Labradors are known for being energetic, playful, and loyal. They make wonderful pets, but can be very energetic and sometimes even destructive. Some Labrador owners wonder if their dogs will ever stop being hyperactive and calm down.
The fact is, the majority of adult Labradors eventually settle down a bit. While they won't ever become couch potatoes, they won't bounce off the walls every day either. You may see some Labrador calming down as early as six months of age, and you may never see it in some dogs.
4 Ways to calm your Labrador down
Give it exercise
Labradors are meant to get daily exercise. When they do not get enough exercise it can cause them to behave abnormally and it might be why yours is not calm. This would be more likely if your Labrador is not calm when it has not gotten much exercise.
Generally, it is recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day as healthy adults. If yours is not getting that much it would help to make sure that it does. If it is already getting exercise you could also try getting it to wear itself out more by getting it to do things such as play fetch.
It would also help to give your Labrador training. By giving it training you will be able to teach your Labrador to be more responsive to your command and you will be able to get it to be better behaved when you want it to be. But, you’ll also be able to expend a lot of its energy in the process of training it itself.
Ignore it when it gets hyper
It would also help to avoid inadvertently reinforcing the behavior by making sure not to reward it when it is not calm. If you tend to give it things it wants when it is energetic, it might be causing it to do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it is being well behaved, to give it lots of training and to avoid giving it rewards when it misbehaves unless necessary.
Try a calming chew
In addition to the above, you could also consider giving your Labrador a calming chew or toy. By doing this you will be able to channel its attention into the toy and away from everything else.
2 Reasons Why Your Labradors Are Not Calm
Below are some reasons why your Labrador might not be being calm and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
As mentioned above, Labradors are meant to get daily exercise. If your Labrador is not getting much exercise and it is a healthy adult it would help to make sure that it does start to get more exercise.
The cause could also be that it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it becomes less calm when you are about to leave home.
Things to consider about your labrador not being calm
How old it is
The age of your Labrador can have an influence on how it behaves. If your Labrador is still young then it should calm down a bit as it gets older.
Despite that, you should still make sure to give it lots of exercise and training so that you can make sure that it calms down and that it is well behaved when it’s older.
If your Labrador’s behavior is causing problems then in addition to giving it lots of exercise and training you could consider crate training. When done correctly it gives your Labrador a secure place that it can go to and be calm.
If you cannot get it to calm down, it would help to consult with a vet or dog behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored to your particular Labrador.
It might be tempting to punish your Labrador for not being calm but it doesn’t normally work. When you punish it your Labrador will think that it is being punished for the last thing that it did which is coming to you and not the thing that you are actually punishing it for.
It can cause other problems as well such as distrust, being less responsive to your command and aggression.
Labradors Are Energetic And Fun
It’s quite normal for a Lab to be energetic. That’s why the breed has historically been used extensively in hunting and tracking.
However, some Lab owners have wondered if their dog may go beyond the normal hunting/working dog energy level. In fact, canine obedience instructors are noticing an increasing number of Labs that live up to descriptions like “hyperactive,” “aggressive,” and even “neurotic.” This may be a result of bad practices by less-than-concerned breeders who are eager to supply enough puppies to meet the demand for this ultra-popular breed.
There’s also a “maturity factor” to consider when trying to determine if your Lab is hyperactive. Labrador puppies have a tendency to mature a little later than other breeds. As a result, your dog may look “mature,” but he may still have the energy, curiosity, and go-get-’em-ness of a puppy.
Labradors Are Loving and Protective
The Labrador is an affectionate, people-oriented breed, so it’s no wonder that these dogs make the best cuddle buddies on the planet. They are known to curl up in your lap like a lap dog (only six times the size!) and nuzzle up with their adorably cute faces.
At the end of a long day, nothing is better than a delightful, soul-soothing cuddle with your Labrador. It’s as good as a therapy session and much cheaper!
However, although Labradors are protective of their owners and loved ones, you should not expect this breed of dog to be a guard dog.
In general, Labradors are too friendly and lack the traits necessary to be suitable and effective guard dogs.
Labradors Have An Easy-Going Temperament
The Labrador’s kind expression is mirrored by his kind nature. His easy-going, tolerant temperament and love of water are hallmarks of the breed, but of course, not all Labradors fit this breed description precisely.
It is fair to say that sometimes poor temperament traits such as aggression and nervousness can appear in the breed.
But it is also fair to say that this is not the norm.
On balance, the labrador’s good reputation is justified, and provided care is taken in the choice of a lab puppy, you stand a good chance of getting a friendly, good-natured dog.
Labradors Calm Down With Age
Labradors are known for having a long and delayed puppyhood and adolescence that completely disregards their physical maturity. A two-year-old Labrador is still very much of a puppy, and attendant with that has a puppy’s exuberance and energy.
Labs don’t start “settling” down until sometime between two and four years of age.
A few labradors are quiet and sedate from early puppyhood onward, and a few others are bouncing puppy maniacs until well into old age, but by and large, you can expect to see mental maturation happening between two and four years of age.
Labradors Can Be Trained
Labradors are known for their trainability. They are highly motivated dogs, which makes them one of the easiest breeds to teach.
Labradors also love to please their owners, and this will have a significant impact during their training. Labradors like to eat, making training fun and motivating for them. In return for treats, Labs work hard and follow whatever command you give them.
This trait traces back to the Labrador’s ancestors. They were initially made as working dogs and even called the fisherman’s mate.
Labs have an innate work ethic and intelligent temperament, which makes them easy to train. They are friendly and less aggressive compared to other dog breeds, making them great pets. Labradors are the best example of being a “man’s best friend.”
4 Tips On How To Train Your Labradors
A healthy, adult Labrador generally needs at least 80 minutes of high-quality exercise per day. Of course, it’s important to tailor this to each individual dog – some more energetic dogs will need longer, and more relaxed dogs will be healthy and satisfied with a little less.
However, as a general rule of thumb, a normally healthy adult Labrador Retriever will need 1 hour of exercise every day. The more relaxed Labs just 45 minutes per day, the more energetic 1.5 hours+.
This can be made up of running, swimming, playing fetch, jogging alongside you…anything that goes beyond a gentle walk.
Just as physical exercise is important for your Labrador Retriever’s health, mental stimulation for Lab puppies is also necessary.
This especially plays a role when you find sometimes that you have done every single physical activity that you could think of, and your Lab still exhibits negative behaviors that would make it seem like the exercise and time you spent with them is not enough.
Like humans, dogs also feel bored and seek stimulation other than the physical type of play.
Mental stimulation for Lab puppies is something that you need to do as part of taking care of your canine buddies, as it helps keep them in top shape as they grow.
With mental stimulation for dogs at home, you can keep your Lab puppies happy, content, and actively participating.
The absolute easiest thing a pet owner can do to reduce boredom for her pooch is to leave him with some challenging dog toys.
There are tons of new, safe, dog mental stimulation toys on the market!
Everybody knows that Labrador Retrievers are bred and built for activity. This can be both a blessing, and a curse – a blessing because it will encourage you to be more active, and a curse because the Labrador’s energy levels can lead to some quite destructive behaviors.
Therefore, the games, as well as the toys, should be designed to manage the dog’s breed traits. Here are a few great games and toys for your beloved Labrador:
Tug of war. This is a classic dog-centric game that is perfect for the Labrador as well. It is especially useful for puppies, as you can teach them the ‘’release’’ command through it, provided you have enough space – which is why you should always play it outside.
You can find appropriate toys for this game at every store, including Toy Pet Reviews.
Hide 'n Seek. Labradors have an incredible sense of smell, and they will enjoy playing this game because it provides them with the opportunity to put this ability to the test. Grab one treat with your hand, have your Lab smell it, send him out, hide it, and let the dog do his magic.
Once he finds it, remember to reward him with a treat for his efforts. The greatest thing about this game is that you do not necessarily have to use food – his favorite plush toy or rubber bone also works. He will go crazy looking for it.
Fetch. One advantage that this game has over the others is that it stimulates the Lab’s physical and mental capacities. You can teach the dog to identify the dogs by naming them, for example ‘’rabbit’’ or ‘’Mr. Squirrel’’ or something among those lines.
Have your dog wait and throw all of the toys in front of you. After that, command your Labrador to fetch a particular toy and bring it back. If the dog grabs the wrong toy, throw it back and repeat the process until he gets it right.
Eat More Slowly
The best way to slow down the speed with which your dog consumes his dinner is with a simple mechanical solution.
You can put his food in a container that makes it difficult for him to eat more than one or two small pieces of food at a time.
This may seem to be mean, but it actually prolongs the enjoyment of the dog’s meal.
There are a number of devices designed to slow down the rate at which your dog consumes his dinner.