Chesapeake Bay Retriever defensiveness: what can cause it?

Owner's question:

"Hi! I have a Chesapeake Bay Retriever and I have noticed that he is very protective of my family. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, he does seem overly anxious at times and I don't always know how to handle this behavior. What can I do?"

Vet's detailed answer:

"Hi! Your question is very important because Chesapeake Bay Retrievers do tend to have a tendency to be protective.

This breed was originally bred to hunt and retrieve game, in which the protective instinct plays a big part. However, if the protective behavior becomes excessive, it can be problematic and requires treatment.

First, it is very important to socialise your dog properly from a young age.

Socialisation allows your dog to get to know different people, situations, animals and sounds and to learn what is normal and what is not.

If your dog is unusually protective, he may need more positive interaction with other people and dogs.

Secondly, it is important to start training your dog early!

Teach your dog basic command words such as "Stay!", "Sit!", "Down!" and "Gere!" If your dog knows these command words, you can control his behaviour more easily.

In addition, it is important to always reward your dog for good behaviour.

If your dog continues to be overprotective, you may want to consult an animal behaviourist. They can help you find out what is causing your dog's defensive behaviour and advise you on how to deal with it.

Finally, never punish your dog for defensive behaviour!

Punishing your dog can only increase his anxiety and frustration. Instead, try to use positive reinforcement and reward your dog when he is calm and behaving well.

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Chesapeake Bay Retrievers can be prone to defensive behavior, but with proper socialization, training and handling, this behavior can be controlled and managed."