Why does a dog retrieve what it retrieves?



Archie's all knowing

This post is a bit of an exploration,  bringing together ideas and themes from my last two posts.  The first of the two posts explored 'why do dogs chew what they chew' ?  The second, my last post, explored my experience of my dogs and me in a new relationship

So why does a dog retrieve what it retrieves?

Archie is a Labrador retriever.  He is from a good working blood-line, he is a natural retriever and is always picking things up and carrying them round in his mouth.  In the same way as I thought about dogs chewing, I started to wonder  why dogs pick up the things they pick up.

 Archie has a habit of delving into my handbag and picking out something to carry round in his mouth.  There's quite a lot in my handbag - 'everything but the kitchen sink'  type situation - well you never know when you might need something!  What he chooses to take out of my handbag is limited to one of  a number of  things.  If there's a tennis ball, that will always get first priority.  Then my purse comes a good second - one of my credit cards has teeth marks in it (but still works).  Paper tissues are a third.  Gloves are also popular.  A dog collar will also get pulled out, if its in there and finally there is the box of tampax.  Actually, I'm not sure there is any preference after the tennis ball, it may be a question of what he finds first.  He never takes out any books, cheque books, maps.  I began to wonder, is there some sort of energetic charge on the things he picks up?  Why does a dog retrieve what it retrieves? The following is a result of my mental ramblings.

  • The tennis ball? For sure there's a charge on that - he's a retriever and goes bonkers for a tennis ball!
  •  The purse? Well I have left fulltime employment and am developing my own business..  I'm not really sure what the financial situation will look like, so yes, there is a bit of  a charge (no pun intended) on my purse 🙂
  •  Paper tissues? Interesting.  I visit a counsellor with Archie on a regular basis, where, by the nature of his business, there is quite often one or more used tissues in  his wastepaper basket.   It’s the first thing Archie checks for when he enters the room.  It has become something of a standing joke, whether Terry remembers to get to the bin first to empty it, before Archie does it for him.   As I consider it,  the tears of e-motion (' energy in motion') shed into a tissue during a counselling session must have a significant energetic charge to it.
  •  Gloves? -Gloves are worn on our hands.  In my training as an energy therapist the hands are the main instrument used for  sending healing and manipulating the aura - energy tools connected to the therapist's heart.  Hands are used in a lot of artistic creation -  expressing the heart of the artist.
  • The dog collar? - he rarely wears it, I don't like using it, although I will use it when I have to.  So I definitely have an ambivalence towards it.
  • The box of tampax?  Not sure about this one.  But as I go through the menopause maybe there is some sort of charge that is getting transferred to them.

So not scientifically  conclusive evidence but it does give me food for thought.  Which leads me on to the second part of my musings.

After my recent short-lived foray into a relationship I have wondered what it was all about.  In my world everything has to be for a reason, so I tend to be quite reflective.

 I had to admit to myself that something hadn't felt quite right from the beginning.  I was surprised, although flattered, by the unexpected attention.  I had not been looking to date anyone.    On my first visit my friend had told me that he only ever dated younger women.  As he said it I wondered at his sheepish look.  Maybe because he had remembered that I was 4 years older than him , but he had known this before he had asked me out. 

When the relationship quickly came to an end,  my friend's descriptions of my shortcomings didn’t seem to stack up either.   They were possible valid  reasons,  but  they seemed to come out of nowhere.  They seemed to be targeted for maximum impact, to get rid of me.   They just didn’t seem to ring true.  I said this at the time but there was no understandable explanation.   Of course,  people, unlike dogs, can have difficulty with the truth.  That's just a human frailty, no big deal.   

My friend had reportedly come out of a long-term relationship 12 months previously and was living on his own, a single man.   With the benefit of hindsight I started to wonder whether this man was actually seeing someone else.  There had been some clues to this.

However, perhaps the strongest and earliest indication that something was not as it seemed (and the reason for this post) had happened on my first visit.  My Labrador had foraged around the house that first evening, checking out all the nooks and crannies, returning within minutes from my friend's bedroom with a box of ........TAMPAX in his mouth (and they weren't mine)!!  Ha ha !

So, in truth, I don’t really understand what it was all about except maybe a lesson in trusting my intuition.   But pairing that with my dog's '6th sense' and we will be an awesome team - as long as I pay attention!!

 I hope sharing this story isn't going to deter any future romantic interests but I will get suspicious if they ask me to leave my Labrador at home!

Archie and tampax

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  1. Wonderful post, as usual!

    A few years ago Rachel Rae (an American food expert with a daytime TV talk show) invited a veterinary behaviorist on to solve the problem a woman (who lived upstate) was having with one of her two Labradors. The dog was chewing on two things and two things only: the TV remote and the woman’s cell phone.

    The behavioral expert went into all sorts of strange (I thought) and ridiculous (ditto) explanations for the behavior, and how to solve it.

    To me it seemed extraordinarily simple (especially when we saw footage of the woman constantly ignoring her dogs to talk on the phone!): the dog was chewing on things the woman had invested the most emotion in or projected the most emotion onto.



    1. Thankyou Lee – your story is brilliant – its odd how the obvious gets overlooked! The more I explore the behaviour of my dogs the more difficult I find separating my dogs behaviour from mine!

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