If your Labrador is afraid of everything you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of possible reasons why it does it and what you can do to get it to be less scared.
So, why is my Labrador afraid of everything? Possible reasons are that previous owners mistreated it, a lack of socializing as a puppy, being in a new environment, illness or injury or you might have rewarded the behavior.
There are actually a number of reasons why your Labrador might be doing it and it could be the result of a combination of reasons. However, there are multiple things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason.
Why your Labrador is afraid of everything
Below are 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 be that previous owners mistreated it. This would be more likely to be the reason if you recently adopted it from a shelter.
In this case, it might begin to improve as it gets used to being in its new environment. If it does not improve, consider getting help from a dog behaviorist or a vet.
Someone has been mistreating it
It could also be the case that someone in its current environment has been mistreating it. This would be more likely if your Labrador spends a lot of time around people other than you and if it avoids certain people.
The reason might be not socializing much as a puppy. When dogs are puppies they will naturally be very curious and this is the time where they learn most about the world. If they do not get the chance to interact with people or dogs then it will have a large impact on what they are like as adults.
It’s in a new environment
If it has suddenly become afraid after entering a new environment, it could be the case that it is unsure of whether or not the new environment is safe. In this case, it would be likely that it will begin to improve over the course of a few weeks as it gets more comfortable with its new environment.
It is ill or injured
The cause could also be that it has gotten an illness or injury. This would be more likely to be the reason if it has started doing it suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of it such as being fatigued. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
Some Labradors will be naturally a lot more outgoing than others. It could be the case that your Labrador is naturally more timid.
This would be more likely if you know that it was able to socialize as a puppy, it has not been mistreated and if it has always acted that way.
Rewarding the behavior
If you tend to give your Labrador things that it wants, when it is afraid, it could be encouraging the behavior. Instead, it would help to reward it when it shows signs of not being afraid and to use positive reinforcement training to get it to behave the way you want it to.
Things to Consider
Below are some things to consider about your Labrador being afraid of things.
If it is always afraid or if it is only afraid at certain times
It would help to consider the timing of when it is afraid since it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it.
For example, if it starts being afraid when there are noises outside, it would be much more likely to be due to the noises. Whereas, if it does it when a certain person is around, it would be more likely to be due to it having negative feelings towards that person.
If it becomes afraid at random times, it could be due to illness or injury, rewarding the behavior, a lack of socializing as a puppy, being mistreated when it was younger or being in a new environment.
It is not unusual for Labrador to be afraid of things such as thunder
Another thing to consider is that it is not unusual for dogs to be afraid of things such as thunder. But, if it is always afraid, it would be abnormal behavior and it would help to get advice from a vet.
How old it is
It would also help to consider its age. If it is a puppy then it will be normal for it to seem to be slightly timid at times. However, it would help to make sure that it gets lots of interactions with other people and dogs so that it learns not to be afraid.
If it is an adult, it would be more likely to be due to one of the reasons mentioned above. It would also help to consider if anything else happened at around the same time that it became afraid.
How to get your Labrador to be less afraid of things
Below are a number of options you have when getting it to be less afraid.
Allow it to meet new people and dogs
If it didn’t get to socialize much as a puppy, it would help to get it to meet other friendly people and dogs so that it can learn not to be afraid of them.
Reward it when it is not afraid
It would also help to encourage it to be less afraid by rewarding it when it shows signs of not being afraid and not rewarding it when it starts showing signs of being afraid.
Avoid punishing or rewarding it when it does become fearful
It would also help to avoid punishing it since it might not know why it is being punished, it could cause it to develop feelings of resentment and it will likely make it more afraid. Instead, it would help to use positive reinforcement training to get it to learn how to behave.
However, it would also help to avoid giving it things such as treats, toys or extra attention, when it becomes fearful, unless there is an apparent reason why it is doing it.
Take it to new locations
One way to get it used to new things would be to take it to new locations. One way to do this would be to walk it on a different route than you normally would.
See a vet or a certified dog expert in your area
If you cannot figure out why it has been being afraid, it has started doing it suddenly, it has been showing signs of illness or it has been doing it excessively, the best option would be to get help from a vet. By doing so you will be able to rule out medical causes and to get expert advice tailored towards your particular Labrador. Another option would be to get help from a dog behaviorist.