If your Labrador has been being naughty you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.

This post will show you a number of possible reasons why it has been doing it and what you can do about it.

So, why is my Labrador naughty? Possible causes are a lack of exercise, not getting enough training, wanting more attention, rewarding the behavior, it’s teething or that it has separation anxiety.

There are actually many different reasons why your Labrador might be doing it and it could be due to a combination of reasons. But, there are things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason. There are also a number of things you can do about it.

Possible reasons why your Labrador is naughty

Below, I will show you a number of reasons why your Labrador might have been being naughty and what would make them more likely to be the actual reason.

Exercise

Labradors are a breed that is meant to get exercise on a daily basis. When they do not get enough exercise, it can cause them to behave abnormally and to do things they shouldn’t be doing it. If your Labrador has not been getting much exercise it could be why it has been being naughty. This would be more likely if it is naughtier on days where it does not get much exercise.

Generally, it is recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day. If your Labrador has not been getting that much exercise, it would help to make sure that it does, provided that it is healthy.

Training

If you have not given your Labrador much training then it will not know how it is meant to behave and it will behave the way that it feels like behaving. The way that it feels like behaving is unlikely to be the way that you would like it to behave. This is why it is important to give it lots of training.

It would help to start by training it to do the basics such as to sit and stay using positive reinforcement training and then to build up from there.

Attention

The reason why it has been being naughty could be that it has realized that it results in you giving it more attention. This would be more likely if it tends to be naughty when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.

Instead, it would help to give it attention throughout the day by playing with it, training it and exercising it. But, it would also help to avoid rewarding it with attention, when it is naughty, unless necessary.

Fear

The cause could be that something has been causing it to be fearful. This would be more likely if it starts being naughty at specific times where it might be fearful such as when there are fireworks outside.

Location

If your Labrador listens to you in certain locations but not in others, it could be the case that the location has something to do with it. The different distractions that it has in the new location can be too much for it to remember what you trained it to do before. Your best option here would be to train it again in the new environment as you did in the old environment.

You’ve been rewarding it

It might be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged it to be naughty by giving it things it wants when it does it. Instead, it would help to reward it when it is being well behaved and to avoid giving it rewards when it is naughty.

It’s teething

If your Labrador is a puppy still and it has started being naughty suddenly it could be because it is teething. In this case, it would help to give it lots of things to chew on and to train it to learn what is ok to chew and what is not. I have written more about this in this blog post.

An issue with its diet

The cause could be that there is an issue with its diet. It could be that it has been eating too much, not enough or that it has been eating things that it shouldn’t be. An issue with its diet would be more likely to be the problem if it started being naughty, suddenly, after a change in its diet.

It would help to make sure that no one else has been feeding it without you knowing and it would help to talk to your local vet about its diet when you next take it for a checkup.

Separation anxiety

The cause could also be that it has separation anxiety. This would be more likely to be the reason if it becomes naughty while you are away.

In this case, you could try to reduce how anxious it becomes without you by doing something such as:

  • Make it seem like you are about to leave by doing something such as picking up your keys
  • Reward your Labrador for not being anxious and repeat these two steps a few times
  • Make more moves towards actually leaving such as by picking up the keys and putting your hand on the door handle
  • Reward your Labrador for not being anxious and repeat the process a few times
  • Actually open the door and go outside for a few moments then come back and reward your Labrador
  • Repeat the above, each time staying outside for slightly longer

You can see more tips on how to do this in the video below:

How to get your Labrador to stop being naughty

Below are some options you have when getting it to be better behaved.

Train it

If you have not given your Labrador much training yet it would help to start doing so. By giving it training you should be able to get it to learn to behave the way you want it to and to improve your relationship with it.

If your Labrador is being naughty then it will likely be trying to destroy things. You can train it to stop doing this directly by doing lots of spontaneous “leave it” training whenever it starts being destructive.

You can watch the video below to see how.

Exercise

As mentioned above, it is important to make sure that your Labrador is able to get daily exercise. It is generally recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day when they are healthy.

If your Labrador is getting exercise daily but it is still being naughty, you could try wearing it out more by getting it to do things such as play fetch.

Reduce its ability to be naughty

You can also take measures to reduce how naughty it is able to be. You can do this by keeping it away from things that you don’t want to be destroyed, preventing it from being able to escape and by giving it lots of toys to keep it occupied.

Crate training

Another option would be to give it crate training which is meant to give it an area to go and feel safe when done effectively.

You can watch the video below to see how to train it to become comfortable in its crate.

Get help

If you cannot get your Labrador to start being well behaved, you could get the help of a dog trainer or behaviorist. By doing so you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your dog and to see how to train it effectively.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider about your Labrador being naughty.

Be patient

It would help to be patient when training it since it is unlikely that you will be able to get it to drastically change its behavior with just one training session. But, if you stick with it, you should be able to get much better results over the course of weeks and months.

Avoid punishing it

It would also help to avoid punishing it since it might not know why it is being punished and it could cause it to become resentful. Instead, it would help to change its behavior with the use of positive reinforcement training.

When it first started doing it

It would also help to consider what else happened when it first started being naughty since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start being naughty.

If it started doing it suddenly it would be more likely to be due to things such as a change in its diet, teething, realizing that it gets rewards when it does it or a sudden change in its daily routine.

When it misbehaves more

It would also help to consider the timing of when it misbehaves since it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it.

For example, if it is well behaved after getting exercise, it could be the case that it needs more exercise. In this case, you could try giving it more exercise in the mornings.

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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.