If your Labrador is not affectionate you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of reasons why it might not be being affectionate and how you can get it to be more affectionate.
So, why is my Labrador not affectionate? Possible reasons are that it is ill or injured, previous owners mistreated it, fear, not getting enough exercise or naturally behaving that way.
It is important to consider that it could be the case that your Labrador might be showing affection but you’re not noticing it, more will be discussed on this below.
Why your Labrador is not affectionate
Below are a number of possible reasons why it is not affectionate and what would make them more likely to be the actual reason.
It could be the case that previous owners mistreated it and it now does not like to show as much affection. This would be more likely if it was adopted from a shelter and it has not suddenly stopped being affectionate. If it stopped being affectionate suddenly then it could be the case that someone it lives with currently has been mistreating it. However, there are some other possible causes of a sudden lack of affection that will be mentioned below.
In this case, it might improve as it gets used to its new environment. If it does not improve after a few weeks, consider getting help from a dog behaviorist. It would also help to give it lots of positive attention in the form of training, exercise and by playing with it.
Illness or injury
The cause could be that it has become ill or injured. This would be more likely if it has started showing less affection suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being ill or injured such as being fatigued or limping. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
The cause could be that something has been causing it to be fearful. This would be more likely if it becomes less affectionate at certain times such as at night, when a certain person is around or when another pet is around.
It could be the case that it is naturally not very affectionate. This would be more likely if it has always behaved that way and it has not started doing it suddenly. It would be likely that it has actually been showing affection towards you, but in ways that you have not been noticing, more will be discussed on this below.
The reason why it has not been being affectionate could have something to do with its age. If it has gradually become less affectionate as it has gotten older, the cause could be that it does not have as much energy as it used to.
It could also be the case that it is understimulated or bored. Labradors are a breed that is supposed to get a lot of exercise on a daily basis. When they don’t get enough it can cause them to behave abnormally.
Generally, it is recommended for them to get an hour of exercise daily when they are healthy. If yours is not getting that much it would help to make sure that it does start getting more exercise provided it is healthy.
When Labradors are puppies they learn a lot about how to behave. If a Labrador puppy does not get many opportunities to interact with people it will not have as many chances to learn to be interested in them.
The cause could be that something has caused it to become depressed. This would be more likely if it has stopped being affectionate after an event occurring that might have caused it to become depressed such as another pet dying.
In this case, if it does not begin to improve over the course of a few weeks it would help to take it to a vet for professional assistance.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider about your Labrador’s affection.
If it has always not been affectionate
It would help to consider whether or not it has stopped showing affection suddenly or if it has always been that way. If it has stopped doing it suddenly, it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to stop doing it.
If it did stop doing it suddenly it would be more likely to be due to things such as someone mistreating it, a sudden change in its daily routine, becoming ill or becoming depressed. In this case, it would help to get help from a vet.
If it is more affectionate at certain times
It would also help to consider whether or not there are certain times that it tends to show more affection.
For example, if it is less affectionate when there are certain noises outside, it could be the case that it is fearful when the noises are present.
It could be showing affection towards you that you are not realizing
It could be the case that your Labrador has actually been showing affection towards you but in ways that you are not realizing.
Examples of ways that your Labrador be showing you affection would be if:
- It keeps the pace with you when out on a walk
- Comes to you when you call it
- It follows you around
- It noses you which is where it sniffs you with its nose a lot
- It doesn’t like it when you leave
- It licks you
- It jumps up at you
- It leans on you
How to get it to be more affectionate
Below are some options you have when getting your Labrador to be more affectionate.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training involves rewarding the behaviors you want to see and avoiding rewarding the behaviors that you do not want to see.
If you want to get it to be more affectionate then you would reward it with a treat when it does things that show signs of being affectionate. For example, you might reward it with a treat for coming and sitting with you.
Avoid positively reinforcing behavior you don’t want
If you have been giving it things it wants when it is not affectionate, it could be contributing to it not being affectionate. Instead, it would help to reward it when it shows signs of affection and to use positive reinforcement training to get it to come to you so that you can reward it for being affectionate when you want it to be affectionate.
Avoid punishing it
It would also help to avoid punishing it and to use positive reinforcement training to change its behavior instead. If you punish it then it could cause feelings of resentment and it might not even understand why it is being punished.
Spend more time with it and show it more affection yourself
Another way to encourage it to show more affection would be to show more affection towards it yourself. Ways to show it affection would be to train it, exercise it and to play with it.
Give it more exercise
In order to keep your Labrador happy and to encourage it to be affectionate, it is important to give it exercise on a daily basis. It is generally recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day.
Take it to the vet
If it has stopped being affectionate suddenly or it has been showing signs of being ill, the best option would be to get help from a vet. By doing so you will be able to rule out illness as a cause and to get expert advice tailored towards your particular Labrador.