Thursday Barks And Bytes~Are Chesapeakes Mean

Are Chesapeakes Mean?

I get this asked quite often while at hunt tests where it is a Labrador dominating sport. My response is….

Does Glory look mean?

Since I get so many people asking me about the temperament of our Chesapeakes I decided to participate in the annual American Temperament Test Society test hosted by Canine Solutions LLC in Beaver Dam, WI on Saturday August 9, 2014. Canine Solutions LLC is the same training facility that Gambler and Glory do their therapy work through.

What is the American Temperament Test Society?

From the ATTS website-

The American Temperament Test Society, Inc. (ATTS) is a national not-for-profit organization (registered in the state of Missouri) for the promotion of uniform temperament evaluation of purebred and spayed/neutered mixed-breed dogs.

ATTS was established to:

  • Provide for a uniform national program of temperament testing of purebred and spayed/neutered mixed-breed dogs.
  • Conduct seminars to disseminate information to dog owners, dog breeders and evaluators (testers) concerning dog psychology, motivation, reaction and other aspects of temperament testing.
  • Recognize and award certificates to dogs that pass the requirements of the temperament evaluation.
  • Work for the betterment of all breeds of dogs.
  • Select, train, prepare and register temperament evaluators.

Our motto says all:


This is how the test went.

First Canine Solutions LLC announced they were putting on the ATTS test. It was recommended to sign up ahead of the day so you could fill out the paperwork and bring along plus set up a morning or afternoon appointment. I chose to do the am time frame. All the handlers and their dogs met at The Golden Eagles Baseball field where the test was being held. Canine Solutions LLC has been using this spot for the past three years. It really worked out nicely having the 10 stations spread around the diamond and having a dug out at the beginning to register and sit under for shade and a dug out at the end so you can talk to the chief tester and find out your scores. The fence around the whole field kept other people out and made it so only one handler and dog was on the field at one time so they didn’t have distractions.

The chief tester for today’s test was Polly Dake-Jones owner of Canine Solutions LLC. She has been involved with ATTS for over 20 years.Polly is a certified trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. She owns and breeds American Bulldogs.

Polly started out by having all the handlers on the field without their dogs and went over the test. She walked us through each stations and let us ask questions as we went along. She explained everything very well. There were volunteers at each station that did a excellent job at their part of the test. They were there all day long in the great sun shine so I thank them all very much. Without the helpers the test could not of been done.

Chief Tester Polly going over the test.

The handlers.

The ATTS Temperament Test consists of ten tests.

The first station. Neutral stranger.

1. Neutral stranger

You walk up and shake hands while saying hi to the stranger.

Second station: Friendly stranger.

2. Friendly stranger

You walk up and the friendly stranger gets down to dogs level and says hi to them and starts petting them and talking to them.

Third Station: Hidden noise.

3. Hidden noise

Person is hiding behind a tent, when you approach they shake a bucket with rocks in it then sets the bucket outside the tent for the dog to investigate.

Fourth Station: Gun shot noise.

4. Gun shot noise

Person hiding behind a tent you walk up and stand with your back to the tent, gun shots go off three times.

Fifth Station: Umbrella.

5. Umbrella

Person is sitting in a chair and as you approach they open up the umbrella.

Sixth Station: Plastic footing.

6. Plastic footing

You and your dog walks across the plastic footing.

Seventh Station: Wire footing.

7. Wire footing

Your dog walks across the wire footing while you walk along side.

Eight, Nine & Tenth Station: Non-threatening, threatening and aggressive person.

8, 9 & 10. Non-threatening, threatening and aggressive person. 

First the non-threatening person comes out from behind a tent making all kinds of non-threatening noise while talking nice to the dog, then the person turns threatening and starts shouting at the dog then he waves a whip around and cracks it while talking aggressive to the dog.

At the conclusion of the test, the handler will receive a critique about the dog’s performance. If you pass a certificate will be mailed to the handler.

The whole test takes about 3-4 mins to complete. You can not talk to your dog at all except when at stations 3 & 5. If the dog is unsure of the bucket or umbrella you can go up to those items and touch them yourself and say things like “what do we have here”? “This is a nice umbrella, don’t you want to look at it”? You can reassure your dog that it is ok without actually talking to your dog. For stations 6 & 7 you are given 3 tries to get your dog to walk across the surfaces. Station 8,9 & 10 there is a long line attached to a stake in the ground for you to hook your dog up to if you think you can’t hold onto the dog when the non-threatening-aggressive person comes out.

You can read the purpose to all these tests on the ATTS website.

So now you want to know how Gambler and Glory did. Gambler and Glory both passed. They passed with different scores meaning they each are their own individual and have their own personalities and temperaments.

First I had Glory did the test. During the test you can not talk to your dog at all or do any type of leash corrections. You just walk along and your dog follows. The second station she was all happy that someone was talking to her and wanted to pet her, she wiggled her little butt up to the stranger and then gave her a kiss. The fifth station with the umbrella took her by surprise, when the umbrella opened up she was startled and bolted sideways taking me out at the knees and I landed on my butt which took me by surprise. After I got up I grabbed Glory and we walked up to the umbrella and she checked it out and wasn’t fazed my it after that. When we got to station 8,9 and 10 she was happy when the non threatening person came out but when he became threatening she barked at him when he got aggressive she hid behind me. She received the lowest scores on these two stations, she received scores of 3. The ideal scores are 4-6.

Now it was Gamblers turn. He just walked along so nonchalantly. When we got to station two he could of cared less about the stranger wanting to meet him. He sniffed around then finally went over to her and gave her a kiss but it was a quick one. He then continued without being fazed by any of the stations. When he came to 8, 9 and 10 he just stool out in front of me the whole time and watched the stranger and didn’t move a muscle. He scored all 4-6 which is what you want in this test. It shows they are even tempered and they don’t have high’s or low’s when it comes to different situations.

I was very happy with both of them and thought this test was well done. Everyone handled themselves in a professional manner and the test went really smoothly. All 11 dogs from the morning test passed. There were a mix of dog’s from my Chesapeakes to Pugs, Greater Swiss Mountain, Pit Bull, Terriers, Mastiff and a Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Caesar The Fabulous (click on picture to go to Caesars FB page)

As of February 2014, there have been 115 Chesapeakes tested with 100 passing and 15 failing. 87%

So now when someone asks me if Chesapeakes are mean I can say that my Chesapeakes have their Therapy Inc title,  CGC title and their TT certificate.

Thank you again to Canine Solutions LLC for hosting this event and for all the volunteers to helped out.


The co-hosts for Barks And Bytes are Linda from 2browndawgs and Jodi from Heart Like A Dog.

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16 thoughts on “Thursday Barks And Bytes~Are Chesapeakes Mean

  1. Sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing it on the hop. 🙂 Congrats on passing. Nice job!

    I can tell you that the aggressive person would be in trouble with all of our dogs. They would not put up with it. They would go into full on protect mode and since you can’t talk to them that would be an issue. lol Also, one problem I have always had with that test is the gunshot where they cannot see what it is. My dogs are used to them, but that is a classic way to make a gun shy dog. Did anyone ask about that?


  2. What an interesting test. Of course I would like to think Donna has a wonderful temperament. Unfortunately I think she will definitely react and go fearful at a gunshot. She’s worried about thunder and fireworks. And I’m not sure a non-threatening aggressive person will also cause the same fearful reaction in her. I suspect it would. :/


  3. First, any breed of dog can be mean if with “that type” of owner however I do not believe that specific breeds are mean. Looking at all the photos on your blog it wouldn’t even cross my mind that Chessies are “mean”. That test sounds pretty cool and leave it to our GMan to be the even-tempered one.
    Happy Thursday,


  4. Really interesting post – I had no idea they do these kinds of tests.No surprise Gambler was so nonchalant! I would be very interested to see how my pups would interact with each station. Will have to check out if there is any testing in my area.


  5. Congrats Glory and Gambler! I’m not sure if we would pass this test, think the tent would get shredded and I’m not sure for the aggressive person, think Mark had to do the test, he can handle that 80 lbs of TNT better than me :o)


  6. Thanks for sharing this on the blog hop and congratulations on passing the test. (Although I already knew this from Facebook.) 🙂

    Neither of my dogs would pass this test. First because the noise and the umbrella would startle them and I wouldn’t want that. Second the aggressive person. Delilah for sure would at a minimum growl, she might snarl and snap as well. Sampson may or may not, it’s hard to tell with him.

    I’m glad it all worked out for you though, you have some very awesome dogs.


  7. Congrats on passing the test with both dogs! I just wrote down a few things to work with my pup on like walking on wire, the tarp and umbrella. That will be fun to add to our training time.

    I do have to say that I have heard “Chessies are mean” quite a bit in the dog circles we float around. The only one I ever remember being actually “mean” was the one who lived the street from us while growing up. Pilgrim was a huge, unaltered male and he was a jerk. But his owner was also a jerk. When I was 9 years old though, I didn’t have the knowledge to make the connection that he was a jerk because his owner was one. Since then, we have been in many obedience classes with Chessies and they have all been lovely dogs.


  8. Oh you just needed to show them their videos for them to see what sweet natured pups they are! But the test does seem like a lot of fun… congratulations pups you are now ‘certified friendly’
    Hugs, Carrie and Pups x


  9. Interesting test. Why do folks think Chessie’s are mean? I would never think that. I like the test. I don’t know how Jack would do – he doesn’t really like strange people – the rest would probably be fine. Maggie would be fine with the people, but probably not with the umbrella or gunshot…


  10. I get asked that question a lot about Ash, but Ash has to be one of the sweetest dogs ever! My vet tells me that her brother on the other hand, is one of the meanest dogs he has dealt with.


  11. What an interesting test! I did see this on Facebook and thought it was interesting how both dogs reacted. I couldn’t imagine any of my dogs being as nonchalant as Gambler was!
    It never would have occurred to me that Chessies might be mean, not after seeing your silly crew as well as Linda’s and Hawk in some of their escapades! 🙂


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