If your Labrador keeps going between your legs, you might be wondering why and what can be done about it. In this post, I will show you some common causes of Labradors doing it and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my Labrador go between my legs? Possible reasons are that it is anxious, is being submissive, is looking for attention, has separation anxiety or that you have inadvertently reinforced the behavior.
Your Labrador could be doing it for many different reasons and it could be due to a combination of them. However, there are a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main reason and there are some things you can do about it if you want it to stop.
Why your Labrador goes between your legs
Below are some common causes of Labradors going between their owner’s legs and what would make them more likely to be the reason why yours has been doing it.
The cause could be that something is causing it to be anxious. This would be more likely if it does it more at times where it is likely to be anxious such as when a person or animal is around that it doesn’t like. In this case, going between your legs would be comforting for it.
Another possible cause is that it does it because it is being submissive. This would be more likely if it does it in situations such as when there are other dogs around that are bigger than it is. It would also be more likely if it shows other signs of being submissive such as by hiding its tail and if it is still a puppy.
It might be the case that it is trying to get extra attention from you. This would be more likely if it does it more when you have not given it attention in a while and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.
You have been encouraging the behavior
The reason might also be that you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as extra attention, toys or treats, when it goes between your legs, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead of giving it things such as toys, treats or attention when it goes between your legs, try to redirect its focus when it is about to do it onto sitting somewhere else and to reward it when it is well behaved.
It could be the case that it does it due to having separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and the prospect of being left alone gives it anxiety. This would be more likely if it does it more when you are about to leave and if it shows signs of anxiety when you are leaving.
Consider when it first started doing it
If your Labrador did not always go between your legs, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.
Things that might have happened could include:
- You started leaving it for longer periods
- You rewarded it for doing it one time
- You stopped giving it as much attention
- It moved homes
- Something in its daily schedule changed
Consider when and where it does it
It would also help to consider the timing and location of when your Labrador goes between your legs.
If it does it when there are other dogs around then it would be much more likely that it is being submissive. Whereas, if it does it when you are about to leave then it would be more likely to be due to separation anxiety.
How to stop your Labrador from going between your legs
Below are some things you can do about your Labrador going between your legs.
Train it to stop using positive reinforcement training
One option you have is to try positive reinforcement training. This is where you get your Labrador to behave in a certain way by rewarding it when it behaves that way and not rewarding it when it does not.
To use it to stop it from going between your legs you would do something such as:
- Reward it before it goes between your legs
- Stop rewarding it when it goes between your legs
- Get it out from under your legs and avoid giving it attention until it doesn’t try to get between your legs
- Reward it for behaving the way that you want it to
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that you have been inadvertently encouraging it to do it. Instead of giving it things that it wants when it does it, try to reward it when it behaves the way that you want and to redirect its focus when it is about to go between your legs.
Get help from a dog trainer or behaviorist
If you cannot figure out why it does it then consider getting the help of a dog trainer or behaviorist in your area who will have the experience to know what is likely to be causing it and what to do about it.
When you’re trying to get your Labrador to stop going between your legs it’s important to be patient. Getting your Labrador to stop going between your legs is not something that you will be able to stop overnight so it’s important for you to be consistent and to stick training it.