Category Archives: Behavior & Training
~ With Sena
Tonite. I expected her to wad it up but she didn’t.
I took her to town yesterday trying to get her used to riding. She hated it, stayed pissed at me the whole time. Would not ride in front with me & when we went to DQ for a cone she said up yours lady, & would have nothing to do with it. Even dragged across her nose. Too bad I had to eat 2. Haha.
Weims can be weird. She probably feared you would drop her off–her last trip was when we left her with you. Keep trying, as I know you will–she will learn you are not going to leave her anywhere.
Note: This is a repost of an article we have shared several times. Our pups are ready to acclimate to their new environment upon arrival. We recommend not over-thinking at the early stages.
- 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. Stay calm and move ahead–this is how to avoid ingraining fear or some unwanted behavior.
- 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 vigilant. 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 nowhere for them to escape with the toy, ball, or dummy. Some people treat them when they bring the item to their hand. It is not necessary. The activity is a reward in and of itself. Have a couple of bumpers or toys (designated for this activity). Make it an event every day until you move to the yard because you have compliance.
- Keep it fun — Weimaraners are brilliant 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 approach 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 learn how to stay alone. Your relationship is a double-edged sword. They need a lot of time, attention, and affection. They also need to find ways to cope when you are absent. 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–but keep your training focused to ten to twenty minutes maximum. The short bursts of success are more effective than lengthy sessions. Your attitude and demeanor play into the equation too! If you are feeling stressed, forego training your Weimaraner. There are many methods of training. Nevertheless, choose one that enhances your bonding experience and one that creates a respectful environment for all concerned.
The best Weimaraner people are those that are natural leaders. Anytime 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. Stay calm. Keep it simple. Get results. 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.
Wishing you fewer puppy bites and more puppy kisses
~ Shela and Cliff
~ Jan Magnuson has this to say–
I like Carol Lea Benjamin’s training books, I have not read them all but the ones I have I liked, they are trusty training manuals. I like Dr. Sophia Yin’s website- she has passed, however they continue to maintain her website; I went to training with her in person, she was amazing. Also, CanisMajor.com, Pam Young, and PerfectPaws.com.
These are not Weimar-specific, I recommend them to folks with all breeds. Having owned the Weimar and getting info from Shela and Cliff, I am sure you can tailor the training info to our breed with the knowledge you already have.
Best Regards~ Jan
Jan Magnuson SUNSTARAll-Breed Dog Training
P.O. Box 98072 Des Moines, WA 98198206 241 2908
We believe everyone begins with good intentions–some get into trouble. There are several ways to allow a problem to start with this concrete-thinking Weimaraner. We won’t list those here–we often pass out a sheet that talks about avoiding the pitfalls to our prospective clients–but no matter how you decide to proceed with your training, it is essential to get the basics accomplished.
Everything that you achieve requires you develop a special relationship where the Weimaraner wants to please you. Finally, remember this is a journey–it is about what you can accomplish together — one step at a time building upon tiny successes and that underlying relationship.
~ Our Score 112
Hi guys just wanted to drop a quick note. Me and Luna were first alternate and luckily got into the NA test yesterday.
We surprisingly got a prize 1 – 112 score! Wow. I’m still shocked but she did it all and we trained hard. Now just getting ready for hunting season.
Mike and Michelle
–The North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA)
The Natural Ability Test is designed to evaluate the inherent natural abilities of young dogs and gain insight into their possible usefulness as versatile gun dogs. It rates seven important inherited abilities: nose, search, tracking, pointing, water, desire and cooperation. Dogs are eligible for a Natural Ability Test up until, and including, the day they reach 16 months of age. Dogs over 16 months may be run for evaluation only. Dogs over 16 months may only be run if space is available. No prize classification can be awarded the dog run for evaluation.
The Utility Preparatory Test measures the dogs’ development midway through their training toward the Utility Test. No previous testing required.The Utility Test evaluates trained dogs in water and field, before and after the shot, as finished versatile hunting companions as well as many other specific tasks. No previous testing required. The Invitational Test is our highest level of testing. Only those dogs that have achieved a Prize I in Utility are eligible. This limits the entry to exceptional animals who have demonstrated a high level of training and tests their skills in the advanced work.
Breeder Comment on Points Earned
The maximum possible score for a dog running in the NAVHDA Natural Ability Test is 112 Points. You must earn a minimum of 99 points to net a Prize One. Luna got a perfect score–we cannot tell you how difficult it is to achieve this goal. Honestly, it is even more remarkable with the Weimaraner–who can potential flake out at the wrong moment.
To Learn More about competing your Weimaraner with NAVHDA click here!
~Is the Weim Onboard?
Separation anxiety is real and palpable –and the consequences are sometimes staggering. We have received notes from people who suffered the worst of outcomes–a loss. Others, and more frequently this is what happens, come home to destruction. The rock-solid trustworthy Weimaraner didn’t handle the absence as expected. Anyone who loves this breed has most likely seen reports outlining shocking Weimaraner behavior. We are positive that many of you have experienced this phenomenon firsthand. (Ouch)
Ideally, we need to help our Weimaraner learn how to adapt and adjust to change. For people new to this breed, this can be a foreign concept. Possibly they equate the Weimaraner separation to what they experienced with another breed–somehow, I highly doubt it. Maybe, but more than likely, this person is going to be caught short–shocked at what can happen. This separation anxiety thing is one of the reasons so many Weimaraner end up being rehomed. It is a sad reality. Nonetheless, many Weimar-addicts walk into the relationship eyes-open knowing about this trait and the other quirks and quandaries they might face.
~We Are Figuring Things Out
(July 14, 2019)–We were so excited to pick up our puppy (who we have decided to call “Frida”) that I didn’t get to really tell you how thankful we are for you guys!
Frida initially was not a fan of the car or her crate, but after some quick cuddles on Chase’s lap, she settled right in and spent the rest of the ride in comfort.
Our first night went ok – she did great with potty training until I was too slow getting up this morning and found a sad, poopy puppy. Luckily, she loves baths!
We’re quite in love, the kids are all “taking turns” walking her around our yard and seeing which toys she favors.
We are so happy to have found you guys and are so thankful for this whole process.
I hope you are recovering from yesterday and get at least a little break!
Thank you again, Lauren, Chase, Henry, Emelia, Charlotte, and Frida
(July 14, 2019–after we responded)–Thank you for the advice! We’re open to any and all help!
Yes- and I totally agree! We need to condense her space in the kennel and one of us needs to be better about letting her out. She is in our living room, not bedroom, so she was vocal ALL night about being alone. Therefore making it sort of hard to tell the difference between sadness and needing a bathroom…We’ll keep working on it. She’s had no accidents otherwise.
We’re going to put something in the crate tonight to see if it helps. Otherwise, we’ll get something different and smaller for the time being.
I also may sleep in the room with her tonight to help.
Finally, we were in the car most of the day yesterday. (We got home at 7:30pm) So, hopefully, after a busy day today, she is much more tired!
(July 15, 2019)–A much better night! No accidents, quieter, and we found a blanket she loves so she’s happy staying in the crate. We also added a divider to make the crate smaller.
Thank you, Lauren, for graciously allowing us to post your experience. Something here could help another person who is struggling. We were so happy to learn you turned a corner–and had the much improved night. We think you are doing great–love to you and Frida.
~Summer Snow on Mt. Hood
Thought I’d share some of our fun so far this summer.
A few weeks ago we did some training on Mt. Hood— you have to work a little harder to find snow in the summer!
This is Loki peering into the cave at the subject he just found— he had to dig in to get his toy!
Yesterday (on the 4th of July) we had a chance to participate in our American Hero’s parade. It was by far the largest group of people we’ve been around— Loki just wanted to say “hi” to everyone along the route… not our best loose-leash heel haha.
After Hood, I decided to start training Loki to wear Rex Specs for super bright conditions… the first step is to introduce him to the frames without the lenses… I think he is less than impressed. But he gets lots of treats when he has them on!
Hope you and Cliff are doing well 🙂
-Erica (With Loki –Search and Rescue Training)
We are always amazed at your success–you are doing an excellent job with Loki. We loved the share from your work on Mt. Hood as well as the American Heroes Parade. The both of you make us proud.
It seems the Rex Specs probably seem like a punishment (Haha), but they are an excellent idea. Let us know how it comes along. I think it is like everything else you are doing with Loki–keep after it, and you will master it. He will learn to accept the goggles. I am positive. Anyhow you can tell Loki he is not the first OwyheeStar to don these goggles–click here.
~Here’s to Hoping it is A Good One
Every year we hear about the Weimaraner shaking and scared of fireworks–but it is not true for every Weim. Recently we heard Bart and Jorga are unfazed. Possibly a big part of this phenomena is they were forced to become more adaptable. Jorja traveled to Belgium (where she spent the first part of her life), and recently she returned to the Pacific Northwest. That kind of journey requires acclimation to loud sounds, unfamiliar territory, and adaptability.
Bart was here longer than the average OwyheeStar puppy. The family slated to get him opted to wait for a future Longhair. He received more time and some attention to learning how to adjust and adapt. Possibly this worked in his favor. Also, his family was very savvy at the transition–careful not to overwhelm him. That is no longer an issue–he travels in large crowds (dogs, children, and noise are not a problem). Below are the notes we received yesterday.
We have opted to keep Bernie’s litter here an extra week. Having them out and about amid the 4th of July Fireworks and the additional potential exposure to Parvo didn’t seem wise.
Bart (Atti X Boone) There were some fireworks the other night and Bart just looked up and kind of went “what was that?, huh? oh well, back to what I was doing”. We’ll see about tomorrow.
Eileen Writes . –Jorja’s First (Rosie X Zee)
Wa fireworks, doors open fireworks exploding and she is snoring away! Xoxoxo to a relaxed girl,
Dear Readers–this is a repost of a previous blog. We are getting ready to swim the Bernie X Boone 2019 Litter–we wanted to share this essential information to those with the young Weimaraner.
Most of you know that we try to swim puppies–time and weather permitting. Above is a GoPro Video of a litter swim taken a couple of years ago. It gives you a different perspective. Some pups are excellent swimmers; others struggle a little. Nonetheless, we have never had a puppy fail to be able to swim. Does this mean they will naturally take to the water? No! If you expect them to jump and take off, you may be disappointed. It will most likely require work to get them into the water and swimming. This effort is work we hope you invest. We deem this an essential part of the puppy raising process.
The Why and the How
Over the years, we have written extensively on how to achieve the swim. More and more of our clients have managed to do this. Sometimes to their own surprise. It is one of the best things you can do for yourself and the Weimaraner.
To expend energy. The growing Weimaraner has boundless energy; however, they cannot be beating the pavement to run off this energy. Until the growth plates close, you need to limit high impact exercise. Many experts agree that about three miles should be the limit. Imagine how quickly the Weimaraner puts in the three miles. Seriously, nearly a mile into your run they have probably gone this far. Using the swim is the ideal way to exercise without causing damage to the growing joints. We would go so far as to suggest it probably helps your Weimaraner get more years and miles from their body. That is something that serves everyone’s best interest. We think you can agree.
Hunter or not, you need to master the recall. You say what do you mean by the recall? That is coming when called. Getting the retrieve to hand is also a part of the recall. The rock-solid come when you call or give a command–verbal or otherwise. The bringing of a bumper or toy back to you is a must. Keep away it funny and laughable; however, we don’t feel this is ever in the best interest of the Weimaraner or you.
Cliff and I suggest you find an area where there is no escape route. For example–a hallway (closing all the adjoining doors) will work for this exercise. You want to make this an exciting event. Something that they look forward to doing with you. Sit down in that hallway and work on the retrieve at least every day. You want to ingrain the love of the retrieve as well as getting them to bring the dedicated item it to hand. This discipline will serve you well and help you achieve the swim.
The hallway exercise should begin as soon as they arrive. Make it an event–the same person, the same bumper or toy, and somewhat a routine. Five-Seven throws blocking the exit with your body. Toss and retoss keeping the excitement going. This activity should be fun, short-lived, and you want to stop while they are still excited. Once you have the rock-solid recall—then you can move to the yard. You may need to use a check cord in the larger venue. If you don’t know what that is, ask us. It is a long line that attaches to their collar and allows you to reel them back to you. Always giving them praise like it was all their idea.
Why the Retrieve
The Weimaraner that is in loves the retrieve then can be worked along the water–at first, make it shallow water. A pond or something similar is ideal. Sloping sides are the best. That way, the Weimaraner can play at the water’s edge and retrieve. Eventually, you can edge them out a bit, and they will take off and swim a couple of strokes. This process takes patience. You might wonder how long. Can we say it takes as long as it takes? Typically, Cliff gets the water-retrieve in two weeks or less. The rewards are almost endless. You can do this! Believe in the process. Stay optimistic. Keep it fun. Stay at it until you achieve success.
For the long distance runner, this is the best way to set the Weimaraner up as your running companion. The growth plates typically close around 15 months. By then you should have them swimming. The waterwork can keep your running companion in the tip-top shape you need as well as help them develop muscles which may help prevent injury.
To Burn Off Energy
For those less inclined or find themselves challenged to keep up with the Weimaraner, this is an excellent way to burn off the excess energy. The Weimaraner will still be able to join you on walks, etc. But tiring the Weimaraner out is challenging. The waterwork helps and does it without injury. Of course, there are other pros to having the water-friendly Weimaraner.
Imprinting the Idea
We swim the pups with the idea that it imprints this experience. If you wonder, the Weimaraner has webbed toes. There are hundreds of updates on our blog that feature OwyheeStar pups and adults enjoying the water–swimming, retrieving, and playing in it. We hope your Weimaraner will swim–and love the water.
Here is Stackhouse — a strong swimmer
~All things Aroma Focused
Well, yesterday, we heard from Asher about his exploits and challenges to earn Nose Work titles. It is pretty much a mystery to us–you have to get into the discipline to understand the nuances as well as the process. All of this has twists and turns that to the outsider seem confusing.
Michelle explained it like this- “Nose work is not an easy topic…people have spreadsheets to sort out their titles and levels.”
I have been wondering about this discipline as I know many of you have too. We know at least six OwyheeStar Weims who are engaged in Nosework at various levels. If I missed someone, please let us know. We would love an update with information and pictures to share.
Michelle was kind enough to fill in a few blanks. So far, she and Asher have competed in the Nose Work or scenting events hosted by four groups. Yes–there are four different options in which Michelle and Asher took part.–there are a few more she has not yet encountered.
- NACSW — National Association of Canine Scent Work
- USCSW –United States Canine Scent Work
- UKC –United Kennel Club UKC Scent Work Event Calendar
- AKC –American Kennel Club AKC Scent Work News
Each club has their way of doing things–so, keep that in mind. Michelle’s weekend AKC trial event had more than 50 dogs competing at various levels. The NACSW event where Julia and Shiny netted a second place she faced a total of 38 competitors. Both gals and their OwyheeStar wonder Weims did outstanding. We are so proud!
Michelle Explains Asher’s Titles
NW1, DDI, AKC TKN, UKC NC, UKC NV, UKC NE
NACSW NW1 is novice level
USCSS DDI is detection dog intermediate which is one level up from novice.
AKC TKN is novice trick dog
UKC Novice Exterior, Vehicle, and Containers
Each club/group has their own set of rules and what it takes to earn a title. For an example in UKC, we have novice titles in exterior, vehicle, and containers and compete at the next level in those 3. We missed our interior, so we are novice level in the interior for UKC. Most of the venues are similar, but AKC has buried hides instead of vehicles. NACSW is credited as the founder of the sport. I understand it is a bit confusing–even people involved in the Nose Work keep spreadsheets to be able to remember their titles and levels.
Politics and Whatnot
Well, maybe you have heard about it or not. There is the dog politic thing. Some venues are steeped in it more than others–AKC possibly would be the worst. (Sorry, but it is the truth.) If you are running your Blue or your Longhair Blue, not everyone is going to give you credit due. There is a strong bias within the Weimaraner Club against the blue coats. Nonetheless, people love them and want them.
Michelle says–“I always get compliments on Asher…many comment on what a nice looking dog he is. We have ran into the definition of a “standard weim” several times in our very short time in the world of competition. At times, people have made some comments that have caught me off guard. Such as, “They are not our kind.” At times, I have wanted to strike up a conversation, but let’s just say—body language speaks volumes. Regardless, I am a girl just wanting to have fun with her dog. I am not trying to play in your confirmation ring.”
It is the truth that if you want to compete, you have to have a tough hide. Anything can happen. Competitors come with bias as well as swagger. Some are more gracious than others. Scenting sports are fun. There is for sure, not the same level of issues faced with competing for a Show Title.