If your Labrador has been grunting, groaning or moaning 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 groan? Possible reasons are that it is excited, looking for attention, bored, ill, injured, fearful, protecting food or possessions or you might have inadvertently rewarded the behavior.
There are many 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 which will help in figuring out the exact reason. There are also a number of things you can do about it.
Why your Labrador grunts, moans and groans
Below, I will show you a number of reasons why your Labrador might be doing it and what would make them more likely to be the reason.
The cause could just be that it is excited since dogs will often become noisy when they are excited. This would be more likely to be the reason if it tends to do it more in situations such as when you come home or when you are about to walk it.
It wants your attention
The cause could also be that it is looking for your attention. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.
It would help to give it attention throughout the day by playing with it, training it and exercising it. However, in order to get it to stop moaning, it would help to avoid rewarding it when it behaves the way you don’t want it to and to reward it when it calms down.
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 doing it suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being ill or injured such as being fatigued, vomiting or limping. If it seems like illness or injury could be the cause, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
The cause could be that it is warning you not to approach it. This would be more likely if it does it when people are trying to intimidate it or to enter its space. It would also be more likely if it shows signs of aggression (mentioned below) when doing it.
It’s protecting food or possessions
It might also be doing it because it is being possessive. This would be more likely if it does it when you go near it when it is eating or if you try to sit in its spot.
Dogs that are normally friendly can be aggressive when they are being possessive so it would be recommended to seek the help of a dog trainer to get the behavior to stop safely.
Labradors are meant to get daily exercise in order to be fully stimulated. The reason why yours has been groaning could be that it is bored. Generally, it is recommended for healthy Labradors to get around an hour of exercise daily. If yours is not getting that much and it is healthy, it would help to make sure that it does.
It could also be the case that something has been causing it to be anxious. This would be more likely if it does it more in situations where it might be anxious such as when you are leaving home which would be a sign of separation anxiety.
It could be the case that your Labrador is making noises at you because it is being aggressive.
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 be doing it in an aggressive way, 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 moaning, groaning or grunting.
The way that it grunts, moans or groans
It would help to consider the way that it does it and the other body language signs that it shows.
If your Labrador 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.
If your Labrador does not show any signs of aggression when it does it then it would still be important to be cautious since dogs can still be aggressive even when they are not showing signs of being aggressive.
When it first started to grunt, groan and moan
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 doing it suddenly, it would be more likely to be due to things such as becoming ill, a sudden change in its daily routine, something causing it to be anxious or a change in its diet or.
When it does it
It would also help to consider the timing of when it becomes noisy since the timing could also have something to do with it.
For example, if it does it more at night, it would be more likely to be due to things such as separation anxiety, wanting to pee or an issue with its sleeping environment.
How to stop your Labrador from grunting, groaning or moaning
Below are some options you have when getting it to stop.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training involves rewarding the behaviors you want to see from your Labrador and avoiding rewarding bad behaviors.
To use it to get it to stop grunting, groaning or moaning you would do something such as:
- Stop giving it attention when it starts to make the noise
- Give it attention when it stops making noises
- Stop giving it attention again if it starts to make noise
- Repeat the above and reward it with treats when it does not make noise when it normally would
Avoid negative reinforcement training
Negative reinforcement training is where you give your Labrador rewards when it misbehaves, causing it to do it more in order to get more rewards. Instead, it would help to reward it when it is being well behaved and to avoid rewarding it when it misbehaves.
Make sure it isn’t ill or injured
If you can’t figure out why your Labrador has been doing it or it has started doing it suddenly, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so, you will be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular Labrador and to rule out the possibility of illness or injury.
Give it attention throughout the day
It would also help to give it attention throughout the day so that it doesn’t feel the need to seek it 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 doing it or it is doing it aggressively, it would help to get the guidance of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. By doing so you will be able to see how to train it to stop in a safe manner.