If your Labrador has recently snapped at you this post will show you why and what you can do about it.
So, why does my Labrador snap at me? Possible reasons are that it is injured, it feels threatened, mistreatment, a lack of training or possessiveness.
Your Labrador might actually do it for many different reasons and it could be due to a combination of them. However, there are a number of things you can do about it and there are some things you can consider when figuring out the most likely causes.
Why your Labrador snaps at you
Below are some common causes of Labradors snapping at their owners and what would make them more likely to be the reason why yours has been doing it.
The reason might be that it has an injury. This would be more likely if it has been showing other signs of being injured such as being fatigued or limping. If it does seem like an injury could be the cause the best option would be to take it to a vet.
It could also be the case that it snapped at you because it was feeling threatened. This would be more likely if you approached it in a threatening way by doing things such as make large movements, shout or by trapping it in a corner.
The cause might also be that it thought that you were mistreating it. This would be more likely if it did it when you were being aggressive towards it or you were neglecting it in some way such as by not feeding it.
It would help to consider if your own actions could have made it feel like it was being mistreated in some way.
A lack of training
If you have not given your Labrador much training, it will behave the way that it feels like behaving. The way it feels like behaving is unlikely to be the way you want it to behave which is why it is important to give it training. It would help to start by training it to do simple things and then to build up from there.
Sometimes, dogs will snap out when they are protecting things that they think belong to them. This will commonly happen when someone tries to take something such as a bone away from them or when going near them while they are eating. This could be the reason why your Labrador has been snapping at you. This would be more likely if it does it in situations such as when it is eating or sitting in a certain spot.
In this case, it would help to do lots of leave it training. But, if it is aggressive, getting the help of a dog trainer or behaviorist would likely help the most.
Being frustrated could also be why it did it. This would be more likely if it did it after you had been telling it to do something repeatedly or after you had been touching it in a way that it did not like.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider when figuring out the most likely cause of your Labrador doing it.
When it started lashing out
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.
If it started doing it suddenly it would be more likely to be due to things such as being mistreated, getting injured or feeling threatened.
What is different when it snaps at you
It would also help to consider the timing of when it does it since the timing might also have something to do with it.
If it snaps at you when you are shouting it would make it more likely that it feels threatened. Whereas, if it does it when it is eating it would make it more likely that it is resource guarding.
How many times it has done it
It would also help to consider how many times it has done it.
If it only snapped at you once then it would make it more likely to be because it was feeling threatened or because it was in pain at the time. However, it could still have been due to one of the other reasons mentioned above.
How to get your Labrador to stop snapping at you
Below are some things you can do about it. The best option will depend on the most likely cause.
Make sure that it is not ill or injured
If it seems like it might be ill or injured 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 injury as a possible cause.
If you think it might be aggressive, the best option would be to get help from a dog behaviorist or trainer. By doing so, you will be able to get expert guidance tailored to your particular Labrador and they will be able to show you the most appropriate course of action to take in a safe manner.
Make sure that you are feeding it correctly
It would also help to make sure that it has been getting the right diet. It would help to consult with your local vet on what you have been feeding them when you see them next. You can also look here to see what you should and should not be feeding your Labrador.
Avoid punishing it
It might be tempting for you to punish your Labrador when it misbehaves but you should avoid doing so. If you punish it your Labrador might not know why and it could lead to it having feelings of resentment. Instead, it would help to give it lots of positive reinforcement training as discussed below and to be consistent with the training.
Use positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you reward your Labrador for behaving the way that you want it to and avoid rewarding it when it does not. If you have not trained your Labrador to behave the way that you want it to then it would help to start doing so with the use of positive reinforcement training.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
It would also help to avoid giving it things that it wants when it behaves in a way that you do not like. Instead, it would help to train it to behave a certain way with the use of positive reinforcement training.