All Things Dog

Help! My Lab Won’t Retrieve

The friendly, playful Labrador Retriever has a variety of skills. As its name suggests, retrieving is one of them. But what if your Lab doesn't seem interested in playing fetch?

Don't worry. Even though Labs are born with an instinct to retrieve, it sometimes takes time and a little training to jumpstart what nature gave him. Also, if your Lab is a puppy and is still cutting his adult teeth, picking objects up with his mouth could be a bit painful. He may become more interested in retrieving at about 6 months of age, after he's gone through the teething stage.

Unleashing your Lab's retrieval skills

Whether you're working with a puppy or adult dog, the first step is simply to toss toys and look for your Lab to show interest in running after them. Play in an enclosed area, such as a hallway, where the dog can't avoid you after fetching the toy. When your pooch returns the toy, praise him and give the toy right back.

If the dog shows no interest in the thrown toy, try playing the game on a six-foot leash. Have the toy in your right hand and the leash in your left. Dangle the toy in front of your dog's mouth while slowly turning away from him. When he seems really eager for it, toss the toy out for him to give chase. Don't forget to let go of the leash! Done right, this will prompt almost any dog to run after a toy.

Keep it fun

Don't overdo the fetching sessions. Give your dog a few throws and stop while he still wants more. Then try again later in the day. If he does one successful fetch, pile on the praise-and maybe a treat. If he shows little interest in it, give it a rest and try again in a week or so. Once he learns that fetching offers the reward of praise and a treat, he'll gladly play along. Never make the dog feel this is a contest with a winner and a loser. Retrieving should be cooperative, not competitive. It makes you a team.

Don't ever punish your dog when you take something out of his mouth. Always make it a positive experience for him to return an object to you. You can even teach him a command to "give it" or "drop." Again, heap on the praise and offer a small treat as a reinforcement when he acts accordingly.

Above all, stick with the training and don't get discouraged. Your dog hasn't forgotten what he was bred for-it's in his DNA. Just be patient with him. You and your Lab have a lifetime of retrieving days ahead of you.

Recommended For You

Not on Facebook? You can register by clicking below.

Sign up on this site
We just need a little information.
All fields required.
FIRST NAME
PassedFailed
LAST NAME
PassedFailed
EMAIL
PassedFailed
A confirmation e-mail will be sent to
the address you provide here.
PASSWORD
PassedFailed
password must contain between 6 - 10
characters, no spaces.
ZIP CODE
PassedFailed
This will help us provide you with information
that's specific to your area.
Yes, I'd like to receive updates and special offers from PEDIGREE® Brand. You can withdraw this consent at any time.
Check if you'd like to give permission for future special offers and additional useful information from Mars, Incorporated. (We will collect the information you've entered here, store and process it in the U.S.) You can withdraw this consent at any time.
Go to last step >
Privacy Policy. We will never share your information.
Thanks for the information. This is the final step.
To get personlized special offers and alerts, enter your
information below:
EMAIL
PassedFailed
STREET ADDRESS
PassedFailed
CITY
PassedFailed
STATE
PassedFailed
ZIP CODE
PassedFailed
Get Special Offers and Updates on Your Mobile Phone
This is the convenient way to get the latest info when you're on the go.
-
-
PassedFailed
Providing your mobile phone number is optional. Msg & Data Rates May Apply
Submit >
Privacy Policy. We will never share your information.
All information will be sent to the mobile phone number you provided:
MOBILE PHONE #
-
-
PassedFailed
You can also sign up by sending a text: PEDIGREE to 97979

Msg & data rates may apply. You will receive up to 4 text messages per month. For HELP, please text HELP to 97979. You must be the account holder or have the authorization of the account holder to request this text service.

This text service works on on Alltel, Appalachian Wireless, AT&T, Bluegrass Cellular, Boost, Cellcom, Cellular One, Cellular One of East Central Illinois, Cellular South, Centennial Wireless, Cincinnati Bell, Immix Wireless, Nextel, Revol Wireless, Sprint, Unicel, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon Wireless, Virgin Mobile, and West Central Wireless. This is a subscription service. You can cancel your subscription at any time by texting a STOP to 97979. Terms & Conditions apply. For support, call 1-888-782-2180.
PLEASE ENTER THE CODE DISPLAYED TO VERIFY YOUR REQUEST:
Terms: I have read & agree to the Terms & Conditions.Failed
Submit >
View our Privacy Policy.
Now that you're registered, you can subscribe to our free e-newsletters. There's one for every stage of your dogs life.
Puppy Planning E-Newsletter > Puppy Scoops E-Newsletter > The Feed E-Newsletter >
Close x Subscribe Now
Look to receive your coupon by mail within the next 10 - 15 days. We hope you enjoy our best Dry Food ever.
Puppy Planning E-Newsletter > Puppy Scoops E-Newsletter >
Dog Knows E-Newsletter > Healthy Living E-Newsletter >
Close x Subscribe Now
Or log in to the PEDIGREE® website using the fields below
EMAIL
PASSWORD
Having trouble with your password?
Click Here
Forgot your password?
No problem. If you originally registered on our website, just enter your information below and we'll e-mail your password.
EMAIL
Password sent
Your password has been sent to the e-mail address you provided.
We're always happy to be of assistance.
Close x