The Chesapeake Bay Retriever has the strongest personality of all retrievers. They are not as easy-going as the other breeds, are more independent and are probably the hardest to train. Despite that, they are some of the most durable hunting dogs around. They love to swim and can handle an entire day of retrieving ducks or sticks from frigid waters. They are a true outdoorsperson's dog and will happily accompany people on hikes, bike trips, jogs or camping excursions.
Chesapeakes need a lot of exercise and a couple of walks around the block won't cut it. They are a hunting dog who loves to be outdoors – they can retrieve in cold water all day long (up to 200 ducks a day) and never tire of working alongside hunters. They also enjoy jogging, hiking, chasing sticks and catching frisbees. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is by no means an apartment dog. They are rowdy and rambunctious well into adulthood, need a lot of exercise, and if they don't get it they can be quite destructive.
Chesapeakes are a strong-willed breed and should not be confused with Golden Retrievers, who love to please. This breed requires consistency above all else. If you give them a little leeway, they will consider it an open door to make their own rules. Though they require a strong leader, Chesapeakes should never be treated harshly and they don't respond well to discipline. Positive reinforcement and a lot of patience is the best recipe for a well trained dog.
A bored Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a destructive Chesapeake Bay Retriever. If they do not have a lot of regular, vigorous exercise, this breed can get out of control quickly. They naturally experience a long puppyhood and bounce around well into adulthood – if they don't get enough time to run, this bouncing can be constant. When left alone, they can make quick work of couches, chairs or flower beds.
They aren't the best watchdogs, but Chesapeakes are naturally distrustful of strangers. It is important that socialization take place early and often, so that the dog learns the difference between a welcome visitor and and unwelcome visitor. If left unchecked, this distrustfulness can possibly turn into aggression.
They are notorious for putting things in their mouths. Sticks, rocks, toys, shoes, books, and hands are common targets of the Chesapeake and his mouth. He must be trained to chew his toys, bones or sticks only, otherwise there may be no shoes left in the house for anyone to wear and everyone's hands will be bruised from dog nips.