With the correct method of training, almost any dog can learn to be well-behaved, obedient and friendly. Labradors are favored for their ability to be trained with good temperament. However, no breed is perfect. Even Labrador Retrievers that have a reputation for being sweethearts can have various behavior problems. Usually, behavior problems start to show during 6 to 18 months of age when the Lab is an adolescent. Unfavorable behaviors that your Lab may demonstrate are biting, chewing, begging, whining, digging, and too much barking. Also, although Labradors are known for being gentle, some of them may have aggressive tendencies that an owner needs to watch out for. Social problems such as separation anxiety and fear of loud noises need to be taken care of as soon as possible. These kinds of problems could be speculated to result from poor socialization during a Lab’s young life. Most of the behavior problems arise from some form of maltreatment during a puppy’s youth.
If your Lab is young and chews on objects often, it is probably because he is teething. Teething causes the gums to hurt and itch. Therefore, young puppy will be prone to chewing on something. Try getting some soft chewy toys for your dog to use instead of household items. Gentle biting is normal in this stage; however, if it becomes aggressive you must do something about it. Moreover, dogs that beg and whine too much tend to get a lot of attention from their owners when this happens. This indirectly reinforces them to repeat these unwanted behaviors. Therefore, try to avoid giving your Lab negative attention when he is doing something he’s not supposed to.
Problems such as social isolation could be dealt with by taking your Lab out more often. A dog park is a good place to have your dog socialize with other dogs through play. Another potential behavior problem is being fearful of noise. For example, dogs with this problem tend to freak out when they hear a loud noise like thunder. The danger lies in the fact that many dogs try to break away from the noise by getting out of the house. They tend to injure themselves and destroy furniture in their attempt to escape. Furthermore, if your Lab suffers from extreme separation anxiety, this problem is not something you should leave alone. Symptoms of separation anxiety are if the dog follows the owner to his room and acts hysterically when he sees the owner getting ready to leave. This could be a result of a change in the owner’s schedule where the dog is left alone more often. Do not punish your Lab for this because it will only make matters worse. An animal behaviorist would be the best person to go to for help.