Marching to a different beat…

Often when I scribe another post for us, I am influenced by a client comment or comments. Sometimes they settle on my inner-being and hover taking form in the shape of words and finally sentences. We can only hope I mold them not only into something interesting but grammatically correct expressions.

Over the years we have learned much vicariously through our clients. Many of you share your deepest thoughts and experiences. Thank you for trusting us and being a part of our on-going lives.

In the midst of Mollie’s delivery we were contacted by one of our dear clients. Seeing the process unfold touches hearts. For some the process brings tears. For others it evokes an inexplicable desire to have yet another Weim.

Sharing the desire for a second Weim can illicit some pretty unusual responses. Some friends and family members might take pause. Some may offer support. Some might scrunch their face and lean towards you inferring they wish to hear your reasoning. While some take pause or question your good sense others quiver at the thought. Many secretly wonder how a person becomes so mesmerized by a Weimaraner. The bottom line is that they cannot fathom how or why anyone would want a Weimaraner let alone two. Those of us Weim addicts snicker at their lack of understanding and naivety.

Nevertheless, the Weim-mesmerized march to a different beat much like their beloved Weimaraner. Who needs a counselor when you have a Weimaraner? What friend is as loyal? What friend enjoys all the same activities? With what person can you let your guard down as you do your Weim? Their exquisite beauty draws a crowd but the true beauty is their heart.

Others seeing a Weimaraner walking on a leash, at the beach, or on television don’t get a true picture. Viewing them afar is different than living with one. Meeting a Weimaraner on the street is different than being in relationship with one. Living with a Weimaraner requires understanding their sensitive side. A side that normally remains unseen by outsiders. Outsiders cannot understand why a Weim would eat a hole in the Sheetrock because you went to the neighbors without them. Outsiders feel it is naughty behavior. In truth, this acting-out behavior is based on wounded feelings and fear. This acting-out behavior wells-up from deep within a Weim.  It comes from a feeling of abandonment and separation anxiety. Remember they think you think what they think which is 24 X 7 is not enough togetherness.

Weimaraners normally get so attached to their owners that they cannot bear to be without them even for a few minutes. This is why we have learned to exhort new Weim persons to teach their pup how to stay alone. What a weird thought to those that have other breeds. The other breed person often come-and-go without worry. The other breed person may often make plans without considering their fur family members. Weimaraner folks never forget the needs of their fur members and often plan around their Weims needs.

Note:  These comments would seem weird to those who have not been owned by a Weimaraner yet. Sure many others include their dogs in the family activities. Yes, others plan their vacation around Fido. There is no easy explanation for what we speak. With a Weimaraner you step up to a whole new level of relationship and involvement. For some this becomes too much and the Weim ends up at the shelter or rescue. This is something we want to avoid at all costs here at OwyheeStar. We won’t go into our Terms of Sale or screening process but if you wonder why we are so particular about how things are done then we forgive you.

Today in the midst of a conversation one of those afore mentioned situations occurred. A situation whereby words and thoughts hovered around my heart and mind. The words began wrapping thoughts and impressions around my heart and took on a life of their own. This whole Blog has grown out of one conversation. The thoughts made a huge impact.  Here are a couple excerpts from our conversation with the points we want to highlight colored in blue.

I understand and respect now why you are so picky in placing your pups. You have a tough job doing this. Your experience with life and all of thoes teens you took in gave you a gift of reading people and having a mothers instict about people. I too tell people that they need to think LONG and HARD before getting one. I am so honored to know that you thought I special enough to have her. because it does take a special person to own a Weim.

I just had a friend over the other day and he said….

“give me one full day with that weim and she will never be naughty again. I will beat it out of her” I was thinking to myself this is not YOUR LAB here she is a WEIM and it just does not work for Weims. The Counter climbing, garbage rummageing, couch crawling ,twig chewing , velcro clinging, trying to eat off your plate behavior, is just HOW THEY ARE they are not like other dogs. And I would not have it any other way.

Like so many of our clients this was this family’s first Weimaraner. They had Labs before. We took care to make sure they understood that the Weimaraner (though a hunting dog) is not a Lab in any sense of the word. Well maybe in the word canine but not in behavior, attitude, or manner. Even with the explanation we know until you have walked down this path there is much you cannot understand. Labs are very different.

Now having walked down this path, this person gets it! They understand that both the Lab and the Weimaraner are wonderful, however, the Weimaraner is beyond different. They are both more challenging and yet more giving.  We both know that some of her choices probably should have been different, but in the end she lives with the outcome. With a Weimaraner there is no clear path or process that is going to work for every Weim in each setting. Unique and sensitive these Weims want to be a part of everything. They also like routine and want to excel. If they can figure out what you want and you have earned their respect they will comply. If, however, there is an area where you have a shortcoming or you make a mistake many Weims will push the limits in that area.

There is not a single time we raise a Weim that we can say we did everything perfect. Just as with children each was is unique and challenging in their own way. Some of it is in the genetic make-up and others traits are environmental. Genes and life experience couple together to forge or more aptly shape a Weim’s personality.

How can we explain what these guys give you in return for all the trouble they might cause? Really there are no words. Some how they get us! They accept us for who we are and bring out the best in us. Unfortunately, some people should never get a Weim in the first place and this results in the unthinkable result of Weim rescue. Thank God for rescue but better we did not need it all!

A Weimaraner is smart and manipulative. They know how to push your buttons and sometimes might be more successful than your own flesh and blood. Did we say they have a sensitive side? Stirred into the mix is the concrete-thinking which can make them immovable. Thus something else we repeat over and over becomes very important. What we say is that you need to get things done right up front. What they live with early-on is how they want things to be. They expect things to stay that way. Yes, they can learn flexibility if that is part of the program, however, if the routine never varies then that is what they know. Moving their crate a little now and then is a good idea. Taking them to stay on the road is good. Adjusting your routine a bit is super great. If you do everything at the same time every day they actually can tell time. Missing your schedule doesn’t suit their needs.  ha

This person’s friend (who said–“give me one full day with that weim and she will never be naughty again. I will beat it out of her“) doesn’t understand this breed. We actually get inquiries from people who feel they can train the Weimaraner to be something different than a Weimaraner. For these people we prefer they get another breed. We often spend a great deal of time trying help them realize that if they want to change the breed then the breed is not for them.

Beating a Weim to get compliance proves their is a problem with the human-element in training equation. Beating a Weim, pushing a Weim too hard, or crushing their spirit to get compliance will destroy what makes them special. If you break their spirit then yes you have broken them (like a horse) but they are not a horse. Also, the best horse people don’t beat their horses either. They get compliance by building trust and edging them along to a partnership. Breaking their will destroys a portion of their personality. Each Weimaraner is unique. Regardless, each one is a challenge in their own right. A misstep can lead to a problem that goes on-and-on. Regardless, commitment, patience, and doing things right gets results. If a person needs a perfect dog, then the Weimaraner is not the right choice and they should have another breed or better yet no dog at all. Things can happen with this breed you would not see in others and sometimes first time Weim persons (or even some experienced Weim persons) get caught off-guard.

For example, one day like always you are making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the kids and your Weim snatches a sandwich. Snatching the sandwich grew out of opportunity as well as the drive developing from the sheer PBJ sandwich scent. You see them devour it with delight as they streak away in triump. Yes, it is very funny but likely from here on out PBJ sandwiches will be fair game. You can scold them and they will look sad. They are sad because you don’t want them to have a PBJ sandwich. They cannot understand why you would not give them a sandwich. All the doggie treats in the world will not prevent them from wanting the PBJ sandwich.

It is ideal to avoid these situations (such as your Weim learning they can snatch the PBJ sandwich and run). It is wise be ahead of the curve and thwart the opportunity. Sometimes we let down our guard and get caught short. Once the behavior has started it takes a lot of extra work, and change requires time. A Weimaraner might leave the PBJ alone if they thought they would get caught. They might not care what the consequence would be because they now are addicted to PBJ sandwiches. So, the moment  you turn your back they snatch, run, all the while relishing the whole process. The sandwich would be on their lips for a moment but in their gut in a heartbeat. PBJ breath doesn’t count does it?

What can a person do? A person could try peanut butter on a dog treat. Possibly setting it on the counter and teaching them to wait. Then when the sandwiches are passed out they get theirs too. Bread is not good for Weims so a peanut buttered doggie morsel would be preferable. This ploy may or may not work. Some people might have to have a crate close by and put their Weim in the crate every time. Others might be able to put them on a sit-stay mode and treat them afterward. The problem is this is a game with great reward. Snatching something they love from the kitchen counter is beyond fun.

We mostly have our Weims trained to stay out of the kitchen, however, given opportunity they will check to see if Mom left a dish that needs pre-washing in the sink. Maybe there is something scraped into the garbage disposal side waiting to go down the drain and they could save Mom the trouble. Maybe there is a tasty morsel on the counter that they cannot resist.

One time Dash, who was very well trained, slithered into the kitchen and cleaned the set-aside London Broil from the platter. All the while we ate our dinner around the corner just a few feet from his duty. Later, upon returning to the kitchen we discovered our planned-overs had become Dash-fare. The platter looked as if it was clean from the cupboard. We did not even both to scold him much. We said naughty and then scolded ourselves for leaving it on the counter. On the counter for a moment and in the Weim-disposal before you know it!

Beating this propensity out of your Weim takes the zeal for life out of their personality. We don’t recommend you allow the behavior but rather work early-on to teach them to sit outside the kitchen area. Work at never leaving food on the counter or whatever in the sink. Some of those foods may be harmful but tempting to your Weimaraner.

We have a motto around here: Any time we are baking our Weims have to be in the crate. Food, leftovers, or snacks go into the refrig, cupboard, or in the second oven for safe keeping. It has become a habit. Should we forget and something get eaten we pray it was not raisins or macadamia nuts–both toxic to Weims. We move on and chide ourselves.

Those of you who have been owned by a Weim or currently are owned by a Weim understand their propensity for getting into mischief. Most likely you trained yours well. We all know we compensate however we must to accommodate our beloved Weims. So, if you are only thinking about a Weimaraner please contemplate your commitment. It is a bit like a marriage. You must take the good with the bad, however, some marriages should not happen in the first place.  Make sure you are willing to live with the issues and problems and don’t think you can avoid every naughty behavior with good training.

Wishing you positive results in all you do

and may you be loved indeed by a Weimaraner ~ Shela and Cliff

About OwyheeStar

We are Professional Weimaraner breeders--with forty years experience at raising puppies. For many years, we have focused exclusively on the Weimaraner! If you are considering the Weimaraner, or live with one, we welcome you to sign up to our blog. We sincerely hope you will find the information, the stories, and varied posts insightful (as well as entertaining). To those who live with an OwyheeStar Weimaraner, we send special thanks. We appreciate the photos, the news, and your friendship. Thank you for being a part of the extended OwyheeStar family.

Posted on June 27, 2009, in Behavior & Training. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Being owned by two weimies, I can definitely vouch for everything you said here! However, I have found that the easiest way to manage their “Weiminess” is to stay one step ahead of them. Like you, leftovers go directly in the fridge, spare oven, micro., etc. If something’s left out, it’s our own fault! A person that wants a dog that is an accessory to their lives should probably not get a weimy. A weimy will become part of you, not just an extension of you. For some people, that works. For others, it doesn’t. I’ve found that if I’m very clear on my expectations and excercise my position as the “boss”, including with my body language, it makes it easier for them to be good. Not that they never test the boundaries, but they know full well it’s not acceptable. I think weimies especially need clear do’s and don’ts. Both our kids stay out of the kitchen while we’re eating, although I do sometimes let them be in while I’m cooking (depending how involved it is!) Great post Shela…not everyone is suited to be owned by a weimy, but the ones who are suited for it are the lucky ones!

  2. Thank you so much for making such a great comment and lending your insights. I will never forget Dash and the London Broil………..and we didn’t have a clue that he snuck in there. How observative are we? Not very I guess but since then we are vigilant. Although we believe in feeding the Weims the best we can afford, that fare is not going to be London Broil. At least not by design.

    I think the quickness, adaptness, and agility of a Weim can take a person by surprise. The PBJ Sandwich example is a real example of what one client experienced. That was one of Topper’s babies. Our Topper girl does the same thing with Cliff’s neck pillow. It is a game. She runs and snatches the pillow and parades around with it waving it with great pride. She is reluctant to let go of the pillow, but thank goodness she is not destructive. She does hand it over but not happily.

    These guys are fun but I probably cannot write it often enough that they are a lot of work and not for everyone. You are so right. Being a confident in charge person makes things easier for the Weims. People who are wishy-washy are going to be manipulated and frustrated. It might be funny for awhile but it gets old and the problems usually grow…..

    Well–again you always have such good pointers. Keep them coming!

  1. Pingback: Are you Over-Thinking? « Owyheestar's Blog

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