Skip to Content

5 Reasons Why Labradors Bite Their Owners + How To Stop It

Do Labradors Bite Their Owners

You won’t deny that these dogs hold such a sweet face…

And that’s among the many reasons why they’re a popular dog breed.

But you hear that Labrador Retrievers also have a reputation for biting their owners…

Is that true?

If it is, can you stop it?

Continue reading to discover:

  • 5 reasons why some Labradors bite their owners.
  • If Labradors bite their owners (if so, why do they do it?).
  • 5 tips to keep you safe from getting bitten by your Labrador.
  • And many more…

Do Labradors bite their owners?

Labradors don’t bite their owner or anyone else for no reason. AKC labels Labs as lovable and sweet dogs. And if they ever bite, it won’t have something to do with their breed. It’ll be their upbringing or environment that can cause a Lab to bite their owner. Sometimes, they’re provoked or in pain.

5 reasons why some labradors bite their owners

#1: Encouragement

Imagine this:

You’re currently enjoying playtime with your Labrador Retriever.

But there’s something that called to your attention.

So, you focus on that for a while.

You only need a brief moment to attend to that matter.

Oh, but your pooch is demanding…

So, they bite your hand. It’s their way of telling you to focus on them again.

And since you have a soft spot for your Lab and the thing can wait…

You went on and continued to play with Fido.

Now, that whole scenario displays an unintentional mistake.

There, your dog used biting as a means to get your attention. 

Fun fact: Research tells us that attention increases a dog’s facial expressions. It reveals that they’re sensitive to your directed actions. It’s also a display of their attempt to communicate.

Going back, your Lab has succeeded in gaining your attention. With that, they learned that biting works.

They can use it to get what they want from you.

And it’s not just with attention…

They might bite you to demand food, playtime, or even potty breaks.

With that, non-aggressive biting’s unintentionally encouraged.

You might also want to know: Why does my dog bite my feet?

#2: Lack of training

Some Labradors Bite Their Owners Because They Lack Training

This is yet another non-aggressive reason behind a Lab biting their owner…

First, remember that biting is an instinct in dogs.

Moreover, their mouth plays a crucial part in their exploration. That’s why dogs chew, play nip, and sometimes eat non-food items.

Now, lack of training can reinforce those behaviors I mentioned.

And something that I didn’t mention yet is biting…

When a dog lacks training about it, they won’t know how to behave properly.

So they’re going to act on their urge.

Next thing you know, they just bite whenever they think it’s acceptable to do so.

Now, you can trace the problem up to when they’re still a puppy.

During puppyhood, there’s this thing called…

Teething stage

One of the many things to expect when you have a puppy is their tendency to bite.

VCA Hospitals tell us that puppies will attack almost anything. 

They’ll bite your legs or hands.

And your puppy won’t hesitate to play-bite your kids or other dogs.

Lastly, your belongings will fall victim as well.

That’s because puppies undergo a teething stage. 

It begins when they turn 3 weeks old. Then, it can be over by the time they turn 6-months old.

Now, it’s a period where mouthing is notorious.

It’s also a crucial stage to curb biting behavior.

Yep, this is when you should correct your dog the most.

If you won’t, they’re gonna bring the behavior to adulthood.

With that, you’ll have a Lab who grew up thinking biting’s acceptable.

#3: They’re provoked

Did you know? AKC reveals that Labrador Retrievers are the most popular dog breed in America.

And if I were to ask, these Labs deserve that spot. I mean, c’mon, look at ‘em:

Plus, they’re also known for having a sweet face and disposition. 

Moreover, Labs are lovable and affectionate…

So, why do many people ask about Labs biting their owners?

Let me tell you once and for all…

It doesn’t have to do with their breed.

And the way Labs are described, you won’t really expect them to bite instantly.

But when any dog is provoked, they can answer their urge to bite.

Here are some examples of those instances:

Territorial aggression

Labs aren’t that vigilant.

Regardless, they still have a territorial tendency.

And when it’s triggered, they can react aggressively.

If there’s an intruder, they’ll likely bite.

“But, I’m their owner…”

In some rare cases, even you can receive this treatment.

Dogs are still creatures with limits. Moreover, they’re also possessive.

So if you provoke them in any way, they might still react accordingly.

Fear aggression

There’s this thing called ‘fight and flight response’ during a fearful situation.

And when dogs have the chance to choose the latter, they’ll do it.

But sometimes, the only choice left is to fight.

So when they’re scared and cornered…


Your Lab might get determined to bite. 

Social aggression

As I said earlier, dogs still have their limits.

And sometimes, you can be overstepping on theirs.

With that, they’ll feel provoked and compelled to bite.

Such is called social aggression.

According to ASPCA, this is the reason why you shouldn’t disturb your dog while they sleep.

Another scenario is bothering them while they’re eating.

So, don’t ever try to do those if you don’t wanna get bitten by your pooch.

Continue reading: 25 Best Ways To Calm An Aggressive Dog (#1 Works Instantly)

#4: Traumatic history

Unfortunately, you can’t really have a one-on-one with your Lab.

You can’t sit them down and let them tell you of their experiences.

But, it’ll show in their behavior.

According to PetMD, dogs can also experience emotional trauma.

It’s caused by past experiences that left them in pain.

With that, emotionally traumatized develop fear and anxiety.

And this is what known behaviorist Patricia B. McConnell stated:

You should help a traumatized dog the way you’ll help people.

Moreover, she also gave us symptoms of trauma in dogs. Those are:

Most of all, another sign is random bursts of aggression.

And such can lead to an unpredictable bite.

Read also: 13 Tips To Help A Rescue Dog That Is Scared Of Everything

#5: They’re in pain

Your  Labrador Is In Pain

Earlier, I said that Labs are sweet in nature…

And that they’re the kind of dogs that you least expect to bite their owner.

But certain factors can lead to such from happening.

So, your Lab is known to be very gentle. They greet almost anyone and anything with a smile…

But then, it all suddenly changed.

They became aggressive and started showing intentions to bite.

What happened?

There’s this thing called pain-elicited aggression in dogs.

It’s when they become hostile as they’re injured or sick.

Moreover, it stems from their easily-accessible irritability. Then, it can develop into hostility.

Now, that aggression can be directed to anyone. So, even you, their owner, aren’t exempted.

According to vets, here are some possible illnesses that cause aggression in dogs:

  • Rabies.
  • Arthritis.
  • Hypothyroidism.
  • Metabolic disorders.
  • Abnormal tissue growth.

How to stop a labrador from biting their owner? 5 tips

#1: Positive reinforcement training

Luckily, you can handle the situation and prevent a bite from occurring.

Plus, your Lab is a naturally kind-hearted dog. 

With that, it will be easy to train them not to bite.

Now, you’re gonna have to use positive reinforcement training.

And here’s how you’ll do it:

Say that you’re currently interacting with your dog.

Then, they proceeded to bite you. No matter what the intention is, follow the steps I’ll provide…

Step #1: Stop interacting with them immediately.

If you’re playing, break the fun off for a while. 

And for this to be more effective, you can leave the room after they bit you.

Step #2: Go back or continue the interaction after a few moments.

A minute or two will do. Any longer than that can confuse your pooch or lead them to do something else.

Give them attention again and resume the activity.

Step #3: Once they bite you again, repeat steps #1 and #2.

For every bite, there’s going to be a cycle of those steps.

Until little by little, your pooch would make the connection…

That biting would take you away from them.

With that, they’ll stop after a few cycles or so.

#2: Never use punishment

I highly recommend doing tip #1 and anything as positive as it.

If you’re gonna correct your dog’s undesirable behavior, never use punishment.

Now, they always say that violence is never the answer.

And that’s absolutely true, especially in this situation.

You see, punishment can only make your dog more anxious.

That’s what this study says. 

Moreover, it negatively affects their welfare.

Plus, it only increases unwanted behaviors.

So, punishment doesn’t help at all.

In fact, it can only put you at greater risk.

What’s the reason behind your Lab’s drive to bite?

Whatever it is, add the increased anxiety and disobedience…

Oh, it doesn’t look good at all.

You won’t be saying goodbye to the risk of a bite anytime…

You might also be interested in: 13 Reasons Why You Should NEVER Hit Your Dog (Check #7)

#3: Keep interactions positive

As much as possible, you must provide Fido with positive experiences.

And I know, that sounds like a challenging task…

There’ll be things that are out of your hands.

For example, you don’t know how other dogs will react to your fur baby.

Things like that are understandable…

But for others within your control, keep it as positive as possible.

During plays, avoid those rough activities. Keep it fun and engaging.

And as much as it’s entertaining to prank your clueless pooch, take it down a notch.

All in all, keep on giving Fido the best moments you can give them.

And with that, you’re gonna gain a best friend that you’ll love so much… 

A Lab who wants the same happy moments.

#4: Be consistent

Dogs thrive in consistency…

So, use that to your advantage.

If biting’s not allowed, then it’s totally not tolerated.

For example, your Lab isn’t the only pooch in the house. 

And if you want them to stop biting you, show that such behavior’s not welcome to the household.

Any other dog that’ll bite you will receive the same treatment. Moreover, you’re gonna train every dog not to bite at all.

And don’t make exemptions during play…

Biting is biting no matter what the situation is. With that, Fido has to learn that it’s unacceptable.

#5: Get help from a behaviorist

If all your trials don’t work, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance from behaviorists.

Professional animal behaviorists are experienced people that study dogs’ behaviors.

Then, they analyze the reason behind such habits.

After that, they’ll develop a plan of action…

Something specific that the situation exactly needs.

All in all, they aim to modify the unwanted behavior. Moreover, they can give you more advice you’ll never know you need.

If you’re looking for one, you can ask your dog’s veterinarian. They might suggest someone to assist you. Plus, it’s good to have Fido’s vet in the conversation as well.