Category Archives: Behavior & Training
~ Olympic Class Chewer
I wanted to send you a few photos of Bisbee. He is such a handsome and comical boy. He also chews up and spits out everything in sight! The highlights are portions of 3 handmade quilts, a retainer, a section of carpet in the middle of the room, and a small fruit tree in the yard! He is also very cuddly.
We try to get him as tired as we can which helps a lot with the chewing. Our two neighbors have a one year old Burmese mountain dog and a two year old cattle dog so we do play dates every week. He also goes to doggie daycare twice a week and hikes on the weekends. He certainly gives us a run for our money but we love him dearly.
Thank you for updating us on Bisbee. All we can say is habits take hold quickly with this breed, and once they do, they are nearly impossible to change. What some excuse as puppy behavior become a lifetime of this and that. (OMG) Thanks for loving him and facing the challenges.
~ Deer Exhaust is Stinky Perfume She Loves
It has been quite some time since I have given you an update on Zula Blue. She has become an integral part of my dog family. Unfortunately her favorite outside activity is still to roll in deer exhaust, the older the better.
A cold water bath from the hose does not dampen her desire for the stinky stuff. It is hilarious because Pushkin is so much larger than she is but one growl out of her is all it takes to put him in his place.
Thank you for the sweet and sometimes feisty girl.
I think Zula feels as if she relocated to heaven. Thank you for all the love and care you give this old gal. We truly appreciate it! And what can we say–Oh, Pushkin.
~ The Ups and Downs–We are Finally Trained!
–As with ever Weimaraner, it is a work in progress.
I wanted to send an update on Henry. It’s been a while. The last I emailed I was asking for help regarding Henry growling when he was in a cozy spot on the couch or our bed. We ultimately decided that we did not know how to manage the behavior and sought out professional help.
We learned that he was resource guarding. He had always done this with a full bowl or food and we just left him alone while he ate. Along the way Henry had also developed other bad habits, like counter surfing, barking incessantly, and greeting company way to enthusiastically.
You know better than most that weims are very hard headed, and Henry is no exception. Henry boarded with a trainer for one month, and during that time worked on better leash manners, recall, and ways to stop resource guarding. We knew that we he came home it would be like having a puppy in training all over again, but it has been so worth it. He is a new man!! One of the things we are doing is hand feeding him, we use feeding time to practice skills like going and staying on his rug, here, and heal. We also have a leash on him at all times while out of his crate, that way if he growls, or doesn’t listen, we have a way to control him. We don’t expect to have to use the leash for long, but it has been a great tool to reestablish the hierarchy in our home. Prior to training, Henry would stay for as long as you wanted him to only when incentivized by food, otherwise he would get up two seconds later. Now he will stay for long periods of time without food rewards. If I am in the kitchen, he goes to his rug and stays. Another improvement is leash walking. We used to either take Henry leashless on his training collar or with a gentle leader (we called it his soul crusher because he hated it), now we take him on his regular collar , and sometime with a training collar–with a leash around my waist.
He is still a work in progress, but the fact that I can take him on his regular collar and his doesn’t pull is amazing. He does need occasional reminders to heel, sometimes he listens without any correction, other times he needs a reminder. Henry is chomping at the bit when he knows we are going for a walk. Since we always have him on a leash, he is unable to counter surf. Barking is very minimal now, not sure how or why, but he gives us a few warning barks, then stops, thank God!!
He has not had to wear his bark collar since he came home. We will continue to work on greeting guests, but as you can imagine during such times, we don’t have many. The few times we have, we have let the company know ahead of time that Henry is in training, and to bear with us as we slowly let them in. This is a work in progress, but all has drastically improved.
The moral to my update, it took 4.5 years for Henry to develop bad habits, and years of us not dealing with it correctly. He is smart, and did everything in his power to outsmart us, so now we are in training together!!
Weims are not an easy breed, as you know, but Henry is so worth the time investment. He is the sweetest guy ever, and the best snuggle buddy.
Thank you for all you do and are doing with Henry. Each Weimaraner presents with challenges (much like various human siblings)–and somehow, they know how to find our weaknesses and how to push our buttons, too. The conundrum of the relationship should never be discounted–and this is where we say, better now than later to have managed the issues. The Weimaraner tends to wrap their paw around a person, manipulate the situation to their liking–and it is hardly in their best interest. Ah, and Cliff is thrilled you have moved to the flat color and are doing well. Keep up the excellent work.
~Does Your Weimaraner Know Their Place?
We thought we would throw this information out there for you Weimlovers. Some of you would never consider this command, but (for others) teaching ‘Place’ might be the answer you are looking to find.
We do a lot of business with Gun Dog Supply, and we are confident in their staff’s ability and willingness to assist you. They carry Cato Boards and the video on how to train your dog to know their place–click here to shop for a Cato Board. You can use a bed, a pillow, or manufacture a short stand like these. To order TEACHING THE PLACE COMMAND by Robin MacFarlane, click here.
Note: Cliff and Shela Nielsen and OwyheeStar Weimaraners are not affiliated with Gun Dog Supply. We do believe in teaching the Weimaraner to settle, and having a place they know to do that is ideal.
~AKC Puppy Class
First ribbon on the books!
Maybe you noticed that Dink earned his first ribbon and wondered about this program. To learn more—click here!
20 STEPS To Success: The
AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy®
- Maintains puppy’s health (vaccines, exams,
- Owner receives Responsible Dog Owner’s Pledge
- Owner describes adequate daily play and exercise plan
- Owner and puppy attend at least 6 classes by an AKC
Approved CGC Evaluator
- Owner brings bags to classes for cleaning up
- Owner has obtained some form of ID for
puppy-collar tag, etc.
- Free of aggression toward people during at least
6 weeks of class
- Free of aggression toward other puppies in class
- Tolerates collar or body harness of owner’s choice
- Owner can hug or hold puppy (depending on size)
- Puppy allows owner to take away a treat or toy
PRE-CANINE GOOD CITIZEN®
- Allows (in any position) petting by a person other
than the owner
- Grooming-Allows owner handling and brief exam
- Walks on a Leash-Follows owner on lead in a straight
line (15 steps)
- Walks by other people-Walks on leash past other
people 5-ft away
- Sits on command-Owner may use a food lure
- Down on command-Owner may use a food lure
- Comes to owner from 5-ft when name is called
- Reaction to Distractions-distractions are presented
- Stay on leash with another person (owner walks
10 steps and returns)
~Habits Good and Bad Take Hold Quickly
Habits form quickly–once a behavior (good or bad) starts it can soon become habitual. For example, the Weim can become an incessant barking machine. I swear they can bark at a cloud. Maybe it looks like a bird. Incessant by definition means unceasing or Continuing without interruption. Maybe that is an overstatement, but if you have that behavior ingrained, it will not seem an exaggeration.
Barking, digging, territorial behaviors, chewing on everything, and the list goes on–if you allow it in a small dose, it can become a thing. Us humans, often get duped and our efforts undermined.
To prevent that and other unwanted behaviors a person must be vigilant early on. It is not one and done thing either. The childlike tendencies often last past their third birthday with the occasional teenage behavior surfacing from time to time. I laugh at people who want this breed and expect them to be easy to manage. A lot can and should be accomplished in the first three months; however, you are not home free so to speak. At the same time—getting the basics done right up front will save you a lot of trouble.
Also consider that the Weimaraner who wants to rule their world can employ growling and snarling. They can withdraw and sulk. They have all kind of ways to get what they want–some are acceptable, others are not. One thing for sure–do not reward or excuse bad behavior.
~Cat Tales and Whatnot
Ellie is still having adventures in the Boise foothills (she’s good at finding chukar and quail for fun) and she loves kayaking/rafting trips.
She’s the queen over all the cats as well.
We are happy to hear that Ellie is still doing well–especially that she is the Queen over all the cats–despite what they report.
Franny is living her best life. With work I have gotten creative with my hours and enlisted the help of a few friends with dogs, so that she can keep meeting friends, even if the humans have to remain separate. Starting Thursday, a couple hours after I leave for work, one of my friends will be picking her up from her kennel at my house and taking her to her hobby farm. Completely fenced, she will get to run, play with the other dog and meet some farm animals. She lives better than me!
We walk every day and other than flopping down when she loves a special spot of grass, she is doing great.
This dog could not be sweeter. She is confident but not aggressive, she already know several commands, and I don’t know if it is the NuVet, the food choice or both, but her waste is still firm. I have never had any dog with as consistent belly as hers. She is a bit bitey – but I am pretty sure she is teething her big girl teeth, so we are finding every possible thing for her to chew on that isn’t my arm, leg or the sneak attach to my butt!
I hope you and Cliff are well. I love reading your daily updates and I this pooch like crazy.
We could not be happier to hear the news that you are getting along so well. Most Weimaraners lead extraordinary lives–often better than their human counterparts. Puppy biting is the bane of getting them raised. Click here to read Anne Taguchi’s article on managing the biting Weimar puppy. Mouthing is also about ownership, and one way the Weimaraner controls their human–think on that a bit. It is charming, but you might want to rethink allowing that behavior if it becomes a thing as she grows out of the puppy biting–shark baby stage.
The food and supplements we suggest have worked well across the board for so many Weimaraners. It is the truth that no one food is perfect for every dog, but our pups have loved the food, and they consider the supplement yummy. I love the powdered supplement–just my preference. Together, this mix seems to help the immune system and keep the stools better. Weims can have such a finicky tummy–so glad to hear Franny is doing excellent.
~ 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