Why Does My Lab Suddenly Bite Me? & How to Train Them To Stop

The most important thing when you have a dog is training them because if they are not trained, they can hurt us or hurt other people, but what if your dog is trained but then starts biting out of the sudden? 

It can leave you puzzled because your dog never bites, well, you’d be surprised to hear that it’s not uncommon.

So, why does my Lab suddenly bite me? Your Lab may suddenly bite you if they are injured or ill and they are biting out of pain, also, it can be that your Lab is trying to be dominant, or if they are experiencing fear then they may snap and bite the closest person at that moment. 

There are more reasons that can cause the sudden biting, keep reading to learn more about them.

5 Reasons Your Lab Suddenly Bites You 

lab biting on arm to show why does my lab suddenly bite me

If your dog is trained not to bite but suddenly starts to, they may be going through something that made your dog act that way unintentionally, so here are 5 possible reasons.

  • Pain
  • Fear 
  • Dominance 
  • Possessiveness 
  • Anxiety 


The most common reason that leads to dogs biting their owner is pain, medical conditions and injuries can make anyone aggressive easily because of the feeling of discomfort.

So if your Labrador is suddenly aggressive and starts to bite then they may be ill or injured.

Here are some signs to help you figure out if your Lab is injured or ill.

  • Aggression 
  • Excessive licking 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Shaking 
  • Limping 
  • Panting 
  • Flattened ears 
  • Crying
  • Reluctant to climb stairs 
  • Low posture 
  • Sore paws 
  • Noticeably slow
  • Stiffness after rest 
  • Scratching a specific area 

If you noticed one or a few of these signs then you should take your Lab to the vet as soon as possible.

Also, it can be that your Lab is becoming senior and they are not mentally or physically active as they were so they may bite out of pain or an irrational fear due to their age.


A scared Lab can be aggressive easily when dogs are experiencing fear they feel the urge to defend themselves even if it’s something irrational like the sound of thunder and it leads to them exhibiting aggressive behavior. Fear is a very strong emotion, and it could lead even the friendliest dogs like labs to bite their owners.

If your Lab had previous owners, it could be that they traumatized your Lab by abusing him so your Lab can show signs of aggression every once in a while, and in that case, obedience training can be a great solution.

However, here are some signs of fear that you may notice in your Lab.

  • Shaking 
  • Snapping
  • Growling 
  • Pacing 
  • Inability to settle 
  • Barking 
  • Attempting to hide 
  • Biting 
  • Panting 
  • Lack of appetite 
  • Licking their lips 
  • Hyperactivity 
  • Being too distracted for anyone to get their attention
  • Salivation 
  • Reactivity 
  • Showing the white of their eyes 

If you notice any of these signs on your Lab, you shouldn’t approach him or try to pet them because they are going to snap at you, you should contact an accredited experienced behaviorist, or if you know the reason why they are scared then maybe try to stop it.


The most common reason that dogs show any signs of aggression is them trying to be dominant, however, it’s usually towards other dogs and not their owner but still, it can happen.

All dogs are dominant by nature but not all of them try to show their dominance over their owner, however, it’s important to stop that behavior as soon as it begins.

They may suddenly feel the need to show that they are dominant if you got a new pet or if there is any animal around them in general.

Here are the signs of dominance in dogs

  • Biting 
  • Excessive Barking 
  • Stealing your stuff (hiding your socks, shoes, or shirts)
  • Always trying to walk in front of you and not beside you.
  • Trying to compete with you when you are playing with them
  • Starting to play rough with you 
  • Always trying to make you wait for them 

When your Lab starts to show that kind of behavior then maybe it’s best to take them to a behaviorist or to a socializing training.


Dogs can be easily aggressive when they are being possessive so if your Lab suddenly bit you then maybe they are being possessive over their favorite toy, food, or even their favorite person.

They can also bite any stranger who tries to approach you, however, not all dogs behave that way when they are being possessive.

So here the signs of possessive dogs

  • Growling 
  • Snapping 
  • Attacking 

They can do that to anyone trying to come near their belongings. Other signs include:

  • They are always stressed out 
  • Lack of confidence 


Your Lab may be suffering from anxiety or depression and that’s why they suddenly started biting.

Here are the signs of anxiety and depression in dogs

  • Aggression 
  • Panting 
  • Excessive barking 
  • Urinating in the house 
  • Pacing 
  • Drooling 
  • restlessness
  • Lethargic 
  • Destructive behavior 
  • Compulsive behavior 

If you notice any of the signs then you should take your pup to the vet or a behaviorist. 

How to Stop your labrador from suddenly biting you 

You can follow these steps if you want to stop your Labrador from suddenly biting you.

  1. Step one: use positive reinforcement so start rewarding them whenever they are well-behaving.
  2. Step two: when your Lab suddenly bites you, say “stop” in a firm voice (if they know the basic commands)
  3. Step three: walk away and don’t give them any attention for a few minutes.
  4. Step four: go back to them and start giving them attention again.
  5. Step five: if they start biting again then walk away again.
  6. Step six: keep repeating the above till they can play without biting and when they finally do start rewarding them.
  7. Final step: keep repeating the last step until your Labrador connects the dots that biting ends the fun and when they play without biting, it gets them treats.

If you liked this article and found it useful, you can share it with your friends and family. You can also check the best chew toys for your dog here and give them something else to bite on.

Also, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Related Questions 

Why is my lab suddenly becoming aggressive? 

Your Lab can be suddenly aggressive for multiple reasons such as they are injured, ill, frustrated, scared, or are experiencing any kind of discomfort, you should probably examine your dog to see if there are any symptoms of being hurt.

How do I stop my labrador from biting? 

You can stop your Lab from biting you by making any sound of being hurt and as soon as they release your hand, get up and move away from your Lab, ignore them for a few minutes then return to play with them if they bite you again, repeat the same move till they understand that biting ends the fun.

How do I discipline my labrador? 

You can discipline your Labrador by using positive reinforcement because it’s the most effective method, for example, if your dog bites you or breaks something, never yell at them but stop giving them attention or withdraw their favorite toy from them and whenever they are well-behaving, reward them.

Helpful Resources 

The Complete Labrador Handbook: The Essential Guide for New & Prospective Labrador Retriever Owners

Labrador Retrievers for Dummies by Joel Walton, Eve Adamson (which you can also check on Amazon here)

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources

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