Category Archives: Collars and Slip Leads

Oh, Henry

~ 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. 

Breeder Comment

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.


~And JuneAnn A Few Tips

Loved your reminder on contact information.  

For those of us with devilish smart Weims like Porsche, who tend to lose the tags city dwellers are asked wear, here is a variation on Cliff’s collar.

Attach tags to center ring leaving “D” ring for leash, then slide a cover over all that “jewelry.”  Put “ICE” on the cover. The cover can be made out of most any material.  I use leather because I have it.  All first responders, and hospitality workers know “ICE” stands for “in case of emergency.”  I know it works, because my phone fell out of my pocket in Boston; a hotel manager got it, and called my daughter in Seattle.  My phone and I were soon re-united.  I hope the only call any dog owner gets is like one we got several years ago, when a man called to let us know he had the collar our dog had slipped on that morning’s run.

More when I learn how to get photos off my phone.


Breeder Comment

Thanks for sharing this information with us and the OwyheeStar Community, JuneAnn

Cliff Elaborates on–

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……..

  1. Loose Leash Heeling (on a regular flat collar)
  2. Sit-stay
  3. Down-Stay
  4. 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.

Get Compliance

~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.

Did You Know

It is National Pet ID Week

April 15-21, 2018

IMG_9609 2We embrace the microchip concept for our OwyheeStar puppies. Every pup leaves with the AKC Reunite Microchip implanted. All our puppy family must do is to register their chip (pay a small lifetime fee) with AKC Reunite. Honestly, if you don’t register the microchip is probably not going to do much good.

Let’s not forget the 4th of July and the hoopla associated with it fills shelters to the brim. These hardworking folks do their best to get every pup back to their family; however, it is an arduous process. This one step does more than anything to get your pup back to and along with the ID collar increases your odds of return astronomically.

Did you register the microchip? We sincerely hope you did. Here is more information from AKC Reunite. Our experience has been positive–they are accommodating.


If a neighbor finds your dog, a pet ID tag is the fastest and most efficient way to be reunited with your pet. However, ID tags can fade or fall off, or your pet’s collar can be removed. This is when an enrolled microchip with up-to-date contact information links you and your pet to help ensure you are reunited with your lost or stolen pet.

Save $2 on replacement collar tags and dog collars with coupon code Tag2 through April 21, 2018.


Good Morning Weimlovers!


Dusty-Sit/Stay (by Larry Cleveland)

I am awaiting the arrival of dawn anxiously. I love with Mr. Sun peeks out and teases us with his essence–right before he peers over the horizon. Everything has an ethereal quality that is defined deep within our soul. It speaks to us of the promise and the arrival of a new beginning. Things we often take for granted. The wise person’s spirit doesn’t waste this opportunity. Forgive yourself, others, and let the past be the past. Today is a fresh start.


This truth applies to every relationship– Weimaraner included. Possibly yesterday was not the best. If so, today is a new start. Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Set aside the mistakes and issues. Begin afresh and work toward success. Always start and end with a positive solid-rock activity. Don’t concern yourself with falling short in some areas. There is not a timeline for success. It (seeing a positive outcome) happens when you stay the course. Over time you will achieve together. Never forget this is a journey and arriving at your destination doesn’t have a set time. Close your ears to all those who offer their free advice and cite the fact you don’t know what you are doing. If you are making progress and slowly achieving the basic disciplines rejoice in the sweet progress. Stay on the path. Here is what Cliff has to say about achieving the basics (on a previous blog).

This is what I hope every OwyheeStar Weimlover will accomplish……..

  1. Loose Leash Heeling (on a regular flat collar)
  2. Sit-stay
  3. Down-Stay
  4. Come; followed by the Sit-stay

In the Midst of the Struggle



Dusty contemplating freedom to do what he wants (photo by Larry Cleveland)

The solution to your struggles is around the corner. Seeking answers. Everyone will give you their ear and their expert advice. If you don’t find the answer there, then the Information Age provides unprecedented opportunity. A Google search will (most likely) yield thousands of suggestions. It can be overwhelming. Most folks either pick on one philosophy or they pick and choose the ideas they like. We suggest sticking to one thing at a time; however, it is important to keep the end in mind. Just because something provides a much needed short-term solution, it might not be one that deals with the underlying issue. We keep discussing the loose lead (or leash) achievement because this is the perfect example. When you rely on the head halter, the Gentle Leader, a prong collar or the front clipping harness, it makes it easier for you. Nevertheless, it doesn’t get you compliance. The moment you are not using that device that thwarts their pulling, they pull even more fiercely. Ultimately, getting them to want to comply with your request it more important. It may well be life-saving. Can you see the point? Compliance on the leash is more important than getting off-leash compliance because when the Weimaraner run’s free, they are in control. They love being in control. When the defer to you and walk compliantly on the leash, then they earn the right to be off-leash.



Dusty is compliant on and off leash (photo by Larry Cleveland)


There are times they will need to be on the leash. During these encounters, there is nothing worse than having them lunge at other dogs. Being pulled down the lane is not ideal either. Many of you will continue to use the devices because it is a habit and to start from the beginning to achieve the best outcome would be an arduous task. For those beginning, we hope you consider the approach that gets underlying compliance. Thank you, for reading and hearing our heartfelt suggestions.

Don’t Be Pulled Down the Street

Getting Compliance on the Lead

       ~ or achieving a loose leash heel

Good Collar.jpgWe have discussed this on many occasions because it is vital to the foundation of success. All too many Weim folks cite compliance as best off-leash. Your Weimaraner likes to be in control of what they are doing. The Weimaraner loves to run free–we love to see them too! We suggest this is something that is an earned privilege.

Jan Magnuson about the Magic Collar!

I would recommend forgoing the harness, it will likely just teach your pup bad habits that you will have to deal with later at an accelerated pace.  I use a nylon martingale collar on my dogs 24/7 where I keep their pet license tag, that is what I put on puppies at 8 weeks of age.  For training, we use the Good Dog collar (photo enclosed), it is a humane and effective check collar that emulates a “mama dog correction” and works amazingly well (some of my dog obedience students dub it the “magic collar”!)

Jan Magnuson @ SunStar All Breed Dog Training

Breeder’s Comment

This collar needs to be used correctly in order to achieve success. As with any training collar, it is a tool and it is meant to be used to achieve a desirable outcome. It can be used when you are out and about. We do not see this as something they wear continuously–just for clarification.




Big Into Birds

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I wanted to give you an update on Gobbo.

He is about 7 1/2 months old, and I am amazed at his progress. (Gobbo is a lean 78#.)

Saturday–I had him work quail and work with giving me the birds. Once he has them in his mouth, he likes to keep them. He made some great retrieves and a few points. My training collar works wonders on getting him to turn over the birds.

Yesterday–I had him out for more training on Live birds. We put out 6 Chukars.

Gobbo found 5 of the 6. Flushed 1 and pointed 4. Held point on command on three of the birds and moved in on command on all three.  I am amazed at his progress. He is working like a very experienced dog. The command to hold point has come natural for him as I have only worked a short time using that command.

He turned over every bird to me. Not with out a buzz on his collar but he was very good. I had him retrieving in the water until it turned cold.

Now I think he is ready for his testing ~ Tom (Monday, November 16, 2015)

Breeder’s Comment

We are happy to hear about the positive results. Time, energy, commitment and follow-through have a lot to do with Gobbo’s success. Live birds are an important component as well. 

Be consistent and keep this type of work up and you will have a top-notch versatile hunting companion. Once they get an idea, it becomes their own. The concrete-thinking Weimaraner, who loves the idea of the hunt, is going to be excited to join you on these adventures. The bottom line is it is all about your relationship–desire, respect as well as having hunt-potential play into the equation. Gobbo wants to please you, and he is excited to perform. Thank you for the excellent report. We truly appreciate it!


Despite the excitement of the moment Lacee honors Cliff's lead!

Yesterday our comment about not selecting a harness (unless it was a certain type–the one that fastens at the front) caused a whirlwind of activity. The reason for the comment was that the ultimate goal always needs to be obedience. This must start with the basics.

Unfortunately most Weims learn the basic commands but still want to manipulate, control, and get the upper paw. They will sit, come, roll over, play dead, and do any number of things but resist coming under your complete will.

You take the Weimaraner for a walk, but they pull you down the road. When facing this dilemma, even the young and strong are challenged. In an effort to find a solution to the problem many turn to head halters or harnesses. While these gadgets do help maintain control while the Weimaraner is wearing them, they rarely cause behavior changes. Regardless, for some they serve as an answer to a problem they are facing and get them through. Sometimes while providing a short term solution these devices actually fuel the problem. The Weimaraner pulls more and cannot be maintained at all on a flat collar. Ultimately, you want the Weim to be able to walk on a flat collar beside you with the lead being loose.

Nevertheless, if early control is not gained then by the time the Weimaraner is a year old serious issues usually arise. Now at this point in time, most of us could not control a Weimaraner without using corrective methods. Changing behavior becomes more difficult as they get older, and by the time they are three years old some consider it impossible.

Moments Later Lacee goes free...

Before we move forward, we want to mention one other reason people move to a harness. Many dogs wearing a flat collar, the Weimaraner included, will choke and cough and carry on when you try to pull them along side. It is difficult to know for sure how much of this is drama and how much is actually choking. The smallest inconvenience or discomfort can set the Weimaraner on the stage to perform. We certainly do not recommend choking a puppy or inflicting pain to get compliance. Minor corrections can work wonders but should be done in natural ways that get quick results. Those ways should simulate the mother’s corrections.

However, we do not recommend one of the mother’s techniques to get compliance even though some trainers and dog owners use this technique. That technique we are thinking of is when you would have to bite your pup to get compliance. Stooping to the level of a dog seems a bit extreme to us.

Unfortunately, for a lot of folks the the Weimaraner needing correction is a tear jerker. Corrections have to be made at times, but they can be made in dignified ways that get quick results. When done in this manner and early in the process, then there is a good chance you will not have to do more serious corrections later. What we are after is gaining respect and getting compliance. The earlier this happens then the better. It is fine to cajole them into obedience, but that will only take you so far with the Weimaraner.

If you are wondering how important breaking the habit of pulling on the lead might be, then consider the implications. As we have stated, this can lead to all kinds of non-compliance, which can escalate into a much larger issue. These grand issues are often the cause of paying big money for a dog trainer. With the Weimaraner issues are not always so easily turned around. Many times they become relational and environmental. The Weimaraner leaves their home and behaves like a model citizen but returns to very soon resume the same behavior issue. In most cases, training is more for the human counterpart than for the dog.

Before we move on we want to bring up another point here about the Weimaraner and early behavior issues. Within the litter, there is a pecking order. This is their view of how things work. Many talk about being the Alpha Dog in the pack, but what about the other humans in the family unit? Often one of the persons within the household becomes a target. This can take many forms but is often mouthing, biting, nipping, jumping up, or backing a person into a corner. All the while the person in the household who is deemed in command gets all the respect. It is best not to take this personal or overreact if you are the one not getting the respect. This is the Weimaraner being a Weim and exploiting any weakness within the family structure. This behavior is often about  pecking order priority; and sometimes to a lesser degree about extreme play. Two thoughts on this come to mind. 1. The human target needs to make appropriate changes in order to overcome to their weaknesses. 2. Getting control or compliance in the area of the leash is primary to earning the Weim’s respect and compliance.

If you are reading this blog and pondering all the elements it may see a bit overwhelming, but keep in mind that small steps forward yield big results. This one principle of gaining compliance on the lead or leash will produce compliance in other areas. It will also help prevent larger issues looming in the background. As we stated earlier, we don’t think you should be choking your Weim to get compliance on the leash. Below is a video from the Dog Father on this topic. We have used his style of the command collar with excellent results. There again, using it correctly and consistently is a must to get the proper outcome. Furthermore, using the collar early in the process before hormones take hold can be a great asset to your training program.

Here is the youtube link:

Thank you for your investment in your OwyheeStar Weimaraner, and for taking time to read our blog. We are honored to travel along with so many on a very special journey where the Weimaraner becomes a well behaved respectful companion.

Slip Leads….


You may print or copy items ONLY for your own personal use! This Blog, information, and photos posted herein are copyright protected and remains the sole property of Cliff and Shela Nielsen.  No unauthorized use is permitted.

Almost every day someone make an inquiry regarding the use of a slip lead. Slip leads have been around for awhile. The reason people love them is no great mystery. People (especially show persons) have been using the slip lead for some time. Veterinary offices often have inexpensive slip leads hanging by their door. They are also known as British Show Leads. Here is a link to show you the many colors available through Mendota:

Here at OwyheeStar we use a slip lead almost exclusively. We use them if we transport a Weimaraner–our own or someone elses. We keep them in the car. We keep them in our dog bag. We keep them in the pickup. We keep them hanging by the door.

They are easy to grab and slip over the pup or adults neck. There is no need to fuss with their regular collar. There is no worry about them pulling out of their normal collar. One size pretty much fits all. It is have a smaller breed dog you might want to invest in a thinner diameter

Although Cliff likes the over-the-shoulder (or European style) lead for working in the field. These slip leads fit into the auto door, glove box, tackle bag, etc. We have one that is so small it easily slips in Shela’s purse. Although it is thinner than usual it is sturdy and works well. We still prefer the heavier corded slip leads, however, the convenience of being able to carry a slip lead tucked away in her purse is invaluable. Our goal, as you can see is never to find ourselves without one handy.

Since we discovered these leads we have …

  1. Never used a choke collar–which was not our favorite anyhow.
  2. Never had a pup or adult pull or slip out of their collar and break free.
  3. Collars can be more for decoration than utility in nature.

In the past we have made these available to our clients. We may do so in the future. We purchase a goodly number of them during the course of a year. Ordering extras would not be a stretch.

Using the slip lead doesn’t alleviate the leash training. It does, however, afford you a bit more control and ease of use. If your Weimaraner pup balks at being on a lead and pulls fiercely it will choke them and they will cough. Your goal is to teach them not to fight the lead.

The advantage of the slip lead is convenience as well as safety. We hope to do a little video clip of Cliff working with a Weim on the slip lead soon.


~Shela and Cliff

Note: If you are part of the extended OwyheeStar family or on our waiting list, then please feel free to share your questions, comments, pointers, insights, experiences, and valued tips. Please keep in mind that all of our information is based from our experience and is our personal opinion.  Information found within this blog and on our website is not meant to replace that of your personal Veterinary. We are not licensed Veterinarians or licensed Vet Techs. We do not give treatment advice, diagnose illness, or consider ourselves the final authority on Veterinary medicine.