Imagine an active, boisterous Labrador playing and running all over the house. You might find him playing with every object, jumping over furniture and even bumping into people every time. In these kinds of situations, you might want your Lab to calm down a bit.
One common question that Labrador owners, especially new Labrador owners ask me is, When do Labs calm down? They ask me, do they ever calm down? If so, at what age do Labradors calm down?
This article answers you everything regarding, when do Labradors calm down, and we also provide you with different techniques and solutions to calm down your Labrador.
When do Labs calm down?
Before answering this question directly, there are certain things you need to understand. What do you mean by a calming of a Labrador? Do you want your dog to stay quiet? You cannot expect a Labrador retriever to sit calm and quiet in the house, as they are an energetic and enthusiastic breed of dogs.
Then what does calm mean?
A Labrador retriever will go through various stages of life and its energy levels vary at different stages. A Labrador puppy may behave very excited and enthusiastic, whereas a senior Lab may behave in a settled manner. So here, calming down means a settled behavior rather than an over-excited one.
In order to understand this clearly, you need to have a brief idea of the various stages of a Labrador puppy and its energy levels with respect to age.
Understanding Labrador growth stages
A Lab will not behave the same way throughout its life. Its behavior changes with age. Hence understanding your Labrador retriever behavior by age gives you more clarity regarding his behavior and ways to deal with it.
You may broadly divide the growth period of a Labrador into five stages. Have a look below.
A newborn puppy is generally calm and may not even have the proper strength to cry. They are mostly calm and dependent on their mother for their daily care.
2. Young puppy
But young Labrador puppies are not at all calm like the newborn ones. They become aware and alert of their surroundings and start recognising people and the environment surrounding them.
They start exploring everything surrounding them by using their mouth and teeth. Hence chewing behavior starts during this stage.
The Labrador puppies are quite enthusiastic during this stage and exhibit naughty behavior such as chewing everything and biting everyone.
This stage is anywhere between 6 to 18 months of age. You can consider your puppy as a teenager during this stage.
Even though the puppies might have completed their physical growth by this age, they are still puppies both mentally and emotionally.
They seem to be fun-filled and are full of energy and excitement during this stage. It seems too difficult to control their excited actions unless they are trained properly.
4. Mature adult
This stage is anywhere between 18 months to 7 years of age. You can consider your Lab as an adult one as soon as it reaches 18 months to 24 months of age. This adult stage lasts until 7 years of age.
Even though your Labrador is active during this period, it seems to have slowed down a bit. Instead of exploring and investigating, it prefers spending time with you and the family.
5. Senior dog
You may consider your Lab a senior member as soon as it reaches its 7th year. During this stage even though your Labrador stays mentally enthusiastic, it gets somewhat slowed down physically.
It exhibits the same amount of excitement for things like food and play, but the energy levels get slightly reduced when compared with its previous adult stage.
So, At what age do Labs calm down?
After reading the age-wise behavior of a Labrador, you might have got an idea, when do lab puppies calm down. Yes, you can notice that Labs calms down a bit during the mature adult stage.
This means that your Lab will calm down anywhere between 2 to 3 years of age.
But when anyone asks, “when will my Lab calm down exactly?”, there is no exact age number to answer. As every Labrador is different, and there exist various factors that determine the calming age of your dog. For example, my first Labrador seemed to calm down and got settled as it reached its second birthday. But my other Lab which is almost 2 years old is nowhere in the mood to calm down.
Some dogs do not calm down even at their senior stages of life. They seem to be hyper all their life. Why don’t these Labs calm down even after being a senior? If this is your case, you might be thinking, “when will my Lab settle down”?
These kinds of cases are different and here, you need to differentiate between a normal energetic dog and a hyper dog. Yes, there exists a difference.
Difference between an energetic Lab and a hyper Lab
When your Lab is running all around, jumping on people, nipping them and always boisterous, you cannot consider him to be a happy dog.
Actually, it is a hyper dog.
A hyper dog is a dog which is very boisterous and unbalanced. It finds difficult to control itself. Playing and activities with a hyper dog may sometimes turn into situations where your dog might exhibit aggressive behavior.
As i said you, Labs mostly calm down as they reach the maturity stage during 2 to 3 years of age. But these Labs which tend to be hyper stay hyper and anxious throughout their lives.
There are various symptoms with which you can identify that your Lab is a hyper one.
Observe the symptoms of a hyper dog
1. Excessive barking and whining.
2. Destructive behavior.
3. Restless behavior.
4. Excessive reaction to a routine stimulus.
5. Short attention span.
6. Excessive panting.
7. Abnormal behavior such as spinning in circles and chasing its own tail.
All these can be the symptoms of a hyper dog.
How to calm a Labrador effectively?
If your Lab is too active or when you observe any of the above symptoms in your Labrador, it is the time when your dog needs your help. Because your dog cannot correct its hyperactive behavior by itself.
There are ways to calm down your Labrador. Follow the tips below to deal with the issue effectively.
1. Take control of your dog
Taking control means both physical control and mental control. In any kind of situations, you should be ready to control your dog with a leash or a body harness. You should not allow your dog to oppose such actions. You should assert that you are the owner, and you should shape your dog’s behavior in a proper way.
If your dog gets naughty by biting and destroying things, you should firmly say to him ” No”. This kind of behavior makes your dog understand that you are the owner. Thus take charge of shaping its behavior.
Behaving like an owner does not mean beating or scolding your dog during its bad behavior. It is not at all necessary and advisable. Your body language with a simple “No” can make him understand not to do certain things.
2. Exercise your Lab
As I always tell you, A tired dog is a happy dog. Basically Labs are highly energetic breeds and are bred for highly demanding works. This is their genetic makeup from many centuries.
But what about today’s Lab? Is he working like his ancestors? NO.
Sedentary life is not their genetic makeup. Hence you cannot expect your Lab to sit idle all day watching television.
If your Lab does not receive enough exercise, he gets bored, irritated and turns hyper. The hyperactive state is your dog’s own way of venting out its energy. This can lead to destructive and unwanted behavior.
Hence, if you have a Labrador in your house, you need to plan an exercise routine for him. You can go through our article on How much exercise does a Lab need? and check if you are providing him with enough exercise daily.
3. Keep your Lab mentally active
Just providing some kind of physical activity may not be sufficient for your Lab always. Your dog needs mental stimulation too. Providing mental activities like enhanced social interaction with other people and other dogs can keep your dog calm and relaxed.
Imagine if you stop interacting with people and you stay all alone. How do you feel? The same happens with your Lab.
Hence, improve social interaction for your dog.
Involve your dog in small playful activities or games like hiding the treats and allowing your dog to find them. You can also play fetch and train your dog to retrieve it. Providing indoor toys for him to play some games can also make his mind mentally calm and stable.
4. Behavior modification
Positive reinforcement always works with dogs and especially with Labradors. Because Labs can go to any extent for rewards and appreciation.
When your Lab stays calm and waits patiently for anything, reward your dog for its patience and its calm behavior. Remember that rewarding behaviors are always repeated by your dog.
Always ignore unwanted behavior and never reward such behaviors. This discourages unwanted behavior in your dog. Your dog can understand that bad behavior never gets him anything, not even your attention.
5. Teach your dog to relax
Train your dog with some commands such as calm, relax or whatever and try to calm down your dog using those words.
Also, provide a grooming routine for your dog as he stays relaxed during the grooming time. Brush your dog with a soft brush and it can be a relaxing experience for him.
Give your dog some belly rubs and I’m sure that he will enjoy it. You can do this at any time of the day, it will calm him down.
6. Change your way of interaction
Your behavior should be calm and relaxed, especially when you are dealing with a hyperactive dog. Your loud voice, excited behavior and excess reaction will trigger excessive excitement in your dog.
I observed this clearly during my dog’s training. It used to behave excitedly when i am excited and used to stay calm when i calm down.
Prefer to stay calm during training and rewarding process and your dog will repeat the same behavior. So be patient and calm down your body language during your interaction with your dog.
Sometimes it can be difficult to calm down your dog even after several efforts.
If not dealt properly, the hyperactive behavior can make your dog anxious and aggressive. This can disrupt the relationship between your dog and yourself.
To avoid such negative consequences, it is necessary to apply proper training techniques to calm your dog.
Here is the ultimate solution to calm your dog.