What is A Labrador?
The Labrador Retriever, often abbreviated to Labrador, is a breed of retriever-gun dog from the United Kingdom that was developed from imported Canadian fishing dogs.
The Labrador is one of the most popular dog breeds in many countries in the world, particularly in the Western world.
The breed is best known for its obedience, loyalty, and playful composure. Additionally, they are prized as sporting and hunting dogs.
Ancestors include a breed used in Newfoundland as fishing dogs, that would help in bringing in the fishing nets and recapture escaped fish.
How big are Labrador Retrievers?
Usually, they’re 21-25 inches at the shoulder, with males typically in the higher half of that range, and females in the lower half.
Weight can be as low as 55 pounds but is usually 65-80 pounds.
Unfortunately, the trend seems to be for heavier and heavier Labs, with a lot of individuals topping 90 pounds. I say unfortunately because heavier weight isn’t good for their joints.
This breed was supposed to be a medium-sized hunting retriever who could fit comfortably in a bird blind or a small boat.
My Labrador Behaviour & Personality – My point of view
Labradors are playful and intelligent, with a warm, friendly temperament that makes them ideal for first-time owners.
When owning a Labrador, you’ll find they’re easy-going, rewarding pets with high energy levels, meaning they love extra attention and exercise.
They make excellent companions, as well as assistance dogs. Labradors do well with both sole owners or as a part of a family and get on well with children and other pets.
They are energetic, mostly placid, and cope well with the hustle and bustle of modern life.
Nearly every obedience class I’ve ever taught has included at least one Lab. That’s not because the breed has a lot of behavior problems – they don’t – but simply because it’s the most popular breed in the United States.
And rightfully so. The Labrador Retriever is one terrific family dog – that is, when given enough vigorous exercise (including daily fetching games, and swimming if possible).
You can’t just leave this breed in the backyard every day with one walk around the block. Too much confinement and not enough exercise can lead to rambunctiousness and destructive chewing.
One of the best dogs for children of all ages, Labrador Retrievers are kindly, good-natured, and take most things in stride.
Also more independent – though quite biddable and responsive to obedience training, some Labs have a noticeable stubborn streak. Some have necks like bulls and barely notice tugs on the leash.
You must control this breed’s tendency to chew on objects and to mouth, your hands – provide a box filled with toys that he can carry around in his mouth.
labrador bites and nips are common since this breed tends to be very people-oriented and affectionate. But nipping can also be a sign of stress, anxiety, or resource guarding, especially if the biting is paired with other behavioral signs like panting, pacing, or attempts to getaway.
Labrador puppies can also start nipping when they are teething, as their teeth start hurting and they begin exploring their world.
Reasons Labradors might bite
When you think of the most fearsome dog breeds – the loud-barking, teeth-baring type that presents the greatest dog bite danger – a Labrador will probably not be at the top of your list. In fact, Labradors probably won’t even crack your top 20.
Labs may have plenty of energy, but they are seen as the perfect good-natured family companion. This is just one of the reasons that Labradors are near the top of the pet popularity charts in America. But Labrador bites are far more common than many people realize.
Certain breeds of dogs will naturally make people cautious. Even if they are well trained and well behaved, you might cross the street to avoid passing a Doberman or a Rottweiler, such is their aggressive reputation. The same cannot be said for Labradors.
It is a widely-held belief that some dog breeds are aggressive, while others are mellow and family-friendly. This is a huge oversimplification! Just like people, every dog is different. Every dog can be good, and every dog can be bad, so Labradors can be as dangerous and unpredictable as any other breed. A Lab’s behavior will depend on a variety of factors:
It is believed that the temperament of a Labrador will be influenced by its genes. The genes are by no means the be-all and end-all of dog behavior, but they play a significant role. Studies have shown that a dog’s personality traits are heavily linked to those of its parents. In fact, a lot of the advice given to would-be owners of a dog is to look at the parents before deciding on a dog, due to the influence this can have on the temperament of the puppy. A Labrador biting problem is more likely if the parents are aggressive.
the training that a puppy goes through from birth plays a huge role in its behavior throughout the rest of its life. Because of their good reputation, many inexperienced owners believe that Labradors do not need much training, but that kind of thinking can lead to a Labrador biting problem. A study published in the Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances in 2009 determined that 40% of dominant aggression in pet dogs is due to a lack of basic training as a puppy.
Widely searched-for terms on Google involve stopping Labrador puppies from biting. Young Labs are prone to nipping and biting frequently with some force, which often comes as a shock to new owners. The suggested methods of curbing this behavior can be confusing and contradictory because different methods work with different dogs. If owners do not find a method that works for their puppy, they may end up with an increasingly aggressive Labrador who bites frequently.
- Protective Instinct
One of the downsides of Labrador’s loyal nature is that it will be protective of its owner and family. A Lab is not a natural guard dog, but its instinct will still be to respond if there is a perceived threat or danger. This is not specific to Labradors and is true of many dog breeds. But it explains why you may sustain a dog bite injury from an otherwise good-natured pooch in some instances.
- Environment and Experience
In some cases, a Labrador might be more likely to bite if it has had negative experiences in its lifetime. A Lab in a loving family will have formed relationships and attachments with humans. While this might lead to a Labrador biting through protective instinct, a dog from a loving home is likely to be pretty good with people. However, in some cases, a dog may have been abused by a previous owner. This kind of negative experience can have a severe impact on a dog, leaving it fearful of humans, quicker to anger, and unable to trust. Labrador bites are much more likely to occur when you come across a distrustful dog with a history of abuse.
We all know the feeling of heightened aggravation when we are in pain. Well, studies show that the same applies to dogs. Researchers in Spain studied a test group of 12 dogs with aggression problems in a bid to find the cause. All 12 of the dogs were diagnosed with a pain problem. Of those studied, eight of the dogs had a condition called hip dysplasia – a hip socket problem which is developed by about 13% of all Labradors. Some instances of hip dysplasia can leave dogs in serious pain and even lead to lameness.
The researchers found that the pain-inducing conditions suffered by their test dogs were prompting aggressive and violent outbursts. This meant that mild-mannered dogs might snap or bite without warning, the behavior of older dogs with no prior biting issues could change, and an already-aggressive dog could become even more so. A painful condition could easily lead to a Labrador biting incident.
What to do if You are Attacked by a Labrador – Top Tips
- Avoid the situation and put distance between an aggressive-looking dog and yourself whenever possible.
- If the dog engages, stay calm and don’t panic – try not to run, make loud noises, flail your arms, or make direct eye contact with the dog.
- Try to stay as still as possible, even if the dog charges – if its intentions are over-exuberant rather than vicious, you do not want it to think you’re playing and encourage it to chase or charge.
- Watch the dog’s body language for its intentions – flat ears and raised hackles are signs of aggression.
- If the dog continues to look menacing, use something as a shield between you and it. This can be anything from a bag, purse, umbrella or jacket, to something you find around you.
- If you do not have a shielding object, wrap an item of clothing around your arm and use the outer forearm to protect yourself. In the event of a bite, you want to keep your arteries pointed inward.
- Try not to hit the dog unless necessary – this may only make the attack worse.
- If you do need to fight back, hit the dog in a sensitive area. The nose and ribs are both good targets.
- If you are knocked down, curl into a ball and keep your head tucked.
- Do what you can to protect your extremities and sensitive areas – make a fist to protect your fingers and use your arms to cover your neck and ears.
Follow these steps to minimize your risk of sustaining a serious Labrador bite injury. Sometimes it cannot be avoided, but this will help you reduce the impact of an attack.
The importance of having your dog vaccinated by antirabies
Rabies is a virus that is damaging to the central nervous system.
It causes disease of the brain and leads to death if the person or pet has not been currently vaccinated against it.
Foaming at the mouth or hyper-salivation is perhaps the most well-known symptom but others include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, difficulty swallowing, and hydrophobia (fear of water).
Transmission of rabies occurs through the saliva of an infected animal usually in the form of biting or licking.
The carriers of the virus are foxes, wolves, bats, skunks, dogs, and cats.
Dog Bite Treatments
Although you can provide first aid for a dog bite at home, it’s very important to see a doctor, especially if an unfamiliar dog bit you, the bite is deep, you can’t stop the bleeding, or there are any signs of infection (redness, swelling, warmth, pus). Dog bites can cause infections that need to be treated with antibiotics.
To care for a dog bite injury at home:
- Place a clean towel over the injury to stop any bleeding.
- Try to keep the injured area elevated.
- Wash the bite carefully with soap and water.
- Apply a sterile bandage to the wound.
- Apply antibiotic ointment to the injury every day to prevent infection.
When you visit the doctor, be prepared to answer a few questions, including:
- Do you know the owner of the dog?
- If so, is the dog up to date on all vaccinations, including rabies?
- Did the bite occur because the dog was provoked, or was the dog unprovoked?
- What health conditions do you have? People with diabetes, liver disease, illnesses that suppress the immune system, and other health conditions may be at greater risk for a more severe infection.
Your doctor will examine the injury to see whether the bite was deep enough to damage muscles, tendons, nerves, or bones. Then the doctor will thoroughly clean the bite wound to remove any dirt or bacteria, and may also remove dead tissues from the wound.
Sometimes, sutures are used to close a dog bite wound; however, this practice is controversial. Although suturing the injury can reduce scarring, it also can increase the risk of infection. Whether the injury is closed may depend on its location. For example, dog bites on the face may be sutured to prevent visible scars. Very deep wounds that cause a great deal of damage may require plastic surgery.
Your doctor will also take measures to prevent infection. It’s rare for dogs in the U.S. to have rabies, but if the dog’s health status is unknown, or the dog tests positive for rabies, you will need to get a rabies vaccine, a series of shots over a 2-week period. (Bear in mind that the dog would have to be euthanized and their brain tested for rabies.) The doctor will also make sure that you are up to date on your tetanus shot.
You may need to take antibiotics for seven to 14 days to prevent or treat an infection. The doctor may ask you to come back in one to three days to have the injury rechecked.
If you did not know the dog that bit you, make sure to report the bite to your local animal control office or police.