Activities For Chesapeake Bay Retrievers

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Introduction

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are hard working dogs who were developed to retrieve seabirds that had been shot over the icy waters of Chesapeake Bay often to the tune of hundreds every day. They are powerful animals with a great deal of stamina and endurance at their disposal and a powerful love of the water. These intelligent and dedicated canines need a regular exercise regiment, at least an hour a day of vigorous activity, to keep them occupied and to maintain their muscular physiques. 

Swimming

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Any Day
Cheap
Normal
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Doggy Life jacket
Floating Fetch Toy
Activity description

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers were designed to retrieve waterfowl from the ocean; they have webbed feet to help them swim, a thick, otter-like tail that helps them to steer in the water, and thick insulated coats designed to keep them warm in icy oceans. They are typically exceptionally strong swimmers who are happy to swim for hours at a time and are often able to withstand strong currents when swimming in nature that other breeds of dog may not be able to handle. They are also more prone to hip dysplasia than some other breeds and swimming is an excellent way to strengthen the hip muscles without putting as much pressure on the joints themselves. 

Step
1
Find a place
For dogs that have never experienced swimming before, it may be a good idea to book an appointment at an indoor pool that is specifically designed with your pooch in mind. These places usually have a trained technician who can help introduce your dog to the water for the first time. A good indoor pool also has the added advantage of not having bugs, bacteria, or dangerous wildlife lurking below. If you do choose an outdoor locale for your dog to swim in, put some thought into your choice. Find a clean, clear body of water that isn't stagnant for your dog to swim in and be sure to read all posted signs in the area as they may warn you about hidden dangers.
Step
2
Introductions
For most Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, introducing them to the water is like reintroducing them to an old friend, but a few of these dogs may initially take some convincing. Unproven and weaker swimmers, such as those that already have joint problems, should be fitted with a canine life jacket at all times when swimming, and all dogs should have a life jacket in natural settings where unexpected currents can surprise even experienced human swimmers. At most indoor facilities, first introductions to the water will be handled by trained staff to ensure it goes smoothly, but if you are at a natural body of water or using your own swimming pool, you will need to get into the water first and coax your dog in. It is crucial never to force your dog into a swimming situation if they are not comfortable as this can lead to a fear of the water.
Step
3
Playtime!
Once your pooch has become acquainted with the water and is comfortable navigating in it, it's time to play. For some dogs, the act of swimming is its own reward, and they will happily paddle around for quite some time with no other purpose in mind. Other dogs prefer to have a goal in mind when swimming, and in most cases, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever falls into the latter category. This breed of dog never seems to grow weary of retrieving floating toys from the pool.
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Dock Diving

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Hard
30 - 120 min
Items needed
Target to Jump After
Activity description
In the sport of dock diving for dogs, also known as dock dog, the goal is for the dog to run to the end of a thirty-five to forty food dock and jump off into a pool in pursuit of a specific target, aiming for either the highest or the longest jump. This sport first appeared during the Incredible Dog Challenge in 1997, and has been increasing in popularity over the last two decades. There are several groups of people who get together to practice this activity in dock dog groups and there are dock dog jumping competitions throughout the United States.
Step
1
Learn to swim
Most Chesapeake Bay Retrievers will have no trouble adjusting to the water, but for their safety, it is still crucial that they be introduced to the feel of the water and be confident in their ability to maneuver in it before being thrown into the high-intensity sport of dock diving.
Step
2
Teach the target
In order to attempt to reach the target, your dog needs to be familiar with what the target is. Some dock diving is done with a stationary target that is suspended over the diving pool while the target is thrown to the end of the pool for your dog to chase in other situations. It is not required that your dog actually catch the target, but it does generally provide motive and incentive for your dog.
Step
3
Compete!
It seems like whenever the weather will bear it there are dock diving competitions taking place in cities and towns throughout the world. Joining a dock diving club will give you support and guidance in the world of dock diving, help you to determine your dog's competition level as well as introducing you to new venues you might not have seen otherwise, and provides an opportunity to socialize with like-minded individuals.
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Recreational Skijor

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Cold Day
Expensive
Hard
30 - 120 min
Items needed
Ski Equipment
Towline
Skijor Belt for you
Pulling Harness for the dog
Neckline if Tandem
Booties
Belly Band (Optional)
Activity description
Skijor is a sport that was first introduced in the Nordic regions in which an individual wearing skis is pulled along by a vehicle, a horse, or a dog. This sport is frequently seen as the domain of the Northern Sled dog types, but the Chesapeake Bay Retriever has an extremely powerful chest, strong legs, and a thick insulating undercoat. While the Northern dogs are a little better suited to severe drops in temperature, and excursions with your retriever should not range as far afield as they would with an actual sled dog, the Chesapeakes can hold their own in some pretty frigid weather.
Step
1
Gear up!
Even in a short cross-country excursion in the winter, the gear can make the difference between a miserable and dangerous experience and a fun and safe one. Ensure that all of your buckles and bindings are working properly before you set out on the trail and make sure you have all the correct equipment on hand. A belly band, though optional, may be a good idea for a Retriever as their belly fur is often thinner than that of the more Nordic breeds, and booties are a must for these dogs to prevent snow accumulation from causing frostbite to the webbing between their toes.
Step
2
Train up!
There are a few commands that your canine companion is going to need to know so that the two of you can effectively communicate. Commands that will prove useful include line out, when you want them to get in their starting position, hike, when you want them to pull, easy, when you need to slow down, and gee and haw for right and left, among others. Chessies are typically quite quick to pick up new commands, but it is important to start the training on foot rather than on skis so that you have better control, and be sure that your dog is consistent in following the commands over at least a few weeks before switching to skis.
Step
3
Hit the trail (safely)
Make sure that you make yourself very familiar with the route you will be taking before running it with your dog, and safety gear for yourself, such as elbow pads, knee pads, and a helmet, while not strictly required, are typically recommended, particularly when you or your dog are novices. Be sure that your route is well defined and if you are near any remote or wooded areas and don't have another Skijor enthusiast along with you, make sure someone is aware of the route you intend to take and when you should be back. Skijor trips with a Chesapeake Bay Retriever may need to be shorter than with the sledding dogs as they were developed with swimming in mind rather than pulling.
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More Fun Ideas...

Camping

Chesapeakes love being in the out of doors and while they are generally attentive they are a little less prone to hyperactivity than some of the other retriever breeds making them excellent camping partners.

Surfing

Surfing has become a more popular sport for canines to participate in over the last few decades and a breed that developed to swim in the ocean seems like a likely surfing dog.

Geocaching

Geocaching is a worldwide treasure hunt using GPS and cell phone technology. Many of these areas are fairly remote and having an active and athletic dog along may help you find the hidden container and its contents.

Conclusion

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are athletic and intelligent canines with a great deal of staying power. They were developed as swimming dogs and most of them love anything to do with water or swimming, but water sports are not the only options for keeping these laid-back but determined dogs active, and introducing other activities can help improve your pup's physical and mental wellbeing.