We usually picture the labrador retriever as a dog who would never hurt a fly. They usually happily approach everyone, love to play, and are always up for meeting some new friends. However, not every dog will meet their breed’s description all the time. For this reason, owners with an aggressive labrador will likely be asking themselves: why is my labrador aggressive?
Labradors are aggressive when they are in fear. Other causes of aggression in dogs include frustration and dominance. Labradors also show aggression if they are ill or have an injury.
This article will explain why some dogs become aggressive and how you can control your dog’s aggressive behavior. In addition to this, we will be answering some other commonly asked questions related to aggression in labradors. We will also explain and describe some other essential things to consider when it comes to dogs’ aggression.
Reasons Your Labrador Is Aggressive
There are five main reasons behind aggressive behavior in dogs. These include fear, frustration, guardian resources, asserting dominance, and an illness or injury. Here are five reasons your labrador is aggressive.
Possibly the most common cause of aggression in dogs is caused by fear. This could be a fear of people, other dogs, and anything else.
You can determine if your labrador is exhibiting fear aggression by his body language.
Some common canine body language in a fearful dog includes cowering, showing the whites of their eyes, trembling, and attempting to escape. In addition to this, having a tucked tail between the hind legs and having hair stand up on end are other clear signs that a dog is nervous or afraid.
Frustration aggression occurs when a dog feels confused, threatened, and/or forced into something that he does not want to do.
For example, forcefully pulling a dog away on a leash every time another dog comes near could cause the dog to become aggressive toward other dogs.
He sees the dog as a threat because he recognizes that he will get an uncomfortable tug on his leash when the dog comes close. This is another fairly common form of aggression in dogs.
Resource Guarding Aggression
Resource guardian behavior causes a dog to become aggressive when others come around things like toys, treats, and food. This is most commonly aggression towards children and other dogs, but anyone could be affected by this if they threaten to take a dog’s resources away.
Dominance aggression in dogs can be directed at both people and other dogs. Dogs exhibiting dominance aggression tend to have a nipping problem, and these dogs are more likely to bite at the neck and head than non-dominant aggressive dogs.
In addition to this, eye contact with dominant, aggressive dogs will likely trigger an aggressive response. These dogs are also likely to resist commands and vacate certain areas when told to do so.
Aggression Caused by Illness or Injury
Illnesses and injuries can cause a dog to have a sudden onset of aggressive behavior seemingly out of the blue. This is especially true for illnesses and conditions that are particularly painful.
If you suspect that an illness or injury causes your dog’s aggression, it is essential to visit a vet. This way, your dog can get the proper treatment they need, and the aggressive behavior should subside as they start to feel better.
Can a labrador be aggressive?
Labradors are typically not considered to be an aggressive dog breed. They were not bred as guard or fighting dogs, so they could not be aggressive towards people or other dogs.
However, genetics isn’t everything, and the environment or improper training can cause any dog to become aggressive under certain circumstances.
Why Do Labradors Get Aggressive
Labradors usually become aggressive because they are fearful of something. This is classified as fear aggression. However, your labrador could also be becoming aggressive due to frustration, feeling the need to guard their resources or assert dominance, or due to an illness or injury.
Why Is My Dog Being Aggressive All Of A Sudden
Dogs who become aggressive suddenly are usually behaving this way because they are in pain or don’t feel well.
Therefore, if your labrador is suddenly exhibiting aggressive behavior, you should take him to the vet right away. This way, any injuries, illnesses, or other health conditions can be treated or ruled out.
If this is the cause of your labrador’s sudden aggressive behavior, he will likely stop acting aggressively after his illness, injury, or health condition is treated correctly.
How Do You Control An Aggressive Labrador
If your dog is exhibiting aggressive behavior, then the first thing you should do is visit a vet about this problem. Often dogs act aggressively as a response to pain, so getting this treatment will likely significantly reduce aggressive behavior.
If your vet has ruled out your dog’s aggression having a clinical cause, you should then visit an animal behaviorist or qualified dog trainer. Many vets will have a referral to give you for one.
With professional advice from one of these sources in mind, you should also aim to set your dog up for success by reducing the chances of him becoming aggressive.
For example, if your dog is aggressive towards other dogs, then you should limit his exposure to them as much as possible.
When it comes to aggressive behavior in labradors and any other kind of dog, there are many things that you should consider. However, possibly the two most important things to keep in mind are proper training and socialization.
This should be preferably done when the dog is young or still a puppy, but it is never too late to start training and socialization.
For dogs adopted as an adult, you should work towards training and socializing them as soon as possible if they haven’t been already.
If necessary, you can do this with the help of an animal behaviorist or qualified dog trainer. This will be needed for all dogs exhibiting any aggressive behavior.
The Importance Of Proper Training
Proper training is essential for creating an obedient, well-rounded dog. This prevents having a dog run your household, reducing the chances of your dog developing dominance aggression.
Although some dogs require a firm leader, you should always avoid harsh punishment techniques such as shock collars when you can.
This can cause frustration-aggression in dogs, and it can make aggressive responses worse in dogs who are exhibiting aggressive behaviors already. In addition to this, you should never punish your dog for showing aggression.
This will likely make the situation worse, and the dog may even redirect their aggression towards you.
The Importance Of Socialization
Proper socialization is crucial when it comes to minimizing a dog’s fear. Socialization is preferably done early when the dog is still just a puppy. However, it is never too late for socialization.
It will likely be more complex and require the help of a qualified animal behaviorist or dog trainer, but it can be done.
Socializing your dog should be a fun and exciting event for both of you, and it should never be forced. Other dogs, other people, cats, cars, and other animals should all be included in the socialization process.