Do Labradors bite their owners?

by Shannon Merritt

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Do Labradors bite their owners?

I really like the Labrador retriever and I am considering adopting another dog.  I am curious to know more about this breed and in particular to know about whether they are aggressive and will bite or not.

I dug up some details today that I found particularly informative on this breed and hope someone else will find it helpful.

Do Labradors bite their owners?

Labrador retrievers can bite their owners or anyone for that matter but the chance of this happening not likely due to their personality and tempermant.  Biting is a negative behavior that is related to a dogs upbringing, training and the environment they live in.  Labradors can bite their owners or anyone if their upbringing is unhealthy, if they are not properly trained or the environment with which they live in is abusive, neglectful or harmful in some way. 

While any dog can bite someone Labradors have personalities that are easy going, sweet, and friendly.  This dog breed also tends to bond closely with those they love, including their owner and anyone within their family and the home environment with which they love.  If a Labrador did bite its owner it could be related to many things, including how the dog is being treated or how they are feeling physically, mentally and emotionally. 

To reduce the chance that a Labrador will bite their owner or anyone for that matter, they should be properly trained and treated in a loving and affectionate manner that is both respectful and kind.   Their owner and family should not be neglectful of their needs or treat them in a negative way that could be harmful to their overall health.  Labradors are not usually known to bite their owners or anyone due to their personality and nature but anything is possible when it comes to dogs and aggression. 

Each dog is an individual and is as unique as the situations and environment they live in.  Biting, like other aggressive behaviors comes with warning signs, that can be seen in their body language and behaviors right before the bite happens.  Owners should know what body language can signal such an attack so they have a chance to recognize it before it happens.

Labradors are a popular dog breed and with good reason.  Their personality, and nature is that of an easy going friend or companion that is sweet and friendly to almost everyone.

While it is possible for this dog breed or any breed for that matter to bite their owner or anyone else, the likelihood of that happening is small due to their nature and personality.

That being said, there are still instances where such behaviors may crop up at any time in a dogs life and pet owners should be aware of how they can prevent or minimize the likelihood that this problem will arise.

One of the most important things for any pet owner to remember is that how their dog is treated and how they are trained and live has a profound affect on how that dog will behave and act.

If a dog, regardless of whether it is a Labrador or another dog breed is treated with respect and love they will thrive and be happy and healthy.   A positive home life as well as having their needs met and being well cared for will offer them a good life and reduce the chance that they will become aggressive or bite anyone.

Some dog breeds are known for being more aggressive and biting, then others.  The Labrador retriever is not one of those breeds.  Therefore if they are properly trained and provided with a loving and respectful home life it is unlikely that they will bite anyone.

What could cause a Labrador to bite their owner?

What could cause a Labrador to bite their owner is how they are treated and cared for by their owner.  Aside from that their environment plays a big part on whether or not they will bite anyone ever.  If their home life is stressful or riddled with distruptions, distractions or anxiety and mistreatment they have a higher chance of becoming aggressive and biting when compared to another dog.

Other reasons why a Labrador might bite their owner can include if they are unhealthy for some reason.  Dogs that don’t feel well don’t act well either.  If the Labrador is hurting in some way they may accidently bite or act out their feelings physically towards anyone who is around them, which in most cases will be their loving family and owner.

Another reason that a Labrador might bite is if they are scared.  Emotions, especially negative ones like fear can easily cause the most docile and non aggressive dog to act out their feelings in a physical way.  In most cases this is accidental and not a habit.  If what they are afraid of is discovered it is likely that their behavior will improve and they won’t likely bite.

Yet another motivator for a dog to bite is their need to defend themselves, their territory or their loved ones from danger.  While the Labrador isn’t a territorial dog that is likely to attack, or feel a need to guard or protect it is possible that individual dogs that bond closely with those they love and what they consider theirs will lash out to claim their territory or protect.

How do I stop a Labrador from biting?

There are quiet a few things that can be done to stop a Labrador from biting their owner or anyone for that matter.

These include first and foremost training the Labrador and socializing them.  Formal training and passive training through socialization provide the dog with the skills they need to behave in diverse situations and while around others.

Do Labradors bite their owners?

Providing a loving and safe home life that is free of aggression, mistreatment, neglect or abuse is non-negotiable.  Dogs that live in these types of environments learn to defend and protect themselves in whatever way they can just to survive, this is never a healthy way for a dog or anyone to live.

Instead it is important to offer praise and positive reinforcement towards the dog so they behave and act appropriately but learn to do it from a place of respect and understanding instead of mistreatment and fear.

Beyond that it is important for the owner to know their dog well.  This includes knowing the dogs triggers or what causes them to react in negative ways.  If they get scared from thunder, be prepared to remove them from people and place them in a safe quiet area when thunder happens.

Attending to their needs and addressing their issues goes a long way to promoting their overall good health and reducing the chance of biting and other aggressive tendencies.

Next it is important to make sure that your dog is up to date on vaccinations and veterinary visits and that they are physically, emotionally and mentally healthy.

If you have a Labrador that is especially fearful or responds in negative ways to their environment or certain people it can be helpful to consult their veterinarian about desensitizing them to these things.  Certain training methods do just that, help them learn to tolerate these triggers a little better so the Labrador or another dog are less likely to respond in a negative manner like biting.

Lastly it is highly important to know the physical warning signs that a dog displays before they are about to bite or attack.  These warning signs are their body language.

What forms of body language might a Labrador display before they are about to attack?

The forms of body language that a Labrador might display before they are about to attack include their body becoming still and motionless.  They may back away in preparation of an attack, a dog may bare their teeth, they may growl, bark or lunge at the intended.  They may also have ears that are pointing forward or standing out and their nose or forehead may have wrinkles.  The fur on their back may be bristle and lifted as well as the fur on their tail.  Their tail will likely stand out straight in rigid manner but it may also appear to vibrate slightly.

These physical signs can warn the dog owner or anyone that the dog may be about to attack or is at the very least feeling aggressive for some reason.

Not all dogs will display all of these body language traits and they will also display them to varying degrees depending on how aggressive they feel and if they are ready to attack or just feeling stressed and threatened in some way.

Whatever the case, this body language should clue in those around the dog that the dog needs to be managed in a kind manner that protects everyone involved including the dog.

Harsh words, fast movements and anything negative should be avoided as it is likely to cause the Labrador or other dog to follow through and bite or attack.  Soft and quiet but calm words are needs as are slow and gentle movements.

Knowing your dogs warning signs for aggression and biting can prevent an incident from happening.

Closing Points

While any dog can bite their owner at any time, the Labrador is not a high candidate for such behavior unless provoked in some way.

The best way to prevent this or other aggressive tendencies from happening is through training and proper care and love of your dog.  When they are loved and well cared for they thrive, and a happy dog is a loving dog!

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