My Chocolate Lab seems to draw aggression from all other animals, but he's so sweet.

DWT

New member
Joined
May 5, 2022
Greetings All,
I had a simple question I wanted to crowd source. My sweet little Lab is so tender he barely even plays with his own siblings. Yet from cats to dogs, other animals target him. My Shepards are playing with each other and they keep it friendly. My Shepards get up close and sniff the cats, and the cats tolerate it. But the Lab is usually doing his own thing. Most of the time it seems his brothers only interact to pick on him, not play like they usually do with each other. If the Lab sniffs a the cat, it hisses and claws at him. Birds that leave my other boys alone swoop at him.
My question is why? Why is my sweetest boy attracting the most, and nigh universally, dislike from others? My last sweet, non assertive puppy didn't attract the same abuses. Is it just an oddity, or is there some sort of precedent to explain this... like maybe we altered Chocolate Labs to the point where more natural species can detect and reject their genetic presence perhaps? Anyhow, thanks now for any (well intended and honest) responses.
 

linda2147

Active member
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
New Hampshire
sounds like you have to build up his self confidence, the others see his shyness as a weakness and will continue to pick on him until he learns to assert himself.. the more he's picked on and doesn't defend himself the more others will pick on him. start playing games with him and let him win, this will help with his self confidence
 

TTouch

Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2021
Linda is spot on......... other animals are picking up on what you see as 'sweetness' they see/sense as weakness and in a pack situation a weak animal can be considered a danger to the pack and so is 'picked on' and in the wild would be killed by the pack............. so you need to build up his self confidence, lots of one to one time, teach obedience, take him to an obedience class and if 'of age' then tracking or agility very quickly builds their self esteem giving the dog more confidence and social skills.
 

DWT

New member
Joined
May 5, 2022
Original Poster
Thanks you two. I had thought about this for my dogs, but it doesn't explain the inter-species hostility. Hell even some people seem to react to my lab differently than my two other dogs, even some who claim to favour labs over shepherds. For example, I'll call back to the cat example. My Shepard gets in the cat's face to sniff and it tolerates it. My lab sniffs the same cat (not immediately after the others had annoyed it) and the otherwise calm and chill cat hisses, claws, and otherwise shows displeasure. If it were just the other dogs, or just cats, or just some people I would chalk it up to my prior understanding of animals, but it's all of the above which I have no reasonable answer for.

For any new people coming in, I am aware of dog-on-dog behavior. What I am asking about, as implied by my title, is why ALL animals seem to take a disliking to my Lab. Cats and birds don't care that he is a 'weak link in the pack'. Yet for some reason they are more hostile to him. I've also considered the difference in size between a Shepard and a lab and how it might affect the way others approach them in different manners. This however doesn't hold either, as the creatures I'm referring to are under similar threat from my boys, as in they have no reason to distinguish between the large threat of my lab and the slightly larger threat of my Shepard as both are more than large enough to be a potentially lethal threat.
 

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TTouch

Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2021
I had thought about this for my dogs, but it doesn't explain the inter-species hostility.
other animals are picking up on what you see as 'sweetness' they see/sense as weakness and in a pack situation a weak animal can be considered a danger to the pack and so is 'picked on' and in the wild would be killed by the pack
It makes no difference if it is in its 'normal animal pack' dog or cat, 'pack' can mean any animals who meet together, so even on the street or park. ALL animals( including humans) display body langauge and that is read by all other animals, it is also irrelevant of size of animal ...so it is very likely it is displaying 'sensitive/submissive' body language which suggests to others it is weak.

My mini poodle is 'pack leader' and she is a quarter the size of my BC....... last week while out on a walk, we met a 8months old ( full of itself) Great Dane and my mini put it in its place immediately, while my BC who is not so confident was concerned about its size and backed off until she saw the Danes respect and change in its behaviour after my mini 'told him off'. Once that happened they all played together respectfully........I have never told my poodle she is tiny however she is a confident dog and that carries weight in the animal world.
 

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