to the occasional walk and perhaps a bit of mental stimulation through play and training.
Most Labs are bored, with unfulfilled lives and this is one of the major causes of bad behavior!
Labradors are a sporting breed, made for life outside traveling great distances, running, jumping and swimming through tough terrain, working with and retrieving for their owners.
Their lives will have been filled with regular, mentally stimulating training and long hard days of doing meaningful work.
In today’s world living largely as pets, many Labradors are mentally and physically under-stimulated with their strong drives and urges left unsatisfied.
And bored dogs often develop behavioral problems and find outlets for their unused energy and unoccupied minds in the only ways that dogs can. Things that we usually term ‘behavior problems.’
What Kind Of Behavior Problems Do Labradors Develop?
There are dozens and dozens of behavior problems seen in dogs, here’s a short list of the most commonly reported in Labs:
- Defecating and urinating in the home
- Destructive chewing
- Mouthing and biting
- Excessive barking
- Resource guarding (aggression over food or toys)
- Jumping up on people
- Pulling on the leash
- Separation anxiety
- Aggression (towards people, other animals)
- Sadness, depression and being withdrawn
…to name just the most common few!
As previously stated, many of these are perfectly normal behaviors but unwanted when living with a human family.
For these, understanding, training and providing satisfaction through alternative behaviors is what’s needed.
But some are real psychological or pathological problems that need to be properly researched and skillfully addressed, most likely by a vet or professional behaviorist.
But regardless of what the behavior really is, natural or a true problem, if a dogs human family doesn’t like the behavior then it needs to be corrected to find balance and happiness in the dog and owners life together.
What Should You Do If Your Labrador Has Behavior Problems?
Of course for the happiness of both you and your Lab you’ll want to deal with the issue.
But because of the many different causes of behavior problems, the fact every dog and their histories are unique and each dog will be living in a unique environment there’s no single answer or piece of advice can be given to fix all behaviors for all dogs.
If the behavior problem is just one of normal canine behavior such as digging, barking, chasing small animals or pulling on the leash, natural behaviors but that are unacceptable or unwanted by an owner, then training alternative and acceptable behaviors in their place is the answer.
This still takes knowledge of the particular cause and motivation of the behavior, knowledge and skill to choose and train an alternative behavior and patience and dedication to see the solution through.
But these types of problems are solvable by the average owner and solutions for these problems will soon be appearing on this site.
However for true behavior problems, meaning ‘abnormal behaviors’ such as excessive fear, anxiety, aggression or obsessive compulsive behaviors, very specific advice taking into account the very specific circumstances of your individual dog will need to be given.
The sort of advice that can only really be given and be correct if offered by a qualified and knowledgeable professional.
The first step is to see a vet to either identify or rule out any physical or pathological problems, and then be referred to a certified and reputable behavioral specialist.
Some problems, particularly aggression or anxiety related, can rarely be tackled by a novice alone as there’s a very real danger that with the wrong approach, things could be made worse.
Many cases require a unique approach for which the only advice that can really be given is to seek professional help.
This article was merely an introduction to Labrador behavior problems, offering a definition of what they are, listing some common causes and quite importantly showing that often, behavior problems are in fact just natural behaviors that need managing, not really ‘behavior problems’ at all.
We have to remember that Labradors were bred for a particular job and come with hard-wired instinctive and driven behaviors that we developed in them through many generations of selective breeding.
Labs have needs and desires that have to be satisfied. They have traits and behaviors so deeply genetically ingrained that you simply cannot eliminate them.
Although in most cases you can train alternative more acceptable behaviors.
There are of course also more severe and worrying behavior problems, stemming from either pathological or deep-seated psychological issues.
But these days behaviorists and the scientific community have such great understanding of dogs that it’s rare when a behavior problem cannot be solved.
With understanding, patience, dedication, a caring attitude and a carefully planned scientific approach, almost all problems can be overcome or at least successfully managed.
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if I have a lab and I keep him in the house, for 1-2 years, and after that I want him to sleep outside the house, will behaviour problems occur? Are labs dogs able to sleep outside? what about in the winter time? Thank you!
It will probably be very hard for your Labrador to start sleeping outside after sleeping inside for so long. More than likely he will bark, whine and howl, trying to get your attention and crying to come back in. Also when a dog is outside at night and not used to it, there are so many more sounds they become acutely aware of that they aren’t used to hearing that can send them off barking: Nocturnal wildlife like badgers, coyotes, bats, etc. Also other dogs barking and howling may set them off. So there’s a high chance your Lab will bark a hell of a lot at night so yes, behaviour problems may occur.
I should also say that Labradors are one of the most social breed of dogs and crave being near their family, they really do want to be inside dogs unless out working during the day. So sleeping inside for so long and then being pushed outside will be very hard to accept for these reasons. They want to be near their family.
Having said this though, many owners do sleep their dogs outside, and a few lab owners do too. It can be done successfully but I think you’re Lab will find it hard now.
If you’re going to try it, you need to have a decent kennel, raised so the cold and wet doesn’t creep onto the kennel floor, with decent, insulating bedding, with the Kennel out of and away from any wind and drafts.
If you’re going to try and kennel him outside during winter, then the kennel needs to be big enough for him to stand, turn around and lay down in with paws stretched so it isn’t too small, but any bigger than this and it will not hold his body heat. You can also get ‘wind-flaps’ to cover the entrance.
Your lab has a double coat which keeps them well-insulated, also they grow a winter coat which is warmer and protects them in winter. Labs can stand the cold, they were bred for hunting in icy waters. BUT, they aren’t impervious to the cold. Cold can exacerbate and make worse many ailments and health issues, particularly any joint problems which Labs are prone to. And no dog should be left outside if the weather really does get freezing. Not many dogs can stand truly bitter cold, and no dog should be asked to. If it gets very cold, please bring him in. It’s not fair and I’m sure you got a dog to love and care for so I’m sure you wouldn’t want your family member to be outside in freezing weather?
Personally I would prefer any dog to be allowed to sleep inside. Labs particularly as they aren’t really a breed to kept away from their family. But it can be done, and many people do. Particularly those with large numbers where keeping them inside just wouldn’t be practical.
Get the book “The loved Dog by Tamar Geller” on Amazon. It addresses all dog behaviors without causing trauma to your animals. After using the book to prevent jumping it took 3 times and it was addressed. Hope this helps.
Our problem is if he doesn’t get what he wants (attention…treats….food) he chews up anything. Appears to be jealous.but after a while he settles down. We have a chocolate lab and he is very fond of kids and family.
My lab is two years old and of course loves to swim. At our lake, he will now go to one spot and swim in circles to the point of exhaustion if we let him. Has anyone else experienced behavior such as this?
Thanks Marcy, I will invest in the book. I rescued a few weeks old tiny mutt a couple of years ago, having no idea who he would become. I’m embarrassed to say how costly his puppyhood has been to my home and yard. He’s grown to resemble a lab, mostly.
I’m a senior who doesn’t have the energy to play with him but am committed to taking him to the dog park more often.
We’re totally imprinted on each other. He’s grown to be a big, happy boy who still wants to play tug a war and jump on me. He is too strong and could knock me down so I have to get rid of that behavior.
Thanks for your suggestipn.
My lab is 6 months old and always bored. We can walk and play for hours but it is never enough. But we are gone at work 8 hours a day and have to compensate for that time. Winter doesn’t help with our training. We will not give up!!!
We have a 5 year old intact male, Jerry, who lives with his mum, Rosie , now 12 years old & until 2 years ago his dad who sadly passed. Since Bob (dad) passed he has become increasingly dominant & when out walking aggressive towards other dogs. This has resulted in me muzzling him although he is not in any way aggressive towards people & a real softy at home. We are wondering whether castration might help reduce his aggression/anxiety. Any advice would be welcomed
I have a similar situation with my recently rehomed 6 year old lab who is aggressive to other dogs but wonderful with people. Would you mind sharing any help /ideas you get. PLEASE.
You should never require your dogs to sleep outside especially in the winter time unless you have a specialty kennel built for them which is temperature controlled it would be cruelty in the extreme just because they have for coats doesn’t mean they don’t get cold just as we do also your dog is a member of your family you are your dogs pack members isolating him in such a way would be terribly mentally stressful for him. There are some people who keep kennels of hunting or working dogs and the like and those kennels are external structures but they are built to withstand whatever temperatures or weather or existing in the area you shouldn’t make such a dramatic change in your dogs life and expect that their behavior will remain the same
I got my chocolate lab at 9months and he hates to get wet, won’t take a bath and hates being brushed. He runs away. Twists and turns his body. He becomes frantically scared and I have stopped trying. But he sheds like crazy and stinks. Help?
Licking mat and peanut butter do great job for my six months old lab during bath and brush!
Hi, I went to take out my 1 year old lab out for his usual walk this morning we got about 100 yards then suddenly he stopped looked worried and turned back to go home this is very unlike him, I tried a bit later he seemed excited but again he turned to come home.
We have a 12 week old Shitzu he loves her but she can not come out on the lead yet.
My lab does not like loud noises like thunder lorries either.
Has anyone got any suggestions or advice.
Thunder-phobia and fear of loud noises is seen fairly often, and there are ways to treat this by desensitizing them with the sound over time and for your dogs peace of mind and overall enjoyment of life I would recommend taking steps to solve the problem. For a very good and detailed article on this, please see the following article:
‘Fear of Noises‘: From the ASPCA.
Regarding stopping and turning back on walks, could this be down to a noise? Although thunder and loud sounds are the common culprits, some dogs are sensitive to and scared of high pitched sounds too. Or have you been able to notice anything that could be making him fearful and scared at the point it occurs? Notice any strange noises, or something in nearby bushes, anything approaching? Have you tried walking an alternate route and seeing if the same thing occurs? Is it a sudden thing or does the effect creep up slowly? Is it always in the same spot? These things may help to identify a trigger.
Anyway Liz, the first thing I would do is speak to a vet to have a physical check up because it sounds to me from your description that at 1 year old he has very suddenly started this behavior, it has come on from nowhere. So it’s worth ruling out any physical cause of this very abrupt behavior change.
Then I think it would be worth speaking to a knowledgeable dog behaviorist who your vet should be able to refer you to so he can actually see what is going on and be able to make a full and accurate assessment. I have to admit I would only be guessing and I’d say this kind of behavioral problem needs the personal touch of somebody experienced and expert seeing, diagnosing and recommending action to take.
I hope you can get this sorted, let us know how you get on.
Does anybody else reading this have any words of advice for Liz??
Hi liz”.my name is Roy and i also have a lab. Her name is Ayla and she just turn 2. She loves chasing squirrels, geese, ducks ,anything related to exercise. I experience the same situation as well. So i decided to change the route every day. we take a different way to the park. Never the same boring street.
hi i have always had a dog in my life and they have been Jack Russells, Westie, German Shepard and Border collie i had to say goodbye to my last lad on the 31st of December 2013 since then i thought long and hard on weather to get another and the breed i have been thinking of is a Chocolate Lab.
Yesterday i became the proud owner of Ollie he is 6 months old i wasn’t sure if this was the right thing to do but i went ahead all the same, he came here in beautiful condition the training is very basic tho and wot i found incredible he showered me with love and attention and never gave his owner a second thought Is that normal ? or was he not happy there ?I do have a bit of work to do with him and i intend to clicker train him and as you said in your write up he pulls like crazy on the lead i am greatfull in some aspects he pulls me back up the hill and he is very tactile with his mouth witch i found strange but i now know that is normal for a lab im off to buy him lots of toys because all he came with was on.
he also craves my attension all the time is that because he never had much in his last home ?or is this his way of saying he has accepted me i look forward to hearing from you
Everything sounds completely normal to me. It’s likely that he’s not forgotten his previous owner, just he’s now happy with you. One doesn’t affect the other. Dogs are very robust creatures and can learn to love a great number of people, especially those they are close to and spend time with every day. I love more than one person (girlfriend, mother, friends, and so on) and dogs can do that too :-)
A friend of mine adopted a 3yo bitch Lab called Mollie a few months back. She was bought to be trained as a gun dog, but the owner pretty much abandoned the idea when he ran into health problems, then decided as he couldn’t provide enough exercise he should find her a new home. Mollie absolutely loves it in her new home, with her new mum, 2x 11yo children, another Lab as a friend etc. She couldn’t look or be happier. But when she sees her previous owner she goes absolutely nuts with excitement to say hello! She’s happy where she is, but hasn’t forgotten him. She’s just happy and knows she has it good where she is!
So everything sounds good to me. Well done for giving Ollie a nice loving home and enjoy your time together :-)
Many thanks for your reply he is a lovely lad i was told out of the lab family that chocolate’s where the daftest is that true ? wot i do have to contend with is he craves my attention 24/7 its not a problem but i do need to do other things as i am trying to write this he is mouthing my hands can you please explain why he does it please. I have started clicker training with him and he has caught on very quickly that the green clicker means a treat the last owner did do a little training with him he knows the sit and sit and wait for me to feed him and to wait until tell him he can eat. Ive taught him to give the paw a bit more work to do with that and he will fetch and to give it to me with the command leave a bit of work to do there he has to think about giving it to me lol he is not sure if he wants me to have his treasured toy, and he is forever grabing my hands wanting to playing tug of war but like all dogs it doest matter how long the rope is they always inch they way up to your hand im bruied big time lol, he also grabs my hands alot can you tell me could you tell me why he does that please, you cant believe how long it has taken to type this i look forward to reading your answer kind regards Denise
There’s rumor and cliche that they’re their harder to train and less intelligent, and that’s because they were for a while bred just for color without much thought on aptitude for work. I touch on the subject here: Chocolate Labrador Retriever, but don’t worry, it’s not really true these days (if it ever was) and chocolate labs can be just as smart, clever and hardworking as all other labs.
A 6 month old, and especially a Lab puppy will be very demanding of your time, yes. They are a highly sociable breed, and an energetic breed. They love to be near and with their family always. This just equals a lot of love to give :-) If you really must have down time and to be able to get on with things where you cannot supervise him, you should have a confinement area where you can close him into a small secure room. For example with baby gates / pet barrier across your kitchen door. You can also practice crate training, this is very advisable: Everything on crate training is explained in this guide.
Regarding the mouthing, again this is quite normal, especially for Labs who were bred to be retrievers and hence a very ‘mouthy’ breed.
You need to actively train bite inhibition, and finally a ‘no teeth on skin’ rule. I have nothing written on this just yet so I’ve found a good description of the process for you here: Bite Inhibition Training
Hope this helps!
Hi, I have a male lab. 1 Year and 9 months old. he is very agressive. stubborn and attack my family members. sometimes he pee in home. Chewing clothes and shoes eating polythene plastics and papers.. Chewing clothes and aggressiveness are main problems. What should I do
You should seek help from a qualified and knowledgeable professional. See your vet first then if specialized help is necessary they would refer you to a certified and reputable behavioral specialist. Some problems, particularly aggression or anxiety related, can rarely be tackled by a novice alone as there’s a very real danger that with the wrong approach, things could be made worse.
We got a yellow female as a pup from a breeder a year ago. We have had 3 previous Labs. This one is driving us crazy!! She mouths, eats dead mice the cats leave,is completely stubborn, jumps on us to the point of hurting, cannot be let out of her crate at night or let around company- believe me we’ve tried!) she is just totally exhausting! And doesn’t listen AT ALL! We have totally met our match with her & are at a total loss as to what to do with her! We both have bruises from head to toe! She’s a yr old now & 85 lbs… A total brute! Her nickname is Fruit Loopie! We have 3 grandchildren under the age of 4 & cannot let her around them for fear she’ll hurt them without realizing it.We need help!
Sounds like you’ve got a right handful there! an 85lb tornado can be hard to deal with for sure! This is more common than you might think and you do not have a ‘problem dog’ as such, she just needs to be handled differently than your 3 previous Labs. She’s likely higher strung, more energetic than your previous labs and requires more exercise and mental stimulation than they did…though of course I’m just guessing.
It’s very hard to offer advice without knowing what you’re already doing: How much structured exercise does she receive? (usually the first thing to try is to provide more…up it by half hour a day and see if her behavior improves.) How much training do you do with her and how often? (Again, increase the amount so she is more mentally stimulated, learns to respect you more and is more ‘obedient’ and able to follow commands.) Are you actively discouraging unacceptable behavior, correcting her and re-directing her energies into more acceptable behaviors? Or are you perhaps inadvertently rewarding it with attention (attention good or bad is reward enough for it to continue.)
At one year old, she is still a puppy / adolescent. And there’s often a little wild stage to get through for a while here. With time, as long as you exercise her well, dedicate yourself to training her well and often, many times per week, she will come out the other side calmer and better behaved.
Would it be financially viable for you to book a series of training sessions with a professional trainer? They are worth their weight in gold because they can ask you all sorts of questions about your lady, yourself, the living environment, prior training history, the schedule you and your lady live to, see how she behaves, offer the best training advice to suit your particular dog and situation and spend some time training her while you are there to follow along and learn the training techniques used and more besides. It’s a worthwhile investment if you can stretch to it?
Hi Annie…..by now since its been over a yr Iam sure your lab has at some point calmed down a bit….but I know what your going thru we adopted a 6 mon yellow lab 3 yrs ago and she’s still a major handful…..exercise is the only thing that my husband and I have found that works for most of the problems we have been delt with with her….but exercise is not always a solution because of weather or if we are sick or have to work etc so Ive tried other things like ignoring her when she takes something she knows she cant have like my towels, pillows, any girly thing and I have to laugh sometime cause she knows what shes doing….if my husband and I are talking she tries to get our attention and if she doesn’t she finds something to take and shows it to us….I have to crate her when we have company and family at our home because she will jump on them and its just so annoying so we have to crate her….we have had 4 dogs in our life time…all of them were male wow what a difference with a female dog….any comments or help with how to keep her from taking my bathroom towels when were not looking other then keeping the door shut….geez Ive tried everything I can think of nothing is working….Trish
I have a 6 month old lab who loves to tear up the newspaper when it is delivered and before I have a chance to get it. How do I correct this behavior?
The easiest solution is to either get an outside postbox, or to put a cage that catches the newspaper and mail on the inside of your front door.
Personally I wouldn’t like a cage around the inside of my letterbox, but some don’t mind this. The outside mail box can also be a bit risky depending on the area you live…the mail may get stolen…But you can get boxes that fix to the outside wall rather than one on a post at the end of your front yard.
If you’re hoping to train the behavior out of him / her, you need to manage the behavior and train an alternative one. And this will take time, patience and dedication…but your lab is young and will learn quickly and be eager to please.
The first step is prevention. You have to completely deny your lab the ability to get at and attack the newspaper. When your paper delivery is due, make sure they’re locked in another room. Any time they’re able to get at the mail and rip it apart, they’re feeling rewarded and you’ll be back to square one.
Next you need to train an alternative behavior, and this is time consuming but can be fun!
If you know when the paper delivery is due, you can hold your lab on leash and when the paper comes distract them by asking for an alternative behavior, a sit or a down.
This may not be enough though if your Lab’s too excited by the paper, so try distracting with a treat or a favorite chew toy. Then ask for a sit or a down and when they are calm, go get your paper. After enough repetitions they will be conditioned to think that a paper delivery means a tasty treat.
Additionally, you will have to do a fair bit of role play. You need to have people deliver a paper through your door when you’re prepared and have your dog on leash and under control, ready to prevent them getting at the delivery and to distract them and ask for an alternative behavior.
When a member of your household comes home, or when friends come to visit, ask them to post a paper through your letter box when they arrive then wait 20 secs before before they come in or anything. Have them phone you 1 min before they get there so you can be prepared.
This will likely take many, many repetitions over weeks, distracting your Lab every time a paper comes and asking for an alternative behavior, but you can get there.
The ultimate cure would be to teach your lab to collect the paper and bring it to you! Of course, a lot more work but doable. Does your lab already know fetch and drop? If so it may not be too hard.
Do lots of training where one person has a folded up newspaper, presents it to your lab and you call your lab over with the paper and when they get there, ask them to drop it and reward with a tasty treat. If they don’t want to drop, usually a tasty treat will make them do so…they can’t get a treat in their mouth with a paper in there.
Use a cue word like ‘GET PAPER!’ and have someone present the paper to them, or when that person puts the paper in their mouth say ‘GET PAPER!’ to teach your lab the cue. Call them to you, ask for a drop and give crazy good praise and a tasty food reward.
Do this many, many times until your lab really gets it.
Then, and this will take 3 people, have somebody deliver the paper, another person just inside the door to receive the paper and then present it to your Lab to take to you. Again, use the ‘GET PAPER!’ cue, and praise and reward when you call your lab to ‘GIVE PAPER!’.
Again, do this many, many times until he / she really gets it.
Then, have a person deliver a paper, another person inside asking your lab to take it straight from the letterbox with the ‘GET PAPER’ cue and then call your lab to deliver it to you, praise and reward with a tasty treat. You will have to make sure your lab is calm first of course, don’t let them straight at it.
Repeat many, many times.
Eventually, have somebody deliver the paper, with just you on the inside and your lab on leash. Hold them until sure they’re calm, then ask your lab to ‘GET PAPER!’ and they should take it right from the letterbox and give it to you to earn their praise and reward. A lot of work, but the ultimate cure!
If they destroy the paper when a person gives it to them (back at step 1), go through this whole process, training the behavior of getting an object from one person and giving it to you with an object different to a newspaper. A chew toy would be perfect. First in your living room from person to person while using the cue words, then with it coming through the door and so on until they can retrieve a chew toy coming through the door and give it to you for a treat. Then try other objects, a few things until they can reliably do it, before moving back to using a newspaper.
It would be far easier to get an outside mail box or cage though, lol :-)
Hope this helps!
Hi, I have a very frustrating problem. I have had Allie, my Lab for 2 years. She lives inside, but we live in the country and she has been allowed to go out unsupervised. Until now there have been no problems. Recently she met another dog and started following it. The two of them have started chasing neighbors cows and goats. She has never been aggressive, but I took her to the vet recently and she was very aggressive toward the other animals. I have been keeping her in and only allowing her to go out on a leash. This is quite a change for her, she is very unhappy and bored. Is there anything that I can do to discourage this behavior, or is there any advice you can add about this situation?
To train a dog to stop chasing, especially a dog with quite high prey drive, is notoriously hard to do! To a dog, chasing is unbelievably fun and really taps into their instincts and satisfies some deepest desires. The most common advice is prevention, keeping them away from other such animals and not giving them the chance to chase. However, I understand with you being in the country that is going to be extremely difficult.
Training her to stop chasing is going to take A LOT of time, patience and dedication, how much depending on how strong and reliable your recall is already. You simply must train your Allie an extremely reliable recall, so strong and proven that she would rather come to you than give chase. This is not easy.
To start, I recommend reading Pippa Mattinsons ‘recall training center’ articles that you can find by clicking here.
Then you will need to dedicate lots of time to setting up controlled practice sessions where you have Allie on a long leash (so she cannot bolt and completely ignore you) and a good distance away from animals she likes to chase. Then practice obedience commands and recalls with her. When absolutely reliable and consistent at a certain distance, move closer and repeat. She must be absolutely reliable before you make things difficult by getting closer and if it breaks down, go back a step and train further away for a while. Eventually you want to be able to have Allie completely focused on you, following your obedience commands reliably even when close to other animals. This could potentially take a lot of time I’m afraid.
For the aggression toward other dogs and animals at the vets, you need to start a behavior modification program. But how you go about this depends heavily on the cause of the aggression, be it fear, dominance, territorial and something else besides. To get help with this you would ideally speak with a professional trainer to diagnose the exact cause and create a training program tailored to the exact root of the problem because not all methods of training suit all causes.
Was Allie socialized well toward other animals as a puppy? Has she previously been fine with other animals and the aggression has suddenly developed?
Thank you so much for your response.
I did not have Allie when she was a puppy, but I believe she was socialized. Her previous owner had to find a new home for her. Allie had a large fenced yard, and 2 companions, but her family could not find a way to keep her in. She climbed the fence, sought out the animal control officer because she liked to go for a ride. The owners would then have to go bail her out.
Here, she has 20 acres to roam on but that is not enough for Allie. We have had her for 18 months. She only started being aggressive when she found her friend, the bulldog. If the bulldog continues his sport, his days are numbered, he has killed a couple of goats in the neighborhood.
As for her behavior at the vet, I believe if another animal actually approached her, she would lay down, but I am not sure. I think she is scared. This too is new behavior. I cannot take her to the vet alone again, my husband will take her. She responds to his commands better.
She is very well behaved in the house, with the exception of trying to chew things, but that is because she is so bored. I feel sorry for her, also she is very cute.
Thank you so much!
Oh, that’s awful! The bulldog doesn’t sound good at all! Your lab may have been taking queues from and learning from him, though this is just guesswork from me and not based on anything I know, I just think it’s possible. After all, dogs do learn from one another to some degree.
Does your Allie get the chance to spend time with other dogs? Do you have friends with well socialized and well behaved dogs you could arrange communal walks with or play days? Usually the more time she can spend interacting with other dogs in a good way, the better. Also true for other animals too if you’ve other pets you can introduce her too and have spend time around.
About the bulldog…does (s)he have an owner? That poor dog sounds like he needs help or as you say, his days may be numbered :-(
Thank you for your response. Actually, Allie does not get to spend time with other animals. I don’t really know anyone that has a dog she can hang out with.
I think part of the problem is my outside dogs, (her mean step sisters LOL)
two older German Shepherds. They are sisters and they hang out together and seem to be jealous of Allie because she is an inside dog. They don’t seriously try to hurt her, they just let her know they are the dominant ones. I think that is the reason for her defensive attitude.
As for the bulldog, I don’t know no the owner is, but I do think he has an owner because he looks fairly healthy.
A lab in the house is a handful! At least this one is.
We have a 6 month black lab, Cooper. Any advice on how to stop him jumping up to everyone who comes to our home? He’s learned sit quickly but chooses to totally ignore down command. Thanks.jo
Sure! Please take a look at the following comment I left previously for another Lady. Hopefully that helps but if you need anything else, please ask :-)
Advice On Jumping
Hi there, I have a 7 month old black lab x rottie named ruby and I’m having an issue with her. Every time me or my partner go outside to play with her she ends up getting on all fours with her bum up in the air and her tail wagging and she is barking and snapping a little bit is this aggressive behaviour I have to be worried about? She doesn’t do it around other people or other dogs either. The only way to try and explain it is it’s like she is having a brain snap. We can bring her inside For about 10 minutes for a pat and cuddle then all of a sudden her mood changes and she is barking again. Please has any else been through this ?
It doesn’t sound like aggression to me, more like an exuberant and enthusiastic ‘play bow’. When a dog stretches their paws out in front of them, chest on the ground, rear high up in the air, this is an invitation to play and a signal that all that follows is meant in fun and jest. Puppy’s can sound quite vicious at times while playing, especially during tug, but what you describe is a classic play bow so it sounds like she is simply inviting you to play.
However, dog play can get quite rough, with gentle biting, nipping, body checking, chase and so on, so it sounds like she hasn’t yet learnt the correct rules of how to engage yet, particularly with humans.
Have you been spending time teaching bite inhibition, then a ‘no teeth on skin rule’ and a ‘no jumping rule’? If not, start, if you have then hopefully things will get better in time. It’s quite important you do too because your girl simply MUST learn that aggression and nipping, even playfully, is not at all acceptable. You can forgive, but a passing stranger won’t be nearly so kind!
You should also try to prevent getting her too worked up during play. If it looks she is getting too aroused, calm everything down. Stop playing and calmly stroke and speak to her a while instead. Or if she simply won’t calm down, stand and turn away from her, arms folded across your chest and signore her until she calms down before you resume any play. She should soon learn that only calm play gets attention.
We have a great black lab who is almost 3 years old. He is a great dog on so many levels – and he is so happy and social with everyone he meets. The only issue we have with him is that he will often pace in the back seat and whine – but only when we are travelling at a low speed. If we are on the highway driving faster, he is fine. On long highway trips, he often just sleeps or will look out the window.
Our guess his pacing and whining while driving slow might be stemming from him thinking we will be stopping soon to play in a park with him – and/or he is looking for rabbits, cats, etc. while moving slowly in the car – and his squeeling/whining is more of a happy sound (that drives us crazy).
What might be your thoughts – and any suggestions on how to try to stop his whining/pacing while driving slow?
It’s going to be difficult I think?!
A possible…but hard to trial…solution would be to use a travel crate with semi-solid walls so he cannot see outside distractions. But this depends on having a vehicle that can accommodate such a crate.
Secondly, have you tried having treat dispensing chew toys to keep him distracted, busy and happy? A Kong stuffed with very high value treats? This will often work.
Finally, train a ‘speak’ and then a ‘quiet’ command.
Initially work outside the car (at home, normal situations) on first teaching him to speak on command, clicking and treating each time he barks and tying a command to it. Once he understands a ‘speak’ command, you can then train a ‘quiet’ command. Doing it in this order is easier for dogs to understand rather trying to go straight to a quiet command. Once reliably following ‘speak’ and ‘quiet’ at home, proof it in different situations: Have people come to the door, ring the door bell, enthusiastically say ‘walkies’, whatever gets him barking, and use the quiet command, treating for silence. Once proofed there, move to training it in a stationery car. Then moving slowly and so on until hopefully he gets it.
If it’s hard to create situations where he barks (a fair few labs are almost silent) then you will have to go straight to training in the slow moving car. There will need to be two of you for this (as you will be concentrating on safely driving. Right? :-) ). Drive until he starts whining. As soon as he stops, the very second he is silent, use the command ‘quiet’ and give a high value treat. Rinse and repeat – again, and again, and again, until eventually he learns that when he is quiet, he gets a treat. Make sure you tie the command ‘quiet’ to it. Over time, he will learn what the command means and hopefully follow it. This will, I think, take a good deal of time though. At 3 years old, the whining and barking will be very habitual. Also, if he is anxious, over-excited, perhaps even nauseous, this training likely will not work. If he is making sounds through emotion, then it isn’t a conscious thought and he may be unable to stop it being out of his control. In this case, speaking to your vet and asking for ‘anti-nausea medication’ may be worth a try.
I have a 3 year old female choc lab that we keep inside and we’ve had her since she was 8 wks. old. She is amazing with my kids and our family and did really well with our 5 yrs male Boston Terrier until recently. She has started to show agression towards him. To me it looks like she is proving her dominance over him because she will hold hold him down long enough until he gives in by his throat but it has gotten pretty ugly at times. It’s like they are truly fighting for a while before we can split them up. After the episode she let’s him go and goes about her business? My husband told me that her dad was extremely agressive. Could this be passed on to her and do I need to watch her more closely around my kids? She listens to commands well and does what she is told. I have been watching her body language and she walks with her tail up but wagging like she is showing her dominance or confidance state over my other dog. What should I do before this gets worse. She has attacked him 3 times already.
For potentially serious cases of aggression such as this, you really do have to speak to a professional. Please speak to your vet about the situation who can then recommend somebody.
I’m afraid this is the only advice I can give because situations such as this require an ‘in-person’ consultation, where a professional behaviorist can see your two dogs, how they interact, likely root cause of the aggression, any triggers and more…before then using their extensive knowledge to advise a way to tackle the problem. Such advice cannot be given over the internet and if you are given and follow the wrong advice on the web, you may make things worse which could end in disaster!
Please seek professional Linda.
Hi! I got a black lab mix when she was 7 months according to the old owners. 2 months later it seems like she’s fine except lately she’s biting a little more. It’s little nips and what not but with my younger sister who is 9 she seems to want to bite her more like her fingers, arms, legs and pants! I yell and say no but I am not sure it really works. I’m worried because I am terrified that she could really hurt my sister or is this just puppy behavior?
This is fairly common and as long as you teach her it’s not acceptable, it will pass. Please see my answer to Anne here: https://www.labradortraininghq.com/labrador-training/when-to-start-training-a-puppy/#comment-11966
It contains a couple of links to articles from Karen Pryor that detail how to teach ‘bite inhibition’ to your puppy. Please read those articles and put the training into action and I’m sure things will be OK.
Good luck and all the best!
our 1 year old lab does this as well. we’re not happy either but he does listen when we tell him off. our trainer told us to hook his collar with the inside of you hand and speak to him quietly but firmly until he relaxes, or he goes to ground then let the dog go… its working for us
My neighbor has a Labrador (no more a puppy) which I started to take for walks.The only problem is that he pulls my arm out of the socket. Even after a long walk >2 hrs. he still pulls or gets it in his mind to suddenly change direction. Any advice how to stop this behavior? Otherwise he is very friendly. Along the whole walk his tail never stops wagging.
It’s a very common issue with labs! Well, lots of dogs actually. The solution is to train ‘loose leash walking’. But it’s something you might not be bale to achieve on your own as the occasional dog walker, you would need everyone to train him, be consistent and make it a way of life. Pulling is very rewarding and the reward for pulling needs to be removed before the behavior will change.
Also, training for loose leash walking should not only be practiced when on a walk. There needs to be very frequent, short, dedicated training sessions throughout each day, likely for weeks. Not just training when out on a walk.
You can certainly help matters and find success, but you should try and talk the owners into the training too if you can, that’s the way to find real success, by getting everyone involved. Could be difficult, but you should try anyhow.
Later tonight or tomorrow morning I shall post an article on ‘loose leash walking’ that Jim (one of the writers for the site) has put together. I will come back here and link to it for you when posted.
All the best!
Edit: Here’s a link to the article I referred to above, now posted. I hope it helps! How To Stop Your Dog Pulling on Leash
I own a 10month Labrador mix his a total nightmare he chases the cat jumps on E only everything barks at me when I tell him off He only knows sit and wait he was given to me when my last dog passes last June I tried to train him but the problem is he keeps flopping on the floor his completely took over my life not in.a good way it s a battle everyday I’ve contacted trainers but with no hope too expensive my dog rocky is so bad on walks his a big dog he pulls too much can hardly make it a few yards my son can’t even manage it and So his big a musley as he Works out my daughter can’t either right now I’m so defeats I’m crying even writing this is there any hope for him
Hello! My husband and I have a 16 month old Black Lab, Bruce, who has a problem with mouthing. It seems that when Bruce is trying to initiate play, gets excited, or overwhelmed in a situation, the only response he has is to mouth our arms and then jump and bite down. He locks his jaw and tugs, resulting in terrible bite marks and bruising. As soon as you break away from him he stops and returns to being a friendly dog, so I hope he is not aggressive, but it is becoming a serious problem, and after trying for months to correct it, I am at a complete loss and heartbroken that I cannot trust him around people or other dogs. Aside from this issue he seems to be even tempered and calm. He is friendly on our walks (you would think he is running for mayor with all the hello’s he has to give out), no sign of any food or toy aggression, I can take anything out of his mouth or away with no trouble at all, and is a huge snuggler when tired. I am concerned about the mouthing and was hoping for some feedback on whether this is common in Labs and how to go about correcting it?
It’s not uncommon…it’s also something you should easily be able to correct. It’s hard to know what to suggest without knowing what you’ve done before, how consistent not just you but EVERYBODY your dog contacts is with the training you’ve tried and so on.
Please take a read of these two articles that are full of advice:
Is there anything helpful in there? Is it all stuff you’ve tried before?
Have you considered going to or calling in a professional dog trainer? They will be able to observe you with your dog, get you to initiate the behavior in question so they can see what your dogs doing, what you’re doing, what both you and your dog are doing wrong and not only suggest but show you techniques to address your specific problem as they’ve seen. This would be your best bet.
All the best!
We had adopted a 2 and half year old lab (Bruno) last December from a shelter. I assume he had been with a Bad Owner who used to torture him due to which his right leg in the front was amputated. We have been observing that when he sleeps, he eyes are slightly and his body shivers as though he is having a bad dream. I wake him up then, brush his hair and then he goes back to sleep. But this seems to be happening quite often now. Please advice.
I’m afraid that’s beyond my expertise…I would advise you to speak to your vet.
All the best!
My 4 year old black lab, has suddenly become afraid of his doghouse. He will not go into it when its raining, He will walk around look at it, but will not get in. This happened suddenly in the past few weeks, and nothing has been changed about his house. I really hate seeing him standing in the rain
That is odd…are you sure nothing has changed? Does he still go in there when it’s not raining, but only doesn’t when it’s raining?
Has he been happy in there during rain before and seemed happy enough? Is the ground getting wet where it didn’t before? Could it be making a different sound hitting the roof for some reason? Has another animal been there and left a scent? I really can’t say what might be happening, it’s a tough one without knowing many facts or seeing the situation.
I have 7 months brown boy lab, he used to pee and poop in the bathroom but from about three weeks he stopped this and insists to do this outside , I even trying to train him to do this outside the home, we are taking him for walk everyday , but he refuses to poop out and he keeps holding himself , and as soon as he enters the home he poops but not in his place , this begins to annoy us at home
Please refer to the following article and see if helps with your issues: Solving house training issues
All the best!
I have a 4 month old black lab, Shadow. She has a bad habit of running up behind you and either bitting/nipping at your butt or back of knees. Also running up behind you and throwing her body at you. She is very mouthy when she doesn’t get her way.
I have had her since she was 7 weeks. We play ball at least 3x a day.
We had a Lab/Aussie mix that did the same thing. Of course we were able to attribute the behavior to his herding instincts from the Aussie side. At 4 months old most Labs are very mouthy and this sounds like very normal puppy behavior like she’s probably getting overly excited during play. Biting and nipping usually gets better after adult teeth come in. However, you’ll probably want to work on the biting and nipping if it’s becoming a problem.
Hi, we have a 6 month old black lab that we absolutely adore! He has been with us since he was 8 weeks old and I currently have him in obedience training and he is doing very well! He loves our kids and the people that come to our house but for some reason he gets very nervous and unsure of people in public, especially children, he gets very nervous and starts growling and backing up when ever anyone approaches him and as I said it seems even worse with little ones and I find it odd because I run a Dayhome and he is around kids all day!
For individual and potentially aggressive behavioral issues it would be wrong for me to offer advice as it’s beyond my knowledge and skill set. Something like this really does need an in-person visit from a professional, to assess yours and your dog’s individual situation and offer tailored advise. So I advise to seek the help of a professional.
All the best!
i have a 5 month old lab. but looking at him i always doubt that he is not a lab.. but i luv him alot. how to guess which breed he is so i can care him better..
No way to know unless you are 100% sure of his parentage, or carry out DNA tests.
Hi – we have a 4 year old chocolate lab female, has not been spayed, that we rescued at 18 months old. She has always been very loving, happy and extremely energetic. Recently has started having skin issues, which the vet has determined now is a zinc deficiency, and have begun treatment for. She has also become very aggressive, especially toward our 12 yr old son, growling, snapping and raised hackles, scaring him (and us) quite a bit. Spoke with the vet today and she feels that spaying her will remedy her behaviors. Has anyone had similar issues and behaviors resolved after spaying? She is a great dog- but I will not have one that can’t be trusted.
hello.i have a labrador retriever named MICHAEL.he is 4 yrs old and a very loving dog.he used to be very active ol the time and needed cuddling. he never allowed us to go out of the house.a very healthy and loving dog.but its been 3-4 days that he has become very lazy and has an increased appitite.he is restless all night and and make different voices.i am really worried about him..i give him my whole day and night.hug him at night so that he can have a sound sleep.but still he is not behaving normal..
please tell me what could be the problem?
You really need to speak rto a vet. The danger of asking on the internet (such as here) is you could get the wrong information from unqualified people, putting your Labs health in danger. So please do speak to a vet, it’s the only right course of action.
All the best, I hope he gets better soon.
We’ve had our 18 month old Black Lab, Louie since he was 16 weeks and have take him to all the “normal” training classes plus I have enjoyed quite a bit of extra training to the point that up until very recently and under most situations he’s what most people would say is a very obedient, smart dog who sits, comes, waits, heals off lead, even fetches the paper from the letter box most mornings, etc
My problem which has become uncontrollable over the past few weeks is he has started chasing other dogs, mainly in communal areas and absolutely ignores my commands. He is never aggressive at all and does come back after he has said hello but he is almost out of control in his want to chase and play. I have actually stopped taking him “off lead” over the past few days but I’m just perplexed why he all of a sudden started. I’d like to let him still play but it’s now almost getting dangerous as I’m quite sure if he saw another dog across the street and could, he would be off like a shot.
I would appreciate any ideas you might suggest ?
Hi! my wife and I own a 2 1/2 year old lab pittie mix.Great dog, super obedient very respectful of things and his mom and dad. He has been trained to sleep at night in his crate and over the past 2 year has accepted it just fine, with some small outburst of crying and whining at night for a little (about two times) this past year. Lately, he has been having a lot of trouble sleeping throughout the night. When he goes in his crate at night, he either starts whining or crying or barking right away, or he fall asleep and wakes up i the middle of the night and starts acting up. I made the mistake of going down multiple times to check on him, even let him out to go potty and simply try to figure out whats wrong with him. I have read that my actions of checking on him could reinforce that negative behavior, since his crying and barking is getting my attention… his sudden outburst vary in lenght of time but im making an effort to ignore his crying whining barking. He is much loved and we treat him as a person, we take really good care of him and you could say we baby him. Also, I wanted to point out that my wife is pregnant and im not sure if that has anything to do with our pups behavior. His crate is quite comfortable, i have some comfy pillows covered with some nice blankets for him. like i said, he has been very receptive to crate but all of the sudden cries at night.. i have been taking him on walks before bed time and it seems to help since when we do that, his outburst are not immediate. In the morning as my wife and i wake up, I come down to let him out and find some drool close to the crate door and his blankets out of place, almost as if he was digging? any advice and help is greatly appreciated thank you! johnny v
I can’t make my Lab step into any car. What might be the cause and how can I get him aboard?
I adopted a 4yr old black Lab from a rescue shelter and ive had her for about a week. She was found wandering the streets with no collar or microchip. She is in good shape, has had puppies and was fixed at shelter. I am really happy with her so far and she has been a great dog so far. She is housebroken and does not bark indoors and knows “sit, lay down, wait” commands. She has been loving towards me from the moment i first met her, wagging her tail and has been the same with my family since bringing her home. I bought a good leash and harness that holds her chest from and clips in back rather than on her collar. Ive had dogs before and I have gotten her to stop pulling the leash and she no longer lunging after squirrels. The only problem I aim having is her interaction with other dogs. I live next to a park and there are many people with dogs that walk in this park and I see other peoples dogs mingling together, sniffing each other and either playing or walking away. When my dog sees another dog she pulls hard toward the dog so shes standing on her hinds legs as i am trying to hold her back and she begins barking loudly while her tail is either up and stiff or wagging quickly. It is so sudden and confrontational that it scares the dog owner and their dog too. i cannot figure out if she is just excited and wants to check the dog out and be friendly or if she is trying to attack. I am afraid to let her go and make contact and i am pretty sure id be causing the dog owner an untold amount of general panic if i released my crazed dog onto their pet. What would you recommend i do to stop or at least tone down this behavior? I want my dog to be able to interact with other dogs and not strike fear into the other park patrons and their pets.
We have an 13 month old neutered yellow lab named Sebastian. We have had him since he was 5 weeks old. He is very energetic and wound super tight!! Our problem we are having with him goes something like this..
When my husband and I hug or show signs of affection or tease each other with jumping around etc, Sebastian goes insane. He tries to mouth/bite our arms or legs and barks uncontrollably in an aggressive manner. When we stop and get done to his level we reassure him that everything is ok etc. We don’t have children other than another black lab/boxer mix named Lola who is 3 years old. We encountered this during football season as well.. when there is alot of commotion in the house or outside he wont listen to commands at all. We have attempted to grab him by the collar and talk sternly with him which only fuels his fire.. It is not specific to either one of us so we figures it wasn’t jealous behavior
to add to this..if we are laughing at comedy on the TV or running around in our yard he gets very agitated and tries to bite us..
I have a chocolate labrador her name is Sophie she is 14 weeks old and driving me and my husband mad. At night she can be playing them suddenly as if a switch had been flipped she goes racing round jumping on anything or anyone she doesn’t stop for doors she just slams into things like a car with no brakes. We have tried saying no etc but it’s not working I end up having to put her in the kitchen with the baby gate shut until she calms down. Apart from this she is lovely. Can you give me any advice.
That sounds like one very happy hyper pup. She may need exercise and that could be the reason for the hyper energy. Maybe an evening stroll before bed may work if not possible then try throwing things for her to fetch. This way you get a bit of training in.
Hi I have a 9 month sleep old Lab, something new which we have seen in him now, he would try and pick up things and chew and when we try and stop him he would not let us come near start growling and at time snaps this aggressive behaviour is quite recent ..please advise what to do
Your dog is resource guarding and so you need to start correcting the pup and let him know it’s unacceptable. If he is going to make a fuss then take it away. Be firm in your command to tell him stop so he understands. Puppies explore their environment by chewing on things. If possible remove the objects that he tend to chew on and store them out of his reach. Buy him a chew toy, but train him to give up objects as resource guarding if not corrected could lead to serious biting.
I have a 1 1/2 yr old lab mix. Recently he has been going after a Maltese we have in the house. He gets aggressive and attacks the smaller dog when I am getting their food or when the dogs are in a tight area. When I first brought him home in May, the little dog would go after him and he would just lay down or let the little one take over toys he was playing with. Now it is reversed. How can I get him to stop this behavior
Hello All- we need help!! I am a new dog owner and learning lots as, we are currently into a 2 week trial for re-homing a 3 year old golden lab retriever, name Norski.
Past owner trained Norski, quite thoroughly so this adjustment has had a many ups and a few major downs.
Food aggression was mentioned and quit obvious from the beginning, we are working on that, hand feeding has started for the last 4 days and going well.
We were told that Norski travels well in the back of an SUV or truck with seats down, first few days of this were awesome and now we have had a few set backs and has bit 4 times, the last 2 much worse than first 2 to 3 different people. He seems to go into a trance, then we are petting him and he bites. The kennel is too big for the back seat. We are obviously concerned about this. Have a vet appt in the morning to rule out ear infection or anything, as he is running them in the snow and carpet.
Seems to be scratchy lots, not sure if this is nerves also. We want to make it work but take 2 steps back from trusting him each time an occurrence happens. Any tips or suggestions? Thanks.
My 2 year old, golden lab, was adopted this past Friday. she is the sweetest thing on earth. My question after reading your article is that she seems to be nervous and fearful when we pet her or stroke her back. We took time off for her since she was coming home right before New Year’s.
All we know from the shelter is that they got her 2 weeks ago and that she is nice and quiet. I have not heard her bark once!
We have been taking her out 3 – 5 times a day. We started feeding her breakfast at 8 a.m. and dinner is @ 6. She gets 1 1/2 cups of book in the morning and another 1 1/2 cups at night.
I noticed she didn’t want to go out and it surprised me even before reading this article since my dad had a black Lab and he was totally opposite. He was too hyperactive (but then again he was less than 2 )
Should I be concerned? My husband says it’s because she is new to the family but I am a little worried that she was possibly mistreated prior to the shelter
I’ve just rescued a black lab mix from a shelter on New Year’s. She’s three and a very sweet girl until it comes to my toddler.
She’s runs away from him anytime he gets near and cowers away. She has growled at him and snapped at him twice now while sitting next to me. He mostly comes up on her fast and chases her thinking it’s a game. I stop him as quickly as I can but it still happens.
Anything I can do to help the two get along better? My toddler is almost 3 but doesn’t really understand he’s in danger if he corners her.
i have a black lab her name is dora, though she is my spoiled child but from past few days she is acting a bit stubborn and moody. specifically at the time of lue she hides under dining table and i have to bribe her with treats to come out. as she does her toilet outside i had to take her out, but suddenly change in her behavior make me worried… she is 2 weeks pregnant..can anyone give any suggestions. thank you.
I have a 9 month old black lab. He barks a growls at anyone who he sees when we are out walking or anyone that comes to my house. He has barked at people his whole life but now that he is getting bigger it seems more aggressive. I thought it was just puppy behavior and he was scared or protecting me. But now it seems like it is getting worse with the growling. Is this normal or should I be concerned.
I own a 1 1/2-year-old black lab named Abby and she seems to gain no weight! I have tried putting her on a diet and giving her eggs and other filling foods but nothing works. I was wondering if anyone here has any ideas on what I could feed her so she starts gaining weight?? Thanks for reading my comment! Please reply with any feedback or help! Thanks again!
I have 2 labs, a white bitch 9 months, and a black male. OMG, she is in heat and duck season is upon us. I was going to take the bitch since I have trained her for 9 months but think it may cause a problem for the other hunters at the cabin with male dogs.
So, If I take male to the river do you think he will forget about his little bitch at home?
Great article addressing a very sensitive issue among dog owners (especially of this breed). Given the training and commitments we put into raising our dogs, we have expectations we don’t want to be violated.
However as the article as rightly pointed out,, knowing the instinctive behaviors as against the abnormal, can help us readdress the situation appropriately.
Great job and well done!
Great article loved the sharing of the stories. We adopted a chocolate lab from a shelter after she had only been there 5 days, she sas picked up off the street so there was no history when we got her. Initially she was terrified of virtually everything noises, people, men in particular etc. Thd sdcc shelter and vet thought she was a out 2yrs old. She seems more like a 9 mon thg h old lab puppy to me. She loves other dogs. We have had her about 7 months and she has made great improvement, she still gets nervous when I get up, but if i sit or lay next her she will come right up to me and I pet her and she will let me give her all the love I have. She also while very playful and I enjoy playing with her she doesn’t come when called which limits what we can do with her. She has become a beautiful loving pet with these 2 exceptions. We are committed to her for the long haul and I believe there are no problems that can’t be overcome with love and time. Any suggestions
Hi I have a male neutered Black Lab named Petey Dog and he is 10 years old and awesome ; I found your forum after noting for several years that when I feed him, he always turns and (what I perceive as very politely and thoughtfully) looks at me before he eats , and always wondered if he was / is trying to communicate something..he finishes what I give him every feeding , we walk a couple of miles every day …no leash as our neighborhood abuts many walking trails and I feel comfortable that he will stay by my side ..so far he hasn’t proven me wrong
I have a 3 year old black lab. He recently became aggressive towards people on the street and people coming into our home. I am not sure how to train him away from his aggression. I am looking into getting him a muzzle and start socializing him around others. I need help.
We have a black lab about 2 years old he is hyper je plays with the other dogs he has been good with all of us but he definitely loves my grandson and son he has become more aggressive with all of us lately but tonight he tried to bite my grandson several times my grand son had company but he knows this girl she has been over many times this biting needs to be addressed I do not wish to get rid of him but son days if he doesn’t stop this behavior he will get rid of him loves my grandson he sleeps with him all the time if we touch grandson the dog growls one time he snapped at me and I corrected him no trouble since am sincerely worried as my great granddaughter comes sometimes so I need to figure out what to do before someone gets hurt I am 76 and may not be able to stop him from biting me or anyone else please help
You should look into getting a certified professional dog trainer for an in home evaluation so he can see exactly what your dog is doing. Then he/she can make recommendations how to work with you and your dog.
Hi, I have a 2 year old male labrador retriever who has become very lethargic and stubborn. Not only that, but everytime we tell him to go and eat or urinate he refuses to listen to our commands and just sleeps. It has become extremely difficult for my family and I to make him eat or take him for walks. Not only this but hes also very stubborn and does not leave the house unless we all go with him. He wont listen to our commands and has simply become disobedient. It has become a burden on us to feed him and take him for walks. Please give me some advice as to how I should train him.
I have a 9month old black lab that was attacked by another large dog over a month ago and now he is afraid of everything from other people to other animals. I have been trying to socialize him again but is difficult when all he does is bark and try and run away. Due to the recent pandemic with covid 19 I am not able to get him into training and to be honest I’m not sure if they would even accept him because of his fear of everything.
Is there anything anyone can suggest to help fix this problem. He is a loving dog who just wants to play and give hugs and kisses but no one will know that if he just barks and runs away.
Any advice will be greatly appreciated because I am trying everything.
I’m sorry to hear about your Lab. This happened to our black Lab, Stetson and we wrote an article about things we did when he got attacked by another dog.
Hi , we have 15 month old Labrador who loves walking and we take him on various different walks to keep him interested and to stop him getting bored of the same walk. Alately he has started sitting down and refusing to go on certain walks even though we know once he gets there he loves it. As he chases through fields . We can entice him a different route but what can we do to make him go where we want him to. He also sits when he knows we are on our way back home even though we’ve ran together, played games , hes endlessly ran through fields chasing the ball or chasing stones for an hour an a half or more. Hes loved and fussed at home with kids playing with him . How do we get our spoilt petulant dog to walk.
⁸I have a Black Lab. He’s now 11 years old. I really feel like these dogs are for an active household only. They require alot of exercise & attention. They are super hyper as young dogs especially. Mine still acts like a puppy at times when it comes to swimming or playing with his ball. I sometimes have to take his ball away for fear He’s going to hurt himself. Is that okay to do? I feel like I’m saving him from himself cause I know he will be very sore the next day if I let him keep chasing the ball. He’s got arthritis in his hips so I prefer to let him swim but that’s not always possible. I also notice that he has gotten alot more anxious in his older years. My vet says its common……especially when he knows we are leaving for work. Makes me very sad
I have a 4 month old lab and he gets aggressive when you try to correct him. He has bit one member pf the family too. He starts baring his teeth and growling when you tell him no and starts jumping on us aggressively. Sometimes, he does this even when we’re trying to touch him and show him affection.
It has been really hard and I’m afraid that this behaviour will go on even when he’s older. I would be obliged if you could help with this issue
You should contact a certified professional dog trainer for an in home evaluation to determine a training plan for you and your family.
Hi. We are having a labrador breed which is 1 and half years old. My mom is the one who takes care of it. She is the one who keeps food to it etc.. But now my dog is roaring at my mom whenever she speaks to it and when she touches it.. buy when myself nd my brother touch my dog its silent and simply sitting. We have been growing dogs for the past 8 years but this is the first time we witness such an activity over our dog. it is doing tat for a month and we don’t know what to do
I have a 3 and a half year old lab and truthfully speaking he has all the behaviour problems mentioned in the article. Common or not common both. Sadly, he is tied to leash almost all day except when I take him on walks. He pulls on it as well and with great force. He jumps whenever he sees food or when I’m about to take him out and gets aggressive over food. Honestly, I have not been there for him all the time and now I want to train him properly so he can enjoy his time and not feel depressed or sad. Unfortunately I do not know much about training an old dog so any advices and tips would be appreciated.
I have a one year old male lab/mix. He has been the sweetest smartest dog and I am completely in love with him! He has never shown aggressive behavior we also have a 14 year old male shitzu that rules the house. I work from home so Tip (lab) gets a lot of attention from me. He charged the door with a ferocious bark when my grown daughter open the door. She doesn’t live with us but she comes over all the time. Then today he barked meanly at my 3 yr old granddaughter. I started searching the internet for help and think I found the answer but would love someone who knows more about labs would confirm or give other suggestions.
I went out of town for 7 days and my husband took care of the dogs. He put the lab in the backyard all day alone then on a running line in the front yard alone until bed time then in the kennel at night. I came home Saturday and Sunday was the first aggressive behavior and he did it again tonight with my granddaughter. I think the extreme change in daily routine and the social isolation for a week caused this behavior. Will the behavior correct itself since his daily routine is back?
We said goodbye to the sweetest 13 year old yellow lab recently, she was kinda dumb but very social and very sweet (a real cuddler, loved her daily walks and swims) and we loved her and so did everyone, super good with kids. We now have a new yellow lab puppy (just 13 weeks old) and she is crazy ! So different, she is very high IQ, watches TV, drinks tea, can tear around the house at full speed for a good 2 hours (calmer when outdoors – she is just out and about 1 week now after her vaccinations), claws like a crazy cat, bites everything, she does not like being cuddled but will move off sofa if you try. Wants to play hide and seek all the time, loves being chased. Actively seeks birds and chases them (our old dog never seemed to notice birds). Everything this puppy does is done at very high speed. She is toilet training well except that is she runs to door and barks and you open it immediately she will go outside, poo and then run back in for a training treat. But if you are not there immediately she will run off to the study and go on floor, We are exhausted. How long can we walk her for to tire her out – see conflicting information as to how long a walk we can take her for