A pretty black/chocolate lab showed up on our friends porch and wouldn't leave. They couldn't keep him. He doesn't belong to anyone in the area. We live in a place that's fairly rural and, unfortunately, people drop dogs off around here when they are ashamed (I guess) to call a rescue organization.
We've got a 13 yr old male Bichon and a 6 year old Shitzu. We've never had a Lab before. We took him to the vet. He didn't recognize him, but he told us that he seemed to be 1-2 years old, 75lbs, and neutered. He's a little big to have the run of the house, so he lives in our garage.\
He's very obedient, and pretty well trained. We were/are amazed that anyone would put out a dog that comes when you call him, stops dead in his tracks if he starts after a rabbit or cat when he's told to stop. He sits, lays down and (sortof) stays.He doesn't bark or growl and seems house-trained.
However, on two occasions, he's attacked our smaller dogs. While they each could provoke me to threaten them with the pound, they weren't actively provoking him when he attacked.
When he attacked the Bichon, the Bichon was playing with a plastic dog bone that had been offered to the lab, but that he showed no interest in. I thought maybe that was misbehavior It's mine" kind of thing, but the attack was serious. He drew blood on the Bichon's neck. That was a few weeks ago, right after we got him.
Today, I was outside with the lab and the Shitzu. My other dogs aren't as obedient as the Lab. At least not in the same ways. I yelled at the Shitzu on 2 or 3 different occasions to get out of a flowerbed. A few minutes later, I was about 15 feet away from the two dogs. I looked over and the Shitzu (Zoey) was sniffing a bush near another flowerbed a few feet away from the Lab (Bear).
All of the sudden, Bear does a perfect 3-leg point in Zoey's direction. I thought that a squirrel might be close by. Then he growled and pounced on her continuing his growling. I yelled, "Stop" and he did. We had a long talk. I looked him right on the eyes and he didn't challenge me. (Thank goodness.)
I'm trying to understand what's going on here. The fact that he pointed makes me wonder if he was trying to alert me to what he understood as Zoe's misbehavior and if he was disciplining her.
At this point, I'm afraid that I've overthunk it.
I read a recent article here about aggression in Labs, and (as stupid as this sounds), except for attacking my other dogs, he doesn't show any signs of aggression or other misbehavior.
Any ideas on how I can help him understand that I'd like for my other dogs to stay alive?
I have never dealt with aggression in a Lab before so I don't know if I would be of much help. It could be that Bear was not socialized to other dogs as a puppy and needs to be taught how to act. It is possible your "tone" with your little dog was what set Bear off. (I have never had a Lab act like that.) You may need the advice of a trainer. Hopefully others with more experience will chime in, it can be slow around here on weekends. I hope you are able to work this out. Thanks for taking this baby in.
Maxx & Emma Jean
Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.
Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.
You are wonderful to have saved Bear. It sounds like you have a gem of a Lab there ...so obedient at such a young age. Somebody spent a lot of time training him. I think it is very likely that he hears you scold the other two dogs, get upset about it and sees himself as the enforcer. I know that whenever I scold my puppy to "no bite" or "no jump", my other obedient Lab gets upset and places himself between me and puppy. There is a down side to keeping him in the garage; he doesn't have a chance to bond with your other dogs. Also, Labs are people dogs, they want to be with their people all the time. Maybe you can keep him in the house in a crate to keep your other dogs safe until he learns to be a family member. (Don't ever leave him alone with the smaller dogs until he learns not to attack them.) I agree that a trainer or behaviorist may be very helpful to figure out what's going on in his head. You don't know what his past experiences are or what else he was trained.
A Lab is not too big to be in the house. I have two big boys (80 and 92 pounds) in about 900 sft of duplex. He needs to be with you and to have more time to learn how to behave with the other dogs.
Jackie, Champ, and Buddy
He could perhaps be a trained hunting dog. As such his prey drive was highly developed. If he was not socialized around small dogs he likely is reacting to them as small prey.
Deep Run Traveling "Takoda" (12/05/12)
Deep Run Easygoing Ezekial "Zeke" (04/13/17)
What do you mean he is black/chocolate? Can you put up a picture of him? Sounds like a Rotti to me. If he is actually a Lab with chocolate points, that is a rarely seen mismark.
There are dogs who equate small dogs with prey. I would not leave him alone with your small dogs or off leash around them. If you are set on keeping him, get a trainer (who uses positive methods) involved immediately. If not, locate a rescue who can rehome him - not a shelter where he may be put down before you are out of the lot.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
Good luck - sounds like Bear and your wife need to become friends - fast before the fur flys...as in, the shedding!