So my wife and I adopted a 10 month old chocolate lab from teh humane society... the most GENTLE, CALM and CUDDLY little guy ive ever known. NO ONE can believe how calm and sweet he is, almost to the point we feel there is something wrong. We truly believe he was treated terribly as a pup as he wouldnt come out of the kennel the first few days, yet once outside he was a different pup happy and having fun. He had NO idea how to even play, wrestle, fetch, NOTHING. He warmed up after a couple days and over the last 4 months has become a WONDERFUL dog just the most mellow temperament, 100% submissive, never growled at another dog or person LOVES little kids. BUT my concern... I adopted a lab in hopes of bird hunting. He shows nearly NO prey drive, we have even taken him to a game farm and had formal obedience and some entry to bird training done. he chases the pigeons and swats at them like hes playing with them and barely lips them but wont pick them up and then gets bored and comes and lays down... advise? anyone ever heard of a Lab not interested in chasing birds or animals? I wonder if hes mentally not right lol.
Also he has no interest in fetching.. hes a retriever.... that doesnt fetch. we can occasionally get him excited with squeeky toys inside the house and wrestle and he has learned to play over the last few months, and if we throw the toy across th room he DOES go get it most of the time now but once we go outside and toss a ball he chases it like 50% of the time and brings it back like 10% of the time but most of the time he just watches it and walks away and is done playing. we go to a dog park and he LOVES chasing and running with other dogs, and ill find a ball and throw it and ALL the dogs take off chasing it and he has no interest.. they chase the ball... he chases them to play ignoring the ball. Hes now almost 14 months old. How patient should I be? I desperatly want a dog with some energy and drive but even just to get him to want to chase a ball or toy would be great even if he never takes to hunting. How long would be normal to get him interested or at this age if hes not yet do you think he ever will be? or will I just have a sappy, submissive, extremly calm and cuddly family pet we wont ever be able to play with? lol (not that its all bad) #iwanttoplaywithmydog
You're not alone having a Lab that doesn't retrieve. My lab couldn't care less about a ball. The only time she retrieves is if it involves a stick and lots of water. Labs are very different in nature and unless you can get a breeder to match you with a pup whom may meet your needs unfortunately its pot luck. My Lab is very very mellow, more of a couch potato than anything else. However that works for me as we do a couple long walks a day and the rest she spends chilling out. But she would make for a rubbish hunting lab!
Sounds so much like our chocolate lab, Hank, who recently passed away. He was so sweet and docile and the perfect dog for us in every way. He did not retrieve or like water. You could bounce a tennis ball in front of his nose and he wouldn't even flinch or acknowledge it. He didn't like water, either and would only go near it if very hot. He came from a hardcore hunter's family and was paired with his brother, a very assertive dog. The family kept the brother, who was a good hunting dog. We now have a new 8-month-old chocolate lab who is very energetic. It's quite a new experience for us.
Dogs of all breeds vary a great deal in drive and temperament. If you really, really wanted a dog specifically for hunting then finding a dog from field/hunting lines OR working with a conformation breeder who breeds multi-porpose dogs would have been the way to go. Adopting a dog as a pet is always a great idea - but as you have discovered when you want a dog for a specific purpose you need to find a certain temperament.
Not all Labs will hunt. My rescue has a TON of prey drive and was likely from a field breeder (based primarily on his appearance). My well bred conformation Lab from a well regarded breeder has literally zero prey drive and is not much interested in retreiving anything. He is most fond of hanging out on the couch.
What you can do with the dog you have is find a local hunt club and see what you can do to train him. I would NOT recommend force fetching a dog who has been through a difficult time and displayed really submissive behaviors. I would look to train him using positive methods. No e-collar on him for a long time if ever. And maybe he will surprise you.
not all labs love retrieving unfortunately. there is much you can do to make it a fun thing an train the retriever as people do with dogs that are not natural retrievers though. and it may come with time, sometimes dogs need a few months to a year to really settle into a new home and learn to play and be care free.
my lab isn't much of a fetcher. we did some work to get him t fetch bumpers (had to make it light, super fun, high reward frequency) but we didn't stick with it as it wasn't hugely important to me beyond the hunt class we took. we did other things. he does like to fetch kong squeaky balls.