Ah the joy of retrieving; yesterday my little JRT had one of her twice a year retrieving moments. She is adorable when she retrieves and her retrieving moments are so few and far between that I really love watching her do it. Usually she is way above the act of chasing a stupid ball; she leaves this activity to the poodles who love it. Jessie's retrieving last but a few moments but she has fun while she's doing it. She charges after the ball; slamming into anything in the way to get it. She doesn't retrieve the ball to me but to the nearest bed in her path.
There are many different types of retrieving dogs and some who have retriever in their name but wouldn't think of chasing a ball if you begged them to. I have had several training clients who were very upset that their retrievers didn't like to retrieve. My husband always wanted a golden retriever; now we have one. Luke is golden color and loves to retreive; there you go. Tilley is a maniac retriever; she loves nothing more than the chase. She will infact chase and retrieve anything.
With Tilley's shadow chasing bad behavior I had to switch her chase drive onto something else for her own safety. First it was balls and then onto frisbees which she was unbelievably amazing at. She has actually been on Pet Star twice; I'm in the process of trying to get a video of her from Animal Planet.
But not all dogs have drive; it actually amazes me when I see dogs interacting in a friendly manner to rabbits, birds or other small critters. My dogs are all very wired to chase, but they do not all kill. My JRT does kill small things like lizards, birds, mice, rabbbits etc. But my poodles just love the chase.
Retrieving is great for exercising your dog; especially if you are not big on jogging yourself. But you must take great care if you have an obsessive retriever; they tend to not watch where they are going and only keep their eye on the ball so to speak.
So if you want to get your dog retrieving, you must make the ball the greatest most fun thing in the world first. If you don't accomplish this, forget it.