PETER BLATCH says: As a breed, chocolate Labradors, for some reason or another, do not have a good reputation when it comes being trained as a working gundog.

They can prove difficult but I will never dismiss a chocolate lab until it’s proven guilty. I have trained several to a fair standard, and have found that whatever the colour of the dog, all have their weaknesses.

The one downfall of the chocolate is the amount of show strain in its breeding and this does not always complement the type of work it will be asked to perform in the field. But this does not rule out the fact they can be trained to a certain standard that the owner requires.

Hard mouth is the one area that seems to let the chocolate dog down and it does not seem to possess the same drive as a black or yellow Labrador during a day’s shooting.

It is, however, worth mentioning that the control and obedience that can be obtained from the chocolate can be just as good, if not better, as any other colour provided it undergoes a proper training programme.

In your case I would say that as long as the dog isn’t hard in the mouth then it’s worth trying to train, at least to a level you’re happy with.

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