Are Labradoodles aggressive?February 20, 2022 2022-02-21 6:22
The Labradoodle is one of the most popular dogs in the United States. They’re known for their friendly, bubbly temperament, but you may be wondering – can they be aggressive?
Any breed of dog can become aggressive following mistreatment if they are not approached or handled with care, and most will protect themselves, their loved ones, and their home when necessary. However, Labradoodles are not aggressive dogs by nature.
That said, there are a few things that can mimic or cause aggression in Labradoodles, so let’s take a look at what those might be, and how to manage them.
Table of Contents
What is dog aggression?
Before we take a closer look at aggression in Labradoodles, let’s define canine aggression. Dog aggression is considered any harmful behavior or threat of harmful behavior by a dog towards another dog or human. This commonly includes growling, snarling, barking, lunging, snapping, and biting.
There are two types of dog aggression; provoked and unprovoked. Aggressive behavior following provocation would be classed as defensive. Unprovoked aggression can have a few causes; wrongly perceived threat due to past trauma and/or a lack of training and socialization, illness, extreme boredom, and anxiety.
How to prevent aggression in dogs?
The best way to prevent aggression in dogs is to treat them with compassion and socialize them from an early age. Socialization allows dogs to observe the behavior of others and learn social cues. It’s best done at home at first, by inviting trustworthy people and dogs over to interact with your dog, so that they can learn the rules in a safe place before going out into the world.
Are Labradoodle puppies aggressive?
No puppy should ever be aggressive unless they are frightened or have been mistreated in some way. However, teething and overexcited behaviors may appear to mimic aggression in puppies.
All puppies bite when they are teething, and Labradoodles are no exception. It is a natural process that all infant mammals experience, in which their baby or milk teeth fall out and their adult teeth grow in.
In puppies, this starts at around 3 weeks old and ends at 6-8 months of age. It can make their gums can feel very sore and achy, and biting is the only way to relieve the pain.
That said, it’s important to remember that they are purely acting on instinct and are not trying to hurt you. Puppies may also nip you when they are excited. It is not malicious or aggressive but may hurt and upset owners, especially children.
How to stop Labradoodle puppies from biting
All dogs bite and chew things, it’s how they explore the world and it’s good for them. However, it’s not good for us when they bite us! You can train your pup to stop biting you by yelping like a dog and end your interaction as soon as they bite. This will help them to understand that biting is undesirable and causes all the fun to stop.
It can take them a while for them to understand, as a pup’s empathy can take several months to develop, but thankfully, Labradoodles are a bright breed. You should start doing it as early on in their life as possible, and if you remain consistent, they will get the message soon enough!
It’s important not to punish pups for biting, as they don’t understand what they’re doing wrong. It may even make them more likely to bite you out of frustration, so as annoying and upsetting as it can be, try to remain patient and don’t take it personally. You can also help your Doodle through their teething process by using teething gel, which numbs and soothes their aching gums and reduces the need to bite.
Are Labradoodles aggressive?
Labradoodles are known for being sweet-natured, family-friendly dogs. This is a large part of what makes them so popular. They are not aggressive by nature and don’t tend to bite without some kind of provocation.
It is not officially recorded how many humans or dogs are injured by Labradoodles every year, but this is because they don’t bite or fight in any significant number.
How to approach an aggressive Labradoodle
If you come across a Labradoodle that is behaving aggressively, you should calmly back away and leave them alone. Reach out to an in-person trainer for help.
If you come across a Doodle that seems nervous or frightened but not aggressive, don’t approach them, let them come to you.
Remain at a distance and crouch down to their level, but don’t make too much eye contact to avoid intimidating them.
Say hello in a calm, friendly voice and reach out your hand to invite an interaction. Offer them a treat if you have one, and if they come to you, pet them gently and keep your hand where they can see it until they are comfortable with you.
However: If you are unsure how a dog will respond to you, it is always best to not push any interaction. This website cannot provide legal advice on biting dogs, and in-person training is always advised if you are dealing with a dog that’s a bite risk.
Can boredom make Labradoodles aggressive?
Extreme boredom can make dogs turn to aggression out of frustration. They may have a lot of pent-up energy that isn’t being expended, or they may just be desperate for attention. It can also cause them to engage in destructive behaviors including self-mutilation, destroying their possessions and household furniture, excessive barking, and going to the toilet indoors. In extreme cases, it can also cause aggression, which can be directed at humans or other dogs.
Labradoodles have the social nature of the Labrador and the intelligence of the Poodle, so they need a lot of love and affection, as well as physical and mental stimulation. They are a breed that requires a medium to high level of maintenance, exercise and training. Some first-time dog owners can be overwhelmed by the amount of care their Labradoodle needs!
To prevent (and treat) extreme boredom, you should try to include your dog in your family life as much as possible and walk them twice a day, for around an hour each time. Try to vary the location and do different activities, such as running, hiking, swimming, and playing fetch.
Play some fun games like hide and seek and treasure hunt at home, and invest in some challenging toys like puzzles and treat dispensers. Teaching your Doodle new tricks, like the names of their toys, is also a great way to engage their brains. Don’t forget, the Poodle is the second smartest dog breed in the world, which means that Doodles are capable of learning just about anything!
Can anxiety make Labradoodles aggressive?
Severe anxiety can make dogs appear aggressive. It can cause our four-legged friends to feel on edge, causing them to growl or snap, but it is more so out of panic, rather than actual aggression. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, dog anxiety is most commonly caused by fears, separation, and old age.
Common fears amongst dogs include loud noises and water, and they are usually born out of bad past experiences or trauma. An anxious dog may engage in repetitive behaviors such as lip-licking, and long-term anxiety can cause stomach upsets and weight loss. Fear triggers can usually be treated with positive association training and or managed with anti-anxiety aids like supplements and thunder vests.
Separation anxiety is a common problem in dogs, estimated to affect around 14% of dogs in the US. It can cause distress, excessive whining, howling, and barking, as well as destructive behaviors towards themselves and the home. In extreme cases, it can also cause aggression.
However, it’s important not to react strongly to these behaviors, as it will only encourage their extreme bid for your attention. Instead, you should show them that these behaviors don’t get any attention, and be sure to confine your dog to a safe space next time you leave the home.
To combat (and prevent) separation anxiety, you should do a combination of separation training and positive association training with your Doodle. You can do this by leaving them alone for a small amount of time, and gradually building up the length of time that you spend apart. This creates an understanding that you’ll always come back. Never make a big deal when you say goodbye, but always make a fuss of them when you return.
Leaving them with a special treat or solo-play toy will make positive associations with spending time alone, and it’s also a good idea to desensitize your Doodle to indicators of separation to eliminate anticipatory anxiety. For example, do something you would normally do before leaving the house, such as grabbing your keys, and then, instead of leaving, remain in the house.
Old age can also make dogs aggressive and confused, as they feel vulnerable and insecure, so they may growl or snap more easily at other dogs to warn them off. The easiest way to remedy this is to keep your dog on a lead around other dogs to keep them close to you and make them feel safe or take them to less busy locations for their daily walks.
Let approaching owners know that your dog would rather not interact with unfamiliar dogs if they seem boisterous, and reassure your dog by rewarding them whenever they have a nice interaction.
The tendency to be anxious or nervous can be hereditary to some extend. Because Labradoodles are not AKC-registered, breeders can produce puppies without any requirements of health or temperament testing. In some cases, this sadly results in the breeding of dogs that are naturally anxious – and they can pass this on to their offspring.
Can illness make Labradoodles aggressive?
A number of illnesses can make dogs appear to behave unnecessarily aggressively, either because they feel vulnerable, overstimulated, or because they perceive threats where there aren’t any.
These conditions include sight or hearing loss, canine cognitive dysfunction, brain tumors, hypothyroidism, psychomotor epilepsy, hyperkinesis, and neoplasia.
Painful injuries and arthritis can also cause dogs to snap should somebody touch or go near the painful area, but this is done out of defensiveness. If your Doodle snaps or bites unnecessarily, especially if they are older, keep an eye out for any other changes to their behavior or body and call your vet if you’re concerned.
Feeling uncomfortable can also lead to heightened irritability. As all Doodles, Labradoodles require a high level of grooming. Matted hair and resulting skin infections can make them more likely to snap.
Always make sure to brush your Labradoodle regularly and keep his coat clean and neat.
What happens if my Labradoodle is aggressive?
In most states in the US, owners are not liable for resulting injuries when a dog bites after provocation. However, when somebody, (human or canine), is injured by a dog following unprovoked aggression, legal consequences are possible, including enforced euthanasia in extreme cases.
So, if your Doodle displays unprovoked aggression, whether it is towards a person or another dog, you should look into anti-aggression training and consult a behaviorist if necessary. If your Doodle has hurt another dog, you should offer to pay for their vet bills and keep your dog on the lead on their walks in the future.
How to treat aggression in Labradoodles
As mentioned in the above sections, most of the time, canine aggression has specific triggers and causes. However, seemingly unprovoked aggression is still possible. Whilst it may appear unprovoked, something in your Doodle’s head is telling them to be aggressive, whether it’s because of a previous experience or a lack of understanding of social cues. Both of which are especially common in rescue dogs with histories of abuse, neglect, and homelessness.
Because aggression is a serious behavioral issue, you should always seek the advice of an experienced in-person trainer.
The bottom line
Thankfully, Labradoodles are not aggressive or dangerous dogs by nature. In fact, they are generally sweet-natured, friendly pets that get along well with children and other dogs.
That said, every dog should be fully trained and socialized to ensure good behavior, and you should seek help from a professional if your Doodle displays unprovoked aggression.