If your Labrador has been grumbling a lot you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my Labrador grumble? Possible causes are that it is excited, bored, wanting your attention, protecting food or possessions, fearful or that it is ill or injured.
There are many different reasons why your Labrador might be doing it and it could be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason. There are also a number of things you can do about it.
Why your Labrador grumbles
Below, I will show you a number of reasons why it might grumble and what would make them more likely to be the actual reason why yours does it.
Labradors are a breed that is meant to get exercise daily. When they do not get enough exercise it can cause them to behave abnormally and it might be why yours grumbles. This would be more likely if it tends to grumble at around the same time that you would normally walk it.
Generally, it is recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day. If yours has not been getting that much and it is healthy, it would help to make sure that it does start getting more exercise daily.
Sometimes, dogs will grumble when they are excited and this could also be the reason why yours grumbles. This would be more likely if it does it more in situations such as when you come home, when you’re about to walk it or when playing tug of war with it.
It wants your attention
It could be the case that it does it to get attention from you. This would be more likely if it tends to do it when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it attention when it does it.
It would help to give it attention throughout the day by playing with it, exercising it and giving it training. But, it would help to avoid rewarding the grumbling with attention until it calms down.
It could also be trying to get your attention because it wants something which would be more likely if it does it at the same time that you would normally give it something.
It’s protecting food or possessions
The reason why it grumbles could be that it is being possessive. This is where it tries to protect something that it thinks belongs to it. This would be more likely to be the reason if it does it more in situations such as when it is eating or when you’re trying to sit in its spot.
Dogs can become aggressive when they are being possessive so it would be recommended to seek help from a dog trainer or behaviorist to get it to stop safely.
The cause could also be that something is causing it to be fearful. This would be more likely if it does it more in situations such as when there are noises outside.
In this case, it would help to try and reduce its exposure to the thing that makes it fearful or you could try desensitization training.
Illness or injury
The cause could also be that it has gotten an illness or injury. This would be more likely if it has started grumbling a lot suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being ill or injured such as vomiting or limping. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
The cause could be that it is being aggressive and it is warning you not to approach it.
This would be more likely if it shows its teeth when it grumbles, it has its ears erect and it moves stiffly from side to side.
If it is the case that your Labrador seems to grumble in an aggressive way then the best option for you would be to get the help of a dog behaviorist in your area.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider about your Labrador’s grumbling.
The way that it grumbles
It is important to consider the way that it has been doing it and the body language that it shows.
If it shows its teeth, lunges towards you, stands more erect and moves stiffly then it would be a strong sign of aggression. In this case, it would be best to keep your distance from it and to get the help of a professional dog behaviorist.
Whereas, if your Labrador does not show many signs of aggression when it grumbles, it might still be the case that it is doing it as a warning since dogs can still be aggressive when they are not showing signs of aggression. So, it would still be important to be cautious when dealing with its grumbling.
When it first started to grumble
It would also 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 grumbling suddenly, it would be more likely to be due to things such as a sudden change in its daily routine or becoming ill or injured.
When it grumbles
It would also help to consider the timing of when it tends to grumble since the timing could also have something to do with it.
For example, if it tends to grumble when you are leaving it could be the case that it has separation anxiety.
How to stop your Labrador from grumbling
Below are some options you have when getting it to stop.
Positive reinforcement training
It would help to train your Labrador with the use of positive reinforcement training. This is where you reinforce the behaviors that you want to see and avoid rewarding bad behaviors.
To use it to get it to stop grumbling you would do something such as:
- Stop giving it attention when it starts to grumble
- Give it attention when it stops grumbling
- Stop giving it attention again if it starts to grumble
- Repeat the above and reward it with treats when it does not grumble when it normally would
Avoid negative reinforcement training
Negative reinforcement training is where you inadvertently reinforce bad behaviors by giving your Labrador things it wants when it misbehaves. Instead of rewarding it, when it grumbles, it would help to reward it when it is being well behaved and to wait for it to calm down before rewarding it.
Make sure it isn’t ill or injured
If you cannot figure out why your Labrador has been doing it or it has been showing signs of being ill or injured, it would help to take it for a checkup with the vet. By doing so you will be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular Labrador and to rule out the possibility of it being due to illness or injury.
Give it attention throughout the day
It would also help to give it attention throughout the day so that it does not feel the need to seek attention from you as much. Ways to give it attention would be to exercise it, train it and to play with it.
Get the help of a dog behaviorist
If you can’t get it to stop or it has been doing it aggressively, it would help to get help from a dog behaviorist or trainer. By doing so you should be able to see how to train it to stop in a safe manner.