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Taming your Labrador Retriever

TAMING A DOMINANT LABRADOR

Dominance is one of the primary traits of all dogs, since they are instinctive pack animals. If you have not successfully established your dominance in your household, your dog may see you as a submissive pack member, and begin exerting dominant behavior. Though this is not common in Labradors, it is still possible, especially in male Labradors that have not been neutered.

Dominant behavior can be discouraged by handing your Labrador constantly as a puppy. This will help to get your dog comfortable with being touched, and help prevent future dominant behavior.

For an adult dog, begin by asserting your control over the household. Begin by asserting your control in small things, such as having your Labrador obey the “Sit” command before you will feed them. This establishes that you are giving them permission to eat, as the pack leader.

Do not allow your dog to beg at the table! This is bad behavior, and should be stopped as soon as it occurs. In the wild, the pack leaders always eat before the pack members. Scheduling your dog’s mealtimes after human mealtimes can help in establishing that you are the pack leader in your household.

TAMING AN AGGRESSIVE LABRADOR

Labrador Retrievers are not known for being aggressive, though it is possible for them to occasionally display aggressive behavior. The best way to “tame” your Labrador Retriever’s aggressive behavior is to first identify the specific object or event that causes them to be aggressive. Once you have identified the catalyst, begin by giving positive reinforcement for good behavior when exposed to the aggression-provoking stimuli. For example, if your dog growls at visitors in your home, give them a treat before they growl, to reinforce that not growling will produce rewards.

TAMING A TIMID LABRADOR

It’s very common for a Rescued Labrador Retriever to initially have an extremely timid nature. This is especially true for Labradors that have been abused, neglected, or abandoned. A timid Labrador will require a lot of attentive care before it can be comfortable with you in your home. It’s best to slowly socialize your Labrador with positive human interaction, to help them overcome their fears of being abused or abandoned. Never, ever strike or spank a timid Labrador! This may induce memories of being abused, and can set you back weeks in your socialization program.

TAMING A FERAL LABRADOR

A dog classified as “feral” is a dog that has never had previous human contact in a social situation. Taming a feral dog is generally not recommended, since many feral dogs carry diseases that can be dangerous to humans. Feral dogs are also much more likely to attack a human, since they have never had a proper socialization program. If you encounter a feral Labrador Retriever, the best thing that you can do, both for you and the dog, is to call an Animal Services establishment immediately. A human society will be able to provide proper care, and will check the dog for any diseases.

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