If your Labrador doesn’t like other dogs you might want to know why and if there is anything you can do about it. This post will show you a number of reasons why your Labrador might not like other dogs and the options you have.
So, why does my Labrador not like other dogs? Possible reasons are that it did not socialize much with them as a puppy, another dog was aggressive towards it, it’s naturally submissive or that you have inadvertently rewarded the behavior.
Your Labrador might not like dogs for many different reasons and it could be the result of a combination of them. However, there are a number of things you can do about it.
Why your Labrador doesn’t like other dogs
Below are some common causes of Labradors not liking other dogs and what would make them likely to be the reason why yours does not like other dogs.
Labradors will, naturally, explore their environment a lot as puppies and it is when they will learn a lot about the world. Not getting a lot of exposure to other dogs at a young age could be why your Labrador does not like other dogs. This is because it might not have learned what dogs it can trust so it sees them as a threat or it is unsure what to make of them.
In this case, desensitization training would likely work best which is discussed a few sections below.
Another dog snapped at it
The reason why it has been doing it could be that another dog snapped at it causing it to be afraid of other dogs now. This would be more likely to be the reason if you saw another dog snap at it and if your Labrador is a puppy. In this case, it would help to try to avoid having it around potentially violent dogs.
It’s being submissive
The cause could also be that it is naturally submissive around other dogs. This is something that would be less common in Labradors but it can happen especially when they are puppies.
This would be more likely if it likes dogs that are not so aggressive or that are smaller than it but it becomes submissive when it is around dogs of a similar size as it or larger.
Signs of submissive behavior can include lowering itself to the ground, laying on its back or hiding behind you.
It’s overly protective
The reason why it does it might be that it is being protective. This would be more likely if it becomes aggressive around other dogs and people that it does not know. It would also be more likely if it growls more at dogs that it is unfamiliar with especially when at home or around your property.
It has been reinforced
It could also be the case that you have encouraged it to behave that way by giving it things it wants when it does it. Instead of rewarding it try to redirect its focus before it has a chance to become apprehensive around other dogs and to reward it more when it is being well behaved.
It could also be the case that it is naturally not very trusting of other dogs.
This would be more likely if it was able to socialize with other dogs as a puppy but it didn’t like them either and if it is also afraid of other people, that it does not know, as well. It would also be more likely if it has always acted that way around other dogs and it wasn’t just a sudden change.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider about your Labrador not liking other dogs.
When it does not like other dogs
It would help to consider if there are certain situations when it gets on well with other dogs and what is different in those situations.
If it only seems to not like other dogs when you are in a certain location, with it, then it would suggest that it is something in the environment that is causing it to act unusually. One possible reason could be that it was mistreated by another dog, in that location, in the past.
If your Labrador seems to not like other dogs in all locations then it could be that it was not able to socialize as a puppy or it does it naturally. However, it could still be that it was mistreated by another dog especially if your Labrador was not always like it.
When it started doing it
If it did like dogs in the past, it would also help to consider what else happened when it stopped liking other dogs.
If it stopped liking other dogs suddenly it would be more likely to be due to things such as another dog mistreating it or possibly that you rewarded it.
Whereas, if it has always not liked other dogs it would make it more likely to be due to it naturally not liking them, being submissive or not socializing much when younger.
How old it is
It would also help to consider the age of your Labrador.
If it is still young it could be the case that it is going through a more fearful stage that it is not uncommon for them to go through. In this case, it would help to continue to let it be around other friendly dogs and to positively reinforce it when it is well behaved around them.
If it is older then it would be more likely that it was either mistreated or it did not socialize enough when it was younger. Even if it is older, you will still be able to do the things mentioned below.
How to get your Labrador to like other dogs
Below are some things you can do about your Labrador not liking other dogs.
The first option to try to do is to allow your Labrador to be around other friendly dogs as often as possible in a controlled environment.
If it does not get the opportunity to be around other dogs very often then it will be more difficult for it to learn not to be afraid of them.
However, if it seems like your Labrador might become aggressive, it would be important to get professional help from a dog trainer or behaviorist.
Another thing you can do would be to let it be around other dogs in a controlled environment. When doing so you would reward it when it is behaving the way you want and stop rewarding it when it starts act like it does not like the other dogs. If it starts being well behaved again then you would reward it. This will teach it that being well-behaved results in it getting rewards.
Again, if it seems like it might become aggressive, the best option would be to get professional help.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it could be the case that you have inadvertently trained it not to like other dogs. Instead of giving it rewards when it does it, try to redirect its focus before it stops acting the way you want and to reward it when it behaves the way you want.
Avoid putting it in dangerous situations
If you are not sure that your Labrador will be safe around other dogs, it would help to make sure to avoid putting it into risky situations with other dogs. Doing so should help keep your Labrador and other dogs and people safe.
Get help from a dog behaviorist or trainer
If you cannot figure out why your Labrador does not like other dogs or you cannot get it to stop, consider getting the help of a certified dog behaviorist or trainer. By doing so you will be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular Labrador, to see why it is doing it and how to get it to stop.