Labrador Retrievers are widely regarded as one of the most beloved and popular dog breeds in the world. This breed is loveable, loyal, intelligent, active and so much fun to be around. They truly do make for the perfect family pet, as they have very easy going natures, and are incredibly friendly.
If you see a Labrador, one of the first things that you will notice is that their tails do not stop wagging, and they’re so happy to come and meet you.
If you are wondering whether a Labrador Retriever is for you, then you will need to know everything about the breed, their temperament, and what their behavior is like. So, what exactly is a Labrador?
What Is A Labrador
A Labrador is a large, strongly built dog with a broad head, athletic body and big, round, intelligent eyes. These dogs have short but thick double coats that can either be yellow, chocolate or black. However, you can get variations of the yellow color, and end up with a fox red Labrador, or even a white Labrador.
The Labrador Retriever is actually America’s favorite dog breed, and has been for many years now. These dogs are incredibly intelligent, and are often the breed of choice for therapy dogs due to their ability to learn and desire to please their owners. They are also great with children, and are wonderful companions being so affectionate with their families.
They are super friendly and welcoming to all, getting on well with other dogs, and very rarely showing any signs of aggression or behavioral problems. Due to their incredible intelligence, these dogs do need a lot of attention, exercise and training as they have lots of energy to burn and need mental and physical stimulation for their active brains.
Labradors are active working dogs, and therefore can be prone to some behavioral issues when their needs are not met. Without proper stimulation, they can be prone to some destructive behaviors, and can sometimes suffer from separation anxiety from their owners if not socialized and trained properly.
Do Labradors Bark A Lot?
Labrador Retrievers are not actually known to bark a lot. I’ve had Labradors all of my life, and none of them have ever been big barkers. That being said, they will bark when faced with something that they deem a threat, such as the scary delivery person or someone knocking at the front door.
Why A Labrador May Bark
The only time a Labrador Retriever tends to bark is when they really need something from you, or when they feel threatened. Then, they may bark to ward off the threat, or when feeling scared and anxious.
So, for the most part, Labradors are not prone to barking much, but this does not mean that they never bark at all. They will bark for one reason or another. If you want to minimize the barking, then you can look out for your dog’s triggers, and ensure that you train them not to bark when these happen by distracting them with toys, treats or praising them when they are calm.
Reasons For A Labrador Barking
As you know, our dogs cannot speak to us. What they can do is communicate with us through body language, barks and sounds. Barking is simply your dog’s way of telling you something, and the same goes for when they bark at something else. They are barking at it, because they are saying something.
The most common reason a dog will bark is because they want something from you. Your Labrador may bark when they want attention or affection from you. They could also bark if you are withholding something from them such as their favorite toy, or their food bowl whilst you fill it.
Other Labradors love their owners so much that they may bark when they are away from them. For instance, if you leave your dog with a friend outside of the store while you pop in to get something, your Labrador may bark until you come back to them.
For many dogs, including Labradors, barking is a way of expressing that they are nervous, anxious or fearful of something. This is why many dogs bark when they hear a knock at the door, or they see someone walk past the window unexpectedly. They may also bark when the doorbell goes, or if they hear a loud noise.
Dogs will also bark if they need something from you. For example, dogs will often bark if they need to go outside to go potty, or if they want food, treats, or water. Just like a toddler or small child will cry, your dog will bark at you to tell you that they need something.
Labradors also want attention all of the time. They are so affectionate with their owners and fiercely loyal, they want that same affection back from you all of the time. They will love being near you and around you, and will truly become your very own shadow, following you everywhere around the house.
Although these dogs are very calm in general, and will love their naptime, they do also love to play and will bring you their favorite toys for playing games like fetch and tug-of-war. If they are not getting the attention, exercise or playtime that they need and want, then you are probably going to hear about it from them.
Are Labradors Good Watchdogs?
Despite having a very gentle nature that makes these dogs perfect for families and therapy dogs, Labrador Retrievers can actually make good watchdogs too. They can learn to use barking as a defense mechanism to ward off anyone or raise the alarm in the case of any danger.
When Labrador Barking Comes In Handy
If a Labrador senses a threat nearby, then they are able to bark to intimidate or ward off the threat, and to let you know that they’re fearful and scared.
Some of the most common reasons a Labrador will bark are if they are around unfamiliar people, or strangers that they have not met before, along with new dogs that they have not sniffed out before, and if they are in new environments that are unfamiliar and uncomfortable for them.
This, along with the fact that they are so loyal and protective of their owners makes the Labrador Retriever a very good watchdog. However, if it’s a protection dog you want, the Labrador may not be for you.
Yes, they can bark and alert you to possible threats, but the likelihood is that if someone did walk into your home, they’d melt into a puddle of a wiggling butt, wagging tail and would end up giving them lots of kisses rather than biting them to scare them away.
Are Labrador Retriever Puppies Prone To Barking?
Puppies often behave in a different manner to fully grown dogs, so you may be wondering if Labrador puppies are any different when it comes to barking. The answer to this is that yes, puppies are often more vocal than fully grown Labradors because they are experiencing the world for the first time, and everything is new and exciting.
Why Labrador Puppies Make More Noise
Puppies are therefore far more curious as they explore the world around them, and can be much more noisy than fully grown dogs, whining and barking at anything. You should also be aware that Labrador Retrievers, especially as puppies are prone to separation anxiety, which is something that you will want to train out of them as soon as possible.
Separation anxiety is when a dog becomes anxious, afraid and even sometimes destructive when away from their owner. This doesn’t just mean when they’re not home, it means when they’re not in the same room as them, which can pose a lot of stress and problems for both dog and the owner.
To prevent this, it’s important to ignore the whining and barking as returning to them and giving them affection only teaches them that if they bark and make noise, they will be rewarded with you returning to them and giving them attention.
Do Labradors Bark A Lot Out Of Aggression?
For the most part, no. Labradors are one of the least aggressive dog breeds in the world, and do not often bark due to aggression or in a defensive, angry manner. They will bark when protecting their home, but that’s the extent of it.
Most Common Reasons For Barking
Most of the time, barking is caused by certain factors such as:
- Needing Attention
How To Prevent Excessive Barking
Just like any other dog breed, the secret to keeping your Labrador Retriever from barking is to start training them from a young age, or as soon as possible. This is the age when they start to understand things around them, so you’ll want to nip any bad behaviors in the bud ASAP!
The best way to prevent any excessive barking in your Labrador is to ensure that your dog has ample exercise, walks and playtime. Your dog needs to build a bond with you through training exercises, and through playing together. You can also eat meals in the same room so that your dog really integrates with your family and builds the relationship and trust it needs in its owner.
You will also need to implement rules and guidelines by training your dog which times are appropriate to bark, and which are not. This can be done through positive reinforcement, by rewarding your dog with treats and affection when they behave well, and just not rewarding them when they are not.
There is no need to chastise or punish your dog for bad behavior, they will learn through not having the treats, and will work harder to attain the reward.
You can also teach your dog the Quiet command, by rewarding them when you say the command and they stop barking. This can help you control the barking, allowing them to bark when appropriate, but preventing them from becoming a noise nuisance.
To summarize, Labradors are great family pets that are so loveable, loyal and friendly. They are also not very noisy dogs and do not tend to bark a lot. However, if you do not give your Labrador the affection and attention that they want, then they can be known to vocalize this!