Hi all. I'm new here, but I am, as the title says, at my wit's end with my Chessie. He's 13 months old, came from a reputable breeder who screens for hip and aggression problems. Previous litters (same mother, different sire) produced dogs of amazingly gentle temperament, which is why I went to this breeder. He's had all his shots. He was neutered - probably a little late - at 11 months, and has been to a three week training program with an animal behaviorist. My plan was for him to be a companion dog for my handicapped child.
The training helped - he no longer routinely jumps, he is usually controllable on a leash (that is, he will heel, stop, sit, and lie down on command, as long as I keep a tight hold at the collar). He loves to play ball, but will not come and stay on command, so he probably doesn't get as much exercise as he should, but I'm afraid to take him out in a field or the woods for fear he won't come back.
Here's my problem: the dog is so smart, he has figured out how to take control at his whim. He's docile only as long as he wants to be, and without warning, he will jump in order to hook his foot over the leash, and then he will do anything, including biting, scratching, dropping to the ground and rolling over - in short, anything he can think of to do the exact opposite of what he's been only too happy to do on previous occasions. Tricks and techniques I've learned only work until he figures out he's being managed, and then he will balk and fight. Most often it's when we're trying to bring him indoors for his meals - which he gets in his crate, per instructions from the trainer - or for a nap or the night. Sometimes, however, we can be just walking along, and he will flatten his ears and become aggressive, or even just whip his head around to nip at my hand. The pinch collar is only marginally effective.
I really no longer know what to do, but I'm frustrated with being bruised and bitten due to unpredictable behavior. Any advice from more experienced Chessie owners, or just people with experience with difficult dogs, would be appreciated, as I really don't want to get rid of him or put him down.
I'm sorry you're having these problems, especially after carefully checking out your breeder and going through all the proper steps in training.
Is he actually biting you or is he mouthing you? There is a difference (I know, it doesn't SEEM like it when you're on the receiving end). He is also at the age to be teething and just getting out of his puppyhood.
I have had only 1 experience with Chessies and that was a rescue who had been abused. Despite the rescue organizer's withholding the info on his abuse, it was evident in short order. Despite an immediate bond between hubby, myself & Charlie, he had to be returned and re-homed. He kept trying to attack our only dark haired grandchild (all the others are blond).
He was a sweet, gentle, well behaved 1 year old in every other respect, but there was something about a little girl with long dark hair that simply pushed him over the edge. Repeatedly.
My only suggestions would be to contact your breeder for her input and assistance and rather than the pinch collar, give a Halti or gentle leader a try while he's on lead.
"Some days you're the dog; some days you're the hydrant". author unknown
Sad to say, this is actual biting, complete with gums rolled back to bare teeth. He's always been a mouther, though, even back when I first saw him as a very young puppy. So maybe it's mouthing, only now he's clamping down? I don't know. It always occurred to me, though, that maybe he and his littermates were weaned a little early - four weeks and they were completely weaned.
The pinch collar was introduced by the trainer; I've tried harnesses, regular collars, etc. He gets out of those, believe it or not.
As long as the littermates we allowed to be together until 8wks, 4 wks being weaned from mom is no big deal in my mind.
what about puppy training, he sounds like a complete spoiled brat to me. Did you just get him into training now at over a year old, or is this continuing training from when he was very young? I can tell you that they do need alot of mental stimulation, and a ton of excersize. not my first choice for therapy dog. he could be 6 or 7yrs old before he would be calm enough to help a handicapp child. Esp. without the training of a perfessional organization.
As far as taken him out to an open feild, invest in a 100 foot leash or two. Like the long lines made for horses. He can not get away from you, but you can throw a ball quite far. it may help.
- Contact and discuss this with the breeder especially since this was to be a dog for a child.
- Get a vet work up to make sure nothing medical is going on
- Start practicing NILIF training ( Google it)
- If the trainer you are working with is not helping you enough seek out another
-Properly fitted harnesses and collars should not come off. Now gentle leaders and halti collars I really am not a fan of and have seen many a dog slip out of them. Have you tried a martingale collar
If he ends up not working out and going back to the breeder you may want to consider contacting service and or companion dog orgs to see if you qualify for one of their dogs. This way they will work with you to train it for your child's specific needs.
Another option is an older pup or young adult dog either from a breeder or rescue who has been temperament tested and suits your needs and life style better.
I hope that helps
Patch O' Pits , Home to Greatly Loved Ch GRCH, Therapy, & Agility APBTs "When it Rains Play in the mud"
As I said, before I bought this dog, I had been acquainted with two dogs from a previous litter that had gone to two separate homes – they were amazing, docile, tractable even with strangers in control, not the least bit territorial or aggressive. I talked at length with the breeder about what I was trying to do and how I needed a mellow, relatively small (for the breed) dog. So what I have is a wild-child that’s over 80 pounds. And yes, he did just get into formal training – he was 10 months old when he went to the trainer, but again, I'd had no indication that the others had required or received formalized training. Before I sent him to school, we had done some informal things like “sit”, “roll over”, “paw”, but as he asserted more independence, it became clear that we were out of our league.
Good suggestion on the mega-leash. Then I can just reel him in if he won’t return on his own.
I’ve been in touch with the breeder; he called before the training, and I expressed some concerns about behavior at that time. He told me to let him know how things were once we got some training, which I have done. He hasn’t responded. I am not happy.
Nothing medical going on. The dog is in extremely good health.
Good suggestion on the NILIF, although I’m not the most patient person in the world. Unfortunately, I’m out of work, and therefore out of money for professional trainers at this time. He probably needs to go back to her periodically, but I just don’t have any money to do it.
- If the trainer you are working with is not helping you enough seek out another
Do breeders take the dogs back? Do they give refunds? Do they compensate for value-added (shots, neutering, training)? That's a last resort, but it would be nice to know what is the industry practice.
All puppies are different. My guess is the dog is either very spoiled becuase of no earily training. He should have put in obediance very young, as I think all puppies should be. Or the breeder didn't do a very good job picking the right puppy for you. Were you honest with the breeder on what you wanted in a dog, and they picked the pup that they thought would be right for your family, or did you just pick the one you wanted?
When it comes to my puppies, someone who wants something specific in a pup doesn't get to choose it. I tell theme which dog I think would be best suited for the job that are asking about.
No ever pup in a litter is the same, some can be more active, stoner willed, etc. Just becuase you met a few other pups, doesn't mean they are all like that. We as breeders would like to think so, but each dog is different. Alot of training is enviromental also. If the pup did somthing and go away with it, it will try something else, and so on. this is why some sort of obediance is esp important with any working breed.
As far as what a breeder does with returns is up to them and the contract you signed. What does your contract say. Most reputable breeders will accept dogs back, and give you little back. Most say they have the first choice if you are chosing to give rid of the dog. Look at your contract and see what it says about returns, refunds, or guarentees.
Yes, hindsight is 20/20, and yes, it was my intent to put him in training from the start. However, I had some medical problems last year when he was still young, so the money for his training went for my medical bills. Call me selfish.
Yes, I was absolutely honest with the breeder about my intentions. When I spend $850 for a dog for my child's companion, I'm not going to shoot myself in the foot by playing games with the breeder. Our conversations on the subject prior to getting the puppy were between 1 1/2 and 2 hours each, plus emails, plus visits. He directed me to the puppies he thought were appropriate for what I was needed, and I picked from that subset. The breeder has been doing this for more than thirty years, so I did rely heavily on his knowledge of the breed and of the bloodlines of the puppies' parents.
As a breeder, I have one particular female that is exceptionally bright (not just smart). Her puppies tend to be just as intelligent from a very early age. I have learned that her puppies or any puppies of exceptionally high intelligence, or problem solving skills need to be placed in homes who can offer the right training from DAY ONE, (not 10 mos of age). I think of it the same way as with super-intelligent human children: they are often put in special classes to see that they are not bored and are sufficiently stimulated and challenged, sounds like what your boy needs. Regular activities are not enough. With your budget being tight, your choices are: invest the time (a lot) required to properly train this dog to respect and obey you, or rehome him, either by returning him to the breeder or someone who is more dog savy. Good breeders generally take their puppies back for health reasons and are glad to do so in that situation. Behavioral or training issues are often felt to be the RESPONSIBILITY of the new owner. This is not to say that your breeder won't want the pup back, but his actions and refusal to reply to your e-mail speaks volumes toward that end. Still, lots of breeders take puppies/dogs back for ANY reason since they don't want them ending up in shelters etc. Having a smart puppy from a good, experienced breeder may have given you a false sense of security and led you to believe that most of the work would be done for you, but as you see, raising a puppy (especially a highly intelligent one) is a great deal of work. My guess is that if you dedicate yourself to this dog and his training, he will do well and learn quickly, but you will need to get him to respect your leadership. See NILF. You'll have to ask yourself if you have what it takes to turn this dog around, and see him to his potential.
No reputable breeder would sell ANY puppy at 4 weeks old! Thats a fact. One of the most crucial things a pup develops is social skills from 4-9 weeks old. Your pup lost that opportunity. And like most people, you probably coddled it and treated it like a human baby too. Worse thing you can do. Not your fault, you did'nt know. But unfortunately you created this disconnection from an early age without knowing it. It has to be fixed. Chesapeake Bay retrievers are notorious for their tenacity and assertive nature that is what makes them excellent duck dogs...not necessarily the therapy marshmallow you were hoping for. (note: I am not saying that chessies are aggressive in there general disposition) The breeder should have informed you of the flip side of the breed...if she knew it in the first place. Are these dogs working dogs that breeder is raising? What does she do with the dogs? Performance? Conformation? Pets only? These are important questions to ask any breeder. But particularly if you were planning on raising a therapy dog. Temperament is key. Now, you have to do damage control. It is obvious that the breeder is not going to stand by this dog. The trainer got the dog under false control with the pinch collar deal. But NO ONE has got the dogs mind under control. This is where you need to step up. If you can. I will tell you what you need if you are serious about it. I am offering this help for free, if you choose. Feel free to e-mail me personally and we can get you the tools that you need to help this guy and your family. kind regards, kerry