We recently decided to get a Labrador Retriever as a new family pet. When looking around for one I wondered if Labradors are dangerous? Having small children, this was important for us, so I did some research to find out if they are dangerous.
Are Labradors dangerous? Labradors are incredibly friendly dogs which make perfect pets for families and are not dangerous dogs. In their puppyhood, they might mouth which is not necessarily aggression, but might be seen as such.
Although generally good-natured, friendly and not aggressive, there are factors that may contribute to having an aggressive or dangerous dog. You can also take certain steps to ensure that you have the best possible dog for your family.
Do Labradors Tend to Bite?
This is a very difficult question to answer because it is impossible to say that a dog won’t bite.
Do Labradors bite?
Yes, they might.
Remember: Any dog can bite.
How likely is it that a Labrador will bite?
It is very unlikely.
Recent statistics show that, from data gathered from 5460 dog attacks that resulted in injury, Labradors were only responsible for 30, or 0.5%, of these incidents.
Pitbulls, in contrast, were responsible for 3397, or 62%, of the incidents.
According to a survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2000, there were 238 fatalities as a result of dog bites in the United States for the period 1979 to 1998.
Of all the fatalities, the Labrador was responsible for only one.
You can see that, although it is possible that a Labrador might bite, it is very unlikely. You should also keep in mind that any dog, irrespective of size and breed, can be dangerous and that many factors contribute to a dog biting or not.
Labrador Retrievers are not dangerous or aggressive dogs.
They are gentle, good-natured dogs that make excellent family pets. They are kind to children and strangers as well as happy, loyal and they love spending time with their human family.
Due to their kind, loving and loyal nature, their greatest joy is to please their owners.
Labradors are very active dogs and need quite a lot of exercise.
They want to walk, run or swim whenever they get the opportunity. If they are not exercised often they become rambunctious and have a tendency to chew or dig.
If you are not the exercising type and not willing to make the commitment to break a sweat with your dog, a Labrador might not be the right breed for you.
Labs also need sufficient mental stimulation because they are intelligent, inquisitive dogs. Interestingly, because of their intelligence they are one of the prime breeds selected for rescue and guide dogs.
Lab puppies have a tendency to mouth.
Mouthing happens when the dog puts his teeth and mouth your skin without applying any pressure or really biting. This is normal behavior (they’re teething babies!), but can sometimes be interpreted as aggressive behavior.
Some dogs, however, bite out of fear or frustration and it is important to distinguish between this biting and normal mouthing.
Some puppies may have aggressive tendencies, but consistent training usually curbs that. By reducing these aggressive tendencies you can prevent your puppy from turning into a potentially dangerous adult.
Choosing and Training Your Lab
The first step that you can take to ensure that you get a Labrador that is not aggressive, is to buy your Labrador from a reputable breeder.
A reputable breeder ensures that the Labradors are bred according to the breed standard.
To further ensure that your Labrador is the perfect family pet it is necessary to properly train your dog in its puppyhood. Proper training can also alleviate any of the issues mentioned in the previous paragraph.
For training to be effective, follow these guidelines:
- Start training your Lab early on. You will build a relationship with your Labrador while young, which makes him easier to handle when he becomes older. Remember, Labradors grow into big, heavy dogs!
- Always reward good behavior. It is always better to reward the behavior that you encourage instead of punishing the behavior you don’t.
- Start with simple commands. Commands like “sit” and “paw” are easy to start with and you can move on to more difficult commands once these commands are perfected.
- Never beat your Labrador. By punishing your Labrador for the behavior you don’t encourage will make your dog fearful of you. Once a dog becomes fearful of you, it may lead to aggressiveness later on.
Something that can also help with training is to enroll your Labrador in puppy obedience classes.
Here’s an added benefit of obedience classes:
You get two admission tickets for the price of one because there’s a good chance you need the obedience training more than your pup!
Classes help to forge a bond between the two of you.
These obedience classes are also attended by other people with dogs which helps your Labrador become more socialized. You can find out in your community which shelters, pet stores, trainers or other organizations present offer these classes.
If it is not possible to get your Labrador from a reputable breeder, Lab rescue groups are a great option.
It’s easier to spot aggressive traits in adult Labs. These traits are not easily spotted in a puppy.
Training Your Children 🙂
It might sound strange to say that you need to train your children to keep a Labrador Retriever, but it is very important.
Most children who are bitten by dogs are as a result of the child inadvertently hurting or startling the dog.
Involve your child in the puppy training. They will learn how to interact with one another and grow closer because of it.
Some things you can teach your child are:
- Always stroke your Labrador softly and gently. Your child should never pull, grab, climb on or sit on the dog.
- Never startle the dog when it is sleeping. This can lead to a fright and a bite by the dog. In addition, puppies that don’t get enough sleep may become irritable.
- Leave the puppy alone when it is eating. The puppy might act defensively when your interferes with its eating time.
The most important thing you can do is always to supervise the times when your child and the puppy are together.
No. Labradors are not aggressive. They are kind, friendly and slow to bite. These personality traits make them unsuitable for being guard dogs. If you want a guard dog, you may be better off looking at breeds like Rottweilers, Mastiffs or German Shepherds.
Although Labradors aren’t generally aggressive, some illnesses may cause aggressive behavior in dogs. Unnoticed injuries may also cause your dog to suddenly become aggressive. If your dog shows unnatural behavior, the best thing is to take it to the Vet as soon as possible.