Socialization of the Chesapeake

One of the greatest things I love about Chesapeake’s is their loyalty to their owner. With this loyalty comes a great responsibility to the owner.

When I am talking with people who express an interest in this breed the first couple of things I usually say are…

This is not a breed for everyone.

Chessie’s have a lot of great qualities but they are not typically a good breed for first time dog owners.

This loyalty includes a protective nature that is natural to the breed. It is one of the true characteristics that remain from the origination of the Chesapeake. Breeders have worked hard over the years to create a pleasing temperament in the breed while maintaining a protective nature. So socialization for Chesapeake’s is a must.

Quoted from the breed standard:

The Chesapeake is valued for its bright and happy disposition, intelligence, quiet good sense, and affectionate protective nature. Extreme shyness or extreme aggressive tendencies are not desirable in the breed as a gun dog or companion.

Two things can happen when Chessie’s are not properly socialized they can become over protective to the point of aggressiveness or extremely shy; and these are not behaviors you want. For now I am just going to talk about the protective side.

Socialization begins from the moment they are born. Breeders handle the puppies everyday. They expose them to different noises and smells once the ears and eyes have opened.                                                                                                                                      Misty Shores Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppy

I am fortunate that I share a house with my brother, sister and nephew so they were a great help with this.Misty Shores Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppies

Once the pups were about 4 weeks old I started having people come over to help with further socialization. I took them outside to explore new sights, sounds and smells. I also invited adults of all ages, children and teens so the pups could be exposed to more than just me and my family. Due to the young age precautions were taken to prevent exposure to diseases.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppies ~ Misty Shores ChesapeakesChesapeake Bay Retriever Puppies ~ Misty Shores Chesapeakes (2)Misty Shores Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Puppies

I stress the importance of socialization to new puppy people. It is much easier to do this from the time they are young than try to go back and fix it once they are older and develop an over protective nature. And in all honesty sometimes it can’t be fixed which is really a great disservice to the dog and can be a danger to people.

Socializing isn’t just limited to exposing your pup to new people but to different sights, sounds, environments and other animals. Beginner obedience classes are a great way of socializing while training those basic commands. Puppy play dates, going to the pet store or any business that allows dogs as well as walks through your neighborhood Christmas Shopping 2011 Misty Shores Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppiesare all great ways of socializing. I carry treats with me every where when they are young to reinforce good behavior as well as verbal praise.

The key is to expose your puppy to new and exciting experiences everyday so they grow into a well rounded confident dog.

So how do you socialize your dog?


Follow-up Friday

Today we are joining Jodi from Heart Like a Dog for Follow-up Friday!


Thank you Jodi for sharing your badge!

Jodi’s explanation:  For those new to the blog, my Follow-up Friday provides me with an opportunity to update or revise a post from the previous week.

You know sometimes you post about something and you need an update but it doesn’t warrant a whole blog.  Or sometimes someone made a comment that really resonated with you.  Yup, Follow-Up Friday baby!


Wordless Wednesday ~ Show Stack

Jodi Stone from Heart Like a Dog asked what stacking a dog meant.

It is just a term meaning to place your dogs feet in the best position to show their top-line, angles, shoulder, etc. I found this definition that may help,

To cause your dog to stand in a manner that best displays it’s virtues. In most breeds, the dog’s forelegs are stacked in alignment with their withers, and their rear pasterns are squarely aligned and presented at a 90 degree angle from the floor. There are exceptions by breed i.e. German Shepherd Dogs, etc. One may “Hand stack” their dog by manually placing each foot in it’s best position, or else “Free stack” by using a hands free method of using bait, verbal commands, body language, or lead correction to get the dog to stack itself.

Also here is a link to the AKC listing a full glossary of terms:


What Puppy Buyers Should Be Asking The Breeder

Jodi from Heart Like a Dog commented “I wonder if the breeder has the option of adding in training? What kind of training will be provided to the puppy?”

Yes, the breeder can basically put what they want in their contract. It is up to the buyer to go over the contract with their breeder and make sure they understand it and if they do not agree with some of the terms it would be at the breeder’s discretion if they wanted to alter it. You should not be afraid to tell the breeder if there is something about the contract you don’t understand or agree with. Having a good working relationship will benefit everyone!

tylersat99blog commented “My breeder also requires that if for some reason you cannot keep the dog it must be returned to her so she can find it a good home not just sold to anyone.”

This is a very common thing for breeders to have in their contracts, we want to know where our dogs go and we don’t do all that screening just so they can be given away to anyone.

So that’s all I have for Follow-up Friday, hope you have a great weekend Smile

Some Things a Breeder May Ask Puppy Buyers

This is Part 2 of a post that was inspired by Jodi Stone over at Heart Like A Dog so in this part I will touch on some questions that a breeder may ask potential puppy buyers. These are only my opinion and some other breeders may have additional questions or opinions. When you are looking at purchasing a pure breed dog it is advisable to research the breed first and then research breeders. I think it is important to find a breeder that you feel you can work with and you are comfortable with because this will lead to a good working relationship for the betterment of the puppy.

There are reputable breeders and those who are not and the best way I know to tell you how to know the difference is to talk with them and schedule a visit to their home/kennels and see how the animals are cared for and condition of the animals. Reputable breeders are usually very happy to have you come over and talk dog with you and love to show you their dogs. They are very knowledgeable about their breed and can answer most any question you have. If you talk with someone who is very vague or does not want you to come to their home/kennel then that may be a red flag and you will probably want to look elsewhere. There is also word of mouth, if you know someone who has a breed you are interested in ask them where they got their dog and what their thoughts are on the breeder. However as I said earlier the best way is for you to go out and meet them and see what they have to offer, for me I like to hear what others say but I like to form my own opinions from first hand experience.

So here are some questions the breeder may ask you if you have shown an interest in one of their litters, this can be done in a questionnaire form that you fill out and return to the breeder or it may be when you talk with them on the phone or visit their kennels/home; now these are in no particular order so here goes…

Why do you want this breed?

The breeder just wants to get an idea of why you are interested in their breed in part to make sure it isn’t a passing whimsy.

What reference material have you read on this breed?

Here’s where if you have done your homework you can impress the breeder with your knowledge Smile and they can clear up any gray areas so to speak. But even if you haven’t it doesn’t mean they won’t sell you a dog they just want to see what you know already and thoroughly educate you on their breed. I personally am a research freak and want to know as much as I can before hand if possible and then let the expert fill in any gaps.

Have you had any exposure to this breed?

Again they are trying to see if you have just read about the breed or if you have been able to actually see and be around the breed before.

Describe the ideal dog for you (and your family)

This is how they will be able to help you in the selection of a pup that will be a good fit with you and your family. For example if you tell them you are very laid back people and like things quiet they will obviously not steer  you towards the most exuberant puppy in the litter. Depending on the breed they may also suggest you look at another breed.

Do you consider yourself experienced in raising dogs?

The breeder wants to see how much knowledge you have in raising dogs so they can best help you with the rearing of one of their dogs. If you have never had a dog before they will  usually have suggestions on training; I gave extensive information in my puppy packet on socializing, house breaking, what to have when you bring the pup home, leash training, crate training, etc. And don’t be surprised if they tell you their breed is not for first time dog owners, because there are many breeds that are not. So again do your homework!

Type of dwelling

The breeder wants to know where you live so they know what type of dwelling the dog will live in because again depending on the breed some dogs would not do well in an apartment or a place where they did not have a yard to exercise in.

If renting, please give name, address and phone number of landlord.  Are you allowed pets?  May I contact to verify?

The last thing the breeder wants to happen is for the person to take the dog home and then call you to say they can’t keep them because the land lord said no animals. I would think that anyone who has cleared it with their land lord would not have a problem with giving the breeder permission to verify.

What type of environment would your dog live in? 

Will the dog be kept in the house, will you be raising them as part of the family, will they be kenneled outdoors, if so do you have proper housing for them, shelter from the elements will it be a combination of both, fenced yard, etc. How many hours a day will he be left outside alone? Every breed is different and some thrive better out doors and some don’t.  These are all very important to the breeder because they want to make sure you have the proper environment for the dog.

Does anyone in your house have allergies to animals? If yes, to what and how severe?

Again the breeder wants to make sure the dog is not put in a situation where they will be returned because of this. When you are looking for a dog and you have allergies or someone in the household does please consider that may be a potential problem if the allergies are severe. I worked in a vets office years ago and a woman brought her cat in to be euthanized because she was allergic, the kicker to this is it wasn’t the first cat she had and she said she just wanted to see if she was still allergic. Oh and by the way we would NOT accommodate her.

Do you have children? If yes, what are their ages?

Some breeds are not as good with children as others so again knowing some facts about the breed before hand will help you to determine if this is a breed you should consider and if you are not sure the breeder will help you with that.

Do you have other animals?

There may be some breeds who do not get along with other dogs or cats or same sex may be an issue.

Are you interested in a male, female, no preference?

This is just a very general question and for me I never had to ask because the potential buyers always said right up front what they wanted.

Do you plan to spay/neuter your dog?

A lot of times this is spelled out in the contract what the breeder expects you to do as far as altering your dog and what is a good age to do so.

How many hours a day will your puppy be left alone?

We all have to work but the breeder wants to make sure you are able to provide adequate care for a very young pup. Young pups need to be taken out fairly frequently to potty because their little bladders can only hold it for about an hour to every month old they are after 12 weeks of age before that they have no control. If you are going to be gone for long periods of time every day for your job maybe now is not the right time for a dog. Dogs are social creatures and need their human companions for more than a couple hours a day.

Who will be the primary caregiver?

To me this is one of those questions that if I hear oh the kids will do everything I would not feel comfortable with that. Having the kids be a part of care giving is great but being the sole care givers is usually something they are not ready for.

What activities are you interested in sharing with your dog? ___Pet/Companion ___Hunting ___Obedience ___Conformation ___Hunt/Field Tests ___Service Dog ___ Breeding

This will assist the breeder in helping you with the right puppy for your lifestyle. They have spent time with the pups and know the personalities of each one so they can place them in the appropriate homes.

Do you plan on attending obedience classes with your puppy? If no, how do you plan on training your puppy?

An inexperienced dog person would benefit from classes and the breeder will be able to explain this to you and what type of training the dog will need. If you are experienced in training, great, however getting the puppy out to socialize will help them and the breeder wants to know how you will do this. In fact for some breeds, such as Chesapeake’s, socialization is a must!

Have you considered an older dog / rescue dog instead of a puppy?

Maybe you really don’t have time for all the training required for a puppy and an older dog would be a better fit, generally they are already house broke and may have some basic obedience, sometimes breeders have older dogs available and there are plenty of wonderful older dogs in shelters / rescues that would love to have a forever home so don’t get hung up on a puppy if you aren’t ready for one. Puppies are a lot of work so be prepared for the long haul!


There are many more questions that a breeder may ask but this gives you an idea what you may be asked and why. I know I have said this countless times but good reputable breeders take the homing of their puppies very seriously and they put the welfare of the pups first.







What Puppy Buyers Should Be Asking The Breeder

Today’s post is inspired by Jodi Stone over at Heart Like a Dog; her recent Follow Up Friday Post in author’s note to A Plea To Rescue Groups; Jodi stated that some people may not know what to ask a breeder when purchasing a puppy. Well this sparked an idea for a two part post from a breeder’s (all be it small breeder) perspective on what someone should ask and what a breeder may ask a potential puppy buyer. A bit of advise I would give to anybody looking to purchase a pure breed puppy is Do Your Research first, I can not stress this enough. Familiarize yourself with the characteristics of the breed, the breed standard if they have one and any other information you can Google or check out at your local library. This will at least get you started and although everything you read is not always fact the breeder will help you sort that out but it should give you and idea if it is a breed you may want to own. I am only giving you my feelings and opinions on this and I am sure there are many others out there that have differing opinions or maybe some things I didn’t think of. So here goes…


1. Can I visit your dogs/kennel? Are the parent’s on site? Can I see them?

Most breeders are happy to have you come for a visit but please call ahead to schedule this with them. They should be able to show you at least the mother unless unforeseen circumstances have occurred (death). What you are looking for is the temperament and overall structure of the dog. The mother will be a bit apprehensive around her puppies but by herself she should be friendly and in good shape, remember she has just had a litter and nursed them for about the first four weeks or so of their lives so she may look a little haggard but overall you should see a healthy friendly dog.

2. What are the congenital defects for this breed?

Let’s face it every breed has some kind of defect and we all know there is NO perfect dog. A responsible breeder will be able to tell you all the defects and explain them.

3. What health clearances have been done on the parent’s? Can I see the clearances?

This question goes along with #2 and a responsible breeder will be able to show you the health clearances on both the Sire and Dam. With the wonderful world of the internet you can look up information on dogs on many different info sites such as The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) which will tell you what health clearances have been done and the results in most cases, however I will let you know that if it was not an OFA recognized test or results were not sent in they will not have it listed. I found this to be true when I was researching pedigrees for the stud dog, just means you have to do little more research. You can view Riva’s page at OFA here just to give you an idea.

4. Do you have a pedigree for the Sire and Dam?

Have the breeder go over it if you have questions. It is important to be able to look at the parentage of both the Sire and Dam to see where it all started so to speak. I do not want to give the impression that the pedigree is the most important thing, the WHOLE dog is most important but I wanted to touch on pedigree’s a bit. I could probably do a whole post on this topic alone because there is so much you can learn from them but as with everything else they are a tool to use not a deciding factor on whether two dogs should be bred.

5. Where were the puppies raised?

You want to hear that the puppies have been exposed to all different noises and sounds such as the vacuum, pots and pans banging around, outside noises such as cars, sirens etc. This way you know your pup will not freak out at every little sound.

6. What vaccines have the puppies received?

A responsible breeder will have this information for you and be able to tell you what vaccines were given and when.

7. Have the puppies been wormed?

Again responsible breeders will have this information and be able to tell you what wormer was used and how often.

8. What are you feeding them?

This just gives you and idea of what their nutrition has been and the opportunity to discuss it with the breeder if you have something else you would like to feed.

9. Have they been socialized? How?

Remember these are young pups that have not completed their vaccine series so they most likely have not been off the property so what I look for here is have they been handled by more than just the breeder. I had people of all different ages and genders over to play with and interact periodically with my pups just so they were used to strangers.

10. Do you do any type of aptitude testing?

There are some aptitude tests that some breeders may do on their puppies for example the VOLHARD PUPPY APTITUDE TEST (PAT) is common and was the one I used. Remember that this is just a guideline and nothing replaces the knowledge of the breeder and their overall critique of each puppy, after all they have spent the first eight weeks with the pups.

Not all breeders do this so don’t let this count as a negative if they say No; make yourself familiar with the breed you are looking at and the information contained in the test and judge the puppies for yourself when you see and interact with them. A good breeder will question you on what kind of personality you want your puppy to have, what you are going to be doing with your pup e.g.,  jogging, hunt tests, conformation, obedience, companion, and so forth to assist you in choosing the pup that will best fit your lifestyle. Yes the breeder will assist you in choosing a puppy, they will not let you come in and just take one home without discussing in length your lifestyle and the pups personalities first. Responsible breeder’s take placing puppies very seriously and will always put the welfare of their puppies first. They want to make sure it is a good fit for you and the pup.

11. Do you have a contract or guarantee?

This is a very subjective area and every breeder has their own thoughts on this. They are usually designed to protect you the buyer, the breeder and first and foremost the puppy. I did have a bill of sale/contract with my puppies that not only explained what I as the breeder was responsible for but it also stated what I expected from the buyer. It explained whether the dog was being sold on full registration or limited registration, health check by my vet, etc. If you read the contract and it is not something you can live with discuss it with the breeder and if they do not want to change it then look else where for a pup or be prepared to abide by the contract. As I stated before a responsible breeder is concerned with the welfare of their puppies first so they try to protect them through a contract.

12. Price?

Now you may have noticed that I saved this for last, there are a couple of reasons. First prices can vary from state to state so familiarize yourself with the area you are looking at buying a puppy from. When I was asked how much are my puppies before asking anything else it made me feel like the person was not concerned about the welfare of the puppy and money was the only concern; I will be honest some of the people who inquired about price first hung up once I told them, so that to me says a lot about them. When I look at my dogs I do not see dollar signs!

Second if you have done your research you already know some what of a price range for a quality dog and sure there will be inferior breeders out there that can sell you a dog at a much lower price but that should send up a red flag to you as the puppy buyer, ask yourself why are these puppies so much cheaper, then go through your questions to the breeder and you will probably answer that one on your own. So my advise is save this question for last because if you what you see and the answers to your questions are not what you are looking for then the price doesn’t matter anyway.

Well there you have some of the questions I think are important for a puppy buyer to be asking a breeder, I hope this is helpful and don’t forget to watch for part 2, What A Breeder May Ask You.