First of all, I wanted to say thanks for all of the useful information that I have found on this site. I just registered today...but have been reading for weeks!
Here is a little bit of information about our new Lab, Brooks. About a month ago, my wife and I were leaving our little suburban town for the afternoon. It was about 100 degrees outside, and as I drove through the sage brush flats, I noticed a yellow lab sitting in what little shade there was. The area we live in is often the place where poor dogs are dropped off to fend for themselves. As I passed him, I thought to myself...if you turn around...you are going to have a new dog...Well I made it almost a half mile before I decided I couldn't keep driving. When we got back to where he was, I pulled over and got out. As soon as I called to him, he immediately got up and ran about 200 yards the other way. This went on for about an hour before my wife and I had to leave. A couple of hours later when we returned, he was again in the same spot. And again...he ran away. About this time, a neighbor stopped to say he had been doing the same thing for several days. He had left a bowl of water and food, but neither had been touched.
Later that evening, my wife called animal services to seek their assistance. Eventually, the lab's hiding place was found. He had been using a caved in culvert near some railroad tracks to seek shelter. It took 5 of us almost 4 hours to eventually rig together a 30' tent pole (wife's idea), with a noose taped to the end. When he was finally out of the culvert, we could see what kind of shape he was in. The animal services people were required to take him to the pound for an owner to claim. Obviously, a week later...no owner.
We adopted Brooks, and have had him home with us for three weeks now. He spent the first 40 hours hiding under our bed. We did not want to force him out in anyway. Just waited for him to become curious. He initally befriended my wife and was glued to her for the next week or so. At first, he would not play with either of us in anyway, but now acts about right for his age (approx 1 yr). We have been going for nightly walks together, working on being a polite dog. He has done great with normal obiedience commands and progressing very nicely, at his own pace.
So...at long last...time for some of my questions...
My wife and I have been sharing in the training role. Does this cause complications now or later? I would like for him to behave himself not only when she or I am there, but also respect our teenage children if they have him out for a walk, or hopefully later on a hunt.
My biggest concern right now, is he seems to have zero desire to retrieve. I have done almost anything I can think of to encourage this. But he is such a docile dog, hardly anything gets him excited. Is it possible that the previous "owner" broke his spirit to a point that he doesnt have this drive left in him?
Hopefully some of you made it this far into my post! I didnt realize how long winded it was going to be. He is a great dog, and we are lucky to have him in our family. We had been discussing getting another hunting dog, to replace my GSP that had to be put down a few years ago. This wasnt the route I was planning on going, but just couldn't imagine leaving him to fend for himself. Any help getting us headed in the right direction would be greatly appreciated!