Category Archives: Training
~What I Imagined
I remember when I first heard about the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA) Natural Ability Test, I imagined you didn’t prepare. You took your young Weimaraner (or whatever Versatile Hunting Dog you had) to this event–and the experts discovered if you had a natural hunter or not.
This approach would be like flushing time and money down the toilet. These guys who participate work hard to prepare their hunting companions. There are several elements (or disciplines) involved in the process–you have to have them ready for each (and all). There are seven critical inherited abilities: nose, search, tracking, pointing, water, desire, and cooperation.
It might seem wrong to work at developing these abilities, but it is the opposite. It is a bit like exercising a muscle–it gets stronger when worked. This preparation works.
Our Discovery and Placement Test
We test pups at six-weeks realizing that we are pushing the envelope at that age–at seven or eight weeks would be apt to test more easily. Nevertheless, we have had success at six-weeks when the pups are prepared and mature enough to engage in the activities. Below are some photos from a recent litter of Longhairs who were visiting the Three Cliff’s Sanctuary in preparation of the Discovery and Placement Test.
As with the NAVHDA Natural Ability Test process, preparation is essential. I am sure people wonder we are doing. We are exposing the pups to different locations, and expanding their world. We are showing them toys, and interacting with them in small groups and sometimes on a one-on-one basis. This preparation is an essential part–and all the while we are not gathering information or sizing up the pups. That might be hard to believe but one thing we have learned–don’t come (to the test) with preconceived ideas. Don’t allow yourself to be influenced by anything–not clients, not what we seen before, etc. We are taking a fresh look–trying to get pure information or findings. At six-weeks these pups don’t do all that much– we hope to have them ready to engage with us as well as the exercises as they are presented.
~Why we don’t use a harness
One of our greatest frustrations is reading or seeing that a Weimaraner is out of control. A lot happens on to the way to developing a problem–typically, those who get into the biggest mess, are the same ones trying to do everything perfectly–in the correct manner. (Deep breath.)
Yes, the best intentions can lead you down the path to problems–serious issues. The little things that people want to dismiss might grow into something disruptive or even worse. When we talk about not liking harnesses, head halters, prong collars, etc.–we have a reason. In our experience, the use of the devices typically means the Weimaraner is not compliant. Somehow, you have to go from forcing control, to evoke their desire to want to please. This process is easier said than done.
Raising the well-balanced (obedient) Weimaraner can be tricky. Even with a lot of socialization, things can go sideways. This type of issue can lead to frustration–frustration is like throwing wood on a burning fire. Folks they (the Weimaraner) read us–they know how to play us, and they are out to get their way. Sometimes this is cute, and other times not so much.
If you are an off-leash advocate, be careful. Some of you tell us your Weim only behaves when they are off leash. What does that say? Honestly, it means they don’t want to be under your control. Once the Weimar gets the upper paw, things can become scary–lunging, pulling, and going after other dogs, or sometimes certain people. These behaviors are ones you want to avoid. Can we suggest that you get the Weimaraner compliant on the leash?
We have helped a lot of people who found their self in this type of dilemma–Cliff taking the Weim getting compliance in short order. However, when the leash is passed back to the owner–things quickly go sideways. Letting your Weimaraner win this battle is not a win for anyone.
There is one exception to this thought. That would be one designed for a Service Dog or when it is used in a particular discipline–like this one Loki uses. There are times when a harness is a must.
Thought you might like a 12week (almost 13) update on our out Henry!
He’s amazing. He loves to play fetch and so good at the return. He is learning and listening so well. Still mastering the potty training, but great as long as we are paying attention! He’s such a funny pup and so smart! He is able to play hide and seek with toys and people. He’s catching on so we’ll to words we use. He is obedient to sit, stay, lay down, come and ‘outside’ (our word for potty!) He has even mastered wiping his feet when he comes back in, on the rug…. For a treat of course! He has grown SO much and going to need a bigger bed soon!
Sorry some of the pics are blurry! He’s not still for long! ~Jill and Clint
Hello There–we are so happy to hear from you. Just look at what is happening, you are doing great things. We cannot be happier to hear the news and to these photos. Thanks ever so much!
~ AKA Counter surfing
Although I do not recommend tempting a dog, most of the Weimaraners I have owned have been shoppers also known as counter surfers. Porsche was no exception until we got “The Sonic Egg”.
The egg is motion activated and blows a puff of air, which in Porsche’s case went into her face and startled her. If someone is looking for it, it was made to deter cats. A savvy clerk at PetSmart thought it might do the trick for us, and it did.
Click here to see the product JuneAnn is recommending.
It is interesting that it deters Porsche. I am not sure it would work for every Weimaraner, but apparently, it does at JuneAnn’s home. I do read that folks are having a lot of problems with the unit. I hope they keep making them. I can see that they could be handy in several situations. Thank you, JuneAnn, for sharing this novel idea.
~ Our Prima Donna
Hope this finds you and Cliff well. Attached is a picture from Remy’s birthday last month. The kids insisted that she get a special doggie cannoli from our local pet store. She is obviously spoiled.
I have been working a ton on her leash training and she’s doing much better. She is still scared of other dogs but overall we are making progress, tons of positive reinforcement and she isn’t lunging anymore. The only time we have a problem is if a dog is off leash and approaches her on the leash, but that is understandable at this point. I am hopeful that we can get past the aggressive behavior and I’m seeking some 1:1 training with a professional.
We had a scare – she was spayed last month and there were complications. The surgeon nicked a vein or something and she lost a lot of blood. They sent us home but we were concerned that she still had internal bleeding and took her to urgent care. Glad we did because she probably wouldn’t have made it. Poor thing, she did not need additional surgery luckily and had a rough recovery, but is fine now.
Anyway, until next time 😀
We are sorry to hear you have issues. To us, this sounds a lot more like a territorial behavior (which is a Weimaraner thing) mixed in with some fear. Who can guess what brought it on? There are a lot of unknowns. Here are some links that might be useful.
The worst thing to do with FNS is to force your dog to do something he’s frightened of. It’s also not a good idea to soothe or praise the dog’s fear in this situation. That can unwittingly reinforce the dog’s fearful behavior, while using force may lead to a permanent fearful response. The best approach is to be patient, be jolly, remove your dog if possible, and know that adolescence is just a period—and it’s my fervent hope that it’s short-lived.
There is some useful information in these articles; however, like every bit of dog-related advice–it is essential not to overreact or make something into more than it might become. I am always cautious when labeling a dog as aggressive–especially in a situation where they don’t like another dog in their space or even humans coming at them. This issue seems like a fear –but territorial behaviors are also a bit issue with this breed. Don Wilbur (a long time Weimaraner breeder /expert) said of them, “they may be the most territorial of breeds.”
Territorial behaviors may express in many ways — protecting their crate, their fence line, a corner of the room, etc.
Quite possibly the most successful way to deal with this behavior in our experience is to remove the trigger and not to force the issue. I think we expect that we will be able to do everything with our fur family member and sometimes it is not possible. Seriously, every environment is unique. We each have different leadership skills–and worst of all when we are disappointed or frustrated our Weimaraner picks up on the cues. This information may help someone. I think it is essential to realize there is any number of things that can occur. There is not always an easy solution. Thank you to Remy’s family for all the hard work and making her life special. And Happy Birthday Remy!
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
~Birds are Great
First time out hunting with Macy today she did great. She was a little slow at the start but picked it up and had a great day. Very proud Poppa. Thank you so much.
Yes, Indeed, I still have to share her with my son. They are still the best of friends–which is a good thing. She is very well behaved outside can’t say the same for the inside. She loves the food that she thinks we leave for her on the counter.
We are happy to hear that Macy is in the field successfully. We love to get hunt testimonials. Bernie is an excellent hunter. Boone comes from solid working hunt lines–but he has not had as many opportunities to hunt as Bernie. The offspring have proven to be excellent hunting companions. Thanks for remembering us, Don.
We also appreciate your loyalty. It has been a long time as well as a long distance relationship. Of course, the fact that you had to fly to the West Coast and somehow this all converged was outstanding.
From Southern California
We are doing well. She has quite the temper and will let you know if she doesn’t like something. We are working at getting past the sharp puppy teeth thing. She is going to be a Sharp Hunter.
All Tuckered Out
We are happy to hear that you are doing well with Style. We look forward to hearing about her future training and exploits. Thanks for thinking of us.
Smart and Opinionated
Azula is super smart, she was already bringing her toy back to me.
She is an opinionated and self-assured little girl – and has bonded to us quickly. She’s also been super good about going outside to do her business! We love her spunk and affectionate manner. Now if only her tiny raptor teeth were less sharp…
Azula was sleeping in her crate 😊. As you can see, she doesn’t always sleep in her crate. Right now she’s crashed out next to my 16-year-old.
Other Fur Family
Here she is checking out one of the cats….
Neither of our two cats is amused by her – but the one you saw will actually probably be fine soon – she loves to play and was out hunting voles while we were keeping Azula entertained…
We are happy that little Miss Azula is settling in quickly. Before long, she and the cats will have things worked out–probably a chess match situation. We appreciate the update–the photos and the video is fabulous. We look forward to hearing how things go as she matures. We expect great things. Thanks for your loyalty. We don’t take it lightly.