One of the most wonderful traits of the Chinook is its gentle, even temperament, making it one of the easiest to own of all sled dog breeds. These calm and patient animals get along famously with children and other dogs. They are neither aggressive nor timid and, as working dogs, are programed to please their people. The Chinook does not make a good guard or watch dog. However, they do make wonderful dogs for high-energy families that have lots of time to spend with their pets. They will not thrive spending most of their time alone or apart from their family. Chinooks need constant companionship, either from other dogs or from their owners. A family that does not allow a dog in the house or rarely has time to train, exercise and socialize with their dog should consider a different breed. The Chinook has no trouble making friends but can be reserved at first with strangers or in unfamiliar surroundings.
Originally bred to pull sleds, the Chinook enjoys to work. These dogs naturally like to spend their time engaged in activities with other dogs and people. They need a lot of exercise every day to stay physically and mentally fit. Walks to the park and games of fetch and hide-and-seek are right up a Chinook's alley. They also love to participate in activities such as backpacking, hiking, jogging, agility, obedience, pulling carts, carrying packs, search and rescue and skijoring. Training a Chinook to pull a wagon full of groceries home from the store or to run alongside a skateboarder to and from school makes for a very happy dog. Very few Chinooks pull sleds on a daily basis. However, there are a number of pulling and sledding competitions available for owners to participate in with their Chinooks, in almost every climate. An owner with a competitive streak makes the perfect companion for these dogs. Chinooks can do well in small homes and apartments, as long as they have ample time and space to exercise every day.
Chinooks are smart, versatile and highly trainable. However, they are strong-willed and can be a bit pushy. Almost every Chinook requires correction in order to avoid taking a dominant position in the household. This breed requires an owner with a firm but gentle hand to prevent personality and hierarchy controversies. Chinooks are high-spirited dogs that need consistent training and discipline in order to establish and maintain proper manners. Training sessions give a Chinook the opportunity to expend some of its excess energy and use its brain power for constructive purposes. Chinooks are very clever, but they are likely to resist authority in favor of their own desires. Training a Chinook requires not just five or six weeks; training needs to continue every day for the rest of the dog’s life.
Chinooks don’t bark a lot, but they can use their voice to announce visitors and express excitement. The breed spends most of its time quietly. Chinooks have an uncanny ability to solve puzzles. This includes opening gates and cupboards and finding their way into unusual places to satisfy their endless curiosity. Owners may find it useful to use extra locks and security measures as one might with an inquisitive young child.