Home Behaviour Labrador Retriever Acting Strange: Why Is It Happening?

Labrador Retriever Acting Strange: Why Is It Happening?

by Love Labs World

If your Lab has been acting out lately there might be some options as to why it is happening all of a sudden

Every dog has some weird behavioral patterns in one or another period of their lives, but why does this really happen? There are two kinds of behavioral problems that must be addressed before continuing, the first one is a dog’s natural behaviors that we humans tend to confuse with the second one, this being true behavior problems that have to do with abnormal conduct.

Oftentimes, we have certain expectations for our dogs’ behavior that are simply unrealistic due to their nature; and this, on top of lack of training and structure, can lead to absolute chaos at home. Certain behaviors such as digging soil, eating poop, and growling when they feel threatened are perfectly normal behaviors for a Lab. Many owners don’t like these so they tend to confuse them with behavior problems, but they must understand that the nature of every dog breed is different, and a Lab has certain characteristics that can’t be changed or modified to a human liking.

Labs are athletic breeds that need a daily vigorous activity for 45 minutes to sometimes 2 hours, depending on the age of the dog. Furthermore, they are very loyal and sociable so they get very upset when being left alone for a long time, which over time can cause severe mental-related issues such as anxiety and depression.

If your Lab has been acting out but you don’t know why, here is a list of possible options for its behavior, as well as useful tips to help you relieve this situation.

Drastic Change In Its Diet

One of the most common things owners do, that they don’t really think will have much of an impact, is switching their Labs diet, which can cause them to not receive the nutrients they need. Another possible option is that your dog has been eating things it shouldn’t or completely stopped eating all of a sudden.

Certain foods humans eat regularly, such as almonds, chocolate, cinnamon, garlic, and ice cream, are ones your dog shouldn’t eat thus to prevent their digestive system from being blocked or compromised by the components of said foods. According to the American Kennel Club, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function, expressed that “many of the foods, such as fruits and vegetables, that people digest just fine can wreak havoc on a dog’s body, causing severe health problems. On the other hand, some of the foods people eat can be introduced to a dog’s diet just fine, and even provide health benefits such as joint strength, better breath, and allergy immunity”.


Stress is a major factor in the behavioral changes many dogs suffer, including Labrador Retrievers. Spending a lot of time alone or another close pet dying, as well as some loving owner or relative recently leaving home, can all contribute to increasing your Lab’s stress levels and acting strange.

If your dog starts behaving strangely in the same period, something like the reasons just mentioned happened, it might be that your Lab is going through a stressful time. Physical activities such as walking and playing fetch can help your dog relieve some tension and decrease the likelihood of acting strange again (1).

Is Not Getting The Amount Of Exercise It Needs

Labradors are athletic sporting breeds that need constant exercise in their daily activities. When they are not able to fulfill this requirement they immediately start acting out, which is why experts recommend that your dog gets at least one hour of exercise every day to prevent this from happening.

When your Lab doesn’t get the amount of vigorous activity it needs daily, it can cause serious weight gain, which later provokes damage to their joints, heart disease, and increases their blood pressure.

A Change In Its Schedule

Dogs, especially Labradors, need a routine to fulfill their daily needs, and when there’s a sudden change in their schedule it can lead to them starting to act out. Being fed at a different time, as well as being left alone at different times and even exercising at a different time all contributes to changes in their behavior.

Dog experts Mark + Chappell published an article in 2017 about this topic, which addressed the importance of establishing a healthy routine for your dog. “Dogs are creatures of habit, and the way they feel about the world around them depends on how happy they are in their environment. Therefore it is important to establish an orderly routine to give your dog structure and confidence. Dogs thrive on routines and a routine will let your dog know what to expect each day and when to expect it”.

Illness Or Injury

You should never discard the fact that your Lab might be suffering from an injury or illness, which are extremely important things to look for when your dog starts acting strange. If your Lab has been limping or vomiting then it might be because of this; the best option is to take it to the vet to let a professional assess the situation and give them the best treatment.

Other symptoms of sickness include isolation, odd postures (such as pressing itself tightly against the wall), lack of appetite, difficulty walking (this can be a sign of injury as well), irritability and not having an interest in going outdoors (2).

Someone Mistreated It

Another possibility of your Lab acting strange might be that someone mistreated it, causing your dog to develop anger, fear, or anxiety. If you know someone that recently was being aggressive towards your dog or mistreated it in any kind of way, this might be the reason why it has been acting differently. Dogs tend to act out when the people who treated them poorly are around, so you should pay attention to that too.

When this is the cause of your dog’s strange behavior the best thing to do is to be by their side and show them constant love and affection to make up for the bad moment they went through. If you find that your dog acts out when a specific person comes to visit, try showing your dog that they are not bad, as well as ask the person if he or she can spend a few minutes with you and your dog to attempt to diffuse the tension.

You Accidentally Promoted The Behaviour

It can happen that you accidentally promote their behavior by giving them what they want all the time and slipping them off of their training or discipline. Things such as giving them treats or gifts when they are acting out can make them think that they’re doing a good job, so they will keep behaving like that until you start showing them that they shouldn’t.

If you suspect this might be the case of their sudden strange behavior the best thing to do is stop rewarding them when they are acting out and get back on their disciplinary training (which if you’re not doing you definitely consider engaging in one).

The Bottom Line

As stated at the beginning, there are certain behaviors that are perfectly normal for a Lab, and there are some which can alert an owner of a possible much bigger problem. If you see your dog being very aggressive to the people around it, destructive, self-harming itself, and going to the toilet everywhere inside your home, this can indicate that it is suffering from issues that must be solved immediately.

There are other actions that you must look after, such as if your pet is being withdrawn, unmotivated to eat or go outside, as well as sleeping all day, which are common signs of depression. In severe cases when you’ve tried everything at your possibilities and your Lab keeps acting strange, you should definitely try seeking a professional to further assess your dogs’ issues to try and help it the best way possible.

Remember that dogs have their own instinct and they will tend to do things we as humans don’t like, but this doesn’t mean that they have behavioral issues at first glance. Looking after your dogs’ health includes watching over their mental state too, and not every symptom of misconduct will appear obvious in many cases. The best thing to do is pay close attention to your dog’s routine, appetite, and way of acting to analyze what might be causing their sudden strange behavior.

Following the tips described above can help you and your dog with this situation in a loving and non-harmful way.

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