If your Labrador puppy is afraid of other dogs, you’re probably wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why your Labrador puppy could be scared of other dogs and what you can do to get it to be less afraid.
So, why is my Labrador puppy scared of other dogs? Possible reasons are that it has not learned to trust other dogs yet, another dog snapped at it and it is now afraid of it happening again or it might be naturally submissive.
There are a number of reasons why it might be doing it and it could be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are a number of things you can do about it.
Why your Labrador puppy is scared of other dogs
Below are some reasons why it might be doing it and what would make them more likely.
It hasn’t learned to trust certain dogs yet
The reason why it has been being afraid around other dogs might be that it is not sure whether or not it can trust them yet. When Labradors are puppies, the other dogs that they would normally interact with would be the other puppies and their mothers, they will usually be nervous around other dogs since they might be a threat.
If your Labrador puppy doesn’t have other puppies to play with it is likely it is naturally scared of the other dogs since it does not know them and they might be unfriendly.
In this case, it would help to try and socialize it with other friendly dogs as much as you can and with puppies in particular. It is also likely that it will become less afraid of other dogs as it gets older.
Another dog snapped at it
The reason why it does it could also be that another dog snapped at it. If one did, it now might not like being around other dogs because it does not want it to happen again. This would be more likely if you know that another dog snapped at it and it started being afraid suddenly afterward.
In this case, it would help to let it socialize with other friendly dogs and puppies when possible.
It could also be the case that your Labrador puppy is naturally submissive. This would be more likely if it tends to hide behind you, put its tail between your legs and roll onto its back. It would also be more likely if it only gets afraid around dogs that are bigger than it or ones that are slightly aggressive.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider about your Labrador puppy being afraid of other dogs.
When it first started doing it
If it did not always become afraid of other dogs, 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 was not always afraid of other dogs, it would be more likely that it is either afraid now because another dog snapped at it or your Labrador wasn’t afraid before because the other dogs were other puppies.
If it has always been afraid of other dogs it is likely to be because it sees them as a threat especially if it gets afraid more around larger dogs. In this case, it would help to socialize it with puppies if possible or other friendly dogs.
If it becomes afraid around every dog
It would also help to consider what dogs it tends to be afraid of.
If it gets afraid some of the time it would be more likely that it is being submissive especially if the other dog is bigger than it or aggressive. It could also be the case that it was mistreated by a similar dog in the past.
Whereas, if it becomes afraid around all dogs it could be the case that it was mistreated in the past, you have inadvertently rewarded the behavior or that it is naturally timider.
How to get your Labrador puppy to be less afraid of other dogs
Below are some things you can do about it being afraid of other dogs.
Desensitizing it to other dogs
One way to get it to be less afraid around other dogs would be to get it used to being around other friendly dogs.
It will be difficult for it to learn what dogs it can trust if it is not able to socialize with them.
However, before socializing it with other dogs it is important to make sure that it has the appropriate vaccines so you may want to check on that with your vet beforehand.
When introducing your Labrador puppy to other dogs it would help to do so in a controlled environment with the dogs on their leashes.
You can watch the video below to see more tips on how to do it:
Positive reinforcement training involves encouraging the behavior you want to see by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way.
To use positive reinforcement training to get it to be less afraid of other dogs you would reward it after interactions where it was not afraid, reward it while it is near other dogs and it is not being afraid and stop rewarding it when it starts to become afraid.
Avoid negative reinforcement
Negative reinforcement training is where you inadvertently reinforce bad behaviors by rewarding your Labrador when it displays them. Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves that way you want it to and to use positive reinforcement training to change its behavior.