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Hi everyone, first post.

I'm kind of disappointed with my new dog... my second Chocolate Labrador Retriever.

I had a great experience training my first Lab, "Rye", back in the 90's. Rye had a whole lot of intelligence, character, energy and loved to play fetch, dog-frisbee, swim... She loved to pull me in my wheelchair (I'm a paraplegic from a motorcycle accident). Actually, we would do long runs together where I would get plenty of exercise myself but the dog would pull mostly on the flats. She could easily get me up 20 mph, which is a hair-raising speed in a wheelchair. She would pull on command.

She loved to play games. For example, I used to take Rye to a huge park. I would put her in the restroom there and tell her to stay so she couldn't see where I was going to hide a tennis ball. And then I would hide the ball in some impossibly difficult place (like the crotch of a tree or something). Then, I'd come back to her, let her out of the restroom and say "Where's the ball, Rye?". That dog would spend the next hour if she needed to, nose to the ground searching for the ball, exploring high and low. And she would just about ALWAYS find it or at least locate the tree in whose branches it was hidden.

Rye would dive down to the bottom of a swimming pool for a rock. She would retrieve a nylabone frisbee off the bottom of the Newport Harbor in California where I lived at the time. I spent hours training her to do all sorts of quirky tricks -- the basics had been easy to teach her. She knew the names of 40-50 things around the house and knew the names of all the people living there. She was tons of fun. Loved games. We had a blast together. I loved her. She had all kinds of personality and character. Everyone would remark on how clever my dog was.

So, recently, I bought another Chocolate Lab hoping to repeat the experience I had with Rye. I bought this new dog, who I named "Penny", from a family in Tampa. She's a year old. She's trainable, affectionate and there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with her intelligence or anything. But she sure doesn't like to play games.

I have to actively train her to fetch a ball, which she only does grudgingly -- no tail-wagging glee in playing the game. I can't get her to play fetch at all outside. I am training her to locate a ball hidden somewhere in the apartment but she shows no joy in the search; she just does it for the treat or to comply with my command. I am training her to pull me in the wheelchair and she will do so a little bit after much urging, and it is nothing like the great fun me and my other dog used to enjoy together.

She has demonstrated to me that she can really haul-ass when she wants to. She's got a lot of power. But she pulls only when there is another dog to pull towards. In fact, this dog really doesn't seem to take much pleasure in anything besides ordinary dog stuff -- sniffing butt, rough-housing for dominance, sniffing the bushes, barking at birds...

I'm not having trouble with things like house-breaking, chewing or barking. I can easily train her to sit, stay, heel and all that... It's just that Penny shows no doggy PASSION for anything fun that we can do together. And that's really what I was after in getting another dog.

I'm wondering if I've got some kind of mentally dull animal. Hope not. I was really looking forward to the kind of active, high-personality, game-loving life that Labrador Retrievers are known for.

I wish I could ask an expert about this problem. If I can't enjoy my dog, there's no sense in keeping her. I bought this dog because she looks great. Very handsome. Beautiful, in fact. And I thought that she had a pretty good set of genes and therefore the fun-loving, game-playing, tail-wagging personality would reveal itself. But it hasn't.

I'm feeling disappointed with Penny. I thought all Labs liked to play and have fun. I've only had her now for a few weeks, and I'm going to give it more time and effort. But I can't help but feel kind of disappointed that she doesn't seem to enjoy a game of fetch or hide-and-seek.

I'd appreciate any comments.
 

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Don't give up on her!!! You are new to her so she probly just has to adjust ...

Do you know the people you got Penny from? Maybe as a pup she was scolded for being hyper!!! Hope you find some answers!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I got Penny from a family who had three young children. I think they used Penny as a teddy bear while she was a pup, but then she outgrew that role. They did not seem to teach her much during her first year.

Penny follows me around the apartment wherever I go; doesn't want to let me out of sight - as if she's got some basic insecurity that I'll leave her alone. When I get her outside, however, she ignores me; she has an air of stubborn defiance and often, I get a look from her which seems to say "Oh, f--- you". Right now, I'd be getting nowhere with her if it weren't for bribing her with turkey and applying occasional forceful discipline on the leash (mostly because she completely ignores me when there is another dog around).

She's not a problem dog or anything -- I'm mostly disappointed that Penny doesn't seem to take any pleasure in retrieving things and playing with me. No insurmountable obedience problems -- just... the fun factor is missing.

Hopefully, our relationship will deepen and Penny will take more satisfaction in pleasing me. I'd really like her to be able to play a great game of frisbee and go for long wheelchair runs where we both get daily exercise outside together.
 

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I agree. You've only had her for a short time. A few weeks is NOTHING in the world of dogs. She's been uprooted from the only home she's ever known and she's probably scared and unsure. You know WHY this happened (you wanted a companion) but she doesn't. She really doesn't know your language yet....what's allowed, what isn't. Plus, she sounds like a VERY smart girl and is probably going through her "teen-age" years right now. I'm willing to bet that with some patience, she will bond to you and learn to trust you. Then I'm sure the fun will kick in. She's just learning the ropes right now. Don't try to force things to be a certain way. Let them evolve naturally and I bet this story will have a happy ending.

And honestly, it isn't fair to compare her to a dog that you had for many, many years. All dogs have their own personalities and quirks and "baggage," no matter their breed. Please give Penny the time and love she needs to be the dog she can be. :)

Good luck!
 

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Following you around is typical Lab stuff. The lack of play could very well be due to the new situation. Give her time to bond with you, A yearling will take longer to become your dog than a puppy, and every dog is different in how quickly they adapt to new situations.

That said, all dogs are not created equal WRT play drive and other breed-specific skills and drives. All Labs are not friendly, and all are not playful. Some are laid back (many people would find that hard to believe) and there are even Labs who are quite aloof. Some aren't even smart.
 

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Maybe when she played fetch and games with the 3 kids they teased her and she is unsure of playing now .... have you tried the clicker with her? it might help with her getting to play
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Maybe when she played fetch and games with the 3 kids they teased her and she is unsure of playing now .... have you tried the clicker with her? it might help with her getting to play
Clicker?

I don't know what that is.
 
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