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Labrador Behavior Problems

Most Labradors are known for having a good personality and having a great temperament, being super friendly, fun, and loving, but others do not have quite the same personality.

This guide will help you to know and understand different behavior problems that some Labrador Retrievers face over their lifetime.

Expressive Labradors

Most Labradors love to express themselves and are very expressive in all that they do. They will try their best to communicate with you what they are feeling and why they are feeling the way that they do.

Even though they like to communicate their feelings with you, it doesn’t mean that they will do with just sounds such as growling or barking, but sometimes, their body language will tell you what they feel even if they do not make a sound.

Body Language

Even though dogs cannot verbally speak, as we all know, they do speak with their bodies.  We can learn from the different body language that they show us exactly how they are feeling, and most of the time, we can even understand why.

Most Labradors will communicate their body language even though the way that they express their facial expressions.  They can communicate by the way that they turn their mouth or the way that they stare at you. 

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Why Should I Understand My Labradors Body Language?

If you want to understand what kind of problems your Labrador is having and why understanding and learning their body language is going to be vital for you to understand their behavior.

If you can learn to recognize when your Labrador is excited, scared, aggravated, or even mad, you can use these signs to try to understand what kind of behavior problems they are having and why.

If your Labrador needs their behavior in check, it is much easier to do this when you understand exactly when and what has caused their behavior. You can only successfully do this when you can figure out how your dog is going to act based on their body language.

Why Does My Labrador Bark So Much?

One common behavior problem that many owners talk about is barking. Some Labrador owners experience excessive barking from their Labrador, and this can be a behavioral problem that causes problems, especially for people that live close to other people or people that live in apartments.

Even though most Labradors bark for good reasons, such as trying to tell you someone is at the door or trying to warn you that something is wrong, sometimes they bark too much, and it can become an aggravation for you and those around you.

If you have ever had a dog that barks excessively, you will know that this type of barking is unhealthy for those around your Labrador, keeping everyone up at night and disturbing the neighbors and sometimes even scaring people that come close to your dog.

There are quite a few reasons why your Labrador might bark, such as:

  • Boredom
  • Frustration
  • Being Scared
  • Guarding their home or family
  • Overly Excited
  • Hate Being Alone


One of the most common behavior problems with barking is when your dog is bored.  He or she might be bored and cannot get any attention, so they will bark excessively.

Since Labradors are such a smart breed of dogs, the chances are that when they realize that they can get attention from you, even if it is negative attention, by barking, then they will continue to bark to keep getting attention

Labradors love to be sociable, and they become bored very easily when left alone for long periods or if you are home and are not giving them attention. Sometimes when this happens, you will find that your Labrador is barking more than necessary.

To cure this behavior problem, you must take time out of the day to play games and to help your Labrador to use his or her mind so that they will be occupied and not resort to barking.


When a dog is frustrated, they might bark.  This is usually combined with body language, and your Labrador will usually scratch or put their ears back when they are barking.

You can tell that your Labrador is frustrated, and they will have their frustration pointing at whatever object is frustrating them, such as if their toy is stuck behind something. 

To stop this behavior problem, do not give them a treat or praise them for acting out.  Have them to “sit” and then get their toy after they have calmed down.

Being Scared

If your Labrador is scared, they will put their tail between their legs, and they will put their head down and will put their ears back.  This is often followed by excessive barking so that they can try to scare away whatever is making them scared.

This behavior is one that should not be controlled because it is an important emotion for your Labrador to have.  Try not to take this emotion away from your Labrador, or they might not be able to show you how they feel when they are scared.

Guarding Their Home or Their Family

When your Labrador is trying to protect their home or their family, they will bark if they feel threatened.  This behavior will result in a high intensity, high sounding bark that is loud and excessive.

Your Labrador is doing this as a warning for you to know that something bad is happening or something is going on that is unusual.  If someone is coming to your home that should not be there, your Labrador will tell them to go away.

The problem with this behavior is that your Labrador might always be trying to protect everywhere he or she goes, and this can mean that your dog is barking everywhere and at everything including animals, people, sounds and more

Overly Excited

When dogs get excited, they sometimes like to jump around and bark.  This type of barking is a behavior problem because it causes your dog to be hyper, and this can happen when you’re gone for long periods.

The great thing about this type of barking is that your Labrador will only bark for short periods because they will stop after they get used to you being home again. 

Hates Being Alone

In some Labradors, especially those that are left alone a lot by themselves, often experience anxiety.  This anxiety is very normal, but it is a very situation both for the dog and the owners.

Separation anxiety can cause your dog to bark nonstop the same type of barking that happens when your Labrador is bored and has nothing to do.

You can tell the difference between if your dog is barking because he is bored or if he is barking because he hates being left alone by seeing when he is barking.  If your Labrador is barking all hours of the night, the chances are that he is barking because he hates being alone and is acting out.

Other Reasons My Labrador Barks

There are other reasons that your Labrador might bark, such as when your dog barks at night.  When this happens, it most likely happens because your dog hears noises that he or she isn’t used to hearing during the day.

When the lights go out at night, and all of the noise of the house settles down, there are noises outside and inside that your Labrador isn’t used to hearing, such as crickets, animals outside, the house settling and more.  All of these different sounds can trigger your Labrador to bark and to be uneasy at night.

Changing the environment can also cause your Labrador to bark.  If you change your Labrador’s room or move to a new house, they will not be settled down immediately, and this might cause them to bark and act out for a few days after the move.

Dogs are very territorial creatures, and when their environment changes from something that they are not used to, it can cause them to feel anxiety, and therefore they might bark more than normal.

Why Does My Labrador Chew All My Stuff?

Another major behavioral problem that Labradors have is chewing.  Labradors love to chew and destroy things, even from puppy age and on. 

There is just about anything that your Labrador will chew or eat, including furniture legs, baseboards, toys, shoes, blinds, couches, curtains, and just about anything that your Labrador can get in his or her mouth, quickly before you notice.

When your Labrador is chewing on things, most of the time it is called destructive chewing because they are chewing on things that they should not be chewing on 

This chewing costs money, but more importantly, it can cause your Labrador to get sick because he or she has eaten something that is not good for them. 

Here are a few reasons why your Labrador might be chewing your things:

  • They are hungry.
  • Looking for attention.
  • Underlying medical issues.
  • Escape their area.
  • Bored.
  • Teething.
  • Behavior Disorders.
  • Are not obedience trained?


If you notice that your dog is chewing a lot, take a minute and look at their diet.  Notice if there is something that you have changed recently that might be causing your dog to be hungry or lacking any kind of nutrition.  If you have changed their diet, the chances are that he or she might just be hungry, and that could be why they are chewing so much.

Another thing to remember is their activity.  If you are taking your Labrador outside for even longer than their hour and a half, they might be burning more calories than they are getting in their body.  This can cause them to chew and to be hungrier than normal.

If you notice that your Labrador is chewing more than normal and their dog dish is empty, try to keep their dish filled more than normal and see if your Labrador stops chewing or you can always get food that is higher in fiber which will help to make them feel fuller longer.


Being a full-time worker can be hard, especially if you have puppies at home.  These puppies can get bored very quickly and can lack attention.

If you are gone a lot, and you notice that your Labrador is chewing on things excessively or chewing on furniture or other items such as shoes or fabric, the chances are that he or she is seeking your attention and doing things to try to get you to notice them.

Try to spend more time with your Labrador and see if that helps with the chewing problem.

Medical Conditions

Most of the time, when your puppy is chewing, it has to do with boredom or teething, but once in a while, your puppy can be sick, and this can cause them to begin to chew. 

If you spend plenty of time with your puppy and they have no real reason to be chewing, take your puppy into the vet and have them checked out, having your vet run extra tests, just to make sure that your Labrador is healthy.

It is important to rule out any medical conditions before working on behavioral problems.

Escaping Their Area

If your Labrador is chewing in an area that is close to where they are separated, such as behind a baby gate or a divider, the chances are that your Labrador is just trying to escape their area. 

This behavior is a problem behavior and can lead to them trying to escape other things such as a leash when they are on a walk. 

It is still important to make sure that you keep your Labrador in his or her area when you are gone to make sure that they are safe and that your items are safe. 

Try to spend more time letting them run around the home supervised to try to get rid of this behavioral problem.


Not spending enough time with your Labrador and not giving them enough exercise can cause them to become very bored. 

When they are bored, they will often time pick up chewing as a habit.  They have to put their energy somewhere, and without their proper exercise, they will put their energy in chewing on things such as your couches and your doors.

You can prevent some of this behavior by spending more time outside and giving your puppy more attention to games and fun.


Some puppies won’t just love to chew and like to explore and see what is going on in the world around them.  They do this with their mouth, and they do this by putting things in their mouth. 

Just like babies, puppies have teeth that are coming in, and they are painful.  They need to have something to chew on to make sure that their teeth stop hurting.

One way to stop them from chewing on furniture and other things that are important to you, purchase some teething toys and pet store bones for your puppy.  This can help them to stop chewing on things that they shouldn’t and will keep them happy and prevent them from being bored. 

Behavioral Disorders

Behavioral problems, such as being frustrated or aggressive, can cause your puppy to chew.  Sometimes, they will see things that they want, and if they cannot get a hold of that stuff, they will chew on whatever is by them, regardless of what it is. 

If your Labrador is not friendly, they might choose to chew to put their aggression out, and this can cause them to act out when they are in the home.

Fear is another thing that causes your Labrador to chew.  If he or she gets nervous, they will find things to chew on so that they can get their stress out. 

You need to pay attention to times when you see your Labrador chewing and try to note what might be causing this behavior. 

Another big reason that some Labradors chew is that it becomes an obsession.  When they start chewing, they can get used to this behavior, and then it becomes a habit.

When your Labrador develops a chewing habit, it takes special training to try and get them on the right track again.  If you feel that you cannot meet these needs, hire a behavioral specialist, and that will help you to train your dog.


Some Labradors are just disobedient, and there is no way around it.  One problem with this is that most people that experience behavioral problems with their pets have not fully trained them as they needed to be trained.

If this is the case, you will have to work extra hard to get your Labrador to learn to behave correctly and to correct this behavior.  Make sure to give your Labrador things to chew on that are fun and safe for them.

Chewing Behavior

Remember that chewing is a natural thing for dogs and that this can happen regardless of your Labrador is happy, obedient, and healthy.  Just remember to try to find ways to keep your Labrador entertained and to take their mind off of doing things like chewing on furniture and other belongings that you have.

It is also important that you figure out the reason that your Labrador is chewing, such as from being hungry, for dental health, or whatever the reason might be so that you can make sure that you understand and know what is going on with your dog. 

What Can You Do to Stop Your Puppy from Chewing?

As discussed, your Labrador might have some different issues that are causing them to chew on things.  To work through this, try to figure out how to meet the needs of your dogs to help them to stop chewing. Here are some tips to stop some of the chewings:

  • Give Your Labrador a Lot of Exercise and Activities.
  • Play Games That Work Their Mind.
  • Increase in Training.
  • Put Things Away You Don’t Want Your Lab to Chew On.
  • Confine Your Dog When You Are Gone.
  • Give Your Lab Safe Toys to Chew On.
  • Try to Redirect Your Labrador.
  • Always Supervise Your Labrador.
  • Give Them Attention.
  • Use Chewing Sprays to Deter Chewing.
  • Be Firm.
  • Use Crate Training.
  • Exchange Non-Chewables for Chewables.
  • Buy Teething Toys.
  • Expect Chewing During Teething Periods.
  • Help Your Dog to Get Tired.
  • Be Consistent.
  • Do Not Yell or Spank.
  • Do Not Confuse Your Dog (Give Them Some Shoes They Can Chew On But Not Others).
  • Do Not Punish for Past Chewing.
  • Do Not Expect Them to Stop Chewing Immediately.
  • Use Obedience School.

What if My Labrador is Biting?

If you have a Labrador, chances are you love your puppy very much, but what happens if you feel them biting you or trying to take something from you?

Now, it seems like every time you walk away from that, and your Labrador is biting you.  What should you do? 

Puppies will sometimes bite because it is just a natural thing.  Another reason that they bite is to help them to communicate with you.  Since Labrador does not have real language, he or she will sometimes bite in order to get the attention that they need from you.

Puppies love to interact with the world around them, and biting is just one thing that Labradors are used to doing.  They are natural hunters and workers, and part of this job is the desire to chew and to bite.

When your puppy is bored, and they bite, they might just be bored, and they will bite just to get a reaction out of you.  Even negative attention is attention, and this is something that Labradors like to get from you.

If your puppy is aggressive, the chances are that he or she is just really playing and is not being as aggressive as they look. 

Puppies sometimes get a look when they are playing, and they can even sound mean when playtime comes to their mind.  The truth is, this is just intensive playing and makes your puppy very happy.

How Can I Tell if My Puppy is Being Mean or Just Playing?

To know that your puppy is being mean or just playing, look at how they are showing their body language.  IF your puppy has a low growl or if their hair is standing on the back of their neck, or if your Labrador is tense, this means that your dog is most likely aggressive.

Make sure that you know when your puppy is acting up and pay attention if they are just throwing a temper tantrum or if there is another motivation behind their biting.

There are other reasons that your puppy might bite, such as:

  • They Are Guarding the Home.
  • They Are Scared.
  • They Are Playing.

Controlling Biting

In order to control the biting, it is important that you try to stop the triggers that are causing your puppy to bite.

Here are some ways that you can control your puppies biting:

  • Redirect them with toys or bones.
  • Redirect them to softer playing.
  • Give them a lot of exercises.
  • If your puppy bites your feet, stop moving when they start attacking your feet.
  • Learn to communicate with your puppy.
  • Say “ouch” loudly if they bite.
  • Do not jerk away; they think this is fun.
  • Ignore them when they start biting.
  • Do not get angry at them.
  • Stay calm.

Biting is behavioral problems that many puppies face, so it is important to try to encourage your puppy to play without biting people or things other than their bones or their toys.

Once your puppy realizes that they are rough, they will learn to understand how to play easier without being too rough. 

Using taste to deter biting is another thing that you can do.  If your puppy bites your hand, put something on your hands that your dog hates to taste, and this will help them not to bite.

It is okay to put your puppy in time out when they revert to bite, and this can help your puppy to learn not to bite so that they do not have to be in time out.

How Can I Stop My Labrador from Jumping on Me?

Sometimes when your puppy is overly excited and hyper, chances are he or she will begin to jump.  Your puppy will sometimes do this because they want to say hi to their owner, and this is one way that they want to communicate.

The problem with jumping is that Labradors are so large that they can hurt when they jump.

Here are some ways you can stop your Labrador from jumping:

  • Do Not Reward When They Jump.
  • When Your Lab Jumps, Move Sideways.
  • Say “no!”
  • Go Out the Door if they Start to Jump.
  • Offer Treats When They Don’t Jump.
  • Use a Training Leash if Needed.

What Other Behavioral Problems Might My Lab Have?

There are some other behavioral problems that you could see in your Labrador and with good training and extra time, you can teach your Labrador to not exhibit these behaviors:

  • Begging for Food.
  • Digging.
  • Pulling on the Leash.
  • Separation Anxiety.
  • Fear of Fireworks and Thunder.


Labradors are amazing dogs to have and have great personalities, are fun and loyal.  Just like humans, Labradors can experience some behavioral problems that can cause having a Labrador Retriever to need more training and sometimes even a professional to step in.