Mongo’s Motivation

The following excerpt is from July 2013 Smithsonian Article.  Having had German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and now a Labrador, the entire family can attest to the accuracy of the descriptions contained within.  The family has never seen a dog more motivated by food than Mongo.  And to bolster that description of the breed, the following is provided.

“Among dogs, the best breeds for finding bombs may be German shepherds, Belgian Malinoises (also known as Belgian shepherds) and Labrador retrievers, more for their tireless work ethic than any special olfactory prowess.

Shepherds are so-called “play reward” dogs. There’s a shepherd named June training alongside Merry at MSA’s hangar. “She will work all day for her tennis ball,” says Mike Wynn, MSA’s director of canine training. Labs, perpetually hungry, are “food reward” dogs. Shepherds will accept criticism; Labs won’t—the stress of not measuring up takes the starch right out of them.

What about bloodhounds, you say? True, a bloodhound will follow a straight-line scent—an escaping convict, say —as if it’s being pulled by a string. “But they’re way down on the intelligence scale,” says Wynn, who worked with bloodhounds as a patrol dog handler with the Connecticut State Police. “Also, they stink like livestock.” Golden retrievers can outsmell everybody, but it’s tough to get them to buy into the system. “They’re so intelligent that if they don’t want to do something, they just don’t do it,” says Wynn. Some breeders are looking into Glabs—a mix of golden retriever with Labrador—to get the best of both breeds.”

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