If your Labrador has been biting at you a lot, 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 get it to stop.
So, why does my Labrador bite me? Possible causes are that it wasn’t trained to as a puppy, it’s teething, you have inadvertently been encouraging the behavior, it wants attention or excitement.
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 consider when trying to figure out the exact reason and there are a number of things you can do about it.
Why your Labrador bites you
Below are a number of reasons why your Labrador might bite you and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
It wasn’t trained not to as a puppy
If it is an adult and you did not give it much training as a puppy it might not have learned that it is not ok to bite you. If it is not given much training then it will behave the way that it feels like behaving. The way that it feels like behaving is unlikely to be the way that you would like it to behaving which is why it is important to give it training.
In this case, it would help to start giving it training now by starting with basic commands and working your way up from there. It would also help to train it to stop biting you using the tips mentioned below.
It is teething
If it is a puppy the cause could be that it is teething. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly and if it has been nibbling on other things a lot as well.
In this case, it would help to start training it to learn that it is not ok to bite you and to give it lots of things that it is ok for it to chew on.
You have been encouraging it
It could also be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged it by giving it things it wants when it bites you. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention when it does it then it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it is being well behaved, to wait for it to stop biting you before rewarding it and to train it using positive reinforcement.
It wants attention
The reason why it does it could be that it wants attention. This would be more likely if you tend to give it more attention when it does it and it does it more when you have not been giving it much attention.
Sometimes, dogs will start biting when they are excited and it could be the reason why your Labrador has been biting. This would be more likely to be the reason if it does it more in situations such as when you arrive home.
In this case, it would help to avoid rewarding it when it starts biting by stopping giving it attention until it stops biting.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when trying to figure out why your Labrador has been doing it and what to do about it.
How old it is
It would help to consider how old your Labrador is since it will have an impact on the most likely cause of the biting.
If your Labrador is still young then it would be very likely that it is teething and it has not yet learned that it is not ok to bite.
Whereas, if it is older then it would be more likely that it never learned that it is not ok to bite and that it needs to be trained not to.
When it started biting you
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.
Some things to consider would be:
- If you moved home
- If someone was aggressive towards it
- If someone moved away
How aggressively it does it
It would also help to consider whether or not it does it aggressively.
If your Labrador does it aggressively then it would help to get the help of a dog trainer or behaviorist in your area who will be able to show you want to do in a secure way.
When and where it does it
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that it tends to do it more since the timing could also have something to do with it.
For example, if it seems to be doing it more at a certain time then it could be due to being excited especially if it does it in situations such as when you come home.
Whereas, if it does it at random times then it could be that you have inadvertently reinforced the behavior, it is teething or that it hasn’t learned not to do it.
How to get your Labrador to stop biting you
Below are some things you can do when getting your Labrador to bite you less.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you encourage behaviors that you want to see by rewarding it when it shows signs of displaying them.
To use it to get your Labrador to stop biting, you would:
- Stand up, turn away, and hide your arms when it starts biting them leaving the room if necessary.
- Wait a few moments and then go back to giving it attention and then turning away again if it starts biting
- Repeat the above until it learns that biting causes it to lose your attention
- Reward it with a treat when it does particularly well
You can watch the video below to see more on how to get your Labrador to stop biting with positive reinforcement training along with more tips.
Avoid negative reinforcement training
As mentioned above, it could be the case that you have encouraged the behavior by giving it things it wants when it does it. Instead, it would help to wait for it to calm down and to reward it then.
Give it things to chew on
In addition to the above, it would also help to give it things to chew especially if it seems to be in the teething phase. Things that you can give it would include chewy toys, bones and chews.
It is also important to be consistent when training your Labrador. It is not likely that you will be able to get it to change its behavior significantly with just one training session. But, if you train it consistently you can get much better results over the course of weeks and months.
If you cannot get your Labrador to stop doing it or it has been doing it aggressively, it would also help to get help from a 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 safely.