It is no secret that all dogs bark and some dog breeds tend to bark more than others. Although excessive barking can cause a lot of stress, it is normal canine behavior. It is even one of the main ways that dogs communicate with people and each other. Nevertheless, the owners of particularly noisy labs have likely asked themselves: why does my labrador bark so much?
Labradors bark a lot when they are bored, stressed, afraid, or desire attention. Young Labradors bark more than adults. Separation anxiety can lead to compulsive barking in dogs.
In this article, we will be explaining the common reasons behind why dogs bark. We will also be explaining how you can reduce excessive barking and answering some other commonly asked questions about why dogs bark. In addition to this, we will also be giving a few other essential things to consider about barking.
Reasons Your Labrador Barks So Much
There are many reasons why dogs bark. These range from being a simple way to say hi to a sign of some severe and complex behavioral problems such as separation anxiety. Here are ten reasons your Labrador barks so much.
Your Lab Is Saying Hi
Some dogs bark just as a way to say hi. This could be to you when you come home, a friendly dog, and even to a friendly stranger.
This type of barking is nothing you should worry about, and it is considered a completely normal canine behavior. Barking like this usually comprises just one to a couple of barks paired with a relaxed or excited body language.
Your Lab Needs Something
Many dogs bark when they need something because it is one of their most sure ways to get a reaction from their owners. These needs could be going outside to go to the bathroom, coming inside if it is too cold, and even needing some food and water.
These barks are usually characterized as being a few short, loud barks that can also include other vocalizations such as whining. However, these barks can lead to excessive barking if ignored.
Your Lab Is Excited Or Wants To Play
It is extremely common for dogs to bark when they are excited and when they want to play. This is usually shown as a series of short barks that is paired with a playful demeanor.
Playful body language can involve lots of jumping, play being, and tail wagging. This barking is considered to be a completely normal and healthy form of canine communication.
Your Lab Is Trying To Get Your Attention
Attention barking develops when a dog has learned that barking at its owner means affection and playtime. This behavior is usually picked up during puppyhood.
Although this type of barking may be cute when your dog is a puppy, it can quickly turn into something stressful and overwhelming when your dog grows into an adult.
Your Lab Is Alerting You About Something
Alert barking is a very common behavior in dogs, and it is the way dogs warn their owners about things like visitors, people and dogs passing by, and even intruders.
This barking is usually seen as repetitive, loud barking. Although this type of barking is usually nothing to worry about, excessive alert barking can quickly become a problem. This is especially true if you live in a densely populated area.
Your Lab is Guarding His Territory
Some dogs bark as a way to guard their territory. Guardian dogs are essentially warning strange people and dogs to stay away, or things could get ugly. This barking is usually repetitive and loud and is paired with growling and a defensively aggressive or anxious body posture.
If your dog is exhibiting guard barking, you may benefit from visiting a vet, an animal behaviorist, and a qualified dog trainer who focuses on guardian and aggression. Aggression is a severe and complex issue in dogs, so it should not be taken lightly.
Something Is Making Your Lab Fearful Or Anxious
Dogs often bark when they are anxious or afraid. This barking can sound very similar to guard barking, and it is also often paired with defensive or offensive, aggressive body language.
Although fear aggression is a natural reaction to scary stimuli in dogs, you should still seek the help of a vet, animal behaviorist, and/pr a qualified dog trainer who specializes in dog fear aggression.
Your Lab Is Expressing Frustration
Frustration barking in dogs is not uncommon, and it is usually exhibited when a dog cannot get to something that they want to get to. A typical example of this is a dog in the yard next door.
Frustration barking is usually loud and repetitive, which can become a problem for you and your neighbors. Frustration barking can be reduced by either providing your dog access to the thing that he wants or keeping it out of sight.
For example, you could put up a barrier around a chain link fence for a dog who gets frustrated about seeing the dog next door.
Your Lab is Bored
Boredom barking can become a real problem because it is often loud, repetitive, and can last for a long time.
This is relatively common in labradors who do not get enough exercise and mental stimulation from games and playtime. The best cure to boredom barking is to increases your dogs exercise and mental stimulation by doing things like:
● Going for more walks
● Playing games like fetch and hide and seek
● Doing fun activities such as agility training
● Getting some puzzle toys to increase mental stimulation
● And more!
Excessive barking can sometimes be a symptom of separation anxiety. This excessive barking is often paired with other symptoms of separation anxiety such as:
● Destructive behavior\
● Having accidents inside ( and sometimes eating it)
● Repetitive behaviors such as pacing
● Attempting to escape
Separation anxiety in dogs is a severe and complex behavior problem. Therefore, if you think that your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, it is essential to visit a vet, an animal behaviorist, and a dog trainer specializing in dogs with separation anxiety.
Do Lab Puppies Bark A Lot
Labrador puppies bark a lot compared to adult dogs.
Although how much a dog bark is entirely dependent on the individual dog at hand, Labradors tend to be dogs that do not bark as much as others.
Nevertheless, puppyhood is when many dogs develop bad barking habits such as attention barking. Therefore, even though lab puppies may not bark as much as pup[pies of other dog breeds, it is essential to properly train your dog when barking is and is not acceptable.
At What Age Do Labradors Start Barking
Labradors start barking between 7 to 8 weeks old. Barking tends to increase a few weeks later, at around 10 to 11 weeks.
Why Do Labs Bark At Strangers
Dogs bark at strangers to greet them, alerting their owners that an owner is around, being excited about meeting a new friend, guarding their territory, or being afraid of the stranger.
The best way to tell which reason is causing your dog to bark at a stranger is to look at their body language. If your dog seems to be either relaxed or playful, your dog barking at strangers is normal and nothing you need to worry about.
However, if your dog seems to be afraid, anxious, or aggressive, then you should get your dog’s behavior looked at by a qualified professional.
How Do I Stop My Labrador From Barking
You can train your Labrador to stop barking on your command by teaching them the “Quiet” cue.
You can teach your Labrador to do this easily with just a few steps and some practice.
- Set up a scenario where your dog will bark. A great way to do this is to have someone help you by knocking on the door or ringing the doorbell.
- After your dog starts barking, wait for them to stop. When they stop barking, give the verbal cue such as “quiet” or “enough,” then give a treat.
- Practice step two several times (around 5-10 times)
- Next, give the quiet cue when your dog starts barking. If he stops barking on your command, then continue practicing this a few times. If your dog ignores this cue, then you should go back and practice step 2 again.
- Practice, practice, practice! This cue can be somewhat tricky for dogs to pick up, so remaining patient and continuing to practice every day is essential.
There are some other things that you should consider when it comes to barking in dogs. The first is that you should start training when your dog is young, if possible. The next thing to consider is that you should know the different types of barking that your dog exhibits.
Start Training Young
Although you can teach an old dog new tricks, it is always best to start training when a dog is still a puppy when possible. This is especially true for particularly noisy puppies.
Not only can teaching a puppy when to be quiet be easier, but puppy barks are much easier to manage than those from adult dogs. As a result, it is always better to teach a puppy the quiet cue rather than an adult dog whenever you can.
Know The Different Types Of Barking
It is crucial to know and understand the different types of barks your dog gives, along with their body language and any other signals they may give off. Depending on the type of bark your dog is giving, you may need to get specialized training. This is especially true for barking that is related to things like separation anxiety or aggressive behaviors.