A barking dog is one of the most significant concerns for owners of these lovely pets. When it comes to barking against strangers, this situation can be even more embarrassing.
So, in this article, I will talk about the labrador breed and how you can prevent them from creating an uncomfortable situation.
Do Labrador Retrievers bark at strangers? The answer is No, Labradors don’t bark at strangers in most cases. Labrador Retrievers go very well with people they don’t know. Although they won’t get too stressed often, that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to bark at all. They can actually get very aggressive if something really calls their attention.
Labradors can be good watchdogs sometimes. It is important to train the dog to know when it is adequate to bark. Keep reading to know more about this subject and train your Labradors to behave as you want.
Why Do Labrador Retrievers Bark?
Barking is one of the most distinctive dog attitudes. They bark to express feelings and use them as their primary means of communication. Here are some reasons to explain why your Labradors produce this unique action.
- Excitement – a type of bark common in puppies and young Labs. Many Labradors bark while playing or when they know they’re about to go for a walk. This is a happy bark.
- Seek attention – they will call you to see them. The only thing they want is that you look at them and give some attention!
- Respond to other dogs – when a Labrador sees a friend, they will get loud. There are many different reasons for that. Some include: calling a female, show their dominance, or just play together.
- Warning – probably the most useful for owners. Although barking can be uncomfortable for people, a Labrador may warn you if it spots a potentially dangerous situation, like a stranger in your door.
- Boredom – they tend to produce this sound when bored or alone. It can be annoying sometimes because it produces noises.
Will a Labrador Retriever Bark at Strangers?
Labradors tend to be very easygoing and won’t generally bark at strangers. This behavior can be relieving for owners concerned about situations when barking is unwanted. It’s rare to see, for example, a lab barking when people casually come to your home.
Depending on the owner’s confidence, Labrador Retriever can tell if someone is good or not. And that’s a fantastic thing because you don’t have to worry about random barks that ruin the environment.
They are also not going to bark when you walk them. In fact, they can even smile at strangers and show their love. Labradors are intelligent and can tell when someone isn’t going to harm them. It’s very uncommon to see a dog of this breed going crazy for no reason in a public place.
Your Lab Can Be an Exception
Everything I mentioned before applies to the majority of Labradors, but not for every Labrador. Of course, there are special cases, and your Lab can be one of those. So don’t worry if your Lab behaves in a slightly different way.
If he is more aggressive than the average labradors, no problem. Your friend can be quieter or a little less silent than the others. That’s natural, and remember that with the training, you can have better control over his temperament.
Neither Too Little nor Too Much
Though some of the barks can be good, a Labrador not barking at all can also be a problem. Labrador owners have to ensure they have the right balance between the two extremes.
A big concern of Labrador owners is their way too friendly reaction to strangers. Some people wish their Labradors could bark at least for safety reasons. Although Labs aren’t good at attacking, it would be cool, for example, if they barked to warn about strangers on the door at night.
Due to this, you need to find the right balance between barking a lot and a few. That way, you will not have problems with safety nor annoying your friends.
Is It Easy to Train a Labrador Retriever?
Depending on how you train it, yes, it is easier to train a Labrador than many other dogs. As mentioned before, Labrador Retrievers are highly intelligent dogs. They can learn things quickly and efficiently. In contrast with other breeds, Labs are one of the dogs that are easiest to train.
In addition to it, they get delighted to satisfy their owners. It means that your Lab will always try to make his best effort to see you smiling at him.
Any knowledge is much easier to be learned if your Lab is fully motivated to do it. However, you should never overestimate your mate, just think he will perform a lot of things you want with ease.
Training a Labrador not to bark is a task that requires some patience. Even that Labradors are easier to train than other breeds, they still need some time to learn. You shouldn’t think they will walk upside down with only one command! This is one of the biggest mistakes Labrador owners make.
Before starting to train your Lab, make sure you have minimum experience in this subject. Also, don’t think you know everything and begin studying a bit.
If you think you still can’t handle it, remember you can always hire a dog trainer to help you. However, this probably is not going to be needed due to the traits Labradors have.
Preparing for Training Your Labrador
You should prefer to train your Lab while it is still a baby. Labrador Retrievers learn better and absorb more information at an early age. That way, you’re more guaranteed to have your dog learn commands and achieve success in training.
A similar thing happens to humans. In early ages, a baby tends to learn a lot of stuff fast and efficiently. That’s why it is so hard to speak like a native speaker if you were born in a country whose main tongue is different from the one you’re trying to learn.
Before start training your Lab, make sure you have the required mindset to do so. Although it shouldn’t take lots of time to have it fully mastered, that’s not going to happen immediately. In addition to that, you also need the stuff to train it, so prepare its toys, food, lead, etc.
Be ready if you need some help as well. Remember, you can always call a dog trainer or even a family member that has experience with the role. That can be useful, as well, if your Lab doesn’t know this person, because they would be identified as strangers.
How to Make a Labrador Bark to Warn You
There are many different ways to teach your Lab to behave as you want. The main wish of many Labrador owners is that they could bark on adequate situations. This includes warning the owner about suspicious things in the door or intruders in the yard.
One method of training is to call the Labrador near the door. After that, ask someone to ring the doorbell and watch his reaction. If he barks, make sure to give him some sort of gift.
The best thing is to offer a kind of food he likes. That way, he will begin understanding that barking is the correct attitude since his owner appraised it.
After that, you can go even further. Why not test what would happen if a stranger stepped on your grass? Another option is to see their reaction when someone knocks on the window. Don’t ever forget to give him a treat when he behaves well and teach what to do if the result is not expected.
Alternative Method: Grab the Toy
Another great method of training your Labrador is to tease him with his favorite toy. For that, you will need some treats, toys, his lead, and a strong stick.
To start, you need to tie your Lab on his lead and head over your backyard. Then, tie the other end in something firm, like a tree or your fence. When doing that, always be close to your Lab and never let him unattended.
After that, tie the toy to the stick, leaving it hanging. This will work as a lure for him. Then, begin teasing him with the toy, until it will reach a point when he is going to be unable to stand anymore and will probably bark.
When this happens, give him a treat and let him chew the toy a bit. That way, he will learn that this is the right attitude and begin barking more.
When doing this exercise, start practicing to say a word to trigger his bark. A good example is to say “Speak,” a word he will probably easily associate with barking.
Try to repeat this training a few times every day. When you see he is about to lose his patience and bark at the toy, say this word to encourage him to do so.
Training a Labrador to Stop Barking Excessively
Fine, but what if my Lab is uncommon and barks too much? Well, of course, there are many solutions for this. If you have some experience with other breeds that bark more, that’s going to be pretty straightforward.
Preventing a Lab from barking is a very similar process to what is made with other dogs.
To start, simply ignore the barking. To be successful in that, you need to maintain your patience, even if it seems counterintuitive. You have to find balance because when you respond to him, that is a sign of reward for him. Instead, pretend he’s simply not there and when he finally stops the scandal, give him a treat.
In addition to it, start to train the “quiet” command. Although it may seem weird, the first step is to teach him the “speak” instruction and then the “quiet” one.
Once you feel that your Lab truly understands when to “speak,” make the same process for the “quiet” command. Let him bark a bit and say, “quiet.” Give him a treat once he perceives what to do.
The key to success, as usual, is persistence. Once you rehearse the activity regularly, your Labrador will start to behave as you want much more consistently.
Make sure to practice with your Labrador every day and treat him adequately. If you are lacking time on your routine, ask someone on your family to watch him, but never ever stop the schedule.
Labrador Retrievers are friendly dogs and won’t commonly bark at strangers. However, if you wish to change this, training them is easy. Even if your Lab is a bit rare and barks a lot, that isn’t any problem as well. With their intelligence, teaching him to do anything is pretty simple.
If you are scared about start training your Lab, remember this is going to be an easy task, and everything will be fine. Always think this situation is under control and don’t make anything stupid.
Whether you want to increase or decrease the bark rates of your Labrador, following the previous steps will eventually lead you to success.
Again, if it doesn’t work as intended at first, just wait a bit and let your Lab take his time to learn. Be firm, patient, and consistent and follow your heart to decide what is more adequate in each situation.
Don’t ever shout at your Labrador. That only brings more stress for both of you. Your Lab is a cute creature that is only seeking your attention when he barks. Being aggressive with them will only encourage him to bark even more. That way, YOU are being the animal!
Why does my Labrador suddenly wakes up and barks at night? Sometimes Labradors can spot something they consider strange and bark at it. Maybe your neighbors are driving their car, or something noisy is passing by. However, until you wake up, that thing may be gone, and you may think your pet is crazy. But trust me, he is not. Besides that, there are other causes. He may simply want to “go to the washroom,” for example.
Why is my Labrador biting me? As said before, not all Labs behave the same way. Some may be a bit more aggressive and even bite people. If that’s the case, just keep training him to act as you wish. If he is a puppy, that’s even more common, he might be desperate to play with you. Dogs just wanna have fun!
How long and how hard is it to train my Lab? It depends on your Lab. On average, it should take around 3-6 weeks to have him fully trained. The difficulty level is medium-low, as it is an easy task but requires a bit of practice.