Are Labradoodles Territorial? Everything You Need to Know
Pet-owners consistently report a top reason for choosing the labradoodle as its innate loyalty shown both in emotional support and protectiveness. A pet owner should know that a labradoodle considers its pack to be both the human and furry friends whom it spends it’s days with- therefore making the pet owner one of the most important members of the labradoodle’s pack!
While this loyalty can be a desirable trait in “man’s best friend,” it can make you ask the question, are Labradoodles territorial? Labradoodles begin showing signs of territorial aggression between the ages of 1-4 when their confidence soars. As they feel able to protect themselves, their “pack,” and their area, they begin to assert themselves most typically by increasing their barking behaviors towards perceived threats.
However, Labradoodles are a highly social and friendly breed. This means that this territorial aggression is most typically demonstrated when the labradoodle feels a threat towards the people, places, and things he loves most. Still, he will also seek out positive relationships with people and other animals. So, while the labradoodle can show signs of being territorial, their friendly nature ensures this pet can easily become a beloved furry part of your family. Understanding where your dog’s motivations come from is an essential part of knowing how to care for and train your pet.
Are Labradoodles Aggressive?
There are three significant types of aggression: possessive aggression, territorial aggression, and protective aggression. The three are very closely related and demonstrate themselves in behaviors such as barking, snipping, and biting. The type of aggressive behaviors that your breed may demonstrate depends on his reasons for aggression. The labradoodle, if demonstrating aggressive behaviors, typically shows this through barking behaviors often associated with protective or territorial aggression. It is rare to see the labradoodle exhibit the aggressive behavior of biting. In the case of the labradoodle, the aggressive is often followed by play once the perceived threat has disappeared.
Types of Aggression
To better understand how aggression would showcase itself in your labradoodle, it is important to understand the types of aggression better. Additionally, a pet owner needs to know that aggression can be demonstrated due to a real or false threat; the behaviors will come about based on what the dog perceives as reality, not necessarily what is a real threat. The three main types of aggression are most often associated with:
- Possessive aggression: This type of aggression develops when a dog feels a threat towards a beloved object or area. Usually, this type of aggression will be displayed if a dog thinks that her area, toys, or food are in jeopardy.
An example of what this would look like: Another dog begins to head towards your labradoodle’s favorite toy. Your labradoodle takes notice and immediately sprints towards the toy, barking at the other dog who is “trying to steal Mr. Pickle.” *Note that the labradoodle is more likely to attempt to beat the other dog to his favorite toy rather than lunging directly towards the other dog. In this example, the labradoodle will bark at the other dog (the perceived threat) while maintaining possession of Mr. Pickle.
- Territorial aggression: This type of aggression develops when a dog feels a threat to his area. It is important to recognize that a dog’s area does not just include the reality of his confines (i.e., his yard, bed, or home). The dog may perceive the confines of his area to include the encompassed circle of the areas he is allowed to pee in as well (think of where he is allowed to walk- even on a leash).
An example of what this would look like: You are inside when you hear your labradoodle repeatedly barking towards “nothing” at the fence in your backyard. You step outside and see your friendly neighbor passing by with her puppy pal. Suddenly, you realize that your labradoodle was barking at the “threat” to his (fenced in) territory. Your pooch ceases barking after your neighbor and puppy have gone far enough away that he can no longer smell them.
- Protective aggression: This type of aggression develops when a dog feels a threat towards his pack. His “pack” will include those whom he spends the most time with, those he has an affinity towards. The labradoodle is a very loyal breed, which means he will protect those he loves.
An example of what this would look like: You are happily playing a game of “fetch” indoors with your labradoodle. Out of nowhere, the mailman knocks on the door to deliver the present you recently ordered for your dog. Immediately your friendly labradoodle dashes towards the entrance and barks away. You open the door to sign for the package, and your puppy continues to bark. Your protective labradoodle does not charge towards the mailman. Instead, he stands closer to you, perhaps between you and the mailman. As the mailman walks away and you close the door, your labradoodle will return to the game of fetch as the “threat” towards you has now retreated, and he feels that you are both safe again.
What Are Signs of Territorial Dogs?
Territorial dogs tend to bark at, snip/lunge towards, and bite perceived threats. The level of aggression varies depending on the dog as well as the level of perceived threat towards their beloved people, places, and objects.
Signs of a labradoodle demonstrating territorial aggression:
- Barking at strange approaching people or animals
- Curled upper lip towards unknown threats
- Possibly snipping towards threats that approach too closely for a prolonged period.
Remember, it is more common to begin seeing these signs in a Labradoodle after the initial puppy days are concluding, and your dog turns one year of age due to their increased level of confidence in facing the perceived threat.
What to do With an Aggressive Dog
One of the best ways to help a dog become less aggressive is to establish yourself as the “pack” leader. Often, dogs- especially Labradoodles- demonstrate signs of territorial aggression if they feel they are the leader of the pack or the one in charge of “protecting” the group. While this breed characteristic is helpful with survival tactics, it can be frustrating for a pet owner who is attempting a friendly neighborhood walk.
So how would you establish yourself as the pack leader? There are quite a few helpful things to make this a reality.
- One of the easiest ways to establish yourself as the pack leader is to keep your dog on a short leash. Holding the leash short allows you to be in control, and shows the dog that you set the boundaries. It also allows you to set the pace and direction. A simple hack to make this possible is to simply wrap the excess amount of leash around your fist while taking your Labradoodle on a walk, only allowing your pup to reach a short distance away from yourself.
- Another way to establish leadership is to engage positively with a perceived threat. Keeping your temper calm and being friendly towards perceived threats not only shows that you’re in control, but also that you know when something is dangerous (or more importantly – not). When your Labradoodle, who has established a trusting relationship with you, sees your positivity towards a person, animal, or object, she is more likely to engage positively with it rather than seeing it as a perceived threat.
- If just showing a calm demeanor around perceived danger is not enough, you can also assist them in keeping it cool in other ways. Whenever they stop barking, showing positive reinforcement (kind words, pets, treats, or even a walk) can help them learn that barking does not help. In addition to this, you can also help them to focus on something else rather than the threat, therefore helping them to ignore whatever it was they were initially barking at.
- One more tip to help establish yourself as the “pack leader” is to establish priority from the perspective of the dog. Here, you will ensure that your dog recognizes your firmness and that your needs come first without becoming neglectful of the dog’s needs. Gently begin to show priority by walking through doors first rather than allowing your dog to walk in front. Further, you can eat dinner first before feeding your dog their evening meal. If they eat early, you don’t have to actually eat, but you do have to make the dog believe you are eating to show them you are in control.
Do Labradoodles Like to Dig?
Labradoodles are not a breed that typically digs out of instinct. If your Labradoodle is digging, there is probably an underlying cause for the behavior. The four main reasons that Labroodles could be digging include: trying to escape, trying to find something, trying to hide something, or “boredom” digging. A pet owner can deduce which type of digging is happening based on the surroundings and by watching the dog’s behavior progress.
For example, if they are digging near a fence, they are likely trying to escape wherever they feel they are entrapped. If they are digging in an abnormal location, it is possible they saw or smelled something that piqued their curiosity. (Think about if your dog saw a small creature burying itself in the yard. Naturally, their curiosity would be heightened, so they would likely begin curiosity digging here.) The third, purpose-driven reason they could be digging is to attempt to bury a beloved treasure. If their digging behavior does not seem to match one of the previously described reasons, they are likely “boredom” digging.
Are Labradoodles Aggressive Towards Children?
Overall, Labradoodles do not get aggressive with children. Labradoodles were bred in a way that they are usually perceptive, playful, social, and loyal. As long as your Labradoodle is not feeling threatened, they will not pose an issue to children or vulnerable adults.
Just because they are not aggressive towards children does not mean there are not any concerns with Labradoodles around children. As very playful and social dogs, Labradoodles could pose harm to children by becoming overly friendly. If they are not adequately trained, they could accidentally hurt a child by being excessively playful and jumping on them or knocking them over. It is important to remember to keep a close eye on your Labradoodle until you understand her behavior to best care for your puppy as well as those she encounters.
Are Labradoodles Good With Other Pets?
Similar to the Labradoodle’s interactions with children, Labradoodles have a great time with other pets! Overall, Labradoodles do not become aggressive or jealous of other pets; other pets are just friends they have not met yet. Talk about a social breed!
If you have a small pet, it is important to remember that the Labradoodle may see them as a wild animal (a threat) or become too rough. So, if you are wondering if you can bring a new Goldendoodle into the house with your other furry friends, the only pet you might have to worry about is the one receiving the new addition.
Can Labradoodles be Watchdogs?
Yes, Labradoodles can make great watchdogs. Labradoodles are very observant, intelligent, and are often territorial. This means they would likely be inclined to bark at on-coming strangers and be sure to alert you.
Although they can be excellent watchdogs, it is unlikely that you could train them to be full-fledged guard dogs. Labradoodles are so social and friendly that they may be good at barking and making their presence known, but they could immediately befriend something once it gets closer and no longer feels like a threat. (You have to admit, it’s a pretty cute quality!)
Can Labradoodles be Service Dogs?
Absolutely. Labradoodles make some of the best service dogs. They are incredibly loyal, bond well with their owners, and are highly intelligent. Because they are a perceptive breed, Labradoodles can pick up on emotional needs as well as physical needs. Their loyalty makes them great for protecting and staying close to their owners.
Service dogs need to be highly trainable, gentle, loyal, and able to perceive the needs of their owners. Labradoodles fulfill these traits. Similarly, Labradoodles could fill the role of a therapy dog as they are loving and demonstrate an ability to empathize and show affection towards someone in need. With these qualities in mind, Labradoodles are also are great with the elderly and other vulnerable persons.
Do Labradoodles Prefer to be Indoor or Outdoor Dogs?
Like most medium-sized dogs, the ideal situation for Labradoodles is to live indoors, but have easy access to regular exercise and the outdoors. Labradoodles are active dogs, which means they will naturally seek to play and exercise regardless of their living arrangements.
A Labradoodle’s ideal living environment would include an indoor area to live (that is large enough to roam around for the majority of the time) and a pet owner who is committed to providing the Labradoodle at least 60-minutes of concentrated exercise each day. If your living space is small and you would still like to own a Labradoodle, be sure you are committed to providing plenty of exercise per day.
Do Labradoodles Enjoy Travel?
Labradoodles are known to have more territorial tendencies. Therefore, introducing them to new areas can take some adjustment time. To help your Labradoodle to enjoy travel, be sure to bring an object (such as food and water bowls) or favorite possession (blanket or toy) to help them to associate a familiar smell/taste to their new environment.
Can Labradoodles be Left Alone?
Standard recommendations would suggest a dog not to be left alone for more than 4 to 6 hours. As the Labradoodle is a very social breed that bonds well with its owner, it is also more prone to social anxiety and separation anxiety. Therefore, the Labradoodle owner needs to leave the dog alone as little as possible.
To ease the separation anxiety, a pet owner can provide their dog with his own “space” at home, which separates him from his owner at home. Since the Labradoodle is prone to be territorial, this provision of personal space for your dog will come pretty naturally.