Why Are Labradors So Clumsy? (What To Do About It?)

By Benjamin Tash

Labradors are well-known for their goofiness, loyalty as well as their affectionate nature, and have earned the reputation of being a “man’s best friend”. 

However, they are not always known for their grace and poise. In fact, many Labradors possess a level of clumsiness that can be both endearing and comical. From tripping over their own front paws to knocking things over with their wagging tails, these Labs never fail to make us laugh. 

Here’s Why Labradors Are Clumsy:

Labradors are known to be clumsy due to their physical traits, enthusiastic eagerness to please, as well as other factors including their health, age, level of exercise and mental stimulation acquired. Without a proper outlet for their energetic tendencies, Labradors would get bored and destructive, thus manifesting their pent-up energy in behavioral issues and clumsiness. 

We’ll go over the 5 reasons and factors behind their clumsiness, as well as the ways to mitigate this sort of behavior. So let’s get on to it. 

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5 Reasons & Factors of Labs’ Clumsiness

1) Excitement.

Labradors usually get out of control and lose the ability to hit the brakes, so to speak, once they’re on cloud nine. This is because as their brains get overwhelmed with stimuli from the adrenaline rush, it results in loss of coordination control in Labs. 

Due to their playful, energetic and high eagerness to please disposition; Labradors tend to become overly focused on a task or an object at hand without paying heed to their surroundings. On top of that, they tend to get overly rambunctious in their play which renders accidental knocks or accidents inevitable. 

Not to mention their loss of control in keeping check of their wagging tails when they’re excited — which can be a nuisance when unintentional knocks occur. 

Read also: Why Are Labradors So Goofy? (8 Goofy Labrador Behaviors Explained)

2) Physical Traits 

A relatively large size and weight of a Labrador sometimes makes it difficult for them to mobilize through tight or uneven spaces. As a result, a curious and inexperienced Lab puppy or a dog may sometimes make clumsy decisions that don’t match up to their expectations due to their sizes or physical capacity. 

A relatively large Labrador has a higher centre of gravity, thus making them prone to accidental falls and trips — not to mention their poor balancing skills as well.

Apart from that, a Labrador's shorter snout and wider heads compared to other breeds also lead to a poorer depth perception. This is because a wider head has a wider spaced eyes which in turn make up a slightly wider peripheral vision. And increased peripheral vision compromises the binocular visual to a certain extent, thus lesser depth perception.

In addition to that, dogs also have lesser visual acuity than humans which also explains their clumsiness from time to time. 

To compensate for this, rear end awareness training is crucial for labradors, as an overall improve in balance and coordination from these exercises help with depth perception. This is because exercising the hindquarters aids in improving the dog’s proprioception. 

You might also be interested in Why Do Labradors Look Like Seals? [Facts & Myths Analyzed]

3) Lack of Training and Socialization.

Labradors are highly energetic, playful, and sociable by nature. And they thrive with human companionship and attention. An untrained Lab that’s left alone to its own devices would likely lead to situations where it’d get destructive out of boredom and anxiety. 

Labradors that lack the agility, rear end awareness and socialization skills are always bound to be clumsy and develop behavioral issues. 

This is because a lack of socialization causes Labs to be extremely reactive, less confident, less adaptable & resilient to their environment, and less self-aware of their surroundings which would inevitably result in clumsiness and mischief. 
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A destructive and a bored Lab would get clumsy and hence get into trouble as it lacks the self-control to manage their excitement and movement. 

Therefore, a good solid training early on would help Labradors better manage their impulses which would in turn make them less reactive and more aware of their surroundings. 

Check also: Why Do Labradors Steal Things? (and Food!) What To Do About It?

4) Health Issues & Age

If a Labrador acts clumsy out of the blue despite being properly trained, socialized well and without being hyper; then there’s a high chance your Lab may have underlying health issues. And it’s best to take your dog to the vet if it acts out of the ordinary, i.e walks, leaps or jumps funnily. 

This is because Labradors in particular are genetically predisposed to Hip Dysplasia, which affects the hip joints. And it can happen at any age of your pooch, so if your young Lab limps funnily on a regular basis, sits funnily or is reluctant on going for walks — then it’s best to take your pooch to a vet for a check-up as a precaution. 

The other underlying disease to look out for in Labs is arthritis, especially a senior Lab past the age of 8 and above. This disease causes Labs to lose muscle mass and strength, which can make a dog clumsy in activities involving climbing of stairs and walking due to inflammation in the joints. 

Recommended reading: Should Labradors Eat Grain-Free? (Important Facts You Must Know)

5) Lack of Exercise and Mental Stimulation. 

It’s known that Labradors are highly energetic dogs and they thrive on mental stimulation to stay healthy, happy and all-rounded. 

Due to their high strength, high endurance and extreme intelligence; Labs require copious amounts of exercise and mental stimulation to burn off their excess energy. Or otherwise, they might channel their energy into being destructive clumsy dogs and in turn find themselves in trouble. 

This is because with a lack of exercise and without its physical needs met, they would would get bored and be destructive as a way to release their pent-up energy. And when that happens, a Lab may lose control of itself and becomes extremely clumsy when it experiences a surge of outburst energy. 

Hence, it’s important to provide your Labradors with a suitable outlet for their energy through adequate exercise and mentally-challenging games or activities to maintain their overall well-being. 

Some of the exercises include taking your pooch out for:

  • A 30 to 45 minutes daily walk
  • Playing fetch or Frisbees (Amazon) which involves running.
  • Swimming 
  • Agility exercises, which involves running through a course of obstacles such as tunnels, jumps, and weave poles. 
  • A hike out as they make good hiking partners. 

Check Also: Are Labradors Dumb? (You’d Be Surprised)

At What Age are Labradors Most Difficult & Clumsiest To Handle And When Do They Calm Down?

From my experience, Labradors are most most difficult toward the end of their puppyhood all the way up to their 12th month when they’re beginning to settle as adults.

The chewing you’ve seen in their puppy stage with their baby teeth is mild in comparison to the active chewing once the adult teeth emerges when they’re roughly around 4 ~ 5 months old. 

Labrador puppies between the ages of 4 weeks to 16 weeks are usually clumsy and goofy at the same time, but they can also be a nuisance for new owners. An untrained puppy are more likely to chew on things, jump on furnitures etc, dig in the yard, and accidentally pees or defecates in the house.
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Check Also: Why Are Labradors So Annoying? (21 Reasons Explained)

This is because Labrador puppies have an innate urge to explore their surroundings through their mouth as their sense of sight and smell develops, hence the biting, mouthing and nipping.

Additionally, they tend to chew things as a way to cope with the discomfort and pain that comes with teething. To combat such behaviors, check out this chewing toy like this one that they can get distracted with.

Also, puppies in this stage go through a fear period around 4 ~ 5 months old, also known as the “fear imprint stage”, whereby they’re fearful of the novel experiences around them. And in turn, they tend to become more active, clumsy, goofy and playful as a way of coping with their fear.

There’s also a possibility that your pooch may completely abandon their training etiquette and manners learnt during puppyhood in their adolescent stage when they begin teething again right around 5 months old. Labs would usually get back to their old habits of chewing and nipping, if not even worst this time around, as a way to alleviate the discomfort and pain that comes with it. 

Adolescence is the stage when your patience will be tested as your pooch undergoes major changes and development as they hit puberty. It’s when your pooch may get extra vocal, stubborn, clumsy and mouthy as they attempt to assert their dominance, independence and push your boundaries. 

Labs also experience a tremendous surge energy in this stage and they would begin to have adult endurance with boundless energy. Labs at this stage become increasingly boisterous, as their bodies demand more energy to fuel their development. Being energetic dogs that they are, this is the stage when exercise, mental stimulation, socialization and training are crucial. 

Most Lab calm down from their hyper mode between the ages of 11 months to 18 months, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they mellow out completely by then. 

Speaking from experience, most Labradors physically mellow out at the age range of 8 to 11. And they never mentally mature as they retain their playful, goofiness and energetic personality all their lives from what I’ve experienced.

More Articles You’ll Enjoy:


The Labrador Forum: Clumsy Lab Puppies

Labrador Forums UK: Labradors Clumsy Creatures

Matthews CarolinaVet: Dog Staggering/Falling Over – Clumsiness

AKC: 8 Facts About Labs