If your Labrador keeps barking, you might want to know why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of reasons why it might be doing it and what you can do to stop it.
So, why does my Labrador bark so much? Possible reasons why your Labrador will bark a lot are excitement, rewarding the behavior, fear, being protective, hunger, injury or wanting attention.
There are actually a number of reasons why your Labrador might bark often and it could be the result of a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason. Once you have a good idea of why it has been doing it, you should have an easier time in getting it to stop.
Why your Labrador barks so much
Each of the different reasons why your Labrador does it will likely come with some clues.
Below are some possible reasons why your Labrador does it and what would make them more likely.
Sometimes dogs will bark when they are excited and it could be the reason why yours barks. This would be more likely if it does it more in situations such as when you are about to walk it or when you come home. If you want to get it to stop, one option here would be to wait for it to calm down before giving it what it is excited for.
Being fearful of something could also be what has been causing it to bark. This would be more likely if it barks in situations where it might be fearful such as when there are noises outside or if it is a windy night and the wind is causing a window to rattle etc.
The cause could be that it is being protective. This would be more likely if it barks more in situations such as when someone is at the door or when you are near someone else.
If it does it when there is someone it doesn’t know in your home it would be normal behavior. But, if it does it in situations such as when you are talking to someone when walking it then it would help to train it to stop with the use of positive reinforcement training or positive association training.
It has been reinforced
It could also be the case that you have encouraged it to bark by giving it things that it barks. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention when it does it then it might be doing it more in order to get more rewards.
In this case, it would help to avoid rewarding it when it barks and to wait for it to calm down before rewarding it.
Labradors are meant to get quite a lot of exercise daily. When they do not get enough exercise it can cause them to start behaving abnormally and it could be why yours has been barking a lot. This would be especially likely if it has not been getting as much exercise as it usually does since it started barking.
It is generally recommended to give them an hour of exercise daily. If yours has not been getting that much it would help to make sure that it does assuming it is healthy.
Being hungry could also be the reason why it has been barking. This would be more likely if it has been barking more since changing its diet, it barks at the time you normally feed it or if it does it when you are eating.
It might also be the case that it has been barking because something has been causing it to be in pain. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly and if it has been showing signs of being in pain such as limping or being fatigued. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
It wants attention
It could also be the case that it barks for your attention. This would be more likely if it does it more when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it more attention when it starts barking.
Instead, it would help to give it attention throughout the day by playing with it, walking it and training it but to avoid rewarding it with attention when it barks unless there is another reason for the barking.
How to stop your Labrador from barking a lot
Below are some options you have when getting your Labrador to bark less. You will likely find that making use of a combination of them will work best.
Positive reinforcement training
One way to get your Labrador reduce how much it barks is with the use of positive reinforcement training. This involves rewarding your Labrador for not barking and avoiding rewarding it when it does start barking.
You can watch the video below for more tips on using positive reinforcement training to get it to stop barking.
Avoid reinforcing the bad behavior
As mentioned above, it could also be the case that you have been encouraging it to bark by giving it things it wants when it does it. Instead, it would help to reward it when it is behaving the way you want and to avoid giving it rewards until it calms down.
Give it attention
It would also help to give it attention throughout the day by training it, walking it and playing with it so that it is less likely to feel the need to seek attention from you.
Give it distractions
In addition to the above, you could also give it things to be distracted with such as toys, bones and puzzle games so that it is less likely to seek its own entertainment.
Take it to the vet
If you can’t figure out why it has been barking or it seems like it might have an injury the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so you will be able to rule out the possibility of it being due to an injury and to get expert advice tailored towards your particular Labrador.
Give it exercise
As mentioned above, it is important to make sure that your Labrador is able to get exercise on a daily basis so that it will not be understimulated. Ways to wear it out, even more, would be to play fetch with it, walk it in a hilly area or to walk it for longer than usual. Generally, it is recommended to exercise it for an hour daily.
Things to consider
When it started barking
It would help to consider what else happened when your Labrador first started barking since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start doing it.
If it did start barking suddenly it would be more likely to be due to things such as being in pain, realizing that it gets rewards when it does it, getting fed less or a sudden change in its daily routine.
Whereas, if it has always barked a lot it could be due to the other reasons mentioned above.
When and where it tends to bark
It would also be helpful to consider the timing of when it starts barking since it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it.
For example, if it starts barking when you normally feed it then it would be more likely to be that it is trying to remind you to feed it. Whereas, if it does it when there is someone at the door then it would be more likely that it is being protective.