Signs of aggression in labrador

Posted by nicky8468
May 18, 2010
Hi there,
We have a 23 month old Labrador which we have had since he was 11 weeks.
He has been showing some signs of aggression over the last few months, mainly possesiveness over food, toys and hide chews.

We have been to training classes and he is perfectly well behaved in the house regarding furniture etc. He never chews or touches any of our possessions. He is not brilliant at obeying commands - until about the age of one his recall was pretty good but during adolescence he seems to only do what you ask if it suits him!

Over the last few months I have been trying make sure we do all the things like feeding him after us, walking next to us on a loose lead and entering the house before him. He has to do something to get a treat.
The aggression is mainly towards myself and my younger son who is 10.
He will growl at my husband but less so and virtually not at all at my older 12 year old son.
He will often growl in the evening if you get too near his crate when he is resting or near his food dish when he is eating so we have been scattering it around the garden. Hide chews have been stopped unless they are very small and can be eaten very quickly.

He gets quite a bit of exercise in the form of long off lead walks, swimming in the river etc. In fact it seems he is more likely to be grumpy when he is tired after a good walk!
Most of the time he is loving and affectionate so its really upsetting when he acts in this way!
He does have some nervousness with other dogs and will often go out of his way to avoid them by hiding in the trees when he spots one. He is usually fine though and will play sometimes if they are young. He was ok at puppy training classes with the other dogs and we did these until he was 6 months. He is mainly scared of larger more fluffy animals. This does seem to have evolved over the winter months though and is gradually improving now - i think its because we often hardly see anyone else on our walks in the winter.
We do need some help before this turns into anything worse- thanks
Posted by kjd
May 30, 2010

Could you return to obedience classes? This would give him some of the socialization he needs (you might want to do this especially during winter months if you can get to them). If possible, you should be the one who takes him, as he is aggressive towards you (if your younger son is allowed to do it, you might want him to be the one who trains).

That he is grumpiest when he is tired may simply mean he is tired -- aren't we all grumpiest then? Still, you might want to check him out with your vet.

This is a very quick response with a cursor that is jumping around, so I apologize that I haven't addressed the aggression.