If you have a vocal dog like mine then you are probably wondering if they like to talk or if there’s something bothering them and what to do about it because sometimes it can be a little out of hand, and the neighbors will not always be understanding.
So, do Labs like to talk? Yes, Labs like to talk, they like to communicate with their owners by facial expressions, body postures, and making random voices, however, Labs are considered one of the quiet breeds because they do not bark as much as other dogs, also, they may try to talk to let you know to what they are feeling
If you want to know more about why some Labs are more vocal than others? Then just keep on reading.
Are Labs Vocal Dogs?
Labs can be vocal when they want to communicate with their owner, however, they are quieter than most dogs, and they only bark when there is something they really want you to know.
So they are not as vocal as a husky but not as quiet as a bulldog.
9 Reasons Why Some Labs Are More Vocal
Here are the most common reasons why your Lab is vocal.
- Vocal by nature
- Wanna go outside
- Alarm you
- You rewarded the behavior
Let’s go ahead and briefly discuss each of those causes and what could be the solution.
Vocal by nature
One of the possible reasons why your Lab is vocal may be that they are vocal by nature, you can know if this is the reason if they have always been like this.
So if your Lab has been vocal since you got them then they are just being themselves, however, if you find them too vocal then you can change that by positive reinforcement training and it’s better if you start when they are still puppies because it will be harder when they are adults.
It could be your Labrador is hungry or thirsty and that’s their way to let you know if your Lab does it when they are close to their food bowl or if their water bowl is empty then they are probably just hungry.
Also, if they do it when they see you eating then that’s probably the reason why.
If you know for sure that they are always vocal when they are hungry then maybe you should check with their vet to change their diet because it could mean that it’s not enough for them. You can also check my guide to the best foods for Labs and Goldens here.
Labradors can also be vocal when they are experiencing some kind of pain.
If they do it when you hold them or have any physical contact with them then they are probably hurt or injured.
Here are some signs to help you know if your pup is ill or injured.
- Change in the appetite
- Red eyes
- Change in their activity level
- Sudden weight loss
- Dry eyes
- Sleeping more than the usual
- Excessive drinking
- Cloudy eyes
- Shaking their head
- Redness in their skin
- Breathing difficulty
- Excessive panting
- Change in their bowel movements
If you notice one or a few of these signs on your pup then you should take your Lab to the vet as soon as possible.
Just like huskies, Labs can bark or be vocal out of boredom and it’s probably the case if they do it when they don’t exercise that day.
Labrador retrievers are an energetic breed and they should get a decent amount of daily exercise and if they didn’t get all the exercise they need then they may start behaving abnormally such as running around uncontrollably in the house, chewing on the furniture, and becoming vocal without any reason.
Labradors can be vocal if they are scared and which would be more likely if they do it when there are fireworks, thunder, or any loud noises.
They could also do it around certain people so if you notice that your Lab starts getting vocal every time one specific person is around them then you probably shouldn’t leave your pup around that person.
When Labs are afraid, they may also become aggressive. You can check my guide on why can Labradors be suddenly aggressive here for more.
Wanna go outside
You probably noticed this one but all dogs become vocal when it comes to wanting to go outside whether they see you going out and want to accompany you or just bored and wanna go outside and play in the backyard.
So if your dog becomes more vocal whenever they are close to the door then they probably just wanna go outside and play.
One of the reasons why your dog can be more vocal is they are trying to alarm you that something is going on, for example, if there is someone at the door if they feel threatened, or they feel that their loved ones are in danger.
If you can’t see any of the other signs or they do it when you are outside then maybe you should keep an eye on your environment and trust their senses.
I have a complete guide on what do labradors do with intruders here that you should probably check out to learn more about what to expect from your lab in these situations.
You rewarded the behavior
It could be that you previously rewarded that behavior even if you didn’t do it on purpose, for example, if you pet them when they bark to silence them, it may backfire because they may connect that barking can get them more attention and love so it will encourage them to do it even more.
If this is the reason why then you can stop it by not giving them any attention and wait for them to stop by themselves and wait a little bit, reward them by giving them a treat or pet them.
Dogs usually bark when they are excited and happy.
If they do it when you come back home when they see their favorite toy or treat then they are probably just excited.
However, you can train them to be less vocal when they are excited as well.
How to Train Your Lab to Be Less Vocal
Before we start how to train your Lab to be less vocal, you should probably know that you have to choose one word or cue for the quiet command.
- First of all, you can start by addressing why your Lab is being vocal in the first place.
- After knowing the reason why you can start by fixing the problem, for example, if they are being vocal out of boredom then take them for a walk, swimming, or anything to burn all of their excess energy.
- Create a situation that will make your Lab more vocal such as when there is someone at the door or when they hear loud noises.
- Wait for your Lab to be vocal and when they do, go get their attention.
- Wait for them to stop barking
- Give them a treat or their favorite toy
- Repeat these steps and each time wait for slightly longer periods of them being quiet before rewarding them.
- When your Lab can finally remain silent a few times then you can start adding the word or the cue you chose.
- So when your Lab starts barking again, say your command in a firm voice but upbeat voice while holding the treat.
- When they finally stop barking, give them the treat, and repeat the process till they stop when they hear the cue.
Do Labradors Talk?
Yes, Labradors can talk, or to be more accurate, they try to communicate with us by using their vocals, obviously, they can’t talk like us but they still try to communicate by their body postures, facial expressions, and making a bunch of sounds such as barking, growling, moaning, and grunting.
Do Labs Bark a Lot?
No, Labs do not bark a lot unless there’s something abnormally going on such as something bothering them, they feel threatened, or they didn’t get enough exercise but Labs are usually quiet dogs so if they start barking more than usual then you should look for other signs that caused the barking.
Why are Labs so quiet?
Labs usually have a quiet personality by nature but if they are more quiet than usual then there are a few reasons why that can cause that such as illness, boredom, they are not comfortable around specific people or specific places, depression, or they are just too tired.
Management and personality in Labrador Retriever dogs, Sarah E. Lofgren, Pamela Wiener, Sarah C. Blott, Enrique Sanchez-Molano, John A. Woolliams, Dylan N. Clements, Marie J. Haskell, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Volume 156, 2014, Pages 44-53, ISSN 0168-1591
Sophia Yin, Brenda McCowan, Barking in domestic dogs: context specificity and individual identification,
Labrador Retrievers for Dummies by Joel Walton, Eve Adamson (which you can get on Amazon here)
Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources
- Want the best diet for your dog? Check out the best and healthiest foods for golden retrievers at every age here – Dry, Wet, Homemade Recipes, and Treats!
- Looking for new toys? These toys will prove to be fun, engaging, and will stand their heavy chewing.
- Make them look GLAMOROUS with the best shampoos and conditioners and the best brushes here.
- Taking a walk? These are the best leashes, collars, and harnesses for the buck that you can find.
- Find my list of recommendations here.
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