Signs That Your Chocolate Lab Might Be Aggressive
If your Lab is happy, you can know this through different ways, such as their tail wagging, a relaxed mouth, lolling tongue, and relaxed eyes. In the same way, you should tell when your Lab is being hostile or aggressive.
Some of the ways you can tell include:
- High-pitched barking or growling. Barking itself is normal amongst dogs and should cause no alarm, but once your Lab starts barking in a high-pitched manner without being provoked, then it's aggressive.
- Charging towards other dogs or people.
Why Some Labradors Might Be Aggressive
It is essential to know aggressiveness is not a characteristic of the Lab breed, but instead, it's an individual personality. Various factors can contribute to the unusual but possible aggressive nature of a Lab. Some of the factors include a lack of activity, genetic traits, or even how they were raised.
Let’s take a look at these issues.
Lack of activity
Apart from their friendly nature, Labradors are known for being hyperactive. They particularly enjoy retrieving things, which is why Labradors are used for hunting. As a result, they need creative activities to keep them entertained and help them burn excessive energy.
The nature of a Labrador’s parent also determines its character. So if the parent is unfriendly or aggressive, there's a high tendency for this trait to be evident in the offspring. It can sometimes be difficult to get to the roots of aggression caused by the parent's genes.
How They Were Raised
Labradors are initially working animals. Historically, they helped farmers pull in fishing nets and retrieve fish, but today, they work as retrievers for hunters. Labradors are trainable, so, if a Lab is trained or bred in an aggressive environment or trained to react aggressively in certain situations, it will display aggressive traits.
Anxiety or Fear
Sometimes, a Labrador's aggressiveness can be a natural reaction to fear or intruder alert. He might have suffered from a traumatic experience, and each time he senses something similar, he responds with aggressiveness to protect himself from any harm.
Discomfort From Pain or Illness
There are times when we as humans feel some discomfort. Labradors are not exempted from this feeling, too, so as a Lab owner, you need to be sensitive enough to know when your dog is uncomfortable.
Your Lab’s discomfort could be from sickness, pain, or frustration from his current situation or environment. They will try to communicate nonverbally through body language like tail wagging, nose licking, or pupil dilation.
When they get frustrated with the situation, they can resort to growling or snarling.
Food aggression is when a Lab guards its food in a hostile manner, which might be due to the Lab’s former living condition to hunt for its food or share with others. If a Lab that has food aggression is brought home or adopted, this territorial trait might make it to be aggressive to humans close by while eating.
Lack of Socialization
Due to the boisterous nature of the Lab, it not only needs constant activity or exercise, but it also needs to socialize with other dogs and humans. Labradors separated from their parents after birth and confined without human or dog contact can exhibit aggressive traits.
What To Do If Your Chocolate Labrador Is Aggressive
Don’t panic if you find yourself with an aggressive Labrador, because it’s not in the breed’s nature. It's often a result of learned behavior and other physical factors, so, if a Labrador can learn to be aggressive, it can also unlearn the trait too.
Let’s take a look at what you can do to help your chocolate Lab become less aggressive.
Your Labrador needs to be involved in physical activities or exercise that can help dispel his high energy. There are series of exercises you can do like running, swimming, or playing fetch.
You like to go for a run, and you're wondering if your dog can go with you and keep up?
Don't worry, as Labradors have immense stamina and can last for many hours. However, there are certain things to consider. This article will guide you on what to look out for when running with your Labrador. Essentially, you need to take your dog’s fitness level, age, and health into account before taking it for a run.
If your dog doesn’t seem to be able to run very far, consider going for a leisurely walk instead.
The water is not a bad idea for your Labrador, so don't frown against it yet. Apart from their friendliness, they are well known for their love for the water. With the right training and proper guidance, you'll have them swimming like a pro in little to no time.
Labradors are retrievers which is why they are used for hunting dogs. If you’re not a hunter nor willing to become one just so your Labrador can get his physical activities done, never fear. Playing catch with your Labrador is a great option, especially if you have kids.
Make Adjustments to Feeding
If your Lab exhibits food aggression traits, it's simply a response to fear. Your Lab is scared you might try to take his food from him, so he's guarding it, so the first thing to do is not to do anything. You don’t want to go near him when he's eating.
Secondly, rather than do what he is used to, do the opposite. He's scared his food will get taken away, so you can try to add to his portion while he's eating. Nevertheless, don't overfeed him because you're trying to change his behavioral pattern.
Take your Chocolate Lab out Some More
Considering that a lack of socialization is one of the reasons a Labrador can be aggressive, the best thing to do is to take them out so they can socialize with more dogs and have more human contact.
The more positive interactions your dog has with other dogs and people, the less likely he will behave aggressively.
Get a Professional Trainer
If everything else fails, employ the service of a professional trainer or veterinarian to check out your Lab’s condition. Then follow through with the recommendations on what to do for him to be better.
Getting a professional can be expensive and cost you some money, but anything for a happy dog, right?
Can Aggression Be Trained Out of Labradors?
Aggression can be trained out of Labradors, as they are highly trainable and willing to please their humans. Depending on the factor that influenced the aggressiveness, they may require the services of a trainer and it may take some time before you see a complete change.
But with patience and love, most Labradors can be trained out of aggressive behavior.
When it comes to Labradors, color is not an indication of character. A yellow, black, or chocolate Labrador would exhibit the conventional cheerful and gentle nature. If any of the mentioned Labrador colors is aggressive, it's an individual trait and not part of the breed’s characteristics.
About THE AUTHOR
Mark is the founder of Everything Labradors and a husband and father of 3. He enjoys spending time with his family, including his dog Molly, a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix. He’s a big fan of the outdoors and loves to travel to new places.Read more about Mark Brunson