Ask Dr Zeus – Fetch It Up?

| January 4, 2013 | 0 Comments
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Toni and Zeus lining for a blind retrieve

Toni and Zeus lining for a blind retrieve

Dr Zeus
Dr Zeus

Dr. Zeus is known as BISS Am GCH Can CH Gingerbred Celestial Thunder JH, CGC by the AKC and just plain old Zeus to his friends. He has traveled far and wide in his six years. All across the US and Canada where he learned many things about being a great dog. His show career brought him to the elite of the sport and he hopes his new passion of hunting will also bring him great success. In all of his travels Zeus has met many dogs of all breeds. His insight and knowledge is how he achieved his honorary doctorate in “How to be a dog”. If you have a question for him, Zeus would happy to give you a dog’s perspective, so please send them to

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Ask Dr. Zeus

Dear Dr. Zeus: I’m a pure bred Labrador retriever but I don’t retrieve. Is something wrong with me? – “Hunter” from Flagstaff, AZ

Dear Hunter: I can see by your name that your family had some high hopes for your retrieving instincts. Don’t worry, not every retriever retrieves and your family loves you just the same (… and I’m sure they get a chuckle about your name when they introduce you to new friends). As with all species, there’s variation in how instincts manifest themselves (in other words, some retrievers can’t get enough of retrieving and others aren’t as interested).

You didn’t provide a lot of details with your question so I’m just guessing that either you know how to retrieve but don’t or you would retrieve but lack the motivation.

A great example of the first kind of retriever is my “sister” Prada (MBOSS GCH Ghoststone The Devil Wears Prada) – you can tell by the letters at the front of her name that many judges consider her a prime specimen of a Labrador Retriever. She has a beautiful head, wonderfully thick coat, and nice rear – I mean, she can be the lead dog any day as I’d be happy that my view never changes. Sigh! Oh, ahem, sorry I got a bit distracted as I’ve been around too many bitches in season lately and the hormones just kicked in again. What I’m trying say is, like you, Prada does not retrieve  in the traditional sense. She may run after the ball or the bird you threw and may even give it a sniff or two but even after some encouragement, she will give you that look that says “there’s NO WAY I’m picking up that dirty thing!” So let’s just say that humans do a lot more retrieving than Prada does. But we all love her just the same – the way she moves and … those eyes … sigh! Sorry, hormones again, trying to keep it together.

A great example of the “motivated” retriever is my other “sister” Bala (CH Rimrock Anlan of Balbriggan) -her life is all about the ball. You can try Kong toys, Frisbees, or other toys but, for Bala, (did I mention?) it’s all about the ball. Nothing motivates her more to retrieve than the ball. If it’s not in her mouth, it’s on someone’s lap ready to be thrown over and over and over again. I sometimes beat her to the ball but somehow she wrangles it away from me and gets to deliver it for the next throw. People’s arms get tired before she does. Prada and Bala are extreme opposites. But both very lovely… ahem …

Well, I guess there’s one more type of “retriever”. I’ve seen some dogs run after the thrown ball, pick it up, but never come back with it. I think that might be called a “trieve” since there’s no “re” about it. But where’s the fun in that?

Maybe you have some retrieve drive in you but you haven’t found the things that make you want to retrieve? Or perhaps you’d prefer to do other things. Either way, don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with you and don’t let anyone tell you differently.

As for me, I’m wired to retrieve (birds, bumpers, balls, etc.) – I’m not quite the fanatic as that Bala is but I sure enjoy the game. At times I get a bit distracted … like now. Whoa! Gotta go, another beautiful bitch just walked by …

Category : Ask Dr. Zeus

About the Author ()

Hi, I am Toni Leitão! I am one of the people who came up with this crazy idea for Retriever Life. Retrievers are my life and passion. Oh and I like long walks in the park (especially in the rain) and watching a movie with my Labrador "pillow".

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