Dog’s Best Friend: Training retrievers

Dog’s Best Friend: Training retrievers

[click “Play” to hear Ted Hoff on retrievers]

DSC_0176 Telluride Inside and Out’s expert dog trainer Ted Hoff is finally emerging from the nursery. To date in his series, Dog’s Best Friend,Ted has talked exclusively about bringing up baby: How to train a pup. With this post, he begins to talk about specific breeds starting with the very popular Retrievers, Labs and Goldens.

Author James Michener wrote about the introduction of Labs to Maryland in his novel “Chesapeake”:

“A moment later the stevedore appeared on deck leading by a leash one of the most handsome dogs ever seen in Maryland. He was jet-black, sturdy in his front quarters, sleek and powerful in his hind, with a face so intelligent that it seemed he might speak at any moment. His movements were quick, his dark eyes following every development nearby, yet his disposition appeared so equable he seemed always about to smile.

“‘He’s called a Labrador,’ Lightfoot said. ‘Finest huntin’ dog ever developed.'”

The Lab  more than lived up to its propitious start. The breed has been the most popular in America for more than 15 years and counting. Over 137,000 Labs were registered with the American Kennel Club in 2005, placing the Lab way ahead of the second place Goldens in individual registrations.

Labs were developed in Newfoundland. The breed then made its way to England with fishermen who worked off the coast of eastern Canada. To avoid confusion with the Newfoundland breed, Labs came to be called Labs. The original Lab was a talented working dog, able to rescue drifting nets, bring back shot waterfowl. In England, their resumes expanded to include hunting.

Off duty, Labs are great with children, friendly to almost everyone, including other animals, energetic, compliant and eager to please. A Lab will fetch non-stop for hours or become furniture for a baby. The breed makes great guide dogs and with their wonderful noses, they are prime candidates for sniffer dogs to uncover contraband at airports and borders.

Goldens are equally intelligent and friendly. The breed is suitable as house pets, hunting companions, guides, and for search and rescue. Goldens originated in the Scottish Highlands in the late 1800s, where they were used primarily for hunting.

Dogs as active and energetic as Goldens and Labs require daily exercise.

To learn more, click the “play” button and listen to Ted Hoff’s podcast.

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