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Thread: CBR as family pet?

  1. #1
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    Default CBR as family pet?

    I have no experience or interest in hunting but have been looking into getting a puppy. I have two geriatric mutts at home that can't hike or run anymore. I did a breed questionaire and Chesepeake Bay Retreivers were top of the list for our lifestyle. Summers we hike, bike, camp and fish a lot so I think we could keep a dog happy and active. I'm wondering about winter though? Are walks enough to keep a Chessie happy? Does anyone skijor with them or do agility competitions in the winter? I'd be interested in anyone's take on who makes a good owner for a Chessie. Are they happy being pets (as opposed to working dogs)? Thanks!

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Hi Katie,

    I have a young female Chessie (almost 2). She is an archtypical Chessie: very sensitive, fiercely loyal, protective (slow to warm up to strangers), determined but at times stubborn, athletic and energetic. She's also a bit of a diva and will pout when she's unhappy.

    Daily walks are good but not enough. Every walk should be a training session, if nothing else than to reinforce basic commands. Chessie's require a commitment from you. They are not low-maintenance dogs and cannot be simply fed and ignored. When my dog misbehaves it's almost always after 2 or 3 days of inadequate exercise. She LOVES the water and if I let her, she'd swim after bumpers until she drowned. Any regular, vigorous exercise is good for a Chessie. As for skijoring? Probably. Mine is very cold tolerant (she loves to porpoise through snow over her head).

    If you get a Chessie you must socialize it with other dogs and people. It is not a lab with a wavy coat. Once the dog bonds to you and your space it will defend that space and all who live there. While in the house my dog alerts (growls or barks) at every person or dog that passes by the house. It's been nearly two years and she's just now coming to accept the newspaper delivery at 4 am without barking (just a low growl) She charges the door at every knock. These are behaviors that I accept because I like the guard dog aspect of Chessie personality. What I have done is channel, not discourage them. If there's a knock at the door she is free to bark until relieved by a person. When I go to answer the door she retreats to her post at the top of the stairs. From that point if she moves, growls or barks she gets corrected (a sharp Shhh! and snap/point of the fingers is usually enough).

    Bottom line: If you are an active person willing accept their foundational breed traits and commit to their need for training, discipline and exercise then it's tough to top a Chessie.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  3. #3
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    A few years ago I did an article about CBRs as the all around Alaskan dog, for Alaska Dog News, no longer in print. I interviewed a woman who used her's as companions, freight dogs hauling water and wood, skijoring and later she got into hunt tests. They really seemed to be great but like any other working dog you need to be aware of the lines. Meet the parents and interview the breeder for the type of temperament you are looking for. Go through the breed club here in Alaska and avoid Craigs list at all cost. Katie's description is excellent but each dog has it's own personality even within a litter. I'm a life long Lab lover but if I were looking for a hardy dog to withstand the rigors of the Alaskan outdoors, I would pick a Chessie.
    Linda and Jack the retrieving Knik-a-doodle

  4. #4

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    Hi Katie, I would agree and tell you to get the Chessie. I have had several and they are great family dogs. Most of the time they are more inteligent then their masters which means you will ahve to keep it busy with either training or other "work", back packs, pulling kids wagons, sleds, walks, swims or runs. The one we had growing up lasted from my birth until I was 16 and she was fantastic. We used her as a gun dog but she could also track and find. One of the fun games we did was me and my brother would go hide in the woods and my mom would have her find us and bring us home. She never failed. I currently have a 5-6 year old male we recently saved from the pound because he had been abused and the second owners 8 year old kid wasn't strong enough to care for him (go figure) anyway with a little work and 8 months later we are still working but he now doesn't go for dogs or men and is doing very well. We walk him (or he walks us not really sure) three miles a day (measured it with the car) and that doesn't include the extra swims in the pond. He too will swim until he drowns so we ahve to be careful but he is another great chessie in my line of them. the one thing I would not do is spend the thousand dollars for a breeders/kennel one. Contact CBJ rescue and talk to them about getting one thru them first. I don't believe in buying a dog when there are so many out there already that need good homes. Good luck and remember to post back here with what you do.
    Allen

  5. #5
    Member bluesmom's Avatar
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    Default CBR as Family Pet

    We have 2 Chessies, 1 we got from a breeder (local-Nuka Bay), and 1 we got fromCBRRR. Rescue. Our Breeder does obedience, Rally and Agility with here pups, year round. Other dogs from the litter with our guy, hunt, hunt test, and even lure course.

    Our dogs get out for an hour minimum every day, even in winter. They retrieve anything, and love to hunt. Training is a daily must, they are very smart and if you slack off, they let you know about.

    Rescue dogs sometimes have challenges, but the rescue people will let you know about if they know. Our rescue had some issues, but after about a year, she started coming out of it. Now she is am awesome protector.

  6. #6
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    My "Cheska"...aka "Cheska Bay Lady of So. Lake", was one in a million to me. She had champion blood on both sides of her family. She was the last of the litter to go, and I pretty much stole her for $75. I had a bazillion hours of training into her and she was well worth every minute. I field trained her to hand signals and the whistle as well. Extremely obedient and completely steady on shot. She hunted everything from doves to geese. Heck.....she even pointed pheasants. I have to say, that dog literally put food on the table.

    They are a fantastic breed but can be hard headed at times. Chessies are known to have a very businesslike manner to them. It seemed there was a time when she was young during her training, that she would, in fact, test me. It took patience but we both prevailed. I remember once when I was working her in cold water. Normally it never bothered her. She had just made a very long and wonderful retrieve of the dummy. She brought it to hand, and with that she took off and ran about 300 yards to the truck, jumped in the back, sat down and looked at me. I looked at my buddy and said......"well I guess it's time to go.".....lol.

    Some say a chessy really comes into their "time" a little later than most.....around 6 years old. I can't remember exactly when, but Cheska came into a time where she put it all together and seemed to realize that all I was trying to do was make her the best she could be. When this happened, it was like a switch turned on and all she wanted to do was LEARN...!!! And learn she did. It seemed she would learn anything quickly and effortlessly. What a complete pleasure she was.

    All I can say is I do believe no mater what breed you pick, the more time you put into them, the better the dog you'll have. If you want a good dog you HAVE to make the time......time, time, and more time. But the rewards are endless. If you get a chessie with a good pedigree, I feel you too can have your one in a million. I do say a good pedigree because lets face it....some dogs are smarter than others. I won't go as far as to say every chessie I've seen is wonderful, but what you put into them will have a lot to do with that.

    Good luck....!!!
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Katie View Post
    I have no experience or interest in hunting but have been looking into getting a puppy. I have two geriatric mutts at home that can't hike or run anymore. I did a breed questionaire and Chesepeake Bay Retreivers were top of the list for our lifestyle. Summers we hike, bike, camp and fish a lot so I think we could keep a dog happy and active. I'm wondering about winter though? Are walks enough to keep a Chessie happy? Does anyone skijor with them or do agility competitions in the winter? I'd be interested in anyone's take on who makes a good owner for a Chessie. Are they happy being pets (as opposed to working dogs)? Thanks!
    I have had Chessies for more than 25 years and they can make great family dogs. They can be protective and need a lot of socializing as pups, and I mean a lot. They should go just about everywhere you can take them to expose them to as many new an unusual situations as possible. Puppy obedience class is important. They are a great dog for Alaska. They can stay kenneled outdoors as long as you have good insulated dog house and straw. But they will want to be inside with their pack at night. That's you. They are not usually high energy dogs. They like to retrieve. That can be a ball thrown in the driveway if you don't hunt. They do like a job. Have them fetch the morning paper, the firewood. They will gladly do it. You can't keep this dog on a chain in the back yard and forget about them. They will want to be part of the family. I have skijored with my dogs. They enjoy that. But they also would be happy taking a walk or just retrieving the firewood, no biggie. They make great companion animals. If you go with a Chessie, find a good breeder who does all the health clearances and breeds for temperment.

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