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My year old is scared of random things. He's getting aggressive. Any idea why or how to help!?

My Lab is scared of seemingly random things that have been around for weeks or even months. Sometimes if someone laughs, coughs, picks up an object, or does any seemingly random movement like putting on a hat he'll suddenly panic and start barking and running away. He recently has started lunging at the person that scared him, including me and he's never shown me any sort of aggression up until now. He's a big boy and I'm terrified that he's going to hurt someone. I don't want to have to put him down!
Some examples:
I was cleaning the house two days ago and had been sneezing most of the morning. I sat down in a chair and sneezed again and this time he started barking and growling at me.

We had some friends over and every time my fiance laughed he'd growl and run from him despite living with him since he was a puppy. He hasn't done this before or since.

We have other dogs he has jumped on when they walked by even when he has been playing or snoozing with them moments before.Help!


Asked by Member 1153377 on Feb 3rd 2013 Tagged aggression, fear, phobia, scared in Fears & Phobias
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Answers

Libby

This is a job for a behaviorist. If you don't intervene by seeking professional help immediately, you're going to end up with a real tragedy on your hands. In the meantime, I would forego having company or put the dog in another room when you have friends over.


Libby answered on 2/3/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Guest

Sounds like a fear stage. Al dogs as they mature will go through one, sometimes 2 stages where they seem to be scared of everything.
Calm, consistent training is the key. This is a critical time...handle it wrong, you end up with a nervous, anxious dog...do it right & you get a well adjusted, confident adult.
Respect the fear, but don't give in to it. Exposure is vital. Help him face his fears with gentle, firm actions.


Member 904338 answered on 2/3/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Guest

I agree with hiring a professional CERTIFIED behaviorist, BUT... with sudden severe behavioral changes like this, a comprehensive physical exam needs to be done first!
Some of these issues can definitely be related to vision issues and, sadly, Labradors can and often do suffer from many different hereditary vision problems, all of which could have been tested for in his parents PRIOR to breeding the litter but, if that wasn't done, they could explain his problems. He is reaching the age where many of these vision issues begin to show up.
Additionally, any good, certified behaviorist will require a full health exam PRIOR to any work they will do with you and your dog. You want to make sure you hire a certified behaviorist, NOT a trainer, as anyone can call themselves a trainer! With issues as severe as he seems to have, you need someone who you know is able to help him and you and has been trained in the proper way to do this.


Member 641257 answered on 2/3/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer