Do Labradoodles bite?February 20, 2022 2022-02-21 5:37
Labradoodles are one of the most popular crossbreeds on the planet. If you’re thinking of getting one, you may be wondering – do Labradoodles bite?
The answer is yes and no. All dogs bite when they are puppies, and Doodles are no exception. However, adult Labradoodles should not bite unless provoked. If they do, there could be a deeper issue at play. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about Labradoodles and biting.
Table of Contents
Types of biting
Before we take a deeper look at biting and the breed, we should consider the different types of biting in dogs and what they mean. The four main types are puppy biting, play biting, defensive biting, and attack biting.
All puppies bite when they are teething. Teething is a natural process that all infant mammals go through, in which their milk teeth fall out and their adult teeth grow in. During this process, their gums can feel very sore, and biting and chewing on things is the only way to relieve the pain, which is why your adorable pup may seem more like a crocodile at first!
The teething process tends to start from about three weeks old, and won’t end until their adult teeth have all grown in at 6-8 months of age. Particularly high-energy puppies may also nip you when they are excited.
Play biting is a natural part of play for many dogs. Dogs play-bite with their human family members and with other dogs, and as long as your dog is well socialized, it is nothing to be afraid of. The only time when play biting may be an issue is with children, so parents must be sure to teach their kids how to play with their pets and to monitor play with small children.
Play biting naturally decreases once Labradoodles calm down at around 2-3 years of age. However, with the right training this behavior can be resolved much sooner than that.
Defensive biting is exactly what it sounds like – biting out of self-defense, or in defense of somebody else, whether it be a person, another dog, or even their home. A dog that is feeling defensive may lower their head or widen their gait, fix their gaze, pin back or point their ears, and hide or point their tail, as well as tremble, whine, bark, or snarl.
This type of biting is usually quick and fairly minimal, and in most US states, owners are not liable for resulting injuries when a dog bites out of self-defense or provocation. However, defensive biting more often happens out of perceived threat when there isn’t one.
For example, to small children cornering their family pets or to the vets giving them their shots. This is why the education and supervision of children and the training/socialization of pets are of the utmost importance so that they can recognize truly threatening behavior.
Attack biting is when a dog bites somebody, or another dog, seemingly without provocation. This is, of course, the worst kind of biting. No dog should ever bite without provocation, but it does sometimes happen.
This is most often linked to trauma and/or a lack of training/socialization. Attack biting also occurs in some breeds more than others, most often in dogs with a genetic history of guard work and dogfighting.
How to train your Doodle puppy to stop biting & chewing
As mentioned above, your Doodle dog should grow out of their teething behaviors at 6-8 months of age, but don’t panic! The bitey-ness will wind down gradually and you can train them to stop biting you and chewing your home to pieces in the meantime. You can also relieve your Doodle’s achy gums with teething gel, which you can buy at most pet stores.
Puppies usually learn how hard to bite each other when they play with their siblings in their first few weeks of life. However, not all puppies are lucky enough to experience that crucial period, and even when they do, they don’t always learn their lesson!
You can teach your puppy not to bite others by yelping like a puppy whenever they bite you and ending your interaction immediately. This way, they learn that biting causes the fun and affection to stop. It may take them a while for them to understand, as puppy empathy can take several months to develop, but you should start doing it as early as possible. If you stay patient and remain consistent, they will learn!
Additionally, you should reward them a lot for appropriate interactions.
Use training treats to show your Labradoodle puppy that sitting politely pays off way more than nipping!
As for chewing, you will never stop your dog from chewing as it is natural, normal, and good for them! However, you can teach your pup what is and isn’t theirs to chew by redirecting “naughty” chewing and praising them when they chew their toys.
Make sure they have access to some good rubber chew toys that are appropriately sized and hardy enough that they won’t break. There are even chew toys that are designed specifically for teething pups, with rubber teeth that massage and soothe their gums.
Frozen carrots are also great treats for teething pups, as the cold will relieve their gums. Or, you could try filling a pup-sized Kong toy with something tasty and freezing it overnight for another yummy, soothing treat. You can even soak your Labradoodle’s food in water and put it into the toy and freeze it!
You shouldn’t punish your pup for chewing anything that they shouldn’t have, as they are just acting on their instincts and don’t yet understand that it’s wrong. You should, however, remove anything that you don’t want to be chewed from their path, such as shoes, and spray your household furniture with “pet repellent” spray to discourage them from chewing it. Don’t forget to confine them to a crate or exercise pen when you leave the house!
Do adult Labradoodles bite?
Labradoodles are known for being a friendly breed, this is part of what makes them such a popular choice for dog owners around the world. They will protect themselves, their loved ones, and their home when necessary, but Labradoodles are not an aggressive breed by nature and shouldn’t bite as adults unless provoked.
Can Labradoodles be dangerous?
It is not recorded how many dog bites are caused by Labradoodles every year, or how many violent dog fights involve Doodles. However, this is a good thing. You can easily search up dog bites by numbers and find lists of the most “dangerous” breeds in terms of injuries and deaths by dog bites, but Labradoodles never make the lists, meaning that they don’t bite in any significant number and are not considered dangerous dogs.
How to approach a nervous Doodle?
If you come across a nervous Labradoodle, you should remain at a distance, stay calm, and try to make yourself appear smaller by crouching down to their level. Introduce yourself by speaking to the dog in a quiet, friendly tone of voice, and don’t make eye contact if they seem frightened.
You can stretch out your hand to invite them to come over and say hello, but don’t approach them, let them come to you. Offer a treat or toy if you have one, and if they come to you and let you pet them, keep your hand where they can see it until they are comfortable with you. If they react aggressively at any point, just calmly back away.
Can anxiety make Labradoodles bite?
Extreme anxiety can cause Labradoodles to bite. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, canine anxiety is most commonly caused by fears, separation, and old age. Fear-based anxiety is the type that is most likely to cause unprovoked biting, as it can cause dogs to become jumpy, making them snap out of panic, rather than aggression.
Common fears amongst dogs include loud noises and cars, and they are usually born out of bad past experiences. An anxious dog may engage in repetitive behaviors such as pacing and lip licking. Triggers can be treated with positive association training and anti-anxiety aids like supplements, diffusers, and thunder vests.
Some dogs also have an intense dislike of being groomed and bathed. If your Labradoodle is biting e.g. while you try to brush him or shampoo him, you should seek the help of an experienced groomer.
Can boredom make Labradoodles bite?
Extreme boredom can make dogs bite. It can also make them engage in destructive behaviors such as ripping up furniture and going to the toilet indoors.
If a dog is not receiving enough physical or mental stimulation, their pent-up energy and frustration can result in aggression, often towards other dogs, but sometimes towards people, too. Lack of companionship can also lead dogs to become attention-seeking, which may make them behave badly just to get their owner’s attention.
Labradoodles have the social nature of the Labrador with the intelligence of the Poodle, so they need a lot of love, interaction, and mental stimulation.
To prevent (and tackle) boredom, make sure your Doodle is getting two hours of exercise a day, preferably split into two walks, as well as lots of play and companionship.
Vary their walk location to keep it interesting and switch it up with some running, games of fetch, and swimming from time to time if possible. Play some fun, challenging games like hide and seek at home, teach them new things to engage their brains, and invest in some stimulating toys like puzzles and treat dispensers. Don’t leave your Doodle alone for more than 5 hours at a time, try to involve your Doodle in family life as much as possible, and give them lots of love and affection.
Can illness make Labradoodles bite?
A number of illnesses can make dogs bite unnecessarily, either because they feel vulnerable, overstimulated, or because they perceive a threat where there isn’t one. These illnesses can include sight or hearing loss, canine cognitive dysfunction, brain tumors, hypothyroidism, psychomotor epilepsy, hyperkinesis, and neoplasia. Painful injuries can also cause dogs to snap should somebody touch the area, but this is not done out of malice.
Because Labradoodles are not AKC-registered, there are no guidelines for health testing in this breed. Sadly, some breeders do not make sure that the parents are free of hereditary diseases. Some puppies are born predisposed to develop illnesses later on – some of which can make them aggressive, too.
If your dog bites unnecessarily and it is completely out of character, especially if they are older or you notice any other physical or behavioral changes, you should take them to see their vet for an examination right away.
What if my Labradoodle bites someone?
If your Doodle bites someone that is posing a threat to you, your dog, or somebody else, you should get away from them immediately and inform the police if necessary. In most US states, owners are not liable for resulting injuries when a dog bites out of self-defense or provocation.
If the bite was unprovoked, you should separate the person from your dog and make sure that they get the medical help they need. As for your dog, you should inform your vet of what has happened. Depending on their age, health, and temperament, they will advise you on how to manage your dog’s behavior. Legal repercussions and enforced euthanasia for biting are possible in extreme situations. Our website cannot provide legal advice on bite cases.
What if my Labradoodle bites another dog?
If your Doodle gets into a fight with another dog, you should separate the two dogs immediately. If your dog hurts the other dog significantly, you should offer to pay for their veterinary treatment, unless their dog was very clearly the aggressor and your dog was defending themselves.
Owners of dogs that get attacked by other dogs are legally within their rights to report you to the police if they feel that your dog is dangerous. Legal repercussions and enforced euthanasia are rare, but if your dog is a danger to other dogs, you should take precautions to prevent them from attacking another dog in the future, such as training, keeping them on the leash, and muzzle wearing.
The bottom line
Although any dog can bite if provoked, Labradoodles, in general, are not aggressive or dangerous dogs. In fact, they are known to be a perfect family dog that is great with children and other pets. However, you should still make sure that you fully train and socialize your dog to ensure good behavior.