Labrador Fears and Phobias

Labrador fears and phobiasWhen your Labrador is really scared,  you want to help.

But what is the best way to help your dog overcome fears and phobias?

We take a look at some common Labrador fears in these articles

One of the best ways to avoid fears and phobias developing is to ensure that your Labrador Puppy is well socialised.   Check out our Puppies page for information on puppy care and articles on Labrador puppy behaviour

Getting help

If your Labrador is often scared,  and you are struggling to help him,  a visit to your vet is in order.


He or she will make sure that there are no underlying health issues upsetting your dog,  and refer you to a behaviourist who will help you, to help your dog, to be happy and confident.

Safety first

Remember, a frightened dog may bite if approached.

Never attempt confrontational behavioural modification techniques such as ‘flooding’, or ‘dominance reduction’  which can make matters far worse.

Check with your vet before using methods suggested on this or any other website. And always get professional help if you cannot make progress in resolving problems at home

More information

Check out our Labrador Behaviour section for more help and advice on managing a fearful Labrador.

Looking for all of your Labrador information in one handy package? Then don’t miss my new book, due to be released in September 2015

The Labrador Handbook looks at all aspects of living with your Labrador, from daily care to training.

Click hereto pre-order now from Amazon UK, with Amazon’s pre-order price guarantee



  1. Hi I have a two year old black lab and he is scared mainly of males. Fine in the house when people come in, although some males he finds quite scary. There was a man sat on the beach with a cap on, taking photos of the scenery, and our dog just went up to him, barking continously, fortunately the man himself has two labs so didnt put his hand out straight, put his arm out with his hand face down…….Eventually our dog came back, after one minute of just barking at him….what do we do

  2. Hi there,

    Billy, my 10 month old black puppy, which we got 4 weeks ago is scared of new people that come to our home, he submission urinates and then will sit and bark at the visitor.
    Besides being upsetting to myself & girlfriend his barking his so loud that’s it’s ear pearcing.
    He is great on a lead & when out walking and meets other dogs but he is just so scared around new people.
    Any guides to over come this – he starts puppy schools in a week but I have been reading the book and just can’t find the guidance yet

  3. I have a 1 1/2 year old lab mix and golden retriever. He will not come up stairs and sleep in bed with me. Before I was upstairs he slept with me is he just scared of Heights

  4. We just adopted a 10 mo old chocolate lab. She spent her first months at the home where she was born and is really comfortable around other dogs and people, but since moving to our home a few days ago, she is really having touble with walking. She seems to get scared partway into the walk and then freezes. We try to distract her with a toy, treats, happy praise, which is only sometimes successful. It’s hard to get her 67lb body to budge. Any ideas/tricks we should try???

  5. i have a labrador dog.he is now 2 year old. he always sleep inside the house but now my parents did not allow me to sleep him inside the house. so i decide to move my dog outside the house. but i afraid that he is alone at my garden. so i want to know that is he scared from dark and alone becouse he always sleep inside the house at my room and house lobby. plz tell me..tnxx

  6. We have a 2 year old Male Chocolate Labrador. His name is Griz. We have had him since he was 9 weeks old. He is a super happy and loving dog. For the first 8 months we had him I took him to work everyday so he was around a lot of people. We also have a 4 year old Male Labrador that we have had since a pup as well. Both of our dogs are indoor dogs. Griz had two major surgeries before he was 8 months old. The issue we are having is that he is afraid of everything. Any little noise he hears from outside he will bark at. If we are outside and a new sound or noise (like hammering, other dogs barking, etc) he gets nervous and runs inside. Simple things like getting a pan out of the cupboard or pulling a hanger out if the closet will make him back away. We have never scared him or teased him. Often times I will sit down on the floor with the object and tell him its okay and allow him to come and look and smell it on his own time. Any new person he sees he will bark and run from. Do you think those surgeries created this fear? He is a great dog and we love him so much. But we wish he wasn’t so nervous with everything. Any suggestions? Thank you.

  7. I have 1 and half year skin colored labra, he used to be very good wid me he has lots of fun with me but suddenly what happened to him I don’t know his behaviour is really very weird for me rather he afraids of me like anything I have never done anything which makes him afraid now he run away or hide immediately when he see me he bite me badly for two times please tell me what are the reasons for this and how I can overcome his fear of me

  8. I have an 8 year old half Black Labrador half golden retriever. She has been a great dog who loves any amount of attention we give her. About two years ago, she started occasionally acting weird. When a strong wind came up or a rain storm blew in, she gets super nervous. She spends her days in our back yard but when this happens, we bring her into her kennel in our garage, which is where she sleeps at night. Not quite two years ago, when one of these events happened during the day while we were away at work, she dug a hole under our fence and escaped. In the past two years, she’s escaped at least a dozen times. I throw a big rock under the fence and fill the dirt back in. She has been so bad lately, we have put her on a cable attached to our tree in the back yard. Last weekend, my wife was home and went into the back yard mid day and our dog dug a hole under the fence and was standing in the neighbor’s yard while still on her cable connected to our tree. She seems very nervous or anxious all the time. We started giving her Melatonin as advised by our vet and that seemed to help but she still dug. We even adopted a give-away puppy for a companion while we are away. Now she is teaching the puppy to dig. We love our dog but I don’t know what to do to calm her down and keep her from digging holes under our fence to escape. I am open to any and all suggestions.
    Thank you.

  9. My 2 y o lab is afraid of stairs. Whenever we have to go up or down on stairs he panics and if I really insist, he is running as if the stairs are burning or something! Is this a common problem or is it just my dog? Thank you!

  10. Our family adopted a lab retriever mix from a shelter last week. His mom was a stray, but the litter was born at the shelter and the puppies were in foster homes. He is just 3 months, but a very scared puppy. He has bonded with me, but runs to his crate or a corner of the house whenever my husband comes home. He stays there until I come to get him. How can we help him not to be afraid?

  11. I have a 5yr old black lab that all of a sudden has become afraid of almost anything. We noticed the fears started once we got her fixed because we were having a baby. It started out at being a afraid of the water running for a bath, loud noises, the baby’s walker, and the sound of the wind coming in from the windows. This is all new to us, she has never been afraid of anything. When she gets afraid she starts panting, shaking, tail between legs, paces, tries to jump on our laps. We don’t understand why this all of a sudden started, we feel bad that it all started when we got her fixed.

  12. Hello,

    My Black Lab, Harley, is almost a year old (February 5th) and he is terrified of quick, sudden movements and noises (such as something falling to the floor) and gets his “anxious look” and runs away. He is also terrified of my closet doors and the vacuum cleaner (he even wont go near, and if he does will RUN past, the closet it is in. This all just started. Any suggestions?

  13. We have a 1.5 month old baby girl, our first :) We have 3 dogs which have been great with her, with the exception of our 2yr old pup who thinks she’s old enough to try and play with haha. The question I have is about our 4yr old male black lab mix. He has been my pup, my baby from the moment I brought him home and has only ever liked me to cuddle next to. His behavior towards my husband has changed since our baby. When my husband calls him to him (no matter the tone) my lab wont leave my side. Even if he is not by me at the time, he will come over to wherever I am and lay or sit on my feet and just look at my husband. Occasionally he wags his tail but not always. Is he just being protective or is this something else?

  14. I have a male lab who is about 2 years old. On the whole he is a lovely dog but 6 months ago, he started trying to climb onto me whenever the washing machine goes on. He will go around the house looking for someone to climb onto, smacking them with his paw and panting. I have been looking into how to help with this and have been told that he is having anxiety issues with the washing machine (that he previously didn’t have). To do the washing, I have to physically put him into the back yard (which is getting harder to do as he really doesnt want to go out) but its the only way I can put the washer on. As soon as the cycle’s finished, I let him back in and he’s totally fine again. I’ve tried the vet, they gave me a 4 day prescription for him and said that if it doesn’t work, we can try prozak or a dog behavoirist. Ive tried a dog behavoirist, but they wanted £2450 to help him and this is a low income family. I really dont want to have to rehome him – is there anything else I can try. Finding a launderette to do my washing also isnt an option.

  15. Hi
    We lost our 16 year old Border Collie last August 2014, and rescued a beautiful Lab mix to be buddies with our Hound mix. We have had her for a 1 & 1/2 months, and they are not buddies yet. The major problem is she is terrified to go outside and we cannot walk her yet. She was chained outside with the lady that surrendered her the last 6 months, and had never been in a home before. She has never had an accident, however we need to get her over her fear of the outside. We live in the city and she came from the country. Help!!

  16. Hi
    I am Deepa. I have a 7 month old male Labrador puppy and he is very friendly.He never barks at strangers.He consider everyone as friend.Yesterday some one tried to broke into house through window at night but puppy didn’t even barked.I don’t know what to do.What can I do to make him bark at strangers?Please help me to solve this problem.

  17. I have a 6 month old black lab. He is super sweet and loving. We rescued him about 2 months ago. He is afraid of men and we are not sure why. He does the submissive urniation with my husband a lot. My husband has been trying to do everythign with playing with him down on the loor, ignoring him when he is acting submissive, petting under the chin. I”m the one that tells him NO or stop that when he is doing somethign that he is not suppose to. What should we do. My husband just wants to play with him and love him without getting pee on.

  18. I got my female black lab at 8 wks old. She is now almost 4 yrs old. She has never been abused by me or anyone in any way shape or form. Up until she was about a year to a year and a half old she started having fear of males. Sometimes to the point to where she is shaking in fear. But she goes head over heels for any female that walks in my house. Help me solve this problem. Thanks