Aggression in Labradors

Dealing with Aggression

Labradors are not usually an aggressive variety. However, there are several factors which may contribute to aggression in labradors. Personality and genetic disposition are not usually the main influences. The early life experience of pups in the 'first fear imprint period,... 8 - 16 weeks of age' is the single biggest contributing factor. Aggression against the pup by family members or other household pets is highly influential to the way that a dog will respond throughout its life. The secondary influences include sex, age, size, hormonal variation during pregnancy and anxiety. Anxiety in pups must be placated with secure affection and positive discipline. Socialisation from 8 weeks of age is also critical for the healthy development.

Do not use physical punishment. This can increase the intensity of your dog's aggression. Neutering/spaying to reduced the hormone related aggression is the first consideration. For general health reason, particularly in later life, we do not recommend this prior to 8 months of age.

Types of Aggression

Animal behaviouralists classify patterns of behavior and the circumstances in which they occur. This is done to determine the dog's motivation and the cause of the behaviour:

 Dog to dog - Pack order aggression is one of the most common forms of aggression in dogs. They are pack animals, and they relate to humans as members of their own pack. If your dogs are fighting, do not get in the middle. Interrupt the aggression using water in a spray bottle.

  Dog to human aggression occurs as the result of intimidation or physical intervention by people, your and old, adult and child.

Redirected aggression can occur when an aggressive dog, particularly a male that redirects its aggression from the source to another. When an owner is restraining a dog by pulling him back the dog may retaliate. Dominant dogs often redirect their aggression towards pack subordinates or children of equal size or smaller.

   - Territorial aggression is directed toward other animals and people outside of the pack. Dominant dogs will defend their pack area including a home, room or yard. Dogs will defend their master / owner and fellow pack member if they sense that they are weak or vulnerable. House and feed your dogs separately if they are fighting with each other. Remove contentious objects like bones and toys.
  Gender aggression particularly between adult males involves territorial and dominance disputes. Inter-female aggression occurs most frequently between adult females living in the same household. This will be apparent if one female is pregnant.

  Predatorial aggression is directed towards quick-moving stimulus, like a car or bike. Anything considers as prey, usually other weaker species can be the object of this aggression.

  Pain induced aggression occurs when a person attempts to touch a painful area or when injections are given.

  Fear induced aggression occurs when when the dog senses that it is cornered or trapped and cannot escape. A fearful dog is often the victim of an owner uses severe punishment common. Active and unpredictable children may induce this type of aggression. Never allow small children to have unsupervised access to any dog no matter how passive the dog may appear. Children and adults should avoid interacting with dogs that are eating. They should never tease or hurt dogs. Keep your dog confined when unfamiliar children are present

  Maternal aggression may be directed toward anyone that approaches a bitch with puppies or in false pregnancy.