If your Labrador has been barking at you, this post will show you a number of possible reasons why and what you can do about it.
So, why does my Labrador bark at me? Possible reasons are that it wants your attention, you have been inadvertently encouraging the behavior, it’s bored, it’s excited, it is being aggressive or that it is being possessive.
There are a number of reasons why your Labrador might be doing it and it could be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are a number of things you can do about it.
Why your Labrador barks at you
Below, I will show you a number of reasons why your Labrador might bark at you and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
It wants attention
The reason why it does it could be that it knows that it will get extra attention from you when it barks at you. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it extra attention when it does it.
Instead, it would help to give it attention throughout the day by training it, exercising it and playing with it. But, it would also help to avoid rewarding it with attention when it barks unless necessary.
You have been encouraging it
It might be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior by giving it things that it wants when it barks.
Instead of giving it things such as attention, toys or treats when it barks, try to reward it when it is well behaved and to redirect its attention before it starts barking.
Labradors are meant to get quite a lot of daily exercise. When they do not get enough exercise it can cause them to behave abnormally and it could be why yours has been barking a lot.
Generally, it is recommended for them to get an hour of exercise per day when they are healthy adults.
Sometimes, dogs will bark when they are excited. If your Labrador tends to bark in situations such as when you are about to walk it or when you come home then it would be more likely that it is barking to show its excitement.
The reason why it has been doing it could be that it is being aggressive. This would be more likely if it shows signs of aggression when it is doing it.
If it is the case that your Labrador seems to bark at you in an aggressive way then the best option for you would be to get the help of a dog behaviorist in your area.
It could also be the case that it does it because it is being possessive. This is where it is trying to protect something that it thinks belongs to it such as its spot on the bed or the food it is eating.
It would be important to be careful in these situations since dogs can become aggressive when they are resource guarding. If your Labrador is a puppy then it would be very important to train it out of this behavior now while it is still young.
You can watch the video for some advice on what to do about your Labrador resource guarding.
It is being dominating
The reason why it does it could be that it is being dominating. This would be more likely if it barks in situations such as when you sit where it would normally sit and if it is reluctant to follow your command.
In this case, it would be important to give it lots of training so that it learns how to behave.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider when trying to figure out why your Labrador has been barking at you.
When it started barking
If it did not always bark at you, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it might be the case that there was an event that caused it to start doing it.
If it started barking suddenly then it would help to consider what else changed at around the same time that it started barking.
Things to consider would be:
- If it might have gotten injured
- If you moved home
- If someone moved away
- If someone was aggressive towards it
When and where it barks
It would also help to consider the timing of when it barks since the timing could also have something to do with it.
For example, if it barks more at around the same time that you would normally walk it then it might be trying to remind you to walk it.
The way that it barks
It would also help to consider the body language that it shows when barking.
If it seems to be doing it aggressively or you feel like it is warning you not to go near it then the best option would be to get the help of a dog behaviorist who will help you train it in a secure manner.
How to get your Labrador stop barking at you
Below are some things you can do about your Labrador barking at you.
Positive reinforcement training
One option is to use positive reinforcement training. This is where you encourage the behaviors you want to see by rewarding your Labrador when it displays them and avoid rewarding it when it does not.
To use it to get your Labrador to stop barking you would do something such as:
- Stop giving it attention when it starts barking at you
- Give it attention when it stops barking at you
- Stop giving it attention again if it starts to bark at you again
- Repeat the above and reward it with treats when it does not bark at you when it normally would
You can watch the video below for some more positive reinforcement tips.
Avoid negative reinforcement training
As mentioned above, it could be the case that you have been inadvertently training it to bark.
Instead of giving it things that it wants when it barks, try to stop rewarding it when it barks and to reward it when it does not bark.
Get help from a trainer
If you can’t get it to stop barking or it is aggressive, it would also be an option to get help from a dog trainer or behaviorist. By doing so you should be able to see how to train it to stop and what is causing it to do it.
When training your Labrador, it is important to be consistent. It is not likely that you will be able to get it to change its behavior drastically with just a single training session. But, you can get good results over the course of weeks and months.