Labrador Barking Help And Information

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Welcome to our barking help center! This is your complete guide to Labrador barking problems.

You’ll find information on how to stop your dog barking, why dogs bark, what your Labrador’s barking means, and even how to get your Lab to bark!

There are quick links in the green menu to different types of barking problem, and each section also explains how to stop your Labrador barking.

When barking gets out of hand!

There’s no doubt that barking can become a major nuisance.

It can cause sleepless nights, family fights, neighbour disputes and much more.

The reasons for barking in any breed of dog, can be complex.

Barking is of course a means of communication, but it isn’t the only means.

And dogs can be taught to communicate without doing it.

Interestingly many Labradors rarely bark at all.

In fact one of the most common questions we are asked is ‘why doesn’t my Labrador bark at strangers’ And ‘how can I make my dog bark when someone comes to the door’.

For those of you struggling with a noisy dog this probably seems very unfair!

It’s as though your dog has all the barks while other dogs have none!

Why is my Lab barking all the time?

Not all barking is unwanted, and we’ll consider those of you who want your dogs to bark a bit more than they do, in a moment.

The Labrador barking help and information center is here to help with all your Labrador barking problemsBut first let’s help those of you that are fed up with the noise and want it to stop!

One of the first things we need to establish before we can stop a Labrador from barking, is why he is doing this.

Now if you are on the receiving end, you might not care very much WHY your dog is barking, so long as he STOPS.

I understand that. But bear with me, because the method we use to stop your Labrador barking will depend very much on why he is doing it.

So why do dogs bark

You’ll find explanations of the causes of different types of nuisance barking right here.

But for the full picture, if you’ve got five minutes to spare, head on over to “Why Do Dogs Bark”.

You’ll find it’s a really helpful article, full of fascinating information about why dogs bark, what different barks mean, and there’s a useful video to watch too

Fortunately we usually only need to consider three different types of barking when it comes to Labs that are barking all the time and driving their owners up the wall

Unwanted or nuisance barking

The three most common types of unwanted and frequent barking are

  • Barking for attention
  • Barking at night
  • Barking at passers-by

Let’s look at each of those in turn

Barking for attention

Attention or demand barking can be very upsetting

The dog will often bark incessantly as soon as anyone gets up, moves around, or whenever he is feeling ignored.

2017 international dog name surveyAttention barking dogs will often repeatedly take things too, socks, cushions, and then bark furiously if prevented.

It’s all part of the attention seeking picture.

While all puppies vary in their natural inclination to make a noise, what happens around those puppies, as they grow up and even as adult, has a huge impact on their future behavior.

It doesn’t matter whether or not your puppy is naturally noisy, or whether you have made him that way, the end result and the answer is the same. We’ll look at that in a minute

The root cause of barking for attention

Attention or demand barking usually starts with an exited or bored dog, combined with frustration and a big reward.

Puppies and older dogs get frustrated when they can’t immediately have something they want. Especially if they are already in an over-excited state, or bored witless.

The first step in creating a dog that barks to demand attention happens when he is rewarded generously each time he does it.

Very often people do this inadvertently. They don’t even think about it. The dog barks, and they give him his dinner, the dog stops barking. It seems to work

Let’s look a bit closer at that

How demand barking gets started

Rewarding unwanted behaviours by mistake is very common.  Remember that you don’t need to feed or praise a puppy to reward him.

Anything that your dog finds enjoyable, even the sound of your voice, can reward and therefore reinforce the behavior that precedes it.

By reinforce we mean that the behavior will be more likely to occur again.

The laws of behavioral science are quite clear on this.  Good consequences reinforce bad behavior. Every time.

If your puppy barks at you whilst you are trying to prepare the dinner,  getting his lead ready for a walk,  talking to a friend, or working on your laptop,  and you give him what he wants (food, a walk, attention) he’ll be delighted.

He’ll probably stop barking too and you might temporarily think you’ve solved the problem.

Only you haven’t of course

Because next time he wants something, he’ll use his clever trick of barking at you in order to get it.

Only this time you might not want to give him what he wants. Indeed you might not be ABLE to give him what he wants

He persists, and you get fed up with the noise, so you relent and give in. And before you know where you are, you have a big, and growing, problem on your hands

Can a barking habit be cured?

The short answer is yes. If you have accidentally taught your puppy to bark at you for attention or to answer his demands, don’t panic.

It isn’t difficult to reverse this. In fact, it is one of the common behavioral problems that is relatively easy to solve.

But you will need to be determined. And you will need other family members on board.

If they sabotage your efforts and give in to the dog, you won’t get very far

Your anti-barking strategy

You need to draw up your battle plan and attack this problem from three directions

  • Improve your dog’s emotional state
  • Teach the dog that barking doesn’t work
  • Teach the dog that being quiet is the key to getting what he wants

Let’s look at his emotional state first

Keeping your dog calm and occupied

All dogs are much more likely to bark with frustration when they are over-excited or very bored

If members of your family are getting your dog in a state, winding him up, and playing rough games with him in the house, now is a good time to have a quiet word

And if your dog spends very little time in training sessions, he may be badly in need of some more of your attention and a little mental stimulation.

Ten minutes, preferably morning and evening, spent training him and making him use his brain will make a world of difference.

Review your dog’s exercise needs too, Labs do really benefit from plenty of exercise and it is easy to let this slip when you are busy.

Once you’ve covered your dog’s need for interesting activities and a physical workout, it’s time to start reversing the barking habit, and teaching your dog that being quiet is what gets him rewards

How to stop your Labrador barking for attention

Your first step is to STOP reinforcing the barking. No more putting the lead on the dog when he barks for a walk.

No more opening the door when he barks to go out in the garden (let him out when he is quiet and do it often enough to cover his bathroom requirements!)

No more putting your dog’s dinner on the floor while he is yapping at you. And don’t give him that cushion off the sofa to stop him barking in your face.

All the rewards have to STOP

Important: To begin with this may cause even MORE barking

That’s right. Your dog is going to be pretty disappointed that his usual method for getting what he wants isn’t working any more.

He is going to try even harder to begin with. Bark, bark, BARK…!

But you are not going to give in are you?

I thought not.

Using a marker

Now, get ready with a marker – here’s more information on markers if you need it – basically it’s a way of letting your dog know when he got something right.

You can use a snappy version of the word YES as your marker.

And alway follow your marker with a reward.

The reward can often take the form of  giving the dog the thing you think he wants (like letting him out through the dog for example), if that is possible.

Why do I need a marker?

Or it can simply be some food. If you are going to use much food you need to clip a treat back to your belt or keep handy pots of treats around the house.

The reason you need a marker as well as the reward is because to begin with, your dog may not be quiet for very long.

If you don’t mark the exact point at which the noise stops, he may have trouble figuring out exactly what it is you want him to do.

Your training plan

So, this is what you are going to do

  • Ignore the barking whilst he continues
  • Prepare to ‘mark’ the moment when he stops
  • Avoid barking triggers and ensure your dog’s needs are met

Ignore the barking

If you respond to the barking in any way, you may inadvertently reinforce it.

Try to ensure that nothing whatever happens to benefit the puppy whilst he continues to bark.  This is not always easy but  it is essential.

Prepare to mark silence

At some point the puppy will pause.  Grab the moment and ‘mark’ it with a word (Good! or Yes!)  and follow your ‘marker’ with a reward (attention, access to an activity he enjoys or food).

That is all you can do the first time this happens.

But you can prepare ahead to reduce the chances of it happening again,  and to make it easier to control the behaviour in the future

Avoid barking triggers

Think about the circumstances that triggered the barking, and avoid them to begin with where possible.

This is especially important with puppies.

Was the dog frustrated because he was being made to ‘wait’ for something?  Puppies, for example, have very short attention spans.

Being made to sit and wait for a toy or their dinner is likely to result in whining or barking.  Prepare these things out of the puppy’s sight and hearing to avoid ‘winding him up’

Later, as training progresses, you can start to ask for ‘quiet’ in more challenging situations.

Remember to meet your dog’s needs

Dogs are more likely to bark when their mental and physical needs are not met.

Could the dog have been very bored?

Providing stuffed kongs for him to chew can help a puppy cope with periods of boredom,  keeping him occupied whilst you eat a meal for example.

Breaking his day up into short chunks and ringing the changes can help to keep him occupied.

For example, 30  minutes in his crate followed by 15 minutes in the garden and another 15 minutes in the house whilst you keep an eye on him, rinse and repeat.

This is less likely to result in boredom than two hours in the crate, an hour digging up your roses, and another hour getting under your feet in the kitchen.

With an older dog, remember to ensure that he has had sufficient exercise and some time spent training.  Training isn’t just for puppies and naughty dogs, it keeps all dogs out of mischief!

Puppies that bark for company

Obviously puppies should not be deprived of human love and companionship.

Dogs that are isolated, and lonely may develop a serious barking habit.  So think hard before you kennel a dog outdoors or leave him alone in the house all day.

Having said that, all puppies need to learn to spend some time alone. Albeit short periods of time to begin with.  And some puppies may start barking when crated or shut in a puppy proof room.

There are things you can do to avoid this risk. It’s all about getting the puppy used to the  idea that separation or confinement ends when they are quiet.  And only when they are quiet.

Puppies love to be able to ‘see’ their grown ups!  This is very useful to us when we are teaching puppies to be quiet around the home and in their crate.

Creating an easily closed visual barrier between you and the puppy can really help with barking and whining.  You can impose the visual barrier when the dog behaves inappropriately and remove it when he behaves well.

The open door technique

One way of doing this is to put the puppy in a crate in another room but to position the crate where he can see you clearly whilst the door between the two rooms is open.

If he is silent, the door is left open.  If he makes a noise you simply close the door.

This technique can be very useful when a dog has got into a habit of barking during mealtimes for example.

Don’t forget to open the door as soon as he is quiet,  but close it  immediately if he starts again

You will find that to begin with you have to close the door a lot!  But he will soon catch on.

Building quiet habits in your Labrador

Remember, build good habits and quiet behaviour right from the start. Reward your puppy often when he is quiet and relaxed.

Ignore any noise,  don’t be tempted to start a ‘conversation’ with your barking dog.

Last but not least, remember to plan ahead so that you are prepared with distractions for those times when he is likely to be bored or demanding.

Barking at night

Dogs bark at night for a number of reasons. And it is always a big deal.

Puppies bark at night or early in the morning, to get company, because they need the toilet, or because they are hungry.

Older dogs sometimes start barking at night because they are disturbed, and enjoy the company that results, so triggering a barking habit.

Some dogs bark very early in the morning because they’ve had enough sleep and think you have too

We look at all this, and more in our comprehensive article on night waking and nocturnal barking in Labradors.

Barking at passers-by

This is a very common problem. How many times have you had to walk the length of a garden fence with a dog flying along parallel to you and barking its head off?

Even for the most dog-savvy person,  this can be quite an un-nerving experience.

Especially if you have small children or a nervous dog with you.

As the owner of the dog in question,  it can be a serious source of embarrassment.

If you are worried that your Labrador barking at passers-by is upsetting people, it probably is.

Barking at the window

You quite often see dogs in the window of a house trying to do the same thing.

Tearing up and down a window sill or along the back of a sofa, flying at the glass as though they are about to break through it.

Dogs in cars can be the same.

Although it is not perhaps quite as stressful to the passer-by, it is perhaps even more upsetting to you as the owner when it’s in a contained space.

Your usually very companionable dog suddenly becomes a creature you can’t control and don’t understand.

Passer-by syndrome

What is happening in the situations above is a phenomenon known as passer-by syndrome.

Dogs (and other animals) learn new behaviours in a very specific way that has been thoroughly scientifically researched and then described or set out,  under the title of ‘Learning Theory’.

Learning theory tells us that any labrador behaviour that is immediately (within seconds) rewarded,  will be reinforced.

That is to say, the behaviour will be more likely to happen again in the future.

This is exactly what is happening with passer-by syndrome.

Here and then gone again

Let’s face it,  passers by are by definition ‘passing by’. They appear, then disappear again within seconds of appearing!

Many dogs are a little wary of total strangers.  Others quite enjoy the sound of their own voices,  or simply like running up and down.

So you can imagine what happens if the dog runs up and down, or gives a little bark during the few seconds that the passer by is in view.  Just seconds later the passer by has gone again!

If the dog finds that disappearance rewarding, and many dogs do,  anything he did just before the person vanished will be reinforced.

That means it is much more likely to happen again in the future.

And so as time goes on, and more passers by,  pass by.  The barking increases.

That little woof becomes another woof,  then several woofs.

Any running up and down also increases and gets faster.

Running generates excitement too, so even if the running dog didn’t bark to start with,  he soon will.

Barking and running at the fence

If a dog has regular visual access to passers by,  and is at all impressed by his own perceived ability to make them ‘disappear’,  passer-by syndrome will inevitably take over.

The barking and excitement is continually reinforced, and will get worse and worse.

So you need to act, preferably sooner rather than later.

The solution to dogs barking at people

An established passer by syndrome can be very difficult to eradicate without removing the dog’s access to passer’s by.

Whilst you can reward good behavior when you are there,  you cannot control what passers by do, or how your dog reacts to them when you are out of sight.

For that reason the most successful solution is always the removal of the dog’s visual access to passers by.

Owners of a barking dog can find this very frustrating to hear, but established problems do require committed responses sometimes.

Although you might feel annoyed to hear there is no quick fix, you should feel pleased that you can regain control of the situation through another means.

Remove visual access

Indoors, preventing your Labrador from seeing the source of his excitement can sometimes simply be a matter of closing the curtains.

Or of restricting the dog’s access to rooms which overlook a public walkway.

In gardens it is more difficult and may require the construction of a visual barrier or fence. If you live in a rented property then you will need to talk to your landlord or erect a temporary gap-free barrier behind the fixed fenceline.

If you have to leave a dog alone in a car for a short period of time,  you may be able to prevent visual access to passers by quite simply using a piece of cardboard against the windows.

This may all seem like a big deal,  but if you suspect your dog is beginning to develop passer by syndrome it is well worth nipping it in the bud.

Left untreated it can become a truly unpleasant problem.

Barking at sounds

Some dogs bark every time there is a knock at the door (quite reasonable provided it doesn’t go on and on).

Some dogs bark every time a car door slams out in the street (not quite so reasonable)

Some dogs bark every time a door closes in your house, every time there is a footstep in the flat upstairs, every time a cup is plonked on the kitchen counter (not reasonable at all) and so on.

If your dog does this, and constantly barks at every little sound, footstep, or voice, the chances are you have had enough of it.

A great system for improving this particular problem is to teach your dog to bark on cue.

It’s also the bit you’ve been waiting for if your dog rarely barks and you want him to bark when strangers come to the door.

This is the bark/no bark system.

How to teach your dog to bark

Bark / No Bark training is is a great technique for both dogs that bark at sounds, and dogs that don’t bark much at all.

You’d think that teaching a dog to bark would be the last thing you’d need.

But actually, putting a behavior ‘on cue’ in this way, often has the effect of diminishing it at other times.

It’s certainly worth a try if you have a ‘sound reaction barker’

You can find instructions here: Train a dog not to bark 

My dog won’t bark

Remember, if your Labrador won’t bark much, that’s largely because it isn’t in his nature to do so.

You can teach him to bark on cue, as described in the link above, but you’ll need to tell him when you want him to do it.  It won’t help when you are there.

So for example, when strangers come to the door, once you have taught the cue ‘speak’, you’ll be able to tell your dog to ’SPEAK’ and hopefully that will alert the strangers that there is a dog in the home.

If that is what you want.

Personally, I think if your Labrador is not a natural guard dog, that’s probably a good thing.

This is not a breed designed to guard people or property, though some will, most Labrador’s talents lie in other directions.

Like being warm, affectionate, friendly, and brilliant retrievers.

Nervous or reactive barking

Last but not least, let’s take a quick look at nervous barkers. Some dogs bark out of fear or anxiety.

This tends to be more of an issue outdoors in the wide world, where your dog has to meet with other dogs and people.

Fearful dogs have a tough time of it, but fortunately there is help at hand

We have a great article on helping reactive dogs, by Sian Ryan so if your dog falls into this category, it’s well worth a read

Barking at other dogs may also arise because your dog is over-excited and wants to go and play. This is a type of demand barking so the rules above apply. Don’t release your dog while he is barking furiously, or you will reinforce the barking (make it worse).

Do avoid triggers that overwhelm your dog while doing the training above. Set him achievable goals. You may find my ‘over the threshold’ article for excitable dogs, helpful here.

Summary

Unwanted barking is no fun. And there are various ways to reduce or prevent it, depending on why your dog is doing it.

Because every dog is unique, it’s well worth joining the forum to talk about your barking issues.

You’ll get help and support there from members who are familiar with the modern training techniques recommended on this website.

And don’t forget to let us know how you get on with your ‘no bark’ training in the comments below.

More information on Labradors

labrador-jacket-800If you enjoyed this article, you may enjoy the Labrador Handbook.

It’s a great way to view some of our best Labrador information together in one place.

The Labrador Handbook looks at the joys and challenges of sharing your life with a Labrador, at each stage of his life from choosing a puppy to the care of your senior Lab.

The Labrador Handbook is published by Penguin Random House and is available worldwide, both as an ebook, and as a traditional quality paperback.

Barking information from across the site has been pulled together to create this comprehensive guide. The comments from content of older articles included here have been moved where appropriate.

 

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Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of several books on dogs. She is the founder of the Labrador Site and a regular contributor. She is passionate about helping people enjoy their Labradors and lives in Hampshire with her husband and four dogs.

53 COMMENTS

  1. Do you have any suggestions about how to stop a dog from barking in a car? Our dog almost NEVER barks inside the household, but whenever she’s in the car, she barks non-stop. We’re not sure why she’s barking…is it attention? She’s excited? She’s scared? We spent months ignoring her in the car and trying to treat her when she was quiet, but that hasn’t worked. She always jumps in the car so she doesn’t seem scared. We’ve tried exercising her before getting in the car and giving her a Kong. We feel stuck!

  2. Pippa,

    We have a rescued lab that was taught to bark when he needed to potty or wanted to eat. Our other lab and border collie don’t do this, how do I break this behavior pattern? He has been waking up in the middle of the night barking to go potty, no matter how late we let him out.

  3. hi pippa can you advice on how to stop my
    3 yrs old lab called peggy keep barking at
    the postman , passerbys , and when in the
    car she barks if men are in hi vis jackets
    beside that she is a adorable loving dog i
    think she is a peoples dog

    • How strange, my almost 4 yr old lab is exactly the same and goes mad if the window cleaners are around.
      I’d love to help her relax when “strangers” are around

  4. Hi. I have an 8 year old chock lab, female … All of a sudden we’ve noticed that in the evening she will have a real bark bark bark bark at us, it’s pretty much every night…in short sharp bouts, there is not pattern in the evening when she does it. When she stops we give her praise and smooth her. I do take her (and her daughter ) to work with me most days and am worried on the days I don’t or can’t that I am now causing the problem… Her daughter (5) barely barks. We get no barking at night time, and generally she is a quiet confident companion… Help …

  5. can anyone help me …my golden lab (9 months) has a very slim face ….how to change his face structure(how to make it broad as other labras have)…thank u…

    • Hi Dev, Labradors faces differ in shape just as people’s do. It is not something that you can change, although it is possible that he will fill out a little as he ages.
      You will find that working bred Labs in general have narrower muzzles than their show bred cousins. This is nothing to worry about, and I am sure that your dog is gorgeous just as he is.
      All the best,
      Lucy

  6. I have a black lab called Star who’s about 7 months old. She spends a lot of her days incessantly barking at people. The thing is, my mum and stepdad insist on shouting at her or telling her off when she does this. They don’t listen when I give them advice, as I’m 15. Is there anything I can do on the sly, so I can help Star to stop barking?

    Thank you.

    • It is very challenging when you are not able to control how other people treat your dog. Your best course of action is probably to try and reinforce any quiet behaviour as much as you can, hand feeding your dog when she is calm and quiet for example. And to distract your dog in situations where you think she might be going to start barking. You can use food or toys to do this. If you get chance to spend time with your dog alone, have a look at the click for quiet technique or teach her to bark ‘on cue’ – this can be quite effective. Use the links for more info, and good luck

  7. My Labrador barks whenever I give my other dogs attention and also barks when neighbors go into their yard that is right beside ours. Whenever I go outside to stop him he stops as soon as I open the door, but starts as soon as I go back inside. He also jumps the fence if he isn’t tied up.

  8. Everytime my older dog has something like a toy or a bone, my Labrador puppy decides that she wants it and has started barking. I ignore this, but my older dog seems to get tired of her barking and just gives up whatever it is he has and she then takes off with it. So whilst i’m ignoring the behaviour, my older dog seems to be rewarding her for it. Any advice?

  9. Hello, Pippa! I love this article very much, in fact I got a great sense of reassurance when reading this, knowing I’m doing everything right! Having said that, I am having just ONE issue remaining with my 5 month old lab. ATTENTION BARKING!
    Holy wow! I surrender, I need help!
    Asking for help with my dog (or any dog, for that matter), is a new realm for me! I am the one whom neighbors and/or family run to when they have a situation with their dog! Please know I say this not out of any arrogance or vanity, simply to express a knowledge in animal behaviour.

    I have tried all of your above suggestions, and to apoint that I was actually concerned that there was a lack of consistency in MY behaviour. Having said that, here’s the two reaons I have narrowed my black lab’s constant barking as a result of:
    1) lack of enough attention (most commonly mine)
    2) lack of consistency (two roommates, two children)

    I have found myself being the stereotypical “nag,” and feeling as if I am talking to walls. I am constantly repeating the importance of consistency within all parties involved in teaching Lucky. Needless to say, this makes me the dominant one.

    There appears to be human concerns that have arisen, making Lucky the victim. It’s a very unfair situation for the puppy in training. My kids are not even a concern, the issues are within the 3 adults in the household.

    The problems:
    * Not ignoring the barking
    Ignoring the bad behaviour is not an issue for me, its with one of my roommates. He caves and releases him, making all my hard work null and void. Be it from the crate, or when I put him outside and shut the blinds, he lets him back in to “make him stop.”

    * Complaints from neighbors
    They are not happy. To the point that I have received two notices of complaint. However, he DOES NOT bark when we are away, and he DOES NOT bark when its bedtime, and he sleeps all night long! Obviously these are huge plusses for a 5 month old puppy! At mealtime he sits and waits to eat until I put his bowl down and give him the command. He’s walked 3 times a day, and even sits and the door quietly, sometimes will paw at the leash, but he DOES NOT bark!

    He sits, he stays, hes potty-trained, doesnt jump on my kids anymore, doesnt take our food when left unattended, doesnt bark when company is at the door. He is just one-issue short of being the perfect dog!

    However, as I have typed this lengthy messge, I have had to stop 15-20 TIMES to stop his barking! Grabbing his muzzle and telling him “quiet” (then reward on silence), standing up to show my dominance (again, reward on silence), and if he is on all fours when barking, I can tell him to sit and he will. But these methods ONLY WORK for about 5-10 seconds!!!

    Having said all of this, and tried all of that, I’m left to assume this is a need for ATTENTION! “Love me, pet me, play with me!” Because this DOES work! Giving him love! But having two special need children, I cant sit and pet him all day long. I am so a stay-at-home mom, so he is used to my being home unless I am out on errands. And as soon as I turn my attention OFF of him, he barks!

    I just want to please all parties involved: neighbors roommates, and Lucky! With the lack of consistency and lack of my attention 24/7, what am I left to try??? And yes Ive considered moving out, but I’m sure you would agree it shouldn’t come to that extreme.

    Thank you, Pippa!!!
    Lost in California,
    Jamie (the kids, and Lucky)

  10. Hi,

    We have a 6 month old black lab and she constantly barks in her crate. we sent her on a 3 week board and train program
    (which was expensive) as my husband and i were busy with getting ready for a new baby(due in a week) and she our lab came home yesterday and all the barking/jumping and winning started again. she is currently crated in the garage as that is the only “room” we have that is closed downstairs where she behaves(she is not allowed upstairs as my grandparents live there). She sleeps in the living room, in another crate though.I still feel bad for her, any advice?

    • What of the older lab takes over the bad habit of barking? I am in a circle with it….
      The older lab is now the one who is barking and the I am afraid the youngest is going with him again. He already have done this on several occasions!

  11. Hello, firstly I’d like to say what a great website you have!
    I have a 13 week old female Labrador pup called Pip. She’s doing fantastically well with the info and things I have learnt from your site.
    Pip started barking at me for attention and to go out etc but with what I’ve learnt from here this isn’t an issue anymore. She learnt very quickly that things weren’t going to happen if she barks. I am struggling with one problem though and that is when my neighbour is in his garden. Pip cannot see him but she can hear him and this makes her bark. It’s not a normal bark that she used to give me though it is lots of very loud very fast almost to a howl barks. I’m worried my neighbour will get annoyed at this and I don’t want to have to keep Pip in for fear of her noise. Ideally I’d like to nip it in the bud quickly before it gets any worse.
    Many thanks.

  12. My 5 month old Lab barks in your face uncontrollabley for no apparent reason. She can be sitting calmly and then all of a sudden constant barking than can’t be stopped. The only way to get her to stop is by putting her outside for a few minutes. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. This can go on sometimes for an hour of more. Help!

  13. Hi my 7 month old Labrador barks at me when she wants something, or when she wants my attention or when she can’t get her own way and it’s annoying the neighbours and myself. How can I stop the barking? Thanks

  14. My lovely, well socialised and very friendly black lab has developed ‘passer-by’ syndrome. He barks his head off when people come to the door, but once the door is open, he is desperate to meet them to say hello. I can’t work out why this is. Sometimes, we have people work in our garden. He is very friendly to them outside, but when we go in, he barks as though he’s never seen them before. Again, can’t work it out!

  15. Hi Pippa,
    You have a lovely helpful site ~ thank you for all your help!
    My question is; our neighbors ( who have 6 children, youngest is 10 yrs.) have a lovely and sweet lab “Nellie” (lite cream color) who is about 3-5 yrs. old and no one ever! walks her. She is tied up 2 x a day and allowed to bark non-stop for and hour or so. We are at our wits end as they tie her up at dinner time daily on top of it.
    We don’t understand why they don’t walk her as their yard is next to a huge pond, and we feel sorry for her. Is there anything you could tell us why she barks constantly. . . we think she’s on a short leash on top of it when tied up. We are about to write them and tell them its cruel to own a dog and never walk her and let her bark disturbing all the neighbors around their small mansion. Thank you for any help or suggestions. We are somewhat friendly with this family, we wave hello on garbage day etc. so we are uncomfortable confronting them so we will be writing an anonymous letter but we cant be the only neighbor disturbed by her sad barking! Thanks again Pippa!

  16. Hi, My boyfriend has an Yellow English Lab (2 yo), I’m deeply in love with the dog! We have noticed some behaviors that seem to us not normal for dogs in general and I would like your comments about them:
    1.- He wont swim (read the article and cleared my questions…thanks to much)
    2.- Wont bark (he barked once around 11 pm at a painting – we think he might have seen a reflection)
    3.- He is scared of big dogs (even though we take him to the dog park every weekend)
    4.- He is scared of any strong noises
    5.- Loves to chew on soft blankets (he is getting better at it though)
    6.- He is walked twice a day for 30 minutes, but he pees for a very long time! we feed him grain free dog food.
    7.- He is so clumsy! We play fetch with him, and he looses sight of the toy, sometimes we even don’t throw it and yet he looks around for it.
    Thanks so much!

  17. I have 50 days old labrador puppy he is always biting humans, clothing could you please help me to recover from puppy biting. . .
    Thanks

  18. HELP! Our 14-1/2 year old chocolate lab won’t stop barking and whining. Recently he has been diagnosed with severe arthritis in his rear legs, but he still gets around, but hops more on that leg. He is keeping us up at night and now starting to bark all day too. At night he barks and pants and whines, and won’t stop! We’ve tried homeopathic remedies, benedryl, dramamine…but lately nothing helps. He sleeps in our room with a night light, but the past few night my husband has had to go sleep in another room.

    • Hi Pat, this is something you probably need to work through with your vet. A previously quiet 14 year old dog doesn’t normally start barking for no reason. Some dogs bark more when they lose their hearing, and a dog with severe arthritis that is keeping his family up at night may well be in pain. Elderly dogs can also suffer from dementia, which can cause behavioural changes. Your vet is the person to help you work out what is happening, and if necessary prescribe a course of treatment. I hope you are able to get to the bottom of it soon. Pippa

  19. We have a 10 month old Lab/Border Collie mix male. We got him from a rescue at six weeks old. I have been working with him and he has learned to sit, give me his paw and lie down on command with reward. My husband can get him to walk beside him on a short leash but he will not walk with me. He just drags me everywhere. He is very loving and friendly and we take him everywhere with us. What am I doing wrong that he won’t walk beside me on leash?
    Linda

  20. Hi. I have a similar problem to Julia. I have an 18 month old choc lab who has been neutered. He is very kind and well socialised with other dogs. He has always been submissive when he meets a new dog and is very careful to ensure that it is friendly before he plays. He does love to play with other dogs. He has recently started barking at people he does not know. He hackles come up a little and he can look quite fierce to any one that does not know him. He does not bark at people he knows. He is also barking at children which I am keen to stop asap. Once I have introduced him to the person he has barked at, he relaxes and is completely friendly and loving to that person. This behaviour occurs mostly at my horses stables as the car park for the stables is also the car park for a country park which has many visitors. Because this is happening when he is at the stables, he is not on a lead. He is usually obedient, I have done the total recall training, and he accompanies me when I ride the horses out. This barking is a very new habit that I would like to stop quickly and have my very friendly lab back. Any ideas?

  21. Hi I’ve an 8 yr old lab and 3yr old father and son don’t always walk them together my 3yr old is being a sod barking when I try and put him back on the lead he’s very strong and happy to play I get so upset coz sometimes it can take upto half hr to actually get him I’ve TRYD lots of DIFFRENT ideas please help my 8 yr old has never had this problem he is very slow so the 3rd gets a lot of attention play ball and he has toys sticks just hope u can help fill so stupid a 3yr old beating me

  22. My 4 month old Chocolate Lab puppy barks at us non stop when she wants something, whether she needs to go outside or wants us to play with her. I like that she tells us when she needs to go outside, but how do I get her to stop barking for attention??

  23. Hi,
    I just wanted to thank you for your website which is very useful. We own a 2-year old chocolate Lab and he is our first dog so we had a lot of questions but no trainer using positive methods in the area. I read many of your articles (and bought your book on recall 🙂 ) and it has been and still is extremely helpful. I particularly appreciate the fact that it focuses on Labradors. A big thank you to you.
    Natasha from France

  24. can you tell me how my lovely 7 year old chocolate lab never barks ,she doesn’t bark if she hears a noise or when my door is knocked ,is this normal

  25. Hi Pippa,
    Thank you for the Dog Training book it has been helpful with Jotta our 3 1/2 month male lab. He is doing well in some training but I need help with two things please;
    He has begun to bark aggressively at me when I tell him not to do things, tonight he jumped up on me in an attempt to bite (not nip) me. His bark is different from playing. What I feel is that he is challenging me, if was any bigger I would be frightened of him. At present I just stare at him and he has usually backed off and lays down tonight he just kept on at me till I went inside the house.
    Crate training is a disaster I have worked with him on this as per your instructions but he will not stop yelping and barking the minute I shut the crate door. He likes crate so long as he can come and go as he pleases. He gets enough treats when he is quiet and has a stuffed Kong to start off his time in the crate.Any advice?

  26. We have a chocolate lab who is almost 2 years old… we love her to pieces but she barks alot and is still chewing…. she barks when she is inside or outside.
    is there anything to control the barking and what do you suggest for something to chew on that last a while?

  27. I addopted my Cinna and she is a 2 year old lab and the love of my life a year ago. I got her form the human sisiety and she was negected and not taken care of by her pevius family but when we ment it we knew it was ment to be. She does great with off leash when we go hiking and she always comes back to “mom” the only problem that I cant seem to get under control is the barking at other dogs. It doesnt matter if we are out for a walk, at home or in the car and I cant get her attention. I fisicaly have to stop what I’m doing and take her from the situttion, and i read that you dont rase your voice and keep it calm that eay your not compeeting with them, so I do that and I just talk to her and tell her that its ok. Its been over a year of this Im just wondering if you have any ideas on what else I can do?

  28. My boerboel has developed just this problem. I live in a dead end street of 2 houses. Local kids took to using the parking bays opposite as a playground. next to my houseis a footpath to another street, and he now barks at everyone going past to the footpath. I have had to confine him to the kitchen when i am out and am squirting water at him when he does it when i am here. its bloody annoying. i am seriously considering having wooden shutters fitted to my living room windows to block his view

  29. hi can you give me advice plz my friend has a red lab 14months old who barks and growls constantly when ppl come into her flat. my friend works from home and has had her lab from a puppy so she should be used to visitors she was in a cage/crate when she was young my friend is wondering whether to get a cage again and start from scratch and have her in cage and do the open door stage.she is not aggressive with ppl she knows or children or the family cats she is a lovely gentle and loving friend can you suggest anything else she can try thankyou.

    • Hi Ann,
      It sounds as though your friend’s dog has not been properly socialised. Socialising an adult dog is a long task requiring committment and your friend will need support. I suggest she consults an experienced behaviourist. Her vet should be able to recommend one.
      Best wishes
      Pippa

    • yes ann, lots of socialization will help. ours is super friendly and dont know a stranger.. we have had her around small kids, and other animals her whole life.
      yes getting a trainer might help the owner as well as the pet to understand right from wrong. good luck

  30. We have a beautiful three and a half year old working breed labrador though we don’t work her, she is just a pet and we’ve had her since she was about 8 weeks old. We have trained her for obedience to a certain extent but need a bit of help with a problem that we just don’t seem to be able to control. The training she’s had so far is walking to heel on and off the lead which she’s fairly good at but needs the odd gentle reminder now and again. She will sit and wait until I give the next command, her recall is very good to the whistle unless she is really engrossed in something. I know all these points I will have to work on more but the worst thing she does is to bark at strangers. We have an extremely huge area of common land where we can walk her and she is off the lead all the time as it is quite safe. She never really strays far from me and is always checking that I am around. What she does though is, if there is someone walking, running, cycling she will run up to them and bark at them and there seems nothing I can do to stop this. If I see the problem arising and she’s near enough I get her quickly back onto the lead and she doesn’t even seem to think about barking. I don’t know why she does this and more importantly how to stop her. She also barks at visitors to the house and if she doesn’t know them will continue to bark until she gets fed up or perhaps until she is convinced I am happy with this person in my house. (I didn’t think labradors were supposed to be good guard dogs if that’s what she’s doing!!) If she does know them then she will stop barking after a very short while when they walk in the door. The only way I’ve been able to arrest the barking when we are out and about is to distract her by changing my direction and saying Ellie, this way, telling her I am going in a different direction, then most times she will follow me but I have to sort of pre-empt the situation which isn’t always easy. What happens is, she sees someone ahead and her stance seems to change a little, head up and ears pricked kind of, then I think she sort of thinks about the situation, now this bit happens extremely quickly and if I don’t get to her quickly enough she’s off barking. I know she won’t hurt anyone but her bark is quite fearce and would scare me if I didn’t know her but the person she is barking at is understandably apprehensive and one day someone will hit out at her, I can’t say I would blame them either, but I really need to find out how to get to grips with this situation. I live in Hampshire and wonder if you could suggest anyone who might be able to help or perhaps you could help me with some advice. I sought advice a while ago from a trainer but all he said was that she was protecting me but didn’t seem to be able to give me any ideas as to how to stop her. One thing I have tried is that if my husband is around and the door bell goes I stay with her and try and calm her down trying to tell her eveything is ok but she won’t settle and keeps growling and is clearly worried about something. If we didn’t have this problem with her we would have the absolute perfect dog as she is perfect in every other way. Please can you help me.
    Kind regards,
    Julia

    • Hi Julia
      Your instinct to remove the dog from the source of excitement or anxiety is a good one. But there are exercises you can work on to teach her to become calmer in those situations too.
      This is an excellent video for owners whose dogs get over-aroused on walks, and the same principles apply when people call around. There are a number of episodes in this series that you might find helpful.
      If you find you cannot make progress on your own, then it might be worth a consult with a canine behaviourist, rather than a dog trainer.
      Hope that helps
      Pippa

  31. when any one comes frm outside.. our pup jumps on dem… byy biting by its mouth… nowadays my pup has lots of falling of hair frm its bodyy…. wat s the reasonn can u plzz reply mee…

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