Puppy Parenting 101
Keep it Simple
We like to remind new puppy parents not to overthink things. Enjoy the pup. That doesn’t mean you can be slack, but keep it simple. We like to believe we have your pup set up for success. It is hard to imagine what to do. Sometimes folks read all kinds of advice thinking they will get ahead of the curve. It might work; however, much of the advice you get can be counterproductive. Here is what we recommend.
- Be committed — Commitment to the process is primary. Training your pup will take time. Just when you think you are done the pup will hit a stage that will throw you for a loop. Throughout the first two years, there are many of these ups-and-downs. Training can be going along well and without seemingly any cause the process can come to a standstill or suddenly regress. Please take this in stride because it is nothing personal. Often the first regressive occurrence occurs directly after a huge success. When this first setback happens we say the honeymoon period is over. When this happens you need to simply return to the basics. Go back to something that will yield success. Keep the same positive, upbeat, cool demeanor. Keep the same level of commitment to see things through to the end. As Rick Smith often says, “It takes as long as it takes.” It doesn’t matter what you are trying to achieve, simply commit to teaching them in a step-by-step approach.
- Keep your eye on the puppy at all times for the first 2-3 weeks at least–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. Allowing your pup freedom means allowing accidents which can soon turn into habitual patterns.
- Be consistent–Do the same thing all the time. For example, the pup wakes up and stirs. Pick them up and carry them directly out to the area where you want them to potty. Each time you see them circling or rousing from a nap go to the potty area. (Soon they will be running to the door and out on their own!) If you use the poochie bells (as described in one of our Emails) then ring the bells when you get to the door. Soon they will be ringing the bells to go out on their own.
- 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 nowhere for them to escape with the toy, ball, or dummy. Although some people offer a treat when they bring the item to hand it is not necessary. Lavish them with your attention and tons of praise. Keep the activity a highlight of the day. Also, this is important because bringing things back is far superior to a game of keep away. This teaches many skills or habits you want to encourage.
- 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 the relationship. If they get their feelings hurt things can go sour quickly. Your bonding experience is vital to the success of this relationship. Take the 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. The relationship you have with the Weimaraner 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. Teaching them to be able to stay alone goes a long ways towards thwarting the tendency to foster separation anxiety.
- Be patient — Again, we love what Rick and Ronnie Smith (developers of the Huntsmith Puppy Development method of training) say regarding training exercises. They say, “It takes as long as it takes.” Keep this statement and thought written on your heart. When you attempt teach your pup a new skill, make sure it is a learn-able task. Then plan enough time to accomplish the task. If you are feeling stressed or disenchanted do not try to train your Weimaraner. One reason we recommend the Huntsmith Puppy Development DVDs (and keep them in stock) is because they set you and your pup up for success–even if you are a non-hunter. The very first exercise is one using a table. The goal is to teach the puppy to calm. The idea is if you can teach your pup to calm, then you can teach them anything. Don’t try to imagine what teaching the pup to calm is like — they show you how to accomplish this on-table exercise. The primary reason we love the Huntsmith method (besides it gets results) is it gets your puppy ready to be receive instruction from you. There are many methods of training, but this enhances your bonding experience and creates an environment that will produce results. This method is about patient steps to getting your pup ready to learn.
The Right Balance
Accomplishing a few vitally important things during the first 4-6 months can make all the difference from here on out. We all have different abilities. Some of us are more Weim savvy than others. These 7 steps to success are doable even for someone with limited abilities. Personally we feel pushing your pup too hard can prove disastrous and counterproductive. Keep things basic, fun, upbeat, and moving forward by small steps. Reinforce the basics and add new things from time-to-time. A healthy relationship makes for a sound foundation which in turn leads you toward success. A pup that loves you but doesn’t respect you will run over you. That is not a good relationship. A pup that obeys because they fear you, tends to be less self-confident and possibly timid. A pup that obeys out of fear does not describe a good relationship.
A good relationship with your pup is one where they follow you willingly because they love and respect you. That doesn’t mean there is no limit to what they can get by with, however, a happy and confident Weimar is more likely an obedient Weimar.
Posted on June 26, 2015, in Information and Education, Puppy Development, Puppy Information, Puppy Tips & Info and tagged Bringing Home the Weimar, Getting off to a good start, OwyheeStar. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.