If your Labrador keeps barking at other dogs, you might be wondering what you can do about it and why it does it.
In this post, I will show you a number of reasons why your Labrador might be doing it and what you can do to stop it.
So, why does my Labrador bark at other dogs? Possible reasons are that it is being protective, it didn’t socialize with other dogs much as a puppy, it’s being dominating or that it does it as overly enthusiastic play.
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 also a number of things you can do about it.
Why your Labrador barks at other dogs
Below are a number of reasons why it might be doing it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
The reason why it does it could be that it is being protective. This would be more likely if it barks at people that it doesn’t know sometimes as well.
In this case, it would help to train it to associate other people with rewards as mentioned below.
The reason why it does it could be that something is causing it to be fearful around other dogs. It could be the case that it is because other dogs mistreated it in the past. This would be more likely if it shows signs of being submissive such as by hiding its tail.
A lack of exposure to other dogs
If it did not get much exposure to other dogs as a puppy it could be the cause of it barking. This would be more likely if you adopted it from a shelter.
Labradors will, naturally, explore their environment a lot as puppies and it is when they will learn about the world. Not getting a lot of exposure to other dogs when young could mean that your Labrador sees other dogs as a threat.
The reason why it does it might be that it is being dominant. This would be more likely if it is unresponsive to your own command and it tries to position itself to be in higher positions than you.
In this case, it would help to give your Labrador lots of training so that it sees you as the leader and to train it to associate being well behaved around other dogs with rewards.
Overly enthusiastic play
The reason why it does it might be that it becomes overly excited when it is around other dogs. This would be more likely if it shows signs of being excited such as by waging its tail and it doesn’t show signs of aggression.
Encouraging the behavior
It could also be the case that you have encouraged it to do it by giving it things that it wants when it does it.
Instead of giving it things like treats when it barks at other dogs, try to recognize when it is about to start barking and to redirect its focus.
How to get your Labrador to stop barking at other dogs
Below are some things you can do when getting your Labrador to stop barking at other dogs.
Teach it to associate other dogs with rewards
The first option would be to train it using positive association training. This is where you train your Labrador to learn to associate other dogs with positive things.
To do this you would start giving your Labrador special treats when you are approaching other dogs with it and stop when your Labrador starts barking. By doing this it will learn that barking around other dogs results in it not getting rewards.
Desensitize it to other dogs
You could also try desensitizing it to other dogs by getting it used to being around them. When doing so you would reward it when it is not barking and stop rewarding it when it starts to bark. If it starts being well behaved again then you would reward it. This will teach it that being well-behaved results in it getting rewards.
Train it to listen to your command
It would also help to give it lots of positive reinforcement training so that it is easier to control it when starts misbehaving. It would help to start by training it to do basic tasks such as to sit and then to build up to training it to do more challenging things such as to come to you on command.
Try a growl class
If you can’t get it to stop you could try taking it to a growl class which is a class designed to train dogs to stop barking at other dogs.
Take it to a dog behaviorist
If you cannot get your Labrador to stop doing it, you could also get help from a dog behaviorist or trainer. By doing so you should be able to get expert advice on how to train your Labrador to stop doing it safely.
Things to consider
When you’re training your Labrador, it is important to be consistent. If you just train it once it will not likely have a big impact on its behavior. However, if you train it consistently over the course of weeks and months you can get much better results.
When it started
If your Labrador did not always bark at other dogs, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.
If it started doing it suddenly it would be more likely to be due to things such as being mistreated by another dog or because you inadvertently rewarded the behavior one time.
Whereas, if it has always barked at other dogs then it would be more likely that it didn’t get much exposure to other dogs as a puppy, it sees them as a threat or that it is being overly dominating.