Chessies "protectiveness"

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Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby stut8500 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:56 pm

I've only been around a few. I hunt late season in the high mountains of Colorado, and like the idea of this cold wether dog. Also the way they look and the displacement of the ones I've been around, make them appealing. I haven't seen this protective side that people say they have. How serious is it? If you were in a threatening situation would the dog get defensive and step in? Anyone witnessed this? I'm not looking for a guard dog, I'm just curious about this trait. If I wanted a guard dog I'd just tie a pitbull to our tree in the front yard. I own a lab, please don't get on the Chessie VS lab debate that I see every time. She is a great dog, I'm just looking for a change and like I said the traits I've witnessed draw me towards a CBR.
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Re: Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby Rick Hall » Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:30 pm

Like most things, it depends more on breeding and upbringing than the breed.

A stranger could walk up and pull my first Chessie, Bud's, tail as long as he could see me. If I was not in sight, he made it clear it was his truck, kennel, house or whatever. But he did so in a manner that didn't prohibit allowing him the freedom of staying in the bed of my pickup at our busy lodge, and if I let him run loose there, everyone was his friend. Bud was the most protective of my Chessies in that sense, which I would attribute largely to his upbringing and our relatively isolated home life.

My last three Chesapeakes were brought up in a relative mad house of friends, family and strangers, and they might well help burglars load the truck, for all I know. But they've apparently drawn the line at harming family. We cared for my Alzheimer's stricken MIL during her last several years, and the only time our current Chessie has hinted at human aggression came when we were in the yard watching Mardi Gras riders pass and costumed "beggars" came to greet us. Peake stepped in front of my MIL (whom he doted on) and got BIG. Didn't bark or even growl that I could hear, but the beggars tipped their hats and retreated. By similar token, his one "dog fight" consisted of ripping a big chocolate off his little old Brittany brother and making it clear there's be no more of that.

I don't, however, see any of that as a Chesapeake thing, just a dog thing. Once had an English setter that was very much the same, both with human and canine family.
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Re: Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby stut8500 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:35 pm

Thanks for sharing that story. Pretty neat to hear. Doesn't really sound like a negative trait, the way you tell it. I've just never seen it from a lab before, and that's mostly what I've owned. I did see it from a red boarder collie once, I think it might of been more play. Never really did much to other people than nip and rip clothes when they got to rough housing around.
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Re: Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby Rick Hall » Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:56 pm

An example of the flip side of the protective Chesapeake coin would be one a friend had back in the '80s that wouldn't let you touch your own gear once it was in "his" boat without getting snapped at. My friend actually seemed to enjoy it and just laughed such incidents off as "a Chesapeake thing". That dog had remarkable field aptitude and was out of what many considered the top Chesapeake kennel of the time, but suffered what I considered inexcusable manners largely, I believe, due to his upbringing. (I knew a wonderful gyp out of his sire and eventually owned and equally fine tempered dog out of her, and never heard a bad word about his dam.)

And I've also known what I thought simply bad/mean blooded Chessies.
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Re: Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby dogyak » Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:01 pm

I've been around a few and found them to be like my labs . Hunt-Chessies whom is a moderator on this chat used to train together a lot . His chess is laid back never showing a mean bone and he's around 5 now I think . Made me think about getting one myself on the next retriever I get for having something different since I've only had labs my whole life . I've never seen the protectiveness issues that have been claim in the ones I've been around .Hope this helps .
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Re: Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby stut8500 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:04 pm

I've just always read even with the most socializing, a Chessie will still be super protective if a family member is in physical danger of someone else.
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Re: Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby Dawnsearlylight » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:08 pm

There is a huge difference between a dog that sees every little thing as threatening, and one which discriminates. Twice in my life I have witnessed protective behavior from my dogs, one a shepherd and one my Alpha male Chessie. Both dogs were of rock solid character, and neither one ever turned a hair at anyone except in those two situations. In the Chessie's case he actually waited to be sure the drunk coming in the front door at 3am was indeed a stranger before he launched. Almost all of the protective/aggressive behavior I see in my business (three exceptions out of several hundred, and those three were psychotic) is fear-induced and self-defensive behavior, and these animals are fear-biters and are not going to tend to be there when you really need protection.

Of course, then there was my bitch whose protective instinct only extended to her bird pile, but that's another tale. :rolleyes:
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Re: Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby grantbbee » Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:30 am

I did see it from a red boarder collie once, I think it might of been more play. Image
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Re: Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby Dakota Creek » Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:26 am

Have seen this twice .... two different friends and two different dogs, one male and one female. Both we met when we were getting into club training and hunt tests and both dogs were about 10 - 12 months when we met them and this "behaviour" continued throughout their lives. The female seemed to be protective of anything or anyone that was "hers".

The male was very different - happy to see you, loved getting pets, etc. The only exception to this rule was when going over to visit their home. No matter how many years we knew him and how many times we went to visit when you knocked on their door you were met by a growling dog EXTREMELY protective of his home. Once the owner came and opened the door for us, things were back to normal, he knew who we were and once again he would try to sit on your lap and look for more pets!
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Re: Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby tenfingergrip » Wed Aug 21, 2013 6:31 am

I've been in this dog training, field trialing, hunt test business for a long, long time now. During those 40 or so years, I have only seen 3 instances of where a dog bit their master. All three of those were Chessies. All three were protective of what, I assume, they considered "was theirs". Two were birds retrieved and the other was their kennel.
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Re: Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby Dawnsearlylight » Wed Aug 21, 2013 7:13 am

tenfingergrip wrote:I've been in this dog training, field trialing, hunt test business for a long, long time now. During those 40 or so years, I have only seen 3 instances of where a dog bit their master. All three of those were Chessies. All three were protective of what, I assume, they considered "was theirs". Two were birds retrieved and the other was their kennel.


TFG, there are many elements that cause a dog to bite, starting with genetics; yes, some dogs are genetically more disposed to it than others. Oral, pain-sensitive, fearful animals are prime candidates. The genetic traits are apparent very early on and need to be dealt with immediately. One of the first things my pups learn is that it is NEVER okay to put their teeth on humans, and I correct them just as their parents would. When dogs predisposed to biting are not raised and handled properly, chaos ensues. I have had to recommend euthanasia more often than I like to because owners have allowed the biting to become a habit, the biting is uninhibited, children are involved, the owner lacks the ability to deal with the dog, etc.

I have seen dogs that were just plain psycho (rare), and dogs that clearly demonstrated they had a problem as pups and the problem was exacerbated by the owner (one of these was a Chessie pup, I warned the owner when the pup was 10 weeks old that she had a problem with the way the dog was being handled by family members; she failed to heed the warning and the dog was put down at 2 years of age when he attacked her). I have also seen a dog inhibit a bite in circumstances where it was perfectly justified in
in turning the owner into ground round (shepherd had just snapped a front leg in two places and the 9 year old child in the family threw his arms around the dog and began rubbing the leg, dog screamed and spun and ran his teeth up and down the kid's arm three times and never even left a mark on it; guess how he was raised).

There isn't a dog on the planet that won't bite given the right circumstances, some are more apt to than others by virtue of their DNA. If one is going to keep a dog with that tendency, it is on that person to recognize the trait, and to raise and train the dog in a manner which teaches the dog to keep his mouth to himself.
The lab and golden think: "My humans give me food, shelter and love; they must be gods."
The Chesapeake thinks: "My humans give me food, shelter and love; I must be a God."
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Re: Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby stut8500 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:09 am

I would like to hear more about the drunk stumbling in and getting attacked. I bet that's a pretty good story, and I find it pretty interesting the dog can determine a threat. My lab would of met them at the door with tail wagging and looking for a good pet. Very big sweet heart of a dog.
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Re: Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby Jarbo03 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:24 am

I have seen it more of an individual dog issue than a breed issue. My griff and my lab loved everybody, would warn strangers of their presence if I were not around, both very protective of my nephew and kids. 1/2 the chessies i've known were the same way, the rest were as gentle as my britt. I have only known one chessie with a bad attitude. He had every right, his owner was an a**hole too.
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Re: Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby Dawnsearlylight » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:42 am

stut8500 wrote:I would like to hear more about the drunk stumbling in and getting attacked. I bet that's a pretty good story, and I find it pretty interesting the dog can determine a threat. My lab would of met them at the door with tail wagging and looking for a good pet. Very big sweet heart of a dog.


I was sick and sleeping on the couch near the front door, which no one ever uses. I woke up to the sound of someone fumbling around trying to open the door and my 100+ male on alert in front of it, quiet as a mouse. The guy finally opened the door, the dog said "bring it" and let him in get all the way in, determined he did not belong there and launched. It wound up with the guy flat on his back and the dog on top of him and lot of noise, I touched the dog and said "leave it" and he immediately broke off and sat next to me. The guy was so drunk he made a wrong turn heading home and wound up at my house instead of his own. There wasn't a mark on him except for a bruise where he hit the door sill, but it sounded like he was being disemboweled between him screeching and the dog roaring. He did sober up rather quickly once he saw Jesus and had fecal matter in his pants.

The only other time someone came in the front door at night was when my nephew used that door once, dog did the same thing and silently let him in, recognized him as "friend" and turned around and went back to bed, probably disappointed at no joy in that case.

Also had an incident with my current boy, guy I hunt with showed up with a big box of fast-grass for me, pounded on the door and threw it open and came in, completely hidden behind the box. Cirrus came by me like a shot with the nastiest growl I have ever heard from a dog and was right on top of the guy when he yelled the dog's name, the dog turned the aggression off like a light switch and started doing his happy dance. I have never seen a dog make a judgement and totally alter his behavior that quickly, and I have no idea what would have happened had the guy not spoken, nothing like that has occurred before or since.
Last edited by Dawnsearlylight on Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
The lab and golden think: "My humans give me food, shelter and love; they must be gods."
The Chesapeake thinks: "My humans give me food, shelter and love; I must be a God."
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Re: Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby stut8500 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:52 am

That's a great story. Like I said, I think it's pretty awesome a dog can distinguish situations threats like that intensively. Hopefully I get a dog with those same instincts.
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Re: Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby go get the bird » Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:02 am

Dakota Creek wrote:
The male was very different - happy to see you, loved getting pets, etc. The only exception to this rule was when going over to visit their home. No matter how many years we knew him and how many times we went to visit when you knocked on their door you were met by a growling dog EXTREMELY protective of his home. Once the owner came and opened the door for us, things were back to normal, he knew who we were and once again he would try to sit on your lap and look for more pets!


You've just described my chessie, to the t. You knock on my door and you're going to get an earful until she realizes you're not a threat. After that, she'll be so far up your butt you'd think you we're hanging out with Richard Simmons. :lol:
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Re: Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby Underradar » Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:29 pm

My sweet Ginger bit 4 people at leases, one was a girl I took hunting at George Franklin's club. In the blind, I said "don't pet this dog". She said "This sweet baby won't bite me!"and reached over to pet the dog. CHOMP! ! As I held her arm I could feel the muscle spasms from her pain. Ended that hunt early. I kept the dog tho, she never lost one duck, out of a couple of thousand fetched. Now I have kids so no Chessie allowed.
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Re: Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby OldGeezer » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:09 pm

My first Chessie, Rocky, was pretty aggressive. He didn't like anyone except our family but tolerated people as long as I was with him. He was out in the back yard one day just barking his head off and I went out to see what it was. When I looked out at him, he was looking at the black plastic tarp covering my pile of firewood. Nothing else was around. Then the wind moved the tarp and his guard hairs on his back raised up and he started a low growl. Long story short, we found out he didn't like the color black. Anything colored black would produce the same results. Weird, never saw anything like that.

My current Chessie is so gentle, she wouldn't hurt anyone. Great disposition, great drive, just a great all around pet and hunting partner.
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Re: Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby chessiewing » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:39 pm

From my experiences and seemingly most instances posted here it's usually more the person's fault than the dog. Cheesies are not teddy bears, they are still very much dogs, thank goodness. I appreciate the protective trait of a chessie and would love to find a line that is known for it for my future pup. any suggestions?
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Re: Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby Underradar » Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:08 pm

No, I'm pretty sure its the dog and not the owner.
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Re: Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby CatSquirrel » Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:59 pm

Frankly, I think the whole "Chessie Protective" thing is overblown.

I've been around lots of Chessies and haven't really found them overly aggressive except in two instances.

One is a dog that does have aggression issues. He is not really a good dog, marking, blinds, socialization, etc. Still, his owner keeps breeding him...he thinks the dog is great. No one else does. I genuinely hate this dog, and avoid training with him at all costs. His owner is really a nice guy, but so kennel blind.

The other instance was an abberation, IMO. My friend has a nice Chessie female that can be a tad possessive of "her" truck when she's in the cab and I walked up to the truck during a thunderstorm delay at a hunt test ( notice i had on a hooded rain jacket and an umbrella) and she made it clear I was NOT to get close. I simply said her name and she melted (she is really one of my favorite dogs) I piled up in the cab to get out of the rain and she got in my lap.

My Labs tend to be very loud about strangers, although I don't think they would ever bite anyone.
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Re: Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby wanapasaki » Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:06 pm

If you have a lab, and it has worked for you up until this point, why change out what works? I have had both, but my female labs have always been very protective. Its generally how you raise a dog. If your not taking him/her out to socialize, your dog won't generally be aggressive, but it will be reluctant to associate with a stranger. Just remember. With all the new duck hunters these days, are you sure you want a dog that may bite someone..Liability.... And you live in Colorado. Crestone area myself and centennial. People out there looking to make a nice settlement check...
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Re: Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby mr.garrett2 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:15 pm

Ok so it can be said that the agressive/protectiveness is to the individual. However, I have a valid question for those that have or have had kids/grandkids and Chessies: would you trust your dog to play with little ones? I have heard from a few already, but I am curious if you would trust your chessie with your children/grandchildren? For instance...tonight I looked over to see my son riding our current dog like a "horsey" and she didn't even move; not that it was ok it just happened. I only ask because I am seriously considering a chessie. I like a little fire in my dogs except when it comes to my kids.
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Re: Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby stut8500 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:25 pm

Anyone know of a good breeder who plans on having a litter hit the ground around Novemeber and ready to leave in January?
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Re: Chessies "protectiveness"

Postby mgerlach » Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:27 pm

mr.garrett2 wrote:Ok so it can be said that the agressive/protectiveness is to the individual. However, I have a valid question for those that have or have had kids/grandkids and Chessies: would you trust your dog to play with little ones? I have heard from a few already, but I am curious if you would trust your chessie with your children/grandchildren? For instance...tonight I looked over to see my son riding our current dog like a "horsey" and she didn't even move; not that it was ok it just happened. I only ask because I am seriously considering a chessie. I like a little fire in my dogs except when it comes to my kids.


im on my second chessie right now and both have loved kids. my first chessie was a big dominant male, but as friendly as could be. if there were kids around he was always with them and I think he actually liked when my daughter would try to get a "horsey" ride. I currently have a female pup who also loves kids. she is a nice dog but not as friendly as my male was, but I have seen kids pull on her tail more than once and she just licks them. I will have a chessie as long as I live and partly because I have seen how they are around kids. just make sure they are socialized well when they are young and get one from good lines.
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