Hi everyone, I have a 10 month old yellow female lab named Sophie. She's one of the most prettiest pups I've ever laid eyes on!! However something has been bothering me for quite a while..Sophie isn't very affectionate, she never has been since the day I had her. She only likes to be around me when it is going to be time for her to eat. Every morning all she wants to do is play ball with us. She shows this by grabbing her ball and shoving it at us. Is dominance the case here? It is as if everything revolves around what she wants to do. Maybe this is just the adolescent stage but it is starting to really bother me now. I'm the one who feeds her, walks her, and trains her. When I think of a lab puppy, I think about a puppy who always wants to be around people, a puppy who wants to cuddle and just be pet. Sophie is the exact OPPOSITE. When I try to pet her she nudges away, and the times she actually does let me pet her she starts to pant heavily- which I know this can be a sign of stress. Although she does follow me from room to room many times, she only wants to be near me but never touched. She can get really aggressive with other dogs, especially when they chase her. I've had her since she was 8 weeks and she's never been abused at all. My whole family says she's just not a very friendly dog and I just keep denying it. What I'm wondering is that will she ever grow out of this?? What can I do that will make her become more affectionate? She is definitely different. I've had a male yellow lab before that was the most loving and friendly dog who just wanted to be pet. My boyfriend has a female lab, too who all she wants to do is be loved. I feel as if I got the worst pick of the litter. I'm beginning to feel really discouraged. Any advice??
If you don't mind me asking, did your Sophie come from a reputable breeder? Temperament is a very important part of a breeders program. Her aggression towards other dogs is not common of a well bred lab either. I am sure there are exceptions to all rules but you are mentioning a few other things that would be of concern to me. An "aloof" puppy is one thing but it seems as if she has not bonded with you very well. Most labs love everyone and their "people" are the be all to end all. They may be aloof to strangers but their people are what makes their world go round.
It may be very beneficial to have her evaluated by an a professional behaviourist to see what they have to say. Aloofness on it's own would not be a huge concern to me, (I wouldn't be happy!), but it sounds like more is going on and the sooner addressed the better. Good luck to you, she is a pretty girl!
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.
Some just are less affectionate than others. There is some research to show that spaying, especially too early, might have some connection to increased "touch sensitivity." In other words some are ticklish or seem to feel touch more and in different ways that makes it less enjoyable to them. If she wants to play and do things with you that might be all you will get. My own girl was like that but she would work her little heart out for me.
I am having a hard time envisioning the aggression you mention. How can a dog that is being chased, hence the dog is running away, be aggressive? Can you explain this differently for my feeble brain? What does she actually DO that you consider to be aggressive?
It's hard to comment on the internet without observing the dog and owner in action. I agree that an outside party to watch how you and she interact and how she interacts with other dogs would be beneficial. What obedience or other training classes did you do with her? What did a trainer there say? Training classes have a great fringe benefit that sometimes isn't mentionned; they tend to bond dog and owner. Might help to take a class even if she is well behaved on leash etc.
I had a chocolate that was like that. She'd follow me any where I went. ALWAYS wanted to fetch and work, but if you sat down, she'd always lay down 3-4 feet away. Not shy at all, but just didn't like "affection". She was all business.
Each dog has their own personality. Looks like your pup is just solitaire, independant. Doesn't mean there is anything wrong with them, that's just how they are.
This is something you can discuss with a breeder for any future dog, by going wtih a reputable breeder that knows their lines and pups they can recommend one that is more likely to be affectionate. No guarantee but it can increase your odds.
There are things you can do to improve the bond but it may not lead to more cuddles. Doing lots of training, via classes or just at home, helps build a bond. Doing lots of different things with the dog helps as well. The more you interact (above and beyond feeding and throwing the ball) the better the connection.
What motivates her? gets her exited? Is it a special treat or a game/toy? Do you play with her? (tug?)
What kind of training have you done with her? How often do you practice?
not sure why you think her giving you the ball is dominance - sounds like seh wants to play!? Another way to buidl a bond, playing with a dog.
Where did you get her? was she raised indoors with socialisation to humans during the first 8 weeks?
Can you please elabroate on what you refer to as aggression with other dogs? Was she socialised with other dogs as a puppy? What exactly is she doing when she chases? (chasing is a game most often).
Last edited by Tanya; 04-03-2013 at 12:09 PM.
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
Not up as early this morning as yesterday?
Laci was not cuddly either. She always followed me around the house, actually all three do everytime I get up. I do a lot of obedience with her, go to classes etc. and she does lay on the couch beside me more now than ever.
The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!
Thank you everybody for the advice. I got Sophie from a reputable breeder with papers and is registered. I took her to puppy obedience classes that lasted for about 6 weeks. Unfortunately I haven't enrolled her in any other classes. Maybe this is where I went wrong?
I tried bringing her around other dogs when she was younger and some dogs she did not get a long with. When other dogs would come up to sniff her or try to jump and play around with her, all the hair on her back would stand up. When I would play fetch with her and she would retrieve the ball, sometimes some dogs would try to run with her and jump on her the same time-again, the hair on her back would stand up and she would turn around and snarl at the dog. This has happened a few times. Luckily she hasn't been in any fights yet. I'm assuming she would rather just play fetch than with other dogs. I would like to continue socializing her with other dogs but I'm not sure how she would react with them and of course I wouldn't want her to hurt somebody else's dog. It is as if she doesn't care for other dogs and when the dogs try to play with her she gets frustrated.
I'm wondering if keeping her kennel in my room would make her feel more comfortable around me? I would really like to build a bond with her...just don't know where to begin.
I'm beginning to think she just shows affection in different ways. She leans up next to me from time to time. Although would like her to let me pet without her getting stressed out.
Registration with papers does not equal the breeder being reputable. Was she raised indoors and handled/socialized with people during her early weeks? Some of this could be due to inadequate early handling.
Do you groom her regularly (a few times a week)? That can help with building a bond. I would also agree that more classes will help.
Have you told the breeder about your concerns?
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.