Lab does not behave like a lab the labrador forum

Long read: simply put, my dog doesn’t know how to dog. We adopted Finn at 3 months and now he is almost 10 months. He is beyond lazy, which is a blessing in some ways but also has me worried. He also just does not eat his food, which was the last thing I expected when it came to a Lab. We have tried everything in the book to get him to eat regularly, but our vet says he is healthy and will eat at his own pace. It still has me worried.

My main concern now is that he just absolutely hates walks. It has always been bad, but recently he doesn’t even want to go outside. He will freeze a few steps in and pull to go back inside. We have tried different routes and letting him pick where to go but we hardly go more than a dozen feet from our front door before he turns around.

We live in an apartment complex so letting him off leash to roam is not an option. Even before when he didn’t mind walks he still preferred to just lay in the grass rather than explore.

I’ve considered that he is possibly scared for some reason, but we live in a pretty quite area in Orlando Florida. He loves our neighbors and meeting people on the walks. The one thing I know he is for sure terrified if is skateboards. I’m not sure where this came from but if he sees one he freezes and gets spikes. Luckily there are not too many on our walks. It is hard to tell if something is bothering him because he doesn’t react much. Never whines, only barked a couple times and that seemed to scare him.

I agree with Pippa that another vet appointment is in order. You might use the term "exercise intolerance" when you explain your concern to the vet. I find it helpful to write down a rough record of what I’m worried about. Perhaps jot down what happens each time you try to go for a walk for a week. Doing this should help your vet rule out anything serious. I assume in the time you’ve had him you’ve seen him run around like a wackadoodle *at some points*. Has he had the chance to play with another puppy or what happens (cringe) if you toss a ball in your home?

Depending on if it’s more or less than 50 deg. F, I have two different dogs. When it’s cool Johnny behaves normally for him. In the summer when it’s mostly in the upper 80s and 90s with horrible humidity, he’ll run or trot after a ball and then lie in the shade. When he was under a year at the dog park he would do the puppy chase thing briefly and then lie down; his behavior was *very* different from other dogs. I know this because owners where shocked to find out his age, having assumed he was 4 or 5. I was at the vet a lot, but fortunately he was able to rule out illness and congenital heart problems. There’s a range of activity for dogs and Johnny is at the low end of it. In the winter his activity level is closer to the average dog but he still has the same pattern of run around and lie down – yes it looks weird when he does this in the snow

When he came home in Jan. he refused to walk more than a block. Looking back this was fear & getting used to his environment. Each day we got a bit farther and at some point I also drove the two blocks to the dog park and got him to walk home. Since this doesn’t seem to be your situation, could you drive him a block or so from home and see if he’ll walk back? Better yet is there something you could take him to like a training class (with positive reinforcement only), a doggie playgroup, or daycare indoors with AC? Does the Orlando SPCA offer classes? I wouldn’t expect a radical change immediately but perhaps over time, especially with well socialized dogs. Think of it like nursery school for a child, rather than babysitting you don’t need.

As for food, he rarely finishes what’s in his dish at one go. He doesn’t eat in the morning so he gets his first meal at noon and a second meal around 7PM. Since he’s the only dog I leave the food down. His weight is always the same; he looks slim but not skinny. I worried about this when he was a puppy but now I consider it a blessing for his health. He’s 83 pounds; big AND pudgy is not good for the joints.

So a little more explanation and update on Finn and what we have been doing: he has always been on the lazy side. Refuses to get out of bed before 9. Throws tantrums. The best way to explain it is he is like a moody teen. this makesit a little hard to distinguish between pure laziness or being sick. But he isn’t lazy all the time. Every Wednesday we go to the lake and he plays non-stop until he drops. He is very social and has played with every size and every breed and we have never had any issue with aggression from his end. Training wise, he is pretty great! Right now we are working on boundaries with new people/dogs.

With walking, I read a post that suggested picking your dog up and starting the walk at a different area. I cannot do this because Finn is way too big, so I teased him with a stick until we got away from the immediate perimeter of our apartment. From there he walked like normal. So I am assuming something around our house has him spooked but I have no idea what is can be or how to get him used to it! He is definitely better at night so I am assuming Florida heat and humidity is also getting to him. He still gets his nightly zooms and plays the same inside when the mood strikes him.

With eating, he loves treats and of course is the ultimate begger for human food. If I hand feed him his food like treats, he is all for it. When we adopted him, we were given a free bag of the food he was already on but had to switch it because it wasn’t available in karge bags locally and we’re having issues getting it online. We slowly started switching to the recommended brand that was not grain free and he immediately started having diarrhea, so the vet suggested sticking to a grain free diet. We started buying small bags of taste of the wild and he seemed to enjoy it, but when we invested in a larger bag he decided he did not like it. We added in wet food and he was good for awhile, but again after a week or so slowed down to a meal a day. We recently started reading the articles about grain free food and the possible issues associated with it and got a little worried, so I thought maybe he was just telling us it was bad for him. So within the last month been slowly switched him back to regular dog food (Iams puppy). No issues with bowels and for the first week loved it. Now he is back to nibbling on it. He isn’t disinterested in food, just the food that is meant for him. It is frustrating, but I guess as long as he is staying healthy and not eating it too fast we should be considered lucky!