My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Lab Nervousness

Maybe you could answer - or point me in the right direction. I have a 3.5 year old yellow lab - Bernie. Her problem: pacing, not relaxing. When it's just me in the house (I've been her mom since she was 8 weeks old) - she's fine. She'll lay down - for hours while I work or watch tv - or whatever. But at night - when my boyfriend comes over - and were hanging out - she cannot relax. I'm constantly (like every 10 minutes) having to tell her to lay down. And when I do - she takes a long time doing it (plays dumb). Needless to say, my evenings are never relaxing - no matter what the activity is. What's her deal? Please help. ~Heather

Dear Heather,

Thank you for contacting me about Bernie's behavior. This is actually normal in many Labs as she doesn’t know where she stands in the hierarchy when your boyfriend comes over. When she is alone with you, she as your undivided attention and then this human comes along and she has to share you. Instead of showing aggressiveness, she displays a nervous tension. Do you both take her for walks when he is around? Do you both play with her? Does he ever spend any time alone with her?

If I were in your situation, I would try to make Bernie at ease with boyfriend by giving her loads of attention even when he is around. Take 15 minutes or more and sit on the floor, petting her, while your boyfriend is sitting on the couch. After a while, she will relax and then you can have both of you sit on the floor and pet her, giving her love and attention. Telling her to lay down is not going to solve the problem because her mind is focused on the lack of attention she is getting and this other person being a threat to your relationship with her. You want to move in small steps to help the pup understand that she is not being replaced and that there is room in your life for both of them.

Of course, if this doesn't work and your pup starts to show fear or aggression towards your boyfriend, pay attention to that action. My own Labs can easily sense when something is not right, even when we cannot sense it ourselves. In the last year, they have warned us of 3 or more people to be cautious of and all 3 have proved to be "off" in some way. Since Bernie isn't showing any aggression or any action like fear, it simply means that she does not know her place in the relationship when he enters it. Just show her that he is not a threat and you still have love and time for her no matter who is around. The rest should fall into place.

If this continue to be a problem after a month or so of doing this, or she shows any aggression or fear, I would recommend visit the Labrador Retriever Dog Chat Board ( There are over 8,000 members on this board that have one or more Lab in their household and would be a great resource if needed.

Please let me know how Bernie does!

Lab Smiles!



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home