Dog Behavior Question – My 1yr old Labrador snapped at me, and we are about to have a new baby

by J
(Chicago)

My 1yr old Labrador snapped at me, and we are about to have a new baby – what should I do?

We have a Silver Male Lab that is 1 1/2 years old. He has been very good and have had no problems. But in the last few months we have had nothing but problems. I am currently pregnant and people are telling me that the dog can sense I am pregnant. But we already have a 5 year old little boy and he does not bother him. The dog has been peeing in the house lately and had been chewing things. He has never acted like this. He is very spolied and we have not ignored him what so ever and this is starting to scare me because he snapped at me the other day when I went to punish him because he peeded in my house. I understand he is a puppy still but this is all very sudden. Will he be ok with the new baby, and is this just a phase?

Our Response


Hi J, I am sorry you are having this problem as it does seem to have happened all of a sudden. Without seeing your dog and spending some time with him it is difficult to know how to treat this problem. I have provided lots of answers below that should give you some idea what is happening.

1. Firstly has your dog been neutered – it is thought by some experts that neutering a dog can reduce aggressive behavior in dogs.

2. Your dog is at his peak in terms of adolescence – and this basically means that your dog’s hormones are raging. This can result in changes in behavior and a normally passive dog that would run from fight might start being the dog that starts it. Breeds that are genetically more predisposed to aggressive behavior may be more likely to shoe aggression.

3. When it comes to pregnancy there are mixed views on this. However the general opinion is that a dog can tell when it’s owner is pregnant. This is probably due to your dogs heightened sense of smell and overall better equipped senses. Due to the hormonal changes in a pregnant owner your dog can pick up on these changes. In some dogs it can cause the dog to be more protective of around the owner and in other dogs it can cause aggressive behavior as it sees the unborn baby as a challenge to his status and may lose out on affection i.e. your dog becomes jealous.

4. Is there another reason for the change in behavior – it is always a good idea to get your dog examined by a vet as there might be a medical reason behind the change in behavior.

5. I would advise going to a local dog trainer where you can get some one on one help as this will allow the trainer to watch your dog’s behavior and observe exactly what is happening – use a trainer that advocates the use of positive reinforcement.

Hope this helps