Category Archives: Raising Versatile Hunting Weims
The Basics …
Nothing is more important than loose leash heeling. It is imperative it be achieved. I am not talking about using a head halter, gentle leader, front-hooking harness, or a prong collar in order to accomplish the goal.
A regular (or flat) collar
This is what 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 7 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 4 months. As the Weimaraner develops, there will be challenges.
Respect and the Relationship
Depth in your relationship is worth achieving; respect is a crucial part of your relationship-development. When you get the loose-lead respect, then you can easily achieve these other goals. It is a bit like a thread that pulls you through a good novel (or movie); without a strong relationship (or the underlying story-line), it is hard to get to end. Distractions come along.
Jan Magnuson –The priorities in my basic obedience/good manners classes are loose leash heeling, sit-stay, down-stay, come and sit-stay, and no bite. I agree, if folks can get these down pat, everything else tends to fall into place. Loose leash walking is imperative, as it is representative of the relationship between dog and handler (if the leash is relaxed, so is your relationship, if the leash is tense and strained, so is your relationship). Dogs that “do better off leash” feel they are in charge and do what pleases them, and if they mind it is because they happen to feel like it at the moment- that is not a trained dog. I like down-stays a lot because it is a subservient posture, the dog should learn to be totally relaxed so we do lots of these- we allow them to lie on one hip or their side and get their head and tummy rubbed, with lots of calm praise.
Get it done; Keep it Fun…
Never forget to have fun. If this becomes a grind, neither you nor the Weimaraner will enjoy it. If it becomes boring, there are always other things you want to do. Once these four things are mastered, you need to keep them sharp. It is not something you achieve and forget about; these are lifelong skills you take with you on the entire journey.
Note: We will discuss collars (and choices) in a later blog. There are many suitable styles of the regular (flat-collar) type. Collar purchases are more a fashion-statement than we like to admit. Hunters are field-fashion conscious. Some prefer a fine leather collar, while others prefer a durable plastic-based collar that resists dirt, odor, and fading. These collars wipe clean. They come in a variety of colors; fluorescent orange, fluorescent green, and fluorescent yellow are popular. Some hunters find the cammo collar a must-have accessory. One of our favorite vet techs saw a purple collar we had on a girl, and asked where we found it. There are other great colors too.
~ Meet Kip (Dutch’s Shadow)
Yes, Kip’s pointing. Both Sam and Bonney have gotten him on point with the wing.
And so, it begins. What more is there to say?
Hope is 13 months old, and yesterday was the first time she had been to the pond since she was a pup. I don’t remember exactly, but I am reasonably sure she did the puppy swim about a year ago.
Regardless, she has not been acclimated to the water until now. Cliff took her out to the pond on Monday evening. She got into the water chest high but didn’t swim. Tuesday, a whole different thing happened. Remember when we say to ingrain the love of the retrieve. Here is why–
~Preparing for Competition
Whisky has been in training now for 6 months and is becoming a great bird dog. He loves it. The trainer feels he would do great in Hunt Test competition, so we will start training for that.
At the age of 6 months, Whisky started retriever and obedience training at Coyote Creek Oregon Gun Dog Training in Eugene. He started at the age of 6 months and has been doing very well. We visit him at least twice a week to work with him and train ourselves. The trainer is very impressed with his abilities and drive and is confident that Whisky will excel in the field and in competition.
We are glad you are doing well with Whiskey and that your trainer feels he has good hunt trial potential. We look forward to hearing about the experience.
Before the pups arrive, the Mamas have our full attention–we work to ensure they eat well. We watch for any sign of a problem, etc. The whelp-window is typically from day 59 to day 64. The pups must be at least 59 days old to survive–although we might use extraordinary measures to save a puppy–there are limitations.
Once the pups are here, Christina and I do most of the hands-on work. We do like to involve Cliff when possible–a man’s touch is a good thing. Some pups require a lot more than others–case in point, Dink. You might remember the tiny undersized puppy which Christina took to feeding and caring for around the clock. Sometimes intervention doesn’t work–because there is something wrong. Other times such a pup starts to thrive and eventually catches up with their litter.
From Day-One, there is a lot of hands-on work. Thankfully, Christina is a skilled puppy handler-whisperer sort of helper. Recently, she whelped a pup when we had to be away from the house. She has an eye for details–watching and looking the puppies over constantly while she adjusts their collars, handles them, and works with each one. As you might imagine, this kind of process is labor-intensive–but we believe it works–is essential.
There are many stages and steps involved in the raising of the Weimaraner. We hope to have them set up for success–but once they transition to their ‘forever family,’ the work continues. No matter our efforts, it is almost as if you are starting from scratch–it is a new environment. They have to adjust and adapt, which they will do very quickly, and at the same time, the humans must take control of the leadership role, or the puppy will rule the house in short order.
~Spunk and Snuggles
We just love Kenai more and more each day. He’s a little adventurer, and a great combination of spunk and snuggle. Casey has been working on his beginning hunting training – introducing him to birds and gunshots. He’s been doing fantastic!
His vet cleared him to start exploring more, and to go camping! So last week we headed up to Olympic National Park, and then down the coast, stopping in Astoria for a night before heading home. He wasn’t able to go everywhere in the national park, of course, but there were a few dog-friendly areas to explore, and meet new people. He loved it! Here’s a few shots taken on our trip.
Kaylen and Casey
Cliff and I are so delighted to receive your report. What a fun adventure. Thanks for the hard work–keep it up. You are off to a fabulous beginning.
~ 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!
~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.
~Earns Her Junior Hunt Title
I wanted to send a quick note about our Luna. She just received her AKC Junior Hunter title for pointing breeds this weekend in Ellensburg. We did a double double with a few clubs (she went 4 for 4!) and she hunted well, found some birds and held those points! It was awfully hot for her too.
Next up is breaking her to shot and honoring for a Senior Title and maybe running her in August at the NAVDHA NA test later this fall. We’ll see.
Michael and Michelle
Thank you, Michael and Michelle, for all you have done with Luna. Oh, and we appreciate you sending along the photos as well as the news for us to share, too!
~Her First Swim
Cliff has had her to the pond a couple of times–and retrieved in chest-deep water before. The key to the quick success was her love of the retrieve. This water work is one of the many benefits of having your Weim crazy for the retrieve.
Please note that there was a couple of bumpers left from a trip out with another Weimaraner earlier–and Cliff tossed a rock to try to get Henri to retrieve the additional bumper. Hurrah–for-Henri she did several water-retrieves, and there was no hesitation at entering the water. And, she picked up that extra bumper too!