Adopting a Labrador Retriever from an animal shelter – Part 1
Why were these wonderful family dogs given up?
An adolescent dog is a hard sell for adoption, even if they are the types of pets considered to be ideal for family living, such as the Labrador Retriever. And when people do make the commitment to bring home a large, enthusiastic canine that hasn’t learned any manners yet, regret may set in quickly.
You see these types of dogs in shelters all of the time because, in the outside world, people see other family-oriented dogs that are calm and sweet and think they naturally come that way. They don’t realize how much time it takes to get these dogs to that point, and they give up because the drive and the high energy level is more than they are willing or able to deal with.
Many otherwise well-behaved dogs act wildly in shelters, not because they are always that way, but because of their situation. When you adopt a dog from a shelter, what you see isn’t always what you get. If the dog is wild and jumping up, it could be crying out saying, “Hey, look at me! I’m a friendly dog! Pick me, Pick me!”
On the reverse behavior, if you see a dog that is really quiet, it could just be overcome by the noise and all the changes it has just experienced.
How do these popular dogs end up there?
Popular family dogs you can find in the shelter may have been dropped off because many families found that they could not tolerate the typical behaviors that came up, such as the incessant need to chew and an energy level that sometimes seems unquenchable.
Dogs bred for fieldwork (hunting) can have even more energy and drive than other breeds. Their exercise needs may seem impossible to meet, so many of these guys and girls end up in animal shelters or in rescue groups without ever having had any training.
Constantly shifting from one home to another and having to endure long periods of confinement in small spaces can make inappropriate behavior even worse, simple because the dog isn’t getting the exercise or attention it craves.
When an adolescent or adult dog has never received any formal obedience training, he may seem incorrigible, and that’s not what people expect from an adult family-type dog. Take the Labrador Retriever as the perfect example – one major reason why people adopt adult Labs is to avoid a lot of the work that comes with a puppy.
These people have heard that adult Labs are calm and they think this adult dog will be no problem at all. But if the Lab was never trained, you can have real problems, such as a Lab that has never learned to stop the habit of puppy mouthing or jumping on people. It’s one thing for a puppy to do those things but when a large adult dog does them, somebody could get hurt.