Labrador Puppy Behaviour

cuddle-yellow-labrador-puppyLabrador puppies are adorable,  but puppy behavior is sometimes hard to cope with.

From the first day you bring your tiny furry bundle home, you will be thrown into a whole new world of potty training, biting, chewing, crying and much more.

But don’t panic – let us smooth the way with some great articles to help you keep calm, and resolve the conflict in a positive way.

Puppy Potty Training

Puppy Biting

Puppy Chewing

Puppy Crying

Puppy Behavior

More Puppy Information

You might also like to check out our full range of Behaviour Articles and our section on Labrador Puppy Training.

Happy-Puppy-jacket-image1-195x300For a complete guide to raising a healthy and happy puppy don’t miss The Happy Puppy Handbook.

The Happy Puppy Handbook covers every aspect of life with a small puppy.

The book will help you prepare your home for the new arrival, and get your puppy off to a great start with potty training, socialisation and early obedience.

The Happy Puppy Handbook is available worldwide.

 

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119 COMMENTS

  1. Hi!
    I have a 6-7 week old black lab that is very (for a lack of better words) lethargic. Always laying down unless going potty. Not “playful”, no barking (even though I don’t expect barking yet) not really inquisitive like most puppies I’ve run across in my life.
    I have a vet appointment Wednesday 7/3/16…But wondering how “normal” this is…!

    • Hi Scott, Please take a look at this article and take your puppy to the veterinarian today as a matter of urgency. Even given your pup’s young age this does not sound like normal behavior I am afraid. I hope he feels better soon. Best wishes, Lucy

  2. Hi, I have a 7 month old black lab who’s gorgeous. He’s very gentle, but likes to mouth a lot, especially my arm and clothes. Sometimes he pulls clothing, but he often chews my hands and arms, although I think he has full adult teeth it doesn’t hurt as more like big squeeze, but its not behaviour I want to encourage. Any tips be great, thanks.

  3. Hi Pippa,
    I have a 5 month old choc lab and for the most part she is a pretty typical pup. We crate her at night but recently she started waking up at 3am and would not go back to sleep. We thought it might be because she is teething. We made the horrible mistake of putting her in the bed because she would sleep. Well now she doesn’t sleep at all. She cries and she is very restless. Do you think this is because she is teething and uncomfortable? Should we go back to crating her at night and just let her cry it out? I don’t know what to do but I need my sleep!!

  4. My labrador is cute..but he is so hardheaded, he keeps on biting everything he see..his name is whity although he is black..how to train him…thank you

  5. Hi!
    We have a 7 1/2 week old female chocolate lab. She has been great with eating and going out to go potty. For the first week she slept, but was still up and active quite a bit. Within the past day or so she is still eating a good amount, going out to go potty, will play for maybe 20-30 mins, and then pass out for 1-2 hours. When she’s sleeping, it’s a very deep sleep. She is twitching and shaking and when you call her name or go to check on her she will not wake up. Is this normal at all? Is she just finally able to relax and feels comfortable enough around us to sleep like this? We are new puppy parents, so we are maybe a little overly cautious.
    Thanks!

  6. My daughter has a 12 month old black lab. When they got here she ended up costing them so much money to find out she is allergic to chicken. This dog is a nightmare. She is cute and sweet but crazy.
    Took them forever to potty train here. Now she has severe separation anxiety if Jim leaves which also causes her severe diarrhea. If you take her for a walk or around lots of other people she has the anxiety also. They have to kennel her a night because she tears up everything in the house. The kids can’t even set one toy down that she instantly grabs it and runs off with it. When I come over to visit she basically full force runs at me and jumps on me. She is already a big dog. She does this with everyone. They have 4 kids and the lab is more problems then all the kids put together. She also torments the cats. Do you have any suggestions or a book that will help. Also when she is outside she runs full circle at fast as she can go over and over again. She will not walk on a leash either. Please help us to figure this out. She is almost to much for them to handle but my daughter and her husband love her so much.

    Thank you

  7. Hello, we have a 5.5 month old yellow male lab. We got him from a farm, he is not fixed and is overcoming mange. We installed an invisible fence but we have to use the highest setting on it for him to listen. He barks all the time and nips at us. Last night he jumped on my mother and started biting her. Is this just a faisty boy puppy or is this an actually behavioral issue? My dad wants to take him to the humane society but I am afraid of what is going to happen to him.

    • Hi Shanen, nipping is normal in young puppies and has nothing to do with him not being neutered. The problem with your fence is that it works by causing the puppy pain and this can cause aggression. It is better to fence off a small area of your property to keep him safe outdoors. There are lots of articles on this site to help you cope, you can start with this one https://www.thelabradorsite.com/labrador-puppies-biting/ Check out the puppy section in the menu at the top of each page, and do join the forum for support.

  8. Hi I have been given a 4 month old black lab, he is really lovely and we’ll behaved except he growls and sometimes nips, it seem to be of he is touched and moved in different ways but I can’t seen to work out what the exact trigger is. Any help or advice would be very much appreciated. Thanks

  9. Hi my 6 month old lab is pretty much fully potty trained. She knows where she needs to do her business and for the most part always does it outside. Sometimes even after she goes out she will just walk over to me squat in front of me and pee. I`m not really sure what to do to discourage her. I know she knows it is bad because she will run into her bed right after. I have never really spanked her so I know its not from fear. I think if I leave her for longer than normal she gets mad and does it out of spite. Any advise !?

  10. hi i adopted a 2 month old labrador 15 days back , in a weeks time im gonna go on a vacation for 15 days and he will be staying with a friend of mine , i wont be seeing him for 15 days so is there any chance he would forget me?

  11. Hello, i have just adopted a 4 week old puppy. I am giving him 2 spoon cerelec with 2 spoon warm water… he is not taking any dog food. My be he is too small right now. But some times he need 3 spoon of cerelec… i need help to set his rutien of food nd pee…. plz help..

  12. Hi, I just adopted an 8 week old chocolate lab. She sleeps as long as I will allow her to but doesn’t mind when I wake her up to play or go potty/eat. Is she sleeping because she is still a puppy of is she bored? Any advice is appreciated. 🙂

  13. Hi,
    I have a 5 month old female choc lab and recently when she plays with dogs her size she seems to be a little more bitey than usual. Rather than running around she seems a little aggressive her nose looks like a snarl but I’m not sure if it’s friendly puppy play or something more aggressive. I have only seen 2 other puppies reciprocate the behavior. Her tail is wagging and she has also recently starting making a wimpering noise when she plays like this. The other puppies that did not have the same behavior kept playing but they did not look as aggressive. Please help. Thank you

  14. I managed to fully train my dog, it didn’t wee or poo in the house. It would give paw, sit and lay down when asked and even when I didn’t ask. But this week she’s started weeing in the house and isn’t listening to anything I say. Please help!!

  15. I have 9week lab.yet i have not given him any vaccine and he bit me yesterday ,so i am little bit worry about rabies is there any fear of rabies in small pups or not plzz reply…..

  16. Hello,
    I just got my 7 weeks old lab and I am a little bit concerned about her behaviour. When I got her, 4 days ago, she cried and barked a lot, day and night..For 2 days now, she is acting very different, she’s hardly belling and when I want to play ball with her in the garden, she just sniffes at the ball and has no mood to play. Good news is she learned how to walk dows the stairs..Should I be concerned ? Thank you!

  17. i have a 10 month old yellow lab,he barks a lot when people come around that he doesn’t know and he doesn’t even want to get close to them to sniff them,I’m not sure if he is scared of them or not,I want him to be comfortable around people when they come around,he will just sit and bark at them till they leave.He is very attached to me,he follows me everywhere, other dogs don’t bother him,he is a great sweet dog once he gets to know you,he was scared of my husband and a lot of guys when we first got him,how can I get him to stop barking at people
    Please help!!!!

  18. I have just got a 28 days lab…I just wanted to know about its diet and the supplies needed for him…it seems tht it is biting a lot …can anyone please help me out?

  19. Hi, Our lab puppy is 4 months old and hates going in the car. She now won’t leave the house in as she thinks she might be going in the car. What can we do ? Our circumstances require her to go in the car perhaps 4 – 5 times per week. Thank you. Katrina

    • U should try out keeping her toys and biscuits in the car….as soon as she gets in the car play with her and feed her

  20. Hi, I have 5 months old female lab puppy. I love her so much! but she is biting alot. my hands and legs are full of scars but not that worse ones. and also she is getting mad when somebody visits.. she is jumping up all the time and never stops. Is it normal behaviour? How can I reduce these stuffs?
    She is my life.
    Thank You!

  21. Hi Pippa,
    Love your advice, so very helpful with our new lab puppy. She is 9 weeks old and we have had her for 10 days. We are learning she is a very stubborn little girl! My concern is, when she is doing something naughty (digging, chewing on something she shouldn’t, etc.) and we go to pick her up, she growls. It looks and sounds different than when she is playing and she growls. Is this normal? Should I be concerned? Is there a way to stop this?
    Thanks for any help you can give.

  22. Hi,
    We have a lovely black lab pup who is 5 months in a few days. He is pretty obedient, and loves other dogs when they come to play at our house or he is off leash at the beach. But as soon as his lead goes on, he barks andlunges at people and dogs. Help. Walks are becoming a nightmare

  23. Hello,
    I have a 9 month old Choc lab. Recently, he has been very aggressive towards other dogs when food and toys are involved. He also is aggressive towards children and cyclists. I’m afraid that he could do serious damage to someone or another dog. Is there anything I can do for this? Is this normal? He is pretty protective and territorial of me as well.

    • Hi Becca, it sounds as though you need to get a behaviourist to assess your dog and make an assessment of his behaviour. General aggression is not normal in a well-socialised nine month old, though many dogs will guard food and toys. You need to have your vet check him over to exclude physical problems and to refer you to a behaviourist.

  24. In need of a dog behaviorist ASAP!! Ginger is a ten month old part lab/pit and every time we go in the backyard when she’s out, she gets very territorial. She barks, nips, growls, etc.. She’ll bite at out shoes, hands, jump up to nip, she has actually took a hold of my shoes with great force. At first we thought maybe she wanted to play because we do play ball in the yard a lot, but the more it would happen, the more we realized that she was being aggressive/territorial. She’s been doing this since she was 3 months old!! I told Mark then that we she take her back, but then we thought we would get it out of her by playing or sitiing in the yard with her to show her that she doesn’t own it..NOT!! Even after being pinned down she’ll get back up and start again..it takes awhile before she finally submits and stops acting like she owns the yard. Mark and I hold our grounds patiently, but today she nipped and bruised my leg and arm after being pinned down several times! She is a very smart and sweet dog in the house, but it takes awhile for her to get that way outside. It brought tears to my eyes today after she got me good, because I am not going to have a dog nipping or biting at me in my own backyard. Those that know me know that I will not hit an animal because I am too sensitive when it comes to that, but I got really frustrated, but I remained calm;-) She finally submitted for a moment and then she got up trying it again… Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • Hi there, please do not ‘pin down’ your dog. She will be very confused by this behaviour, and you may end up making her aggressive, as she is forced to defend herself!

      All puppies play bite, especially outdoors, especially when people play with them. Three months is a peak time for fierce puppy biting to occur and there is often a resurgence towards the end of the first year when young dogs become very boisterous.

      It is most unlikely to be related to ‘territoriality’, dominance, or aggression. Please read this: how to cope with biting, this how to cope with an overexcited puppy, and this the demise of dominance theory An assessment by an up to date (not one that practices outdated dominance reduction techniques), qualified behaviourist would really help you. Good luck with your puppy

      • Hi , I have a lab 10 weeks old . He’s afraid from dog barking , how should I help him to be normal when he hears a dog bark ?

  25. hi, I have bought a 7 week old female Labrador. she was playing n sniffing all day long. Since evening she had been sleeping. She did not even want to go for walk after dnr. She had been sleeping since evng without any noise or movements. is it normal??

  26. Hi I was wondering if you could help me in have a 6 month old black lab called shadow and he is doing his business on my bed and kids bed he has been trained to do it outside but still does it in the house and he knows he’s done wrong because even when I have my back door open all the time he still comes in to do it . What can I do about this .

  27. Hi;
    Respected Sir/Mam
    i have an lab.puppy .the age is 2 months and he started bitting all things like btting of sleeper..plastic things etc ..what we do for it

  28. I have a 7month old black Labrador, he is house trained. We took him outside and the dog that attacked him like 3months ago was outside. We made him go home, and my puppy have been whining non stop ever since last night and this morning. I wanted to no would that be the reason he is whining or could it be something else he isn’t a whinner unless he has to go out to poop or tickle. And the attacking dog is a girly puppy is a boy

  29. G’day I have a 7 month old Choclolate Lab and every now and then he pulls washing off my line. He dosent shread it to bits he gets it of then lays on it. But it the attempts to get it off he rips it a bit. How do I stop him attacking the washing that is on the clothes line?

    • We have just got a 7 week old black lab and she has been howling at night. We have ignored her and her toilet behaviours are very good and she uses her training mats majority of the time although a fee little blips. we live in a semi detached house and are a bit concerned for the neighbours. All day today we have kept her in the room where her bed is and rewarded her when quiet and either ignore her when she cries or when in with a stern NO or ENOUGH and close the door again straight away. Only thing is she seems very sad now and just sleeping all day and not playing very much at all compared to the last 2 days. Is this normal? Also are we doing the right thing with her crying?

  30. We have a six month old Black lab named Bella. We have been taking her outside ever since she was small. We throw the ball to her oustside about 3 times a day. She has always understood her bounderies up until now. We have no fencing and a busy road not to far away. Yesterday she just took off while my wife was watching her. I came out and called and it took awhile for her to come back. She just did it again today. I have looked around the interenet and found a few reasons this might happen. I have eliminated the reaon as being one of us. She gets to much love and attention. What do you think might be going on? Could it be she is close to being in heat? What should we do? Help!!!!

  31. Hi,

    I have a 14 weeks old puppy. He’s crate trained, very healthy, learns all kinds of tricks very easily and is a happy puppy. The only problem is he cries and cries when we leave him alone. We’ve been trying to do the “leaving exercises” since the second day we got him. (leaving for a very short period of time and come back and increasing the time of absence slowly) We also put lots of toys in the crate and put a blanket on top. We’ve tried leaving the TV on, putting in a shirt with our sent, putting a clock on top of the crate so he can hear the ticking.. It seem like nothing helps. He stops crying when we come back, but until then he doesnt stop and he just goes nuts. Often the blanket thats covering the crate is ripped down and other things are pushed through the crate. He’s perfectly fine in the crate as long as we’re there.
    What else can we do to make him get better being alone??

    Thank you in advance,

    Kayleigh

  32. Hi Pippa

    I have a 8 week old female golden retriever and she is eating Royal Canin food and its quite expensive. When is the soonest for me to change the brand of food to like Vets choice? Is Vets choice good food? How do i go about changing the food with her? She also eats the other puppy (a Pomeranian’s) food and not her own when we feed them. What do i need to do? Please help? Tnx!
    Juan

    • Sorry Juan, I don’t promote specific brands of food. You can find articles on feeding your puppy in the Puppy care section via the puppies menu at the top of each page. Change from one brand to another you mix a little of each together and gradually increase the proportions of the new food and decrease the proportions of the old. You need to feed puppies separately until they are old enough to be trained to leave each other’s food alone under your supervision.

  33. we have a 3 month old lab. he is always sleeping, nd i mean just bout ALL the time. we take him out to pee and poop and we make him eat and drink. he drinks lots of water.. and goes right back to sleep. havent taken him to the vet yet, should i be concerned?

  34. We have an 8 month lab who has decided on Monday that she has a fear of walking on out tiles and decking. What to do? Is this a phase?

  35. I have a 5 month old chocolate lab named Marley. He is generally a well behave puppy but recently has been quite destuctive in the house. He chews anything within reach usually paper, he has knocked over and smashed a vase. He only does this if we leave the house and he is left on his own. He is kept in the kitchen/ conservatory and will destruct anything within easy reach. How can we stop this behaviour?

  36. Greetings,
    I just got a 2 month old labrador puppy. It’s his second day with me and he’s all well and excited about shifting to a new place. He is eating well but he’s not pooping. We took him out to the garden at midnight and early in the morning, hoping he would poop but nothing. He’s just playing, sniffing around, doing what a normal pup/dog would do. He is urinating a lot though. He is the first puppy/dog pet of my life and we got him vaccinated so we’re taking extra care of him. Taking him to the vet today.. Worried.

  37. hi Pippa,

    Our Lab is 8 weeks old and dam energetic keeps on nibbling , and biting while playing . i hope biting will gradually reduce . need your advice

    • Hi Prashanth, this is normal behaviour. Check out the articles on Puppies biting and over excited puppies in the Caring for your puppy and Puppy behaviour sections on the Puppies menu above. Pippa

  38. Hi,
    I have a 7 weeks old labrador male puppy, he is been quite good at pottie outside, still some accidents with pee which I believe is normal. However, I got him a new bed and he peed in it, what could cause this behavior? How to interpret it? Thanks.

    • Hi Maxou, there could be many reasons, at seven weeks old, puppies have very poor bladder control, and do have accidents from time to time. Make sure you wash the bed thoroughly, as puppies like to pee where they have peed before. And make sure he has access to an outside toilet area at very frequent intervals.
      There are several housetraining articles here
      Pippa

  39. I just got a 3 month old black lab puppy. I’ve had labs before yet this little one is very odd. She is very lethargic most of the time with spurts of high energy 2-3 times a day. She sleeps all night too… vet does not seem concerned… am I being overly cautious?

  40. hi pippa..
    i have a 3.5months female lab..i would like to know how to maintian a lab.I am feeding her a pedegree in morning also at afternoon and two boil egg with 3 chapati..is it safe or not..and also tell me at what age i start her training..please help me..
    thanks in advance

    • Hi Saurabh,
      Pedigree puppy food is fine, she does not need anything else, apart from lots of fresh water. ‘Pedigree’ is a complete food. Check out this link
      Pippa

      • thanks for a quickly reply..i want to know whether it is safe to give meat or chicken at this age…and last night she was playing with me she lost one front teeth during play..is there any problem with that..

  41. I have a 5 month old yellow lab and just received a 7 wk old yellow lab puppy as owners couldn’t keep him as they were moving. My older pup plays very ruff with him and im afraid he will get hurt. Any suggestions? Dont want the older pup to be punished but want younger pup to be safe.

    • Hi Deb,
      You have a challenging combination there, and will need to do a lot of supervising for a while. Each dog will need plenty of time when it has its own space. You cannot teach a five month old to be gentle with a baby and may need to separate them for much of the time until they are more evenly sized.
      Pippa

      • Thanks for you reply. Thats whst I thought. I may hsve bitten off more than I can chew but wanted him to be in loving home. Do I will give it my best shot.

  42. Hi.. I have a 65days old lab puppy. He is very active , bites a lot like other pups.but from this morning he is acting dull , not playing much , just taking naps or lying around. He is eating properly though.Is something wrong ?

      • He is vaccinated once.. next vaccination is after 12days.My vet told me if he is eating then there is nothing to worry,but still i feel something’s off.

        • Puppies are like babies. They eat and sleep a lot. Mine wanted to play a little but mostly slept. He wouldn’t even go on walks until he was over 6 months old.

        • Our lab puppy that we got today was pretty lazy too she would play a little then sleep and get up and we would take her outside to pee/poo and this repeated every hour or so she is very quiet too if your puppy is new he/she still might still be a little overwhelmed, scared or lonely without its mother and siblings. So just give your puppy some time to get used to everything and it should start to get more playful.

  43. Adopted 12months old lab
    Digging, lawn, under fences, under house
    Chewing everything and anything
    I’m at work all day but he has walks toys bones
    And allowed inside
    Is also destroying water bucket, tips water out
    Nightmare!!!!
    Love him BUT

  44. Hi ,,,

    we have bought a lab puppy of 8 weeks. we have 2 problems with it. 1. it likes to eat lot of mud even we feed it stomachfull. 2. it wees for every ten minutes. please help me out of this…

    • Hi Suma, have your vet take a look at your puppy, and if possible take a sample of your puppy’s urine with you. You need to supervise small puppies outdoors to stop them eating unsuitable things like mud or stones. Distract him with toys and by moving about to keep him following you. Pippa

  45. Hi,
    I have a lab of 5 months and he is biting us a lot and normally doesn’t listens to our commands. As soon as a guest arrives he gets too excited and jumps on them. He eats anything before him and also likes to play with mud. Whenever we sit on the dining table for lunch or dinner he jumps on the table . But I love him a lot and I think he loves me too. I just wanted to know whether it is their normal behaviour or not.

    • Hi Gunjan, it is normal for puppy Labradors to be excitable and many will nip if they are over-excited. You need to spend some time training your lab and to help him to learn not to bite. Click on the links to find out more 🙂

  46. Hi,
    I have a female lab of 3 months and she is biting us like any thing…When I take her to bed she sleeps and aint bite. When we take her out for poopoo, she aint do, but as she reaches home, she does it. But she understands me well and I love her so much. When I call her name, she lad on me like a rocket but she bites alot…..
    Can any one tell me its a natural behaviour or she is becomin the worst bitch in the world…..BUt I still love her and want to make her obedient….

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