black flat-coated retriever

Flat Coated Retriever: Training and Exercise Tips

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Training and exercise are key for a Flat Coated Retriever’s well-being and happiness as a trusted and beloved companion or family pet.  They are smart, athletic dogs that require a variety of lifelong mental and physical stimulation to be happy and healthy — a great breed for the active sportsman as well as for a family with kids.  

In this section, some training techniques and exercise tips are briefly discussed.  You can use these tips to help keep your Flat-Coat in top shape.

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Training Flat-Coated Retrievers

Flat-Coated Retrievers are quick learners that react and learn very well when the training is done with positive reinforcement.  It is so important to be patient and consistent when training these friendly dogs.  Harsh language, yelling, and any sort of negativity will not work.  In fact, that sort of training is a counterproductive path to failure. 

For starters, begin training with basic commands like sit, stay, come, and heel. Your dog should be on a lead and rewarded with praise and healthy treats when he or she responds correctly.  When your dog consistently masters these simple commands, you can move on to more advanced training techniques.

Flat-Coated Retrievers Intelligence

Flat-Coated Retrievers are intelligent dogs that eagerly enjoy learning new things. They love challenging lessons and they thrive on mental stimulation. You can keep your dog mentally focused and stimulated by teaching new tricks and playing games like hide and seek.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a highly effective dog training method that uses rewards like treats and praise for properly obeying commands. When your dog does something right, praise him or her and give a healthy reward like a bite-sized dog treat. Rewarding is positive reinforcement that will encourage your dog to repeat the desired behaviour every time you give the command.

Vigorous Exercise

Flat-Coated Retrievers are very active dogs that just love to play and exercise. They enjoy running, hiking, and playing fetch. It is important to vigorously exercise your dog for at least an hour every day. This will help keep the Flat-Coated dog physically and mentally fit.  A little prevention using productive exercise goes a long way to keep your Flat-Coat from becoming bored and destructive.


Flat-Coated Retrievers are natural swimmers and they love to swim in any body of water. Like a kid, they even love the garden hose on a hot day! Swimming is naturally a great way to exercise any dog, and swimming is something the Flat-Coat simply loves doing. If you have access to a private pool or any body of water, then take your dog for a swim. It’s great exercise for any water dog and especially for a fun-loving Flat-Coat.

KONG - Aqua - Floating Fetch Toy for Water Play

Kong's Floating Fetch Toy for water play is perfect for large dogs. Encourages healthy exercise and interactive play - the perfect way to ensure your pup has fun.

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Flat-Coat Retriever Health

As a Flat-Coat Retriever owner, you need to be aware of the potential health problems that your dog may face.

The following are some of the most common health concerns of the breed: 


Flat-Coats are prone to certain types of cancer, such as blood cancer and bone cancer (see below). These cancers are often aggressive and difficult to treat, so it is important to catch them early. Regular check-ups with your veterinarian can help detect any unusual growths.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a crippling and very painful genetic disorder.  Hip Dysplasia afflicts many dog breeds, including Flat-Coats. Uncorrected hip dysplasia results in severe pain, lameness, and hip arthritis. The only known way to help prevent hip dysplasia from afflicting your Flat-Coat is to buy your dog from a reputable breeder who screens the parents for this disease. Very Important — only buy your Flat-Coat from a responsible breeder who screens dogs for dysplasia.

Hemangiosarcoma (blood vessel Cancer)

Hemangiosarcoma is a type of cancer that affects the blood vessels. This serious disease can occur in any breed, but Flat-Coats are particularly susceptible. Symptomatic of this form of cancer is predominantly lethargy, pale gums, and abdominal swelling. Treatment options are limited, so early detection is key.

Osteosarcoma (bone cancer)

Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that is common in medium size and large-breed dogs like Flat-Coats. It typically affects the leg bones and can cause lameness and severe pain. The current treatment options are only amputation and chemotherapy and the prognosis is not favourable for the dog.  Obviously, these are not great options but they are the only tools currently in the toolbox for this disease.

Flat-Coat Retriever Lifespan

The typical lifespan of a Flat Coat Retriever is 10 to 12 years. But, with proper care many Flat-Coats live well into old age. Overall, regular exams by your veterinarian, a well-balanced diet, and lots of exercise can help keep your Flat Coat healthy for many enjoyable years.

What to Expect When Adopting a Dog

If you are thinking of adopting a dog, this guide walks you step by step through the process, helping you to a create a happy gotcha day for your pup.

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Places To Adopt A Flat Coat

Animal Shelters

Animal shelters are a great place to start your search for a Flat-Coated Retriever. These shelters take in dogs that have been abandoned, lost, or surrendered by their owners. The process of adoption usually involves filling out an application form and paying a fee. The adoption fee usually covers the cost of spaying or neutering, vaccinations, and other medical expenses.

When you adopt from an animal shelter, you are not only giving a dog a second opportunity to live a happy life, but you are also helping to support the shelter’s mission.  It’s a win-win-win for you, the dog, and the rescue shelter.  Please remember: Animal shelters rely on donations to keep their doors open and to provide care for the saved animals.

Rescue Group

Rescue groups are another great option for adopting a Flat-Coated Retriever. These groups are typically run by volunteers who are passionate about rescuing and rehoming these dogs. Rescue groups take in dogs from shelters, as well as dogs that are surrendered by their owners. The dogs are often placed in foster homes as well until they are adopted.

When you adopt from a rescue group, you are not only giving a dog a second chance at life, but you are also supporting the group’s mission. Rescue groups rely on donations and volunteers to keep their operations running. The process and fee are very similar to that outlined above for animal shelters.

Whether you choose to adopt from an animal shelter or a rescue group, you are making a difference in the life of a dog. Flat-Coated Retrievers are loving and loyal dogs that make great companions. By adopting a Flat-Coated Retriever, you are giving a dog a second chance at life and gaining a new best friend.


Flat-Coated Retrievers make great companions for families looking for a loyal and energetic dog. They are known for their optimistic personalities and good manners, making them a joy to be around. These dogs thrive on companionship and love being close to their humans. They are known to be great with other animals and can be a great addition to any household.

If you’re looking for a dog that will keep you active and entertained, a Flat-Coated Retriever might be the perfect fit for you. They love to run, swim, and play, making them an ideal partner for outdoor adventures. Their high energy levels make them excellent candidates for canine sports such as agility, fetching, and obedience competitions.

Overall, Flat-Coated Retrievers are a healthy breed that can provide years of love and companionship if given the proper care and attention. If you’re looking for a dog that will become a beloved member of your family, consider welcoming a Flat-Coated Retriever into your home.

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