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    Thread: Potential

    1. #1
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      Potential

      When I first decided to get a Labrador Retriever a lot of thoughts on what to do with him came across my mind. A hunting dog was first, I decided against that because I have never been hunting, although I am a shooter, mainly trap. (I took my dog to the gun club many times and he isn't afraid of the noise) Next was agility, which I decided against after watching some videos and seeing how physical it was for the human, I am way to out of shape for that. There is a small agility course at a nearby dog park that he did well on). I even thought about some kind of service work for the dog. Labradors, after all are very intelligent animals. And finally, just a family pet, which is how things have turned out.

      My Lab, Zeke, came into my life just over two years ago. He is a very smart, eager to learn dog, he can learn anything when there is a treat involved at the end. If he were to get a tattoo it would read "Live to eat, eat to live".

      I love my Zeke, he is a lot of fun and seems to be happy and enjoy his life. There isn't much I request from him that he won't try (and eventually succeed) do. He listens 100% when alone with me and/or my wife. He's about 90% when other people and/or dogs are around and getting better.

      So for those of you who just have a family pet, have you ever wondered if you've stunted your dogs potential? I don't have any regrets, I just wonder if he would have been happier with a more intense learning type life, he does seem to want to please me. I just don't have the time and energy to do more than I do, and we both love our playtime outings.

      Just curious how others feel, if anyone else has even had the thought cross their mind.

      Bill



      Zeke was about 6 months old in the following video.



    2. #2
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      I would have loved to get Cookie in Agility or Hunting Trials because I think he would have done great, but I didn't have my own car when he was younger. However, that doesn't mean he didn't or doesn't still have a happy life without those things.

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    4. #3
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      I have wondered something similar.....I've wondered if Molly would have been happier with a more active family, maybe one who hunts or something. She was given to us by our next-door neighbor, who is a hunter. At the time, lots of his family were hunters so they all kept themselves supplied with Labs. Molly has always adored him & his son, who was an 11 or 12 yr old boy when Molly & her littermates were born, & the boy & his cousin (whose parents raised the pups) spent countless hours playing with the pups, & just rollin' in the grass with them, as boys & pups will do.....Molly has been a pet with us, as we are not hunters. But when we were both younger, I played with her & trained her & we took longer walks, and she has always seems devoted to us, and happy. These days we've all slowed down. She is my precious girl, and I can't imagine life without her. I decided to quit worrying about it--she is an indoor dog so gets plenty of love and attention, and she seems fine with that.....

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    6. #4
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      Well, I do all the things with my yellow Lab and I know that he would have done better at dog sports if I were a better trainer! But, he really has no idea that there were ever options and he could not care less about ribbons or titles. We have fun, I don't use corrections in the physical sense so I never have to look back at any mistakes there on my part as I learn and become a better trainer. I know he loves me to the moon and back so no, no regrets.

      You can always do other things with your dog; it's never too late. Nose work, for one, is inherently rewarding to most dogs and takes little to no physical effort on your or the dogs' part. I know of dogs that can barely walk due to old age doing very well at nose work and having a blast.

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    8. #5
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      Quote Originally Posted by Berna View Post
      I would have loved to get Cookie in Agility or Hunting Trials because I think he would have done great, but I didn't have my own car when he was younger. However, that doesn't mean he didn't or doesn't still have a happy life without those things.
      I have a friend whose Lab is a bird dog, the ONLY thing that makes that dog get extremely excited is being on the hunt, or knowing she is about to go to do just that. No interest in much of anything else. Zeke can have fun in the house, at the park (his favorite), and simply taking a walk hes not pigeonholed like it seems my buddy's dog is.

      Quote Originally Posted by Mollysmomma View Post
      I have wondered something similar.....I've wondered if Molly would have been happier with a more active family, maybe one who hunts or something. She was given to us by our next-door neighbor, who is a hunter. At the time, lots of his family were hunters so they all kept themselves supplied with Labs. Molly has always adored him & his son, who was an 11 or 12 yr old boy when Molly & her littermates were born, & the boy & his cousin (whose parents raised the pups) spent countless hours playing with the pups, & just rollin' in the grass with them, as boys & pups will do.....Molly has been a pet with us, as we are not hunters. But when we were both younger, I played with her & trained her & we took longer walks, and she has always seems devoted to us, and happy. These days we've all slowed down. She is my precious girl, and I can't imagine life without her. I decided to quit worrying about it--she is an indoor dog so gets plenty of love and attention, and she seems fine with that.....
      Sounds like you and her are a perfect match.

      Quote Originally Posted by Labradorks View Post
      Well, I do all the things with my yellow Lab and I know that he would have done better at dog sports if I were a better trainer! But, he really has no idea that there were ever options and he could not care less about ribbons or titles. We have fun, I don't use corrections in the physical sense so I never have to look back at any mistakes there on my part as I learn and become a better trainer. I know he loves me to the moon and back so no, no regrets.

      You can always do other things with your dog; it's never too late. Nose work, for one, is inherently rewarding to most dogs and takes little to no physical effort on your or the dogs' part. I know of dogs that can barely walk due to old age doing very well at nose work and having a blast.
      I realize the dog themselves don't know any different than what they've experienced/learned. I understand it's a human thing to think of such things and our dogs are as happy as they know to be. I was mainly curious if other humans felt the same, or at least thought about the what ifs a wonderful dog like a Labrador can be capable of achieving.

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      Mollysmomma (01-14-2018)

    10. #6
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      I think that since labs are such people dogs, anything you can do to deepen the connection between you can make them happy. Whether thats formal obedience, hunting, a game of fetch in the yard, or nightly snuggles on the couch. Spending time with them makes them happy. I think it's great that labs are such versatile dogs who can be made happy in so many ways, so it kind of depends on what kind of activities the owner prefers. For us it's hiking and outdoors time. That's where we're both having the most fun, and we're together.

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    12. #7
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      I think the dogs are happy to be just companions, but I know my guys love DOING stuff. I did agility with the Griff. I knew we'd never compete, I am not built for it, but she LIKED it, she asked to learn it. We learned it and had fun playing. Tickle's not very obedient, but we needed to do something more "bonding" than just the show stuff. She loves to sniff and to eat, so we do noseworks with her, and she's great at it. My boys are pretty obedient, so we've done various levels of obedience with them. They like to use their minds. I don't make them do much, but we do structured stuff so I can measure what they are able to learn.

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    14. #8
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      Kimber has a really strong drive; I think she would have made an excellent hunting dog, or search and rescue (SAR) dog. One of our challenges now that she’s older and less mobile is keeping her content. She still very much wants to *do* things and sometimes get frustrated by her limitations.
      Miss Kimber, CGC, 6/15/2005-1/26/18

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    16. #9
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      Chuckles. You should.meet Hemi.

      Well, your probably not too aware of me or Hemi to ask this question. However it may surprise people on this board that yes even I wonder if Hemi has really done enough. If there was more that I can do. I am still looking for what can Hemi and I do next.

      Hemi is an artist, he paints pictures. He has an affinity for piano. He has his own toy piano he plays. Plus when I am playing piano he sometimes comes and helps.

      We still do agility every week. We walk 1-2 miles every day. In summer he has his own 18ft pool he swims in. He no longer walks on leash unless we are in town or busy car area.

      He is trained in wilderness search and rescue, scent discrimination he has 4 scents down,Tracking. Not only is he trained but trailed in these.

      He is a dancer and titled in canine musical freestyle. Rally and rally free as well.

      He plays tribal, and has competed in flyball, dock diving, obedience, and improv.

      There's are a ton of thing I have probably forgotten as well. He helps around the house, doing laundry, picking things and putting his toys away.

      Right now though he and his 95lb body are curled up in my lap enjoying some petting and relaxation.

      Yet I still wonder if he has reached his potential. I know he has had a very happy life and will still continue to do things. He has also taken me on an incredible journey though life. When I got him he was going to be my pet. We were going to just go for walks and hang out at the house. Never in a million years did I think I would go on the journey I have been on. Never did I think I would be out dancing with a dog in front if hundreds of people and enjoying every minute. I still wonder though could his life be better. If so how.

    17. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Jeff For This Useful Post:

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    18. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
      Chuckles. You should.meet Hemi.

      Well, your probably not too aware of me or Hemi to ask this question. However it may surprise people on this board that yes even I wonder if Hemi has really done enough. If there was more that I can do. I am still looking for what can Hemi and I do next.

      Hemi is an artist, he paints pictures. He has an affinity for piano. He has his own toy piano he plays. Plus when I am playing piano he sometimes comes and helps.

      We still do agility every week. We walk 1-2 miles every day. In summer he has his own 18ft pool he swims in. He no longer walks on leash unless we are in town or busy car area.

      He is trained in wilderness search and rescue, scent discrimination he has 4 scents down,Tracking. Not only is he trained but trailed in these.

      He is a dancer and titled in canine musical freestyle. Rally and rally free as well.

      He plays tribal, and has competed in flyball, dock diving, obedience, and improv.

      There's are a ton of thing I have probably forgotten as well. He helps around the house, doing laundry, picking things and putting his toys away.

      Right now though he and his 95lb body are curled up in my lap enjoying some petting and relaxation.

      Yet I still wonder if he has reached his potential. I know he has had a very happy life and will still continue to do things. He has also taken me on an incredible journey though life. When I got him he was going to be my pet. We were going to just go for walks and hang out at the house. Never in a million years did I think I would go on the journey I have been on. Never did I think I would be out dancing with a dog in front if hundreds of people and enjoying every minute. I still wonder though could his life be better. If so how.
      If anybody's dog has had a full life, it's Hemi.

      I've often thought that my Dan would like being your dog. (without Hemi, of course)
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      Jeff (01-15-2018)

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