If your Labrador has been acting aloof or distant you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.

This post will show you some possible causes and what you can do to get it to be more interested in you.

So, why is my Labrador so aloof? Possible reasons are that it is bored, was mistreated by previous owners, you might have inadvertently rewarded the behavior, an issue with its diet, a medical condition or it could be due to a lack of training.

There are many reasons why it might be being aloof and it could be due to a combination of reasons. But, there are some things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason.

Why your Labrador is aloof and distant

Below, I will show you some possible causes and what would make them more likely to be the reason.

You have inadvertently trained it to be that way

It could be the case that you have trained it to be that way by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention when it is aloof, it might do it more in order to get those rewards.

Instead, it would help to reward it when it shows signs of interest and to avoid rewarding it when it is aloof using positive reinforcement training to change its behavior instead.

A lack of training

If your Labrador is aloof because it does not listen to you it could be because you have not given it any training. It is important to give it lots of positive reinforcement training so that it learns how to behave. It would help to start training it the basics such as to sit or stay and then to build up from there.

Boredom

The cause could be that it is bored since Labradors are meant to get daily exercise in order to be stimulated. Generally, it is recommended for healthy adult Labradors to get at least an hour of exercise per day. If yours has not been getting that much, it would help to make sure that it does.

Mistreatment by previous owners

The cause could be that previous owners mistreated it and it has learned not to show so much interest in people. This would be more likely if you adopted it when it was no longer a puppy.

In this case, it would be likely that it will improve over the course of weeks and months. However, you could help by giving it lots of exercise, training and by playing with it. If it doesn’t improve, it would help to talk to your vet about it and to consider getting the help of a dog behaviorist in your area.

The weather is too hot

If it has started acting fatigued since the weather has become hotter it could be because the hot weather is making it feel tired. In this case, it would help to avoid letting it be out in the sun for to long so that it can avoid heatstroke. It would also help to exercise it in the morning or evening when the sun is not as strong and to give it access to shaded areas and a cool room.

Illness or injury

The cause could be that it has gotten an illness or injury. This would be more likely if it has started acting that way suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being ill or injured like being fatigued when awake. In this case, the best option would be to have a vet take a look at it.

Not getting the right diet

The cause could also be that there is an issue with its diet. This would be more likely if it started being aloof suddenly after a change in its diet. The problem could be that it has been eating too much, not enough or that it has been eating things that it should not be.

It would help to make sure that no one else has been feeding it without telling you and it would help to talk with your vet about its diet when you next see them.

Nature

It might be the case that your Labrador is naturally calm. This would be more likely if it has always acted that way and it has not suddenly started doing it.

Age

If your Labrador is getting older, the cause could be that it is not as strong as it used to be. When dogs get older, they will naturally become lazier since it takes more energy for them to move around. This would be more likely to be the reason why your Labrador has been being aloof if it has gradually become aloof over time and if the vet has not found any issues.

Depression

Dogs can become depressed like humans can and it could be why yours has been being aloof. This would be more likely if it started doing it when an event occurred that might have caused it to start being depressed such as someone moving away or another pet dying.

Things to consider

When it first started acting that way

It would help to consider what else happened when it first started being aloof since it could be the case that something happened that caused it to start doing it.

If it started doing it suddenly it would be more likely to be due to things such as becoming ill, a sudden diet change, the weather becoming hotter or something causing it to be depressed. In this case, it would help to seek the guidance of a vet.

When it becomes more aloof

It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that it tends to be more aloof.

For example, if it becomes more aloof after being fed then it could be that the food has something to do with it. Whereas, if it does it more when it has not gotten much exercise it could be the case that it needs more.

What to do about your Labrador being aloof and distant

Below are some things you can do to get it to be less aloof.

Give it more exercise

As mentioned above, it is important to make sure that it is able to get daily exercise if it is healthy. Generally, it is recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day.

Avoid negative reinforcement

It would also help to avoid rewarding it when it is aloof. Instead, it would help to reward it when it shows signs of not being aloof and to give it lots of positive reinforcement training.

Use positive reinforcement training

Positive reinforcement training involves rewarding your Labrador for showing signs of doing what you want it to do and avoiding rewarding it when it does not.

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.

Give it positive attention

It would also help to give it attention throughout the day by playing with it, training it and exercising it.

Ensure that its diet is right

As mentioned above, it could be the case that there is an issue with its diet. It would help to talk to your local vet about its diet when you see them next. You can also look here to see what you should and shouldn’t feed it.

Take it to a vet

If you cannot figure out why your Labrador has been doing it or it has started doing it suddenly, it would be the best option 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 medical causes.

Get help from a dog behaviorist

If you cannot get your Labrador to listen to you, it would also help to get help from a dog behaviorist or trainer. By doing so you should be able to see why it is doing it and how to train it more effectively.

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Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.