Behavior Problems

How To Handle A Howling And Barking Labrador Retriever

Labradors are generally not huge barkers or howlers and are so easy to train that it should be easy to break them of the habit should they get into it.  Some howling and barking is normal and to be expected in any dog.  But, excessive howling and barking – especially at night – can be a real problem.  So, let’s get started by talking about why dogs howl.

Why Do Dogs Howl and Bark?

They typically vocalize in order to get or communicate or to let someone know that they are around some dogs howl when they hear high pitched sounds.  They often bark for the same reasons but this can be a bit more of an aggressive warning call and can be perceived as dangerous, even if your dog means no harm to anyone.

Why is YOUR Dog Howling?

Labrador retrievers are easy to train and rarely howl or bark excessively.

Training of your Lab should start early and often. Get them while they are young!

You can only fix the problem once you get to the bottom of why your dog is so darn loud.   If they are barking to protect the home you will want to deal with the issue differently than if they are howling to get your attention. The best way to extinguish the behavior is to make it known that this behavior will not be given attention and that the dog will receive rewards or praise for this type of behavior. In contrast, the owner should consistently reward the Lab for doing the right thing and being quiet.

Teach them other ways to get your attention.  Instead of barking when a stranger approaches the front door, for example, teach them to come find you and gently nudge you and bring you to the door.  Or, if they want food or water, to go to their bowl.  Respond to them when they do the right thing and ignore them when they do not.  If they are frightening the mailman or the neighborhood kids, then you will want to work on extinguishing this behavior by using a sharp, stern voice and saying “No Bark!” while finding a way to get their attention without hurting them.  Commonly, people grab the collar and tug a tiny bit.


If your dog continues to howl and bark and you feel that you are unable to help them, call your vet or a local trainer for advice.  These types of behaviors can be stopped in the vast majority of dogs as long as the owner uses consistent and persistent training techniques.  And, howling and barking is not necessarily any reason to think that your dog is dangerous.  If bark and snarl and growl, then your dog is likely showing aggression.  But, if they merely bark they may just be talking.


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