Training Labrador Puppies – My puppy is unsure of men and other children

by Amy
(England)

A guide to Training Labrador Puppies and Puppy Socialization

Hi I am wondering if you can give me some advice. I have a 6 month gorgeous male yellow Labrador. He has for some reason always been a bit unsure of men his tail wags and he wants to play but he will bark and run away if he is with me. This is unusual as I am married and he dotes on my husband and his father so he is used to men.

Also I have a 3 year old daughter who he adores they chase each other around and are very boisterous together. However now when any child other than my own comes near him or men he doesnt know he is hiding behind me and barking at them with the hair going up on his back as if he is scared.

He does not do this when my husband is there just when I am with him. I am worried as I researched a long time for a great breeder and got a Labrador for there well loving nature. I am also 6 months pregnant and want to make sure he is ok for when baby arrives. Any help would be great. Thank you

Our Response

When it comes to the problems that your are explaining I certainly don’t think it has anything to do with the breeder you chose or even the puppy that you chose. What I do think is that it has everything to do with your puppy’s age, lack of socialization and even your pregnancy. You have done absolutely nothing wrong you are just experiencing very normal problems from a very normal puppy – I hope that makes you feel a little more reassured and happy.

1. I would start by taking your puppy to puppy training classes – I really advocate the use of training classes as they are a great way for a young puppy to be introduced to different experience i.e. different people, dogs, genders, sizes – you name it the more your puppy is socialized around people (and in your case men and children) the faster your puppy will have less anxiety around people (barking and nervous behavior is just your puppy’s way of showing anxiety). When your puppy is around men ask them not to loom over the puppy – get them to go on to their knees and be a welcoming and as least threatening as possible.

2. You also need to introduce your puppy to other children (make sure that you are there too and don’t leave them alone). Use a toy to make it fun – the more people that a young people meets the less anxiety he will show (and this will stop the hair raising and barking).

3. Another thing that is worth considering is that at the age of six months a young puppy’s hormones are raging and this may cause behavioral changes – one of the behavioral changes that you might notice is fear and anxiety around people or objects that he was normally fine around.

4. Finally you might not know this but there is a growing body of experts that feel a dog or puppy knows when someone is pregnant. This is due to the dog or puppy’s heightened senses and the ability to pick up on the hormonal changes that a pregnant female will produce. You can expect your puppy to become more clingy around you and even protective (sometimes not wanting strange or known people to approach you).

Hope all of this helps and congratulations on the pregnancy!