Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Posted October 27, 2015
Our lab/chow mix is an interesting dog.
Like all labs, he loves water, which is great and means that we can easily give him a bath. However, on the chow chow side, it means he has a long/thick coat that sheds an unbelievable amount, which means we often have to give him baths.
He also isn't the brightest crayon in the box. Although very sweet, he is a bit of a "dumb" dog, in the way that labs can be. He hasn't a care in the world, and is content to just run around the yard, barking at the wind.
We have given up completely on training him, as we haven't even mastered "sit", not even with professional help. On the plus side, Smokey is extremely independent, and doesn't look towards his humans much for affection or attention. He does like to cuddle and place his head on our laps, but is also just as happy to go off in another room and look out the window. He has no separation anxiety or associated behaviors.
The biggest downfall of our lab/chow is the barking. He barks at us, he barks at other dogs, he barks at squirrels, and he barks while running around the yard, just to bark. He has a big, loud, boisterous bark, and has learned that if he barks at us, we let him outside. We are trying to curb this habit, but, truth be told, his bark is incredibly annoying and he knows it.
On the plus side, he is fantastic with children. He lets my 18 month old niece love and hug him, and is so gentle around her. He is not good with smaller dogs, though. He often picks them up in his mouth and tries to carry them away (not aggressive, but other pet owners become angry when he does this).
He doesn't need a ton of exercise, and does well to go for one or two short walks a day. Even though he is 10 years old, he does not act like it. Many people mistake him for a 5-6 year old.
Overall, we love our dog, but be warned that the chow component can be stubborn and frustrating, even if the lab breed is family oriented, if not a little bit dumb.