Labradors Forums banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 18 month old lab and he is very loving, playful and great company, but he wont let anyone touch or stroke him if he doesn't know them, sometimes even if he does, but hasn't seen them for a while. Also, when we take him out around the house and he encounters someone approaching he jumps forward, barks and appears threatening which can scare people because of his loud bark. He doesn't do this off the lead although he still doesn't like to be touched. It is all just a show and he hides behind me or backs off if they try to reassure him, and it has happened many times over the past few months. He is defiantly not aggressive, but a bit of a softie and I’m sure it’s not a territorial thing, although he is a good guard dog. He liked the fuss and attention from strangers and other people as a puppy, but not so anymore! I can live with this, but wish he was more accepting.
Should he be friendlier? Is this common behaviour? Do you have a similar story with your Labrador?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
Hi Mona

Barney is the absolute opposite! We cannot get him away from ANYONE. He approaches all strangers and dogs and in fact absolutely anything. He has far too much confidence. We wish that he was a bit more reserved :!: Has your dog had a fright that has made him wary of strangers perhaps? What were his parents like?

Barney doesn't bark much (only when playing with us in the house in fact) and we found out from the breeder that his mother is exactly the same, so its a bit of a genetic thing that's been passed down to Barney.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Gordon, it's a shame we can’t trade a bit of their personality’s and level things out. He's had no bad experiences from any people so no real reason for this behaviour. He got a nasty bite from a bully Alsatian when he was nearing one year and that affected his confidence a little with other dogs (he realised not all dogs were friendly), but now he's more cautious. I cannot find a connection between the two?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,048 Posts
Hi Mona
It's always difficult to give advice without 'seeing' the behaviour, but just to start with can you answer:
Is he show or working bred?
How old was he when this behaviour started?
Is it to people who come to him to say hello, or does it happen to people who are 'minding their own business' so to speak, as well?
What do you do when he does this?
Is he like it when out or in the home, or both?
What is he like with people he does know - does he look uncomfortable when people stroke his head?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,048 Posts
Oops forgot to ask - did he have lots of socialisation with people when he was a puppy, and has this continued till now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi there, here are some answers to the last post: He is not a working dog and i think this behaviour may have started as he matured from puppy hood (3 to 6 months ago max). He has been out every day socialised ever since we had him, has been treated well. If and when it does happen it seems to be within a certain distance around him (usually around the house) and not with people he knows well.
If this happens i try to make him sit and be friendly, but he still doesn’t want to be stroked. He is the same in the house and doesn't let strangers touch his head, but loves attention from familiar faces?
His parents seemed fine when we met them, but couldn't comment on their behaviour!
Hope this answers all your Q's
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,163 Posts
Hi Mona,

Sorry to hear about the problems you have been encountering, it must be hard when you know that your lab is so loving, and yet he doesn't feel comfortable with other people.

Is he worse with people who come into your house, i.e. people you don't know that well, rather than everyday people, that he meets on his walks?

Have you tried ignoring him completely when he acts like this to strangers/people?

What does he do if you ignore him completely?

P.S What's your labs name? :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It's not such a big problem realy, maybe it being taken out of context, he jast seems a little protective on the lead around the house for my liking. He doesn't bark off the lead and minds his own business, putting this aside he is a perfectly happy dog. I was curious to know if other labs are similar. He barks when people he doesn't know first enter but is fine after a short time. We have had dinner partys before and many friends round at once and he mingles fine.
I haven't tried to experiment ignoring him but i'll give it a go to see!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,048 Posts
Hi Mona
Firstly, some dogs are happier than others with being stroked/ touched. Stroking the head of a dog can also be seen as threatening. If you ever see two dogs greeting each other, they go up to each other, sniff each other, do a little bit of circling round each other, and often one will put his head over the neck of the other, this is a way of displaying dominance.
If he’s jumping forward while barking, then I would be concerned. The fact that he’s only doing it on the lead is because he thinks he needs to. Generally, dogs back away from situations they don’t like, but while they’re on a lead they can’t, and so feel the need to up the warning.
Please don’t get me wrong, I know he is lovely, but he is displaying a form of aggression (technically) which could put you on the wrong side of the DDA. A border collie who lives near me (a lovely dog, who wouldn’t harm anyone), barked at a passing postman and now has an order on him to be kept on a lead at all times when in public. To be honest, I don’t think it’s a problem that will be difficult to sort, and because it is helpful to see the situation and how you handle it, I would recommend seeing either a behaviourist or a trainer with added experience of behaviour problems (make sure they’re properly qualified).
In the meantime, there are a few pointers. Firstly, don’t reassure him – he’ll think your praising him and will keep doing it. Also, don’t tell him off – he’ll think you’re barking at the strangers too… Don't forget that every time he does it he is reinforcing the behaviour, so where possible I would avoid the situations where it's likely to happen until you are in a position to distract him. Personally, I’d work on getting him to concentrate on you, and praise him when he does this and ignores people. If you do this in all different situations, once he has learnt it, you can apply it when you suspect he may start to bark at someone. You could also teach him the quiet command – teach him to bark on command too, it’s then easier to teach quiet, and I would not let anyone come up to him to stroke him if he is uncomfortable about it.
HTH and let us know how you get on.
:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for your tips and the good advice, i'll try out some things and see how they go!!!!!
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top