I get comments like this:
“Oh, you’re so lucky. Labs are so easy to train.”
“Ace is so easy. My dog won’t do that.”
These comments don’t piss me off, but they make me feel like all my hours of work (like, literally thousands of hours) with Ace mean nothing.
These comments imply my dog is obedient simply because he’s a Lab mix or an “easy” dog.
Have any of you experienced anything like this with the kind of dog you own?
For example, maybe you have a border collie, and someone said something like, “Oh, agility must be really easy for you.”
Ugh, frustrating, right?
How to Piss Off A Golden Retriever Owner
The blog Something Wagging This Way Comes, written by Pamela and her dog Honey, had such an interesting post on this topic. You can read the whole post here.
From Something Wagging:
It happened again.
With a hand signal, I asked Honey to lie down on the ground quietly. The person I was talking to said the one thing guaranteed to piss off a golden retriever owner: “Aww, aren’t goldens great? My dog would never do that.”
Have any of you experienced anything like this?
As a Labrador owner, I am actually concerned for all the Labradors and golden retrievers out there faced with such high expectations. I’ve written about this here.
These breeds are spoken so highly of that people actually believe retrievers are automatically friendly, sociable, obedient and gentle.
They’re often recommended as first dogs or as good dogs for families with children because they’re “so great.”
But, as you all know, retrievers are far from perfect!
Retrievers are often high energy. They’re usually strong and exuberant.
They often like to jump on people, and to grab or carry things in their mouths.
They typically like to dive head first into open water.
They’re known as chewers, especially as puppies.
Ever had a golden jump up and slam into your chest? I have. It’s not fun.
My Lab mix knocked me flat on my back one time in pursuit of his ball. I think I even cried. My dog didn’t even notice he hit me!
And automatically friendly? Not necessarily so.
There’s this golden in our apartment complex, and for a lack of a better term, that dog is real A-hole! He’s walked on a retractable leash, and whenever he sees us, he lunges and growls at Ace. We actually joke about him sometimes, like, “Oh, God, here comes that asshole again.”
I’m sure he’s really sweet when he’s not around other pets, as most reactive dogs are. But the point is – gasp! – golden retrievers can be reactive too, just like any breed.
And one more thing … my dog IS easy!
In all honesty, my dog IS easy.
He IS easy to train. He picks up on new concepts almost immediately.
He’s treat, praise and toy motivated, almost in equal amounts.
If I ask him to sit, it doesn’t even cross his mind to ignore me. He sits, and then gazes up at me, like, “I’m a good boy, right?”
But Ace doesn’t act this way because he’s a Lab. He acts this way for all sorts of reasons like his individual personality, a good upbringing, lots of love and exercise and socialization and of course hours of training over many years.
He’s 9 years old now, and we still train every single day because it helps my dog and I be the best team we can be.
We communicate. We trust one another. We have fun!
That’s what dog training is all about for me. That’s what owning and loving any type of dog means to me. Breed has very little to do with anything.
How about you guys?
Have any of you ever received similar comments about your dog’s breed? What does training and working with your dog mean to you?
Sign up to receive training tips & more in my weekly newsletter:
Sunday 17th of May 2020
Honey came to me as a 2 year old golden retriever. She was adopted out twice and brought back twice. So yep I took her. She’s beautiful and small and had so many behavioral problems! I worked with a professional trainer off and on for 3 years. Then we did some group classes, then group obedience and rally classes. Then we got into agility! By now she’s 7 and nobody thought she’d “make it”. At 11 1/2 we got out first championship and our second a year later! She’s 14 1/2 now and will still run a course in the yard perfectly! She will be featured in the rescues calendar as a golden oldie!
Sunday 17th of May 2020
Wow, I am impressed by you and Honey!
Tuesday 1st of September 2015
I learned rather young that a breed doesn't ensure certain behavior. I've always loved animals and have trained MANY dogs since I'm the oldest child and the most responsible. Plus, my family ends up giving our dogs to family cause we move or they just don't work out( lucky family members get my well trained dogs we spent tons of money on. Talk about lucky!). Well one day I was at the park behind our house walking Lucy our Pom mix. She was going to be fixed in a week because we didn't know what the other half of the mix was. While walking along, a golden retriever started following us. I assumed he belonged to couple in front of me. The dog started to sniff Lucy and I guessed that she might have entered heat that weekend. So I nicely asked the couple to have their dog leave mine alone. They said " what dog? ". I realized this wasn't some ill cared for golden, it was a stray. So I headed home faster and tried to keep Lucy away from him. But this dog really wanted my baby girl! He started to nip at her so I picked Lucy up. Only then, the golden started biting and chasing me! I was only 10 years old. I screamed for help only to watch everyone in the park stare at me and do nothing. I even knew most of these people. Thankfully my uncle heard screams and came running with a large branch at the golden. I was bitten and scratched and crying. Lucy was slaking with fear in my arms. As my uncle called the cops and went to take me home, some kid came up and yelled at him for being so mean to that nice dog... ??? Really? I guess a golden retriever can do no wrong in people's eyes... To this day, I don't blame the dog. He was only following his instincts. But I do blame the people who stood by and watched, believing that I was fine just because it was a golden retriever.
Tuesday 1st of September 2015
Oh my, so scary. We have a nasty golden retriever that lives in our apartment complex. He growls and lunges at my dog and at my husband and at other men, delivery people, etc. It's scary!
Monday 24th of August 2015
Totally agree Lindsay! As you mentioned in your post, I have a border collie and keep being told how easy they are because they are thought to be the smartest dog! People don't realise, you need to train your dog to use their brain!
We have a friend staying with us for a month who has a 2 year old puggle! This dog has very little training - he can sit and that's about it. In fact, he responds to "no" more than his own name so that would give you an idea as to how bad of a dog he is! The owner is constantly saying "oh I wish my dog was as calm as yours", "I wish my dog was as well behaved as yours". Doesn't even think of the countless hours I spent training my dogs or the two walks they get on a daily basis to keep their energy down! He does no training, walks his dog once every couple of days and expects him to behave like my two....No, I worked hard to get my dogs the way they are!
Wednesday 26th of August 2015
I feel like the smarter the dog is, the harder it is to train, at least for some things.
Your example with the puggle is such a good one! That's exactly what I'm talking about.
Wednesday 19th of August 2015
Our pups are Boxer/Chow-Chow Mixes, and I suppose there are no preconceptions about their trainability, so I've never received those types of comments, but BOY, must it be annoying!! It takes a lot of time, effort, patience and consistency to train ANY breed, so people stating how lucky you are to have an easily trainable Lab obviously have no clue about dog training at all.
Friday 14th of August 2015
Thank you so much for this; making broad generalizations is my biggest pet peeves when it comes to dogs. So many people assume so much just by the way a dog looks. I had more problems keeping my Lab out of trouble than I did my Aussie mix - go figure. Our Lab was by far the most active dog I've ever owned (worse than Laika) and unfortunately if he wasn't kept busy enough he'd chew on furniture. He did not mature until he was 5 years old, it was like living with a puppy up until that point.
The one thing that's true is that each of my dogs has become pretty well behaved because of extensive training, it didn't come naturally to any of them.
Wednesday 26th of August 2015
Had to smile when you had to add "worse than Laika"! Ha.