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Labrador poor behaviour advice needed.(7 Posts)
First post.... Advice needed please.
We have a 2.5 year old Labrador. Over the last few months, she has become impatient (and snappy) with other dogs. (I think it was after a stay at a kennel). She is regularly walked in large parks off lead, as well as on lead. She is walked every day, for over an hour, incase it's relevant. It started with her reacting badly to being mounted. Heckles up, teeth baring, but always stops on recall. She does not run over to these encounters, they are always within a couple of metres of me. She is brave enough to leave my side, but doesn't run to meet other dogs. Normally the other dog approaches her. The problem is is it is getting worse, now she'll react to jumpy dogs, especially if there is a ball involved. Today, she chased, aggressively, a tiny poodly type dog and did not stop on recall. Had to be grabbed to stop. She did not bite it, but was not happy. She was not on high alert after she was grabbed, but it scared me! She did not try to persue the dog afterwards. She's 31kg and I don't want an aggressive dog! She is very soft with people. Not possessive with food, treats, toys etc with people. So my plan is no more balls and walk her more on lead. Any more advice? Thank you.
I'm going to copy/paste some advice I left on a different thread recently because the same applies here...
"He is growling and lunging because he is scared - I suspect you probably already know that but it's worth being clear that's what's happening.
An immediate way to stop him being so scared is to not allow the thing that scares him to get too close. If you can. In the woods, instead of walking past this dog, in future you might try turning heel and walking back the other way. Or taking another path. Anything to create more distance between your dog and the other dog. If your dog growls or lunges then you are too close and need to give him more space.
The more he is exposed to dogs at a proximity that scares him, the more he will growl and lunge. Every time he growls/lunges and it works (the other dog goes away) he will be more likely to do it again. With a bit of bad luck, he may also try the same tactic against other things that scare him to see if it works.
Alternatively, if he is exposed to dogs at a distance he feels safe and they never get any closer, he may start to relax around them. He may feel safe that they won't get too close and not bother. Over time (lots of time, lots of other dogs) you may find his safe distance gets smaller and smaller, so long as he doesn't have any significant setbacks (scares). That's desensitisation.
You can help this process along a bit by trying to partner other dogs with him getting something he likes, such as food. e.g. He sees another dog at a distance, you get his attention and give him a treat. Repeat this enough and he may start to see the dog and automatically look to you for the treat. This is him starting to learn that other dogs can mean good things for him. That's counter conditioning.
The mechanics of doing all this can be tricky and often owners need help to work out exactly the best way to arrange all this for their dog to get the best result. They also need help to correctly assess any progress to understand if they are helping their dog.
Because they need help, and because not doing anything at all can sometimes cause this reaction to spread or escalate as I described above, a behaviourist to support you is really the best option."
Substitute the he's for she's.
As well as taking the excellent advice from SecondRatePony it’s worth getting her a thorough vet check just to rule out any physical causes for the change in her behaviour. If there are none then your vet will be able to refer you to an appropriately qualified behaviourist.
Yes she is neutered.
Thank you for the advice. She's not always like it, sometimes she's great with other dogs. But I'm definitely going to try the distraction techniques. She would definitely behave better for a treat. Thank you.
It being hit and miss whether she reacts is not unusual. It's still worth taking care with all dogs because if you don't and she reacts, that's another point in the wrong bucket. I.e a bad experience not a good one.
Oh and take care that the treat comes AFTER she's seen the other dog. Not before.
After means the other dog suggests a treat is coming so the other dog (hopefully) starts to means something nice is going to happen.
Before means the food suggests a dog is coming. This risks your dog starting to associate fear with food.