Category Archives: Training
Mom says at the kennel they call me the wild one. It’s just because when we get to the kennel I run straight into the front door of the kennel and when Mom picks me up, I run from the kennel door into Moms car.
Benson loves playing with other dogs. He is fast, happy, loves to retrieve, and is loveable. To his delight, there are deer and lots of quail in our backyard. He will retrieve into the lake but stops when it gets deep. We will continue working on this. I thank you for Benson, he is a big joy in my life. Marsha
It is good to hear about Benson. Keep working on the water retrieve–you will get him swimming. We love that you love him so much. Thanks for thinking of us.
Now that spring seems to finally be here Loki and I are having all sorts of adventures. For the last month or so I’ve been working on introducing Loki to water. First, it was getting his toes wet, then the ankles, and so on. I’ve attached a video from this evening— we headed out to the lake after work. Needless to say, we’ve come a little ways from not getting our paws wet. You may notice the cord on the bumper— sometimes Loki needs to remember that the game is retrieving, not keep away, but the water work has seemed to really help this. Also great insurance in case he doesn’t go for it, so I don’t have to swim.
Other adventures include hide-and-go-seek at lunchtime on a trail system near my office. It’s a great game for anyone to play to help their pup remember to check in on hikes, but with Loki, in particular, we want to develop the idea that he can use his nose to find people. When we’re out on the trail, I wait until he gets just a little too far ahead of me, and I hide in the bushes next to the trail where I can still see him. He is quick to notice that I’m no longer in sight, so he runs back down the trail. He usually goes past me until he hits my scent (in the air), and then he usually works the scent cone back towards me. When he finds me, we enthusiastically play with his favorite toy.Another new thing is teaching Loki to pull me on my longboard. I keep it short and easy so as to not stress his joints, but it’s a great way to practice verbal directive commands. And to take the edge off the wiggles!Loki is also turning into quite a camping dog. Last week was his first tent camping adventure in Glacier National Park over Memorial Day weekend.The two pictures I’m sharing here show our work on the down-stay (he’s not tied in either). You can see the drool starting to come with the cheese! That’s what happens to those who attempt to counter surf. He got no cheese.
As always, we constantly incorporate sit-down-stay-heel-come into our daily routine. The heel is finally taking hold— at least 50% loose-leash on a flat collar, and his off-leash heel is almost better. The red harness he’s wearing in the picture is his working harness and includes a handle to help keep him safe on the chairlift. We are working on associating it with good listening and lots of fun search games.Anyway, I can’t believe he’s 6 months old already! It has gone so fast. ~ Erica
~Propel them through the Water
The Weimaraner is a powerful swimmer once they get going. The trick is getting to take the first step. Their toes are webbed making them better equipped to paddle.
There is no one way to get them to swim; however, we find having a love of the retrieve ingrained goes a long way towards accomplishing this discipline. (Sorry to some of you!) For the non-hunter, many times the retrieve is not viewed as essential. All too many of you allow the Weimaraner to abscond and run around the yard with the toy or the bumper–instead of bringing back to hand. Yes, this is a hoot–although it is just one more Weim antic, this is one we suggest you not allow to take root. The idea of achieving the swim is only one reason in a myriad of why you need to get the rock-solid retrieve. We won’t list those as we are speaking about achieving the Water Retrieve.
You want the Weimaraner coming when called. The Recall is a safety issue and the underpinning of compliance. Two areas where compromise cannot be allowed (in our opinion). Depending on your approach to training there are various ways to get this done–we will forgo the discussion on methodology. Let’s just say get this done! It is going to help you with achieving more than a Water Retrieve.
Cliff suggests you find a place to do this exercise. One location that works well is a hallway. Close all the adjoining doors (so they cannot take off with the bumper of the toy). Make this a special event and stop before they tire–while they are still begging for more. He also suggests you use a dedicated toy or bumper you save for this activity only. Depending on your pup’s attention and skill level keep the number of reps down–at first maybe as few as three. Bear in mind; the idea is to make this celebratory and fun. You want them having the desire. This activity will serve you well on so many levels and enhance your training outcome positively.
Weather Permitting the OwyheeStar puppy will see the water before they depart. You saw the video we shared, if not we included it here. Nevertheless, this is not going to ensure that your pup will swim. It will still require time, effort, and patience to get your Weimaraner to swim–plus a bit of knack. A few suddenly jump in but don’t wait for that to happen. Oh–and if you doubt, the Weimaraner is more than likely going to read your thoughts and agree with you.
You might wonder how to begin. Cliff does it this way–your situation may require you to adapt. Using the reliable retrieve, you work along the edges of a pond. Just play in the water’s edge–a tiny bit on their feet initially. Slowly ease them into the water beyond their comfort zone. It might take a few tries, a few days, or a few weeks. It takes as long as it takes, but if you follow this protocol, you will achieve the goal. Like anything with the concrete thinking Weimaraner, you want to make this part of the early life training. Then it becomes the norm. Oh, and you notice he mentions using the pond. Waves could spook them. You want to avoid that scenario.
Imagine the possibilities!
A Few Final Thoughts
- Weims who balk at the sight of rain or a sprinkler often achieve the swim.
- Don’t go in with the *pre-conceived idea that it cannot be achieved.
- Select the venue to work on this carefully.
- Go in with the idea it takes as long as it takes.
- Make this part of your young pup’s agenda.
- If you *failed to achieve the swim early on, don’t believe it is impossible.
- Some people use a life vest**. The vests are not necessary.
- Often Cliff is teaching a Weimaraner who has not swum since they were a puppy. They might be 2 years old or older. They always learn. Cliff knows it can be achieved. Sometimes it is challenging but, with patience, it always happens.
- Deem this as invaluable to your process. It is a healthy activity that can burn off the excess energy and not take such a toll on the hips and joints. It is good for their cardiovascular as well.
~ We hope this helps someone achieve the swim! ~ Cliff and Shela
*You would be shocked to learn how many folks achieved the swim after they told us it was impossible.
**Life Vests–just a note here that Cliff never uses one. The only vest he might use is a Neoprene one if he were to swim them in inclement weather–like for Duck Hunting. Some of you need this for peace of mind. It might help the Weimaraner take their first few steps, but again–it is not necessary. A lot of clients who live in cold water regions cannot keep their Weims out of the water. This scenario is true even in the winter.
~ And More!
We wanted to give you an update on our sweet Darcy. She is 2 years old now. We are so grateful for our beautiful girl. She is such a wonderful part of our family, and it’s hard to remember what life was like before she came to us.
She loves to hunt, hike, swim, play with the kids, give the baby lots of kisses, go running with mom, and torment the chickens. Everywhere we go we get compliments on what a beautiful dog she is. People familiar with weims also comment on how small she is. She’s 45 lbs and a lot smaller than other weims we come across. We remember you mentioning that her mother and grandmother were on the smaller side as well, so we’ve never worried about it. She is just the perfect size for us. 😊
We’ve attached a few pictures. One is on her birthday. She wasn’t very thrilled about the silly crown we put on her, but she tolerated it because she knew a tasty breakfast was coming.
Thanks again for all you do! We love our sweet Darcy.
We have fewer and fewer under-sized pups. That will make many sad. Nevertheless, you cannot keep breeding back to the same lineage. New blood (such as Boone) brings depth and diversity to our gene pool. That is a good thing.
We are thrilled to hear she is versatile on every level–the perfect fit for your hunting and the family life. What more could we hope? Thank you, ever so much for remembering us with this update. It means the world!
Celebrating Two Candles!
~The All-Around Versatile Weimaraner
Greetings from San Jose, California! Maverick celebrates his 2nd Birthday today and I wanted to give you an update. He is very energetic and non-stop, like the Energizer Bunny! A little 5-10 minute rest and he is ready for another round. Funny thing… about 8pm at night, he is ready for his snuggles with me on my bed. Once he has about 30 minutes of that, I tell him “it’s time to go to bed” and he jumps down and heads right to his crate.
He has been crate trained since he was a puppy and sleeps in it every night and spends a few hours a day on it as well. Our 13-year-old Weim, Sawyer, has learned when it’s cold it is better to tolerate Maverick and let him cuddle for body heat.
He LOVES going nuts from inside as he sees squirrels and birds out in our yard and does his “cry” to let him out for the chase. Bill, my husband, takes him pheasant hunting and reports that he had the natural instinct the first time he went out in the field last year and this year did an even better job of pointing, flushing and retrieving the birds. He is a fantastic family and hunting companion. Maverick is exactly what we wanted in a Weim and you delivered!
We are thrilled Maverick is as advertised (so to speak). I think you folks know we take this process seriously. It is not our first placement with you. Of course, along the way to here and now, you have had a couple of Rescue Weims, too.
We realize that it is a significant risk to trust us to do what is best. Thank you, for your loyalty and this update on Maverick.
I hope every OwyheeStar Weimlover will accomplish……..
- Loose Leash Heeling (on a regular flat collar)
- Come; followed by the Sit-stay
We (Shela and I) would like you to focus on achieving these four goals with your OwyheeStar Weimaraner. I am positive when accomplished in the right manner the outcome will be good. There are various ideas on the appropriate timeline to have mastered these disciplines. I would like to see you have them done by the time the pup reaches seven months–-before the hormones kick in. Puppy classes can get you off to a good start, but the quality of sit-stay etc. is not finished at four months. As the Weimaraner develops, there will be challenges. This process of achieving the basics takes as long as it takes. So often, we want to achieve something as quickly as possible and be done with it. My best guess is you need to revisit and sharpen this basic skill set again and again. Keep at it and perfect it to the best of your ability. It will pay huge dividends.
So, you read this and feel you will never get the basics. Set that aside and begin again. Start at the beginning and find ways to keep things fun. Begin with something your Weim likes and does well. Then build upon that success one step at a time. Stop working against the situation and work positively. Does that make sense? When you are in the battle and focused on the issue instead of the solution, it makes everything different. Feed the desire to please, and you will find your way.
Training for Avalanche Rescue
Loki and I have spent much of the last few months frolicking in the snow. We’re training for avalanche rescue which means at this point that we’re spending as much time as we can on the mountain. Loki loves schmoozing the skiers and boarders around the main lodge, and yesterday he had his first ride on my shoulders while I skied.
This weekend we’ll be riding the chairlift. It’s hard to say what Loki’s favorite thing is about the ski hill, but riding down in a gondola filled with ski patrollers has got to be near the top of the list. As we say on the hill, he’s a real little powderhound.
When we’re not on the mountain, I’m working on developing his toy drive with short little breaks of fun, fun play throughout the day. We’ve also started some simple tracking drills and hide-and-go-seek games.All the best, ~Erica
~Who is in the lead?
A lack of respect (for your authority) often shows up when the Weimar is walking on the lead (or leash). Go anywhere there are dogs, and you will see dogs lunging and yanking on the leash. You see dog owners pulled down the street. This scenario is scary stuff for a public venue. Some owners gain compliance early in their morning walk only to find when they turn for home it is almost impossible to prevent the pulling. It is as if to say, “I know where we are going, and I can get us there.” It’s true. Maybe this is a horse-thing–heading for the barn syndrome. Nonetheless, it is smart for you to be in control and for them to defer to your pace.
Loose is Important
I understand how much fun it is to have the off-leash freedom. I say go for it when it is appropriate and once you have this skill mastered. There are places where being off-leash is safe. Otherwise, you need to reel them in, and to get them to comply by walking on a loose lead at your side. Pulling, lunging, and dragging you where they want you to go is not Okay. When faced with this scenario, many people turn to a front-clip harness or a head-halter like a Gentle Leader. Yes, these get you away from the behavior, but they don’t change the underlying cause of the problem. I urge you to master the loose-lead walk. I see it as a necessary skill and a sign of respect for your leadership.