Why Chocolate Labs Are So Stubborn: 9 Possible Reasons to Explore

When talking with chocolate Lab owners, comments about stubbornness seemed to consistently come up. I found it to be odd, as I wouldn’t expect one color to be significantly different than the others. So, I put on my research hat to try to understand what this stubbornness is all about.

Here are 9 reasons why chocolate Labs can be so stubborn:

  1. Bred by backyard breeders
  2. Different temperament than black or yellow Labs
  3. Lack proper training
  4. Suffering from a poor upbringing
  5. Tendency to have a playful nature
  6. Mood swings
  7. Too much energy
  8. Dislike the owner’s training style
  9. They may be in heat

Ultimately, it all boils down to your training approach because what works with other Labs may not work with Chocolate Labs. Keep reading as we explore nine reasons why chocolate Labs are so stubborn.

Chocolate lab being stubborn laying in water.

1. Backyard Breeders Bred the Chocolate Labs

Back in the day, people believed that a Labrador must be black. Due to this belief, yellow and chocolate Labs were culled at birth. As time went by, yellow and chocolate Labs were slowly getting accepted by society.

Chocolate Labs only gained popularity around the 1940s. Even so, black and yellow Labs were generally more popular, especially among hunters. Most hunters favor black Labs over chocolate ones because chocolate Labs are slower at picking up hunting skills. 

Since black Labs have always been the favored hunting dogs, it’s no surprise that they generally make better hunters than chocolate Labs. When chocolate Labs began to gain popularity, most people wanted them for their rare color. 

That led to ‘backyard breeding,’ of which breeders focused mainly on getting chocolate puppies while disregarding other important factors that will make Labs with better temperaments.

The improper breeding has led to many chocolate Labs being less disciplined than their black cousins. Of course, not all chocolate Labs are very stubborn. Out of the many chocolate Labs born, several of them have better temperaments, favored particularly for high-level training.

2. Chocolate Labs Have Different Temperaments

Like all Labs, chocolate Labs have a lot of energy and thus, require ample space and exercise. Most chocolate Labs are English, but there are also working chocolate Labs around, although rare. If you have an American chocolate Lab, you may notice that they like to chase and retrieve things, something you’d see in their black and yellow cousins.

Like English Labs of any color, chocolate Labs of the English type tend to be less interested in chasing things or animals. The more relaxed temperament of an English chocolate Lab is why the breed is often made as show dogs, not hunters. Besides, English Labs lack the physique required for hunting.

A sad looking chocolate Labrador.

So don’t be surprised if your chocolate Lab refuses to run around playing catch or chasing after rabbits despite being told to, because that’s their nature. If you want a chocolate Lab that’s happy to run around catching things, you best get a chocolate Lab of the American variety, but that’s not going to be so easy considering how rare they are.

3. Lack of Proper Training

Labradors are one of the easiest dog breeds to train. However, it’s important to remember that some Labs may do better than others when competing against each other. For example, American Labs will likely do better than English Labs in hunting sports.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, chocolate Labs (mostly English) are usually less interested in chasing things. That doesn’t mean you can’t play catch with them, though. Chocolate Labs are just less athletic than their black Lab cousins, typically of the American type.

I highly recommend using an online training program to train your dog yourself, but with the guidance of a professional. This alternative to traditional training is both convenient as well as cost-effective.

Check out the details on the ONLY online training program I recommend in my Recommended Products section here.

brain training for dogs

You can train your chocolate Lab to become more athletic, but that’s going to be challenging since they will likely avoid participating in high-intensity interval training. They are typically bulkier than their American cousins and have shorter legs. Your chocolate Lab may get tired faster and struggle to keep up, and thus may refuse the same training next time.

It will help your chocolate Lab to become more athletic and passionate in sports by starting training early. Even if you don’t intend to make them a hunter, early training will ensure that they accept and respect commands. Patience will also help you raise a less stubborn chocolate Lab.

4. Chocolate Labs and Historically Poor Upbringing

Many chocolate Labs do get adopted. While adoption is always recommended, it does come with problems in terms of the dog’s behaviors. For a long time, chocolate Labs were unfairly judged for being inferior, especially to their black cousins.

Unsuccessful training sometimes causes Lab owners to mistreat their dogs behind closed doors, damaging the Lab’s psychology. Frustrations often lead to dogs being abandoned or put into shelters. So if you pick up a scarred chocolate Lab, you may find them very stubborn.

6. Chocolate Labs Have a Very Playful Nature

Despite being more relaxed than other Labs, chocolate Labs — like all Labs — like to play and impress their owners. Many chocolate Lab owners say their Labs are always desperate to impress. However, it can be frustrating to train them sometimes due to their over-playfulness. 

Chocolate Lab running

Chocolate Lab owners may find their Labs stubborn for not wanting to take training seriously due to the dog’s very playful nature. However, the right training approach and a better understanding of one’s chocolate Lab will ensure successful, less-resistant training. It’ll help to use food as a motivator in training.

7. Mood Swings in Chocolate Labs

Labs do get moody, and if you own a female Lab, you’d understand why. Chocolate Labs generally love to play and impress, which is why they make excellent candidates in dog shows and competitions. Many don’t like to be told to work, though.

So if you push your chocolate Lab to work, you may get some resistance. The resistance easily translates to stubbornness. Unless your chocolate Lab is from a bloodline of working dogs, you’ll have to use the right approach to train them without agitating them or hurting their feelings.

8. Too Much Energy

Chocolate Labs are Labs, so naturally, they are hyperactive (but not more than their black or yellow cousins) and need to release their high energies. If your chocolate Lab doesn’t get enough playtime, they’ll develop unwanted behaviors, stubbornness being one of them. 

Something as simple as a good chew toy can help your Lab with exerting pent up energy. Chew toys are a highly inexpensive way (at least the ones I recommend!) to eliminate frustration in your home.

My go-to chew toys that LAST:
Kong Classic chew toy for large dogs (Molly still has the same one we purchased on 10/16/2017!)
Kong Classic chew toy with Easy Treat peanut butter spray (so much easier than using a knife)
Kong tug of war toy (her absolute favorite)

However, as discussed previously, training helps chocolate Labs embrace their high energies. Still, since many of them weren’t bred for sports like hunting, they may not get the energy release they need from doing the activities they consider less interesting.

9. Dislike of Owner’s Training Style

Whether you have a chocolate Lab from a working or non-working line, you must use a training approach that suits your Lab. For example, your training approach on a male Lab should be different than on a female Lab. In most cases, being strict and assertive will work well with male Labs but not with female Labs since females are more sensitive in general.

Also, owners must understand their Lab’s personalities. If your chocolate Lab acts stubborn when being told to catch rabbits, that’s because they’re not interested. With the right strategies and ample patience, you can encourage your chocolate Lab to be more involved in the activity.

10. Chocolate Labs Are in Heat

If your female chocolate Lab is more stubborn than usual, it’s possible that she’s in heat. Female Labs can get easily distracted when they’re in heat. Often, they become very stubborn when in heat due to pain and mood swings. 

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