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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Community > Message Boards > Dogs > Behavior And Training > Adopted Lab Becoming Timid Off Men
Joined: 12/31/1969
User offline. Last seen 42 years 37 weeks ago.

I adopted a 4-5yr old Lab from the SPCA about 4 weeks ago. He is very good and listens well. He seems to be a very fast learner. But he seems to get more and more scared of men each week. I walk him daily on trails at a local park (between 1-2hr walks). His first week he was very good. He just ignored people and other dogs. His second week he started getting unsure of men. He wouldn't walk by them and he would give a little bark. He has progressed to barking and lunging at men. And he will not walk around other dogs anymore. He has had no bad experiences with me at all. I am very confused with this behavior. He is fine with kids and women. It is just men. Any advice how to fix this would be greatly appreciated.

Joined: 12/31/1969
User offline. Last seen 42 years 37 weeks ago.

My bet would be that he loves you so much that he is protecting you out in "his" territory in the park. Since you seem to be female, he must think that other females aren't threatening; YOU are the Alpha female in his pack. All those other males out there are threats to his position as Alpha male in the pack (the children don't count; they are just offspring).

Since he is thinking like a dog, you do, too. He needs to know that YOU are in charge of the pack, not him. YOU need to assert dominance over him when he shows that aggressive behavior with a quick tug on the leash, direct and sustained eye contact with him along with a firm "NO!" from you. Having him "heel" will also help with that, as he will be in obedience to you.

If you haven't already done so, an obedience class would be very helpful for the two of you. It would help to establish the hierarchy of leadership.