Sneaking in Grasshoppers


One of the most enduring characteristics of a Black Labrador is that they have a face of innocence, with sweet doe-like eyes. Those same type of eyes that Margaret Keane used on her famous “Big Eyes” paintings. Eye’s that suck you in, leading to believe that their souls are deep and they could never image a mischievous deed. They know how to use those eyes and they aren’t afraid to use them.

Most of the time, my black lab, Grace, has me completely fooled. She is sneaky. One evening Grace came into the house looking as sweet as a freshly baked, thickly frosted cupcake. Minutes later, in the middle of the kitchen floor is a large grasshopper, with two crushed legs struggling to make it’s away from the big, black, frosted cupcake. I’m pretty sure, the only way that grasshopper was able to get into his current situation was with the assistance of a sweet, doe-eyed dog. This isn’t the first time Ms. Sweetness was able to smuggle contraband into the house. Once she was able to skillfully get 5 small apples into her throat unnoticed and into the house. There have been times she is able to hide a bone in her throat, hiding it from the other unsuspecting dogs. Later, when the others have forgotten about the bone, she coughs it out.

This skill, is one of the skills that makes a Labrador retriever a popular hunting dog. The ability to gently tote an item in their mouth without causing damage to it, is referred to as a “soft mouth.” A good hunting dog with be able to retrieve the fallen prey with little to no damage. Along with their sweet temperament and quick ability to learn, it is no wonder they remain one of the most desired family members.
Grace’s DNA contains a history of breeding for certain hunting characteristics. With these characteristics and training while she was a puppy, she has mastered the art of having a soft mouth. Part of her training included:
– teaching her to take a treat gently.
– biting humans was never permitted.
– playing with other dogs, teaches what is tolerated. Most dogs will not play by biting hard.

All dogs can be taught to have a soft mouth. Never did I guess Grace would use her soft mouth skills for sneaking in apples, grasshoppers, bones and other mysteries of the universe. Teaching your dog to have a soft mouth will prevent unnecessary biting, grabbing, or possible injuries while playing with their human companions.

Posted by
Cheryl Wilson

Cheryl Wilson created Why We Wag in 2012 as her result of her lifelong love of dogs. After 22 years in the Educational sector, Cheryl utilizes her expertise as an award winning educator, to educate dog lovers, along with offering supplies that support a healthy, meaningful relationship with canines. Residing in Utah, Cheryl is celebrating her 5th generation with dogs and now her first generation of grand-dogs.