You enjoy seeing the friendly and calm side of your lab. But you want it to double up as a guard dog. Don’t go through the trouble of adopting a Doberman or Mastiff breed. Read on to know whether your dream can be actualized.
Can Labradors be trained as guard dogs?
Labs are naturally warm, with a cool temperament to top it off. They are also very intelligent and can be trainable in many things. Formerly working dogs for fishermen in retrieving, these high energy dogs can be trained as guard dogs. It will take time, which should begin when they are puppies. Remember, you can’t train old dogs new tricks. Worse still a lab whose genes are more companion oriented than defense ones.
Labs make better watchdogs than guard dogs. This is in the sense that they will be alerting you when strangers come but not defend. However, their use in the police department gives hope that with proper training, it can work.
Is there a specific lab breed fitted for this?
Chocolate labs are more aggressive than the yellow and black ones. Their English origin is a reason as to why they tend to be so. In training, these dogs tend to be tougher in comparison to the others.
They will also exhibit a trait of being hardier than their counterparts. Labs are generally soft animals that love to please.
Tips for training a lab to be more aggressive
Get a professional trainer.
Choosing a trainer that knows his job will get you half-way in. Training a lab into a guard dog is not for the faint-hearted. You should select a trainer that will take the lab through the extensive course. They should also have the necessary equipment for this.
You can opt to be present during the sessions so that the lab feels your presence. You can practice together on the learned skills. This will definitely feel like a defense class session.
Expose it to gunfire and dummy scenarios
You don’t expect your sweet lab to know how to respond to gunfire or chaos without exposure, do you? Take your lab out to practicing fields where gunfire is common. Teach it how to respond and praise it. In many cases, it will bark. Encourage the dog to attack an attacker by posing such scenarios. You can have your dog watch you being attacked by someone and encourage it to attack. Constantly showing your lab that he is making good responses will train it to be more protective. Since labs like to please their owners, they can protect them well if trained.
Reward responses to unexpected knocks and strangers
When you hear a doorbell at a strange hour and your pooch is first at the door, reward it. Positive reinforcement and treats will do wonders. Remember, labs love to eat, so food treats are the best fit for them.
If the stranger is someone the dog is unfamiliar with, encourage the dog to keep barking until you settle him up. Your lab should be able to respond to commands well to make this part of the training smooth.
Nothing comes easy without some patience input. To transform your lab into something he naturally would not be, you’ll have to practice this.
Do not neuter your lab
Labs with high testosterone levels are better at responding to guard-dog training. The hormone will naturally help it kick in hunting and guarding instincts. If you really want nature to favor you, avoiding fixing your lab should be an option. Of course, this will come with the acceptance that your lab will be able to sire litters.
Tips for living with an aggressive lab
Tell your visitors to call before coming
When you have a guard dog, the best courtesy you can do to your visitors is alert them. Otherwise, you may have your lab jumping ferociously onto grandma! Everyone who knows you have a Lab could automatically think it is friendly and welcoming. A trained guard lab is already trained to consider strangers as a threat. You don’t want to confuse your dog and make it unlearn everything.
Avoid apartment living and opt for open space
Apartment living may not be the best when you own a guard dog. The lab will not be able to cope with the constant noise and walks up the stairs. With constant barking , your neighbors can be constantly bothered by the barks.
Have a guard dog when you have a better open space. This way, your lab will be more open to detect who are the threats and who are not.
Socialize it to the people you want
Since labs are super friendly to strangers, you need to limit the people your lab knows. This way, your lab can have clear lines on who is who.
Avoid keeping other pets
Labs can live with other pets comfortably. If you intend to train your lab to be more aggressive, owning another pet will bring trouble. The more aggressive dog will feel its space is infringed. Limit your pet ownership to only the dog.
Sometimes your cat can startle the dog, and a fight erupts. Know that a Labrador that has been trained into guarding is always alert to pounce on any threat.
Only train your lab when you have older children
Labs are the best-preferred dogs for families. Owing a trained one can be a handful when you have little babies, though. Toddlers alike are likely to frustrate the dog too much, and it can snap.
Have a trained lab when your kids are above five years. At this age, the children can understand how to play with the lab best. Labs will naturally protect their families.
Keep it fit and check its diet
An overweight lab will serve you no good. First, it won’t be able to respond to any danger from its weight issues. Two, it can get diseases that can shorten its life. Be sure to check whether your dog is the right weight by weighing. Have a consistent daily routine and take your dog for exercise. Adult labs need over an hour of outdoor activity for the balance. Feeding it right is important too. Check out our foods to offer your lab. In case your lab is already overweight, and you want to train, follow this guide for prime results.
Ensure it is stimulated and not bored
As a rule of thumb, a bored dog is a destructive dog. Your aggressive lab can channel his energy in the wrong places if not kept active. Buy some puzzles and mazes to keep it hooked. Kongs are a great idea too. Better yet, play with the dog yourself. You’ll avoid it from barking at everyone and everything.
The truth is, you are not meant to expect your charming pooch to turn into a fierce guard dog overnight. You need to take it slow so that the new instincts start to kick in. Remember, a good guard dog is dependent on its breed and genetics. Since Labradors are not considered to have these genes, you can only train and hope it works. Read more about your lab on our blog.