We have been owned by 2 retriever dogs in our lives and they were both fantastic family dogs.
Not every retriever likes to chase balls so if that’s important to you, test them before you adopt. The retrieving instinct can come in a few natural styles.
- Most Common – Lives to fetch and bring its master the ball/bird/frisbie
- Will chase a ball but has not interest in bringing it back to you
- Will chase a ball/bird/Frisbee but wants to keep it’s prize for itself
- Looks at you like you are crazy when you throw the ball.
The first three options will probably make great hunting dogs and can be taught to bring it… the 4th that has no desire to chase a ball is probably never going to enjoy retrieving so if that’s important to you find a dog that has the desire already built in.
Most Labs and Retrievers also have a built in desire to sniff and find things and they love to do it.
Create search and find games for your pooch. Show them a prize like a toy or special treat then have one person distract them while you hide it from them. Tell them to find it… Our lab loves this game and won’t give up until he does find it.. start out with an easy hiding spot making it more and more difficult.
Labs are happiest when they are doing a job and will get into much less mischief when their bright minds are kept busy
If you want a dog that’s going to walk beside you in a straight line then it’s likely the lab isn’t for you either. We saw this diagram of how a lab takes a walk and had to laugh. That’s EXACTLY what it’s like to walk with a lab.. They will want to sniff at and look at everything.
Labrador Retriever Temperament Characteristics
The AKC describes the Labrador’s temperament as a kind, pleasant, outgoing and tractable nature. Labradors’ sense of smell allows them to hone in on almost any scent and follow the path of its origin. They generally stay on the scent until they find it. Navies, military forces and police forces use them as detection dogs to track down smugglers, thieves, terrorists and black marketers. Labradors instinctively enjoy holding objects and even hands or arms in their mouths, which they can do with great gentleness (a Labrador can carry an egg in its mouth without breaking it). They are known to have a very soft feel to the mouth, as a result of being bred to retrieve game such as waterfowl. They are prone to chewing objects (though they can be trained to abandon this behavior). The Labrador Retriever’s coat repels water to some extent, thus facilitating the extensive use of the dog in waterfowl hunting. Source: wikipedia
If you are lucky enough to get a lab mix breed.. aka lab mutt