Being able to tell that your Labrador Retriever is not happy – whether she is stressed, anxious or nervous – about something or someone is a very important part of being a good dog owner. Once you can tell that your Lab is stressed, however, you need to know how to deal with her. If you do the wrong thing, you can actually make the situation worse. The following are four things to do when your Lab is stressed.
#1 – Find The Trigger
First and foremost, you must figure out what is causing your Labrador Retriever to be anxious, afraid or stressed. Sometimes it’s obvious – if he’s lunging and barking on his lead at the dog across the street, it’s a good bet it’s the dog. But other times it may not be as obvious. Pay attention to your dog’s body language to give you clues. Is your Lab staring at anything? Running or cowering in the opposite direction of someone or some object? Acting hyper-vigilant (looking everywhere frantically – this may indicate it’s the environment that has him stressed)? If you can’t figure it out, have a professional dog trainer help you.
#2 – Remove The Trigger
At the beginning, you need to just remove the trigger for the well-being of your dog. The more your Labrador Retriever is exposed to it, the more stressed he will become. So once you know what the trigger is, avoid it as much as possible until you have a plan to get him over his fears the right way.
#3 – Don’t Force Your Labrador Retriever To Confront Her Fears
Many times, people think, “If I force her to the object she fears, she will see it’s fine and not be afraid anymore.” Dogs don’t work that way. If you force your Lab into a situation that stresses her, it can escalate to the point where she becomes fear aggressive. She may redirect on you, or attack the object/person/dog that is causing her response.
#4 – Train Him
The only way to help your Lab is to use training to overcome his fears. There are many ways of doing this and what technique you use will depend on the trigger, your dog and you – choose the method that works best for the situation. Definitely get the help of a professional trainer that has experience overcoming fear using positive methods. Correction will only make your dog fear the situation or thing more.
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