- Be committed — Commitment to the process is primary. Training your pup will take time. Think of this as a journey (a road trip) with a destination in mind. Don’t set timelines; instead take this adventure together. It will take as long as it takes for each achievement. Sometimes just when you think, you have arrived; your Weimaraner will hit a snag or transitional phase. There are many of these stages in the first couple of years. As with an adolescent, they can be going along well and suddenly regress. Please take this in stride it is nothing personal The first occurrence could well be prior to week twelve.
Keep your eye on the young puppy at all times–This is vitally important for at least the first 2-3 weeks, or until you have the housebreaking part accomplished. Use a crate, bag, or soft-side crate to confine the pup when you cannot be alert. The crate should not be too large. If it is more than they need they may select one end for a potty area.
- Be consistent–Do everything in the same manner! For example, the pup wakes up and stirs. At first, you would pick them up and carry them out to the area where you want them to go potty. Each time you see them circling or rousing from a nap go to the potty-area. If you use the bells hung at the door, then ring them as you go out the door. Soon they will be ringing the bells as a signal for you to open the door.
- Keep it simple — Although your pup can learn amazing things, it is best to do a few simple things and build upon those experiences. The process will unfold naturally if you allow it to do so; start with getting them to come. Although they all follow and come to us, it is different once they start to mature. Do the hallway exercise (5-7 retrieves each night). By using a hallway (with adjoining doors closed) there is no where for them to escape with the toy, ball, or dummy. Some people treat them when they bring the item to their hand.
- Keep it fun — Weimaraners are very intelligent and learn quickly. A trainer might tell you to work for an hour and even a half hour doing one exercise every night, but we suggest ten minutes. Do it for ten minutes and then do something fun. This works for us! If your Weim pup loses interest, you lose ground in the training process.
- Remember it is about your relationship — No matter what you are doing it is important to remember that Weims are all about relationship. If they get their feelings hurt things can go sour quickly. Your bonding experience is vital to the success of this relationship. Take time to think and see things from their perspective. You are the center of their world. They not only want to control you, but they want to own you. Weimaraners are the ultimate Velcro dog and must be taught how to stay alone. Relationship is a double-edged sword. They need a lot of time, attention, and affection. They also need to learn to be without you for periods of time. We recommend starting this process very early, or they will come to expect you will be there 24 X 7. Separation anxiety can be a huge issue in this breed.
- Be patient — When you go out to teach your pup a skill, make sure it is a learn-able task. Plan enough time to accomplish the task, and at the same time keep the actual working period in short bursts of success. If you are feeling stressed, forego training your Weimaraner. There are many methods of training but one that enhance your bonding experience and create a respectful environment that will produce results.
The best Weimaraner people are those that are natural leaders. Any time you feel your relationship is stressed then you are going down the wrong road. The persons that are neither too strict nor too lenient are usually the ones that excel. Regardless of what happens, it is always best to pro-active than to be reactive. Plan little steps of learning and build upon them. Try our 7 steps to Success, and we believe you will be on the right path.
Finally, take a deep breath. This is the beginning of an adventure. It is a lark. You will make this trip together. It will not go as planned. There will be twists, and turns in the road. You will make mistakes. If you over-plan, and get uptight, the mistakes will become more complex–of this we are certain. If you have fun, and if you are happy, then your Weimaraner will follow your lead. Don’t worry about making the world surround them. Don’t get hung up on the Weim’s happiness. They make that their full-time employment. This may seem important to you, but consider how they will use this to manipulate you. You, and your approach are the balancing factor in this equation. You will need to evoke their desire to want to please you. This will happen through the development of your relationship. The type of relationship you want is one that is anchored in a respectful relationship, that is fun for the both of you.
Wishing you fewer puppy bites and more puppy kisses
~ Shela and Cliff