A Flat Coated Retriever is usually classified as a working dog or as a hunting dog. Retrievers have a long line of historical feat when it comes to hunting, flushing and (of course) retrieving small game. Although often used for hunting, the Flat Coated Retriever is never trained to be a game "pointer."
The exuberant nature of the Flat Coated Retriever usually stems from the fact that it is a people-oriented dog. Simply put, it likes to please all human persuasions in its general vicinity. Although this trait is endearing, it makes the Flat Coated Retriever a poor guard dog. The Flat Coated Retriever will only showcase overt friendliness to friends and strangers alike. It will even easily mingle and play with other dogs and animals.
In order to make the Flat Coated Retriever "work", basic obedience training is required. Obedience training (any kind of training, in fact) will curb most of its pent up energy. If you allow your pet Flat Coated Retriever to simply do as it pleases, you will find yourself at the mercy of a very destructive animal. A Flat Coated Retriever needs a lot of mental stimulation in order to be happy. At the same time, it needs a robust form of physical workout. Exercises like running and swimming for long minutes at a time poses no hardship to the dog, because it is quite athletic - and as earlier stated, it basically lives to please its human companions.
This sweet tempered dog prefers a more physically demanding work load. In hunting, it is usually trained to flush out, stalk and retrieve small game. It is an excellent swimmer and will dive into the water happily. It can go after game tirelessly and still come back fresh and ready. However, its liveliness cannot be harnessed for the more refined points of "pointing:" the act of a dog standing still as it "points" to a hidden prey.
As a house pet, a Flat Coated Retriever can work very well with a large family with very small children. This breed of dog is supremely tolerant when it comes to its human masters and will allow for a lot of petting and cuddling. It does not even protest to a lot of grooming and handling. Nonetheless, when the Flat Coated Retriever is with a very small child, it is best that supervision is always upheld. The Flat Coated Retriever may not realize its strength and may overwhelm and swamp small children. This breed of dog is perfect for physical activities like jogging, hiking and other outdoor sports. Its bountiful energy makes it a joyous companion during such trips.
Many Flat Coated Retriever enthusiasts prefer putting their pets into several training sessions, usually in sports related events like Agility Training, Boomerang Catching, Frisbee Catching, Hunting or Field Trials, etc. These physically demanding sports (for both the dog and its human handlers) are perfect energy outlets for the Flat Coated Retriever. This breed of dog welcomes the training sessions as much as it welcomes the excitement of competition. As long as there is a lot of mental stimulation, bodily exercise and lavish attention given by its human handlers, a Flat Coated Retriever is one of the best "sports" dogs around.