If your Labrador is aggressive towards other dogs then it will be something that you’ll want to stop as soon as possible. This post will help you to figure out why your Labrador does it and how to stop it.
So, why is my Labrador aggressive towards other dogs? Possible reasons are a lack of exposure to other dogs, dominance, overly enthusiastic play, it’s being protective or that the other dogs previously mistreated it.
Your Labrador might be doing it for a number of different reasons and it could be due to a combination of causes. However, there are a number of things you can do about it.
Why your Labrador is aggressive to other dogs
The different causes will likely come with some clues. Below are a number of different reasons why it might be doing it and what would make them more likely.
A lack of exposure to other dogs
The cause could be that it was not around other dogs much as a puppy. When Labradors are puppies they would normally get to interact with their littermates on a daily basis. This allows them to learn that other dogs will not attack them, that they are friends and it also teaches them how to control their bite. If your Labrador didn’t get to do that then it will still have it in its nature to be cautious of other dogs.
It could be the case that your Labrador does it because it is being dominant. This would be more likely if it tends to do it with smaller dogs and if it does other dominating things such as to try to position itself to be higher than you.
In this case, it would help to give it lots of training and to follow the other tips mentioned below.
Overly enthusiastic play
It could be the case that your Labrador is actually playing with them. When this happens it can cause dogs to display aggressive behavior like biting or growling. Regardless this is still something that you should try to stop with training or the help of a dog trainer.
Protecting territory or owner
It could be the case that your Labrador does it because it is being protective. This would be more likely if it does it around other people as well.
How to get your Labrador to stop being aggressive
Below are some options you have when getting your Labrador to be less aggressive towards other dogs.
Teach your dog to positively associate other dogs with rewards
One option would be to train it to have positive associations with other dogs by making use of positive association training. This is where you reward your Labrador when other dogs are around and it is being well behaved causing it to have positive feelings towards being around other dogs.
One way to do this would be to give it rewards when you are approaching other dogs and it is being well behaved and then to stop rewarding it as soon as it starts being aggressive. Doing this should help to teach it that being aggressive results in it not getting rewards.
You can see more tips on this in the video below:
Try a “growl” class
Another option would be to take it to a growl class which is designed to help dogs become better behaved around other dogs.
Take it to vet or dog behaviorist
If you cannot get it to stop doing it, one option would be to get help from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to see why it is doing it and how to get it to stop effectively.
Things to consider
Use positive reinforcement training
It would help to avoid punishing your Labrador for misbehaving since it could make matters worse. Instead, it would help to focus on reinforcing good behaviors by rewarding them with the use of positive reinforcement training.
When training your Labrador it is important to be patient. It is unlikely that you will be able to get it to change its behavior significantly with just one training session. But, you should be able to get much more noticeable results by training it consistently over the course of weeks.
Avoid reinforcing bad behavior
It would also help to avoid reinforcing bad behaviors by making sure not to give it any rewards when it misbehaves.
It’s also recommended that you stay calm so that you can focus on the triggers of your dog’s aggression. By getting anxious you will reinforce its instinct to be cautious of other dogs.
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