If you’re looking for a great family dog that loves to play with kids and other animals, then a Labradoodle might be just the dog for you. However, if you’re looking for a guard dog that will fiercely protect you and your home, you may want to consider another breed.
Labradoodles are not protective dogs by nature. They are bred to be gentle and friendly, even towards strangers. However, some Labradoodles may develop protective, or even overprotective characteristics, depending on the relationship they have with their owner. Continue reading to learn more…
Why Labradoodles Aren’t Protective
Labradoodles are a cross between a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle. The cross may be between a Labrador and a full, miniature, or toy-size poodle. Regardless of the type of Poodle they’re bred with, none of these breeds are particularly aggressive, nor would any of them be considered true guard dogs.
Labradoodles were originally bred to make a hypoallergenic dog, and, well… that’s about it. They were not bred to hunt, fight, work, guard, or anything else. They were solely bred to create a cute pet for people with asthma and mild allergies.
A well-bred Labradoodle is one that is considered to be friendly, gentle, playful, and sociable – pretty much the opposite of a good guard dog.
What Makes a Labradoodle Protective?
First, it’s important to understand that a Labradoodle is a crossbreed, which is a little bit different than a true breed. Simply mixing two existing breeds does not create a new breed of dog.
Creating a new breed involves mating dogs with select traits and common ancestors over many generations. For example, if a purebred Golden Retriever and a purebred Doberman Pinscher had puppies, you could call the offspring “Golden Pinschers,” but that wouldn’t make them an official breed. If that were the case, new dog breeds would come into existence literally every day.
What this means is that Labradoodles do not have rigidly predictable characteristics. That’s because if certain members of the parent breeds are not selected for specific genetic traits over many generations, crossbreeding is basically a genetic roll of the dice.
So, just because Labradoodles are typically nonaggressive dogs, that doesn’t mean a particular one couldn’t come from a mom or dad with aggressive or protective tendencies.
However, the driving factor that usually determines whether a dog is protective or not is its relationship with its owner. Yes, some dogs have protective instincts, whereas others do not, but that can change quite dramatically depending on how strongly bonded the dog is or isn’t to its owner.
While having a protective dog might sound like a good thing, when a particular breed – or in this case, crossbreed – that is not known for being protective suddenly becomes protective, it’s usually a bad sign.
My Foxhound, Maggie is an overprotective dog. What I mean is, she’ll often times growl, bark at, or even attack strangers who are not doing anything to warrant such behavior.
For example, if someone is attacking me, or trying to break into my house, etc… then yes, I would want her to protect me. However, if my wife and I are at a restaurant, dining on the patio, and a server comes over to take our order, that shouldn’t be a cue for her to snap at them – this has literally happened, and embarrassed us, dozens of times.
In fact, at one point in time, Maggie was so protective of me, she snapped at my wife for trying to give me a kiss goodbye in the morning.
Her main motive for behaving this way is actually jealousy. She’s not really trying to protect me, per se, because I’m not actually in danger in any of these situations. She just doesn’t want anyone else going near me and possibly gaining my attention and affection.
I attribute this to the fact that for most of her life, it was just the two of us. For many years, my wife and I moved around the country, and I was the stay-at-home blogger/doggie-daddy. My wife would leave for work in the morning, and for the next 8 to 12 hours, it would just be Maggie and me in solitary.
So, if your Labradoodle forms an incredibly tight bond with you or another member of your household, they might become protective, but not in a good way.
What to Do with an Overprotective Labradoodle
If you happen to have a Labradoodle that has become overprotective, they are going to need some basic obedience training and socializing. The most important thing is that you don’t ever reward them for their overprotective behavior.
For example, if your Labradoodle shows aggression towards another person or animal when they shouldn’t, the last thing you should do is give them a treat, pet them, or praise them after such an incident.
It’s easy for us to misinterpret our dog’s overprotectiveness as a sign of deep affection towards us, and then in turn, shower them with love. That only encourages the bad behavior, making matters worse.
In fact, if you are someone who tends to smother your Labradoodle with affection, constantly doting on them, dialing that back would probably be a good idea. The more you treat them like the two of you are the only things in the world that matter, the more likely they are to become overprotective.
I would also recommend taking your Labradoodle to a socialization class. That might be the fastest and most effective way to correct their overprotective behavior.
VetSTREET. Labradoodle. Retrieved from http://www.vetstreet.com/dogs/labradoodle#history
Adrienne Farricelli (May 29, 2019). Why Some Dogs Become Protective of Their Owners. Retrieved from https://pethelpful.com/dogs/Why-Some-Dogs-Become-Protective-of-Owners