Why a Chesapeake Makes an Excellent Dog.
The first question to ask yourself is whether any
dog is for you. The American Kennel Club recognizes over 150 breeds.
These breeds come in all sizes and a bunch of colors: surface appeal
aside, each breed has a unique temperaments.
Chesapeakes are retrievers. They are the largest of the retrievers and
totally unrelated to Goldens and Labradors. Chesapeakes are the only
American bred retrievers. The breed history gives you an idea of the
truly American nature of these dogs. Cheaspeakes have traits that require
thoughtful consideration and honest answers before considering acquiring
one. These traits include: intense loyalty, protective, sensitive, intelligence,
a strong sense of humor, a touch of independence and a serious nature
about their work.
Chessies are one of the few truly all-around dogs.
They bond quickly and intensely with their owners. If the owner considers
something as fun, your Chessie will work at liking it too. Chessies
need to be a part of a family. Dogs tied up in the back yard are miserable
and Chessies do not do well in these unfortunate conditions. They need
to be house dogs, with lots of attention and exercise. Chessies are
reserved with strangers and other dogs.
Protective by nature, Chessies feel a strong sense
of responsibility when it come to their owner's property (not that a
Chessie pup is above gnawing on the very shoes it will growl to protect.)
This is acceptable behavior so long as aggression is discouraged.
Along with the intense bonding comes a sensitivity
to the owner and members of the Chessies' family. Once bonded, a sharp
word or disapproving look is sufficient discipline. Over disciplining
a Chessie ahs a negative effect as the dog literally shuts down. This
is where the reputation for being stubborn originates. Obedience training
is a requirement for any dog we sell. Obedience training gives you a
controlled environment to socialize and train the dog. These classes
are merely the start, you must work and play with your dog in a consistent
program to keep a great working relationship.
Training a Chessie can be as easy or as hard as
YOU want to make it. These are smart dogs who grasp lessons quickly.
They also get bored fairly easily if asked to do the same thing over
and over: keep it fun; keep their attention. Chessies do not take well
to physical abuse of any kind. A harsh word can devastate them, but
a heavy hand will not assist in any form of training. These are a separate
breed from Labs. Bludgeoning doesn't work on a Chessie. These dogs will
hunt, swim, and do pretty much everything that is reasonably asked of
them. They will exhibit intelligence in ways that you may not prefer,
such as learning how to open doors and cabinets. One of the prerequisites
for being a good Chessie owner is being smarter than the dog and having
a sense of humor at least equal to the dogs.
Serious About Their Work
Bred to work in the 1800's, Chessies carry a strong
work ethic. They require a minimum of twenty minutes a day working,
training, retrieving or just simply playing. Twenty minutes does not
sound like a lot, until you get home from a hard day at work after two
hours in traffic. Spend the time with the Chessie and your weariness
will fade, blood pressure may fall and the day won't seem so bad. Chessies
are water dogs. If you can, give them twenty minutes of water retrieves,
it is a better workout than an hour walking down the street. These are
active, intelligent dogs that need jobs and responsibilities. If you
let the Chessie choose, you may not like what they think is important.
Sense of Humor
Most adult Chessies develop a wicked sense of humor.
Not malicious mind you, but wicked nonetheless. It is up to you, the
owner, to channel the dogs interest and penchant for activity into productive
channels. Obedience, hunting trials, swimming, retrieving a tennis ball,
agility, there are plenty of outlets for their boundless energy.