Category Archives: House Training

7 Steps To Getting Off to a Good Start

~We recommend the simple approachBoot's Bentley-3

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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



OwyheeStar’s Succeeding with the Weimaraner.11

Is The Weimaraner Right for You?

~ Part Three

 Lawrence's Addy-10
The American Kennel Club (AKC) is the oldest and most respected kennel club in America. The United Kennel Club (UKC) is another choice, but for most Weimaraner breeders they must get the AKC papers even if they are associated with the UKC. We mention this only to set the stage for our third segment discussing the Weimaraner as a choice. Many folks go straight to the AKC to discover which breed is right for them. Here is what they will find listed as the AKC on the Weimaraner’s temperament.
Lauded for his ability to work with great speed, fearlessness and endurance when on the hunt, the Weimaraner is also known for being an easily trainable, friendly and obedient member of the family. This is a breed that loves children and enjoys being part of his family’s “pack.ʺ A well-trained Weimaraner is a delight to live with, but an untrained one is akin to a canine demolition derby. Puppies should be started in classes at an early age.

Accurate–however, a bit Misleading

We can agree on one thing–the Weimaraner is hard to define on paper. People write they did their research and discovered the Weimaraner is a match. On paper or via a quiz that asks a few questions this might be true. Nevertheless, these bits of information can lead you to a decision that is either heartwarming or something shocking–it doesn’t work out for you. The latter means you probably find yourself embroiled in the soul-searching battle to get the Weimaraner to become what you expected. This concerted effort to get the Weim to become what you believe they should be is all too often followed by a drop at the rescue. Sometimes these fur-kids appear on Craig’s List (God forbid). Desperate people paint a lovely picture to look for unsuspecting people to take the Weim off their hands. Typically this is preceded by a small fortune spent on various trainers and equipment but in defeat, the desperation to get them out of the household can lead good people to do the unthinkable.
No one goes into this process thinking it will be easy. Almost everyone asks their self if they are crazy–even when this is a second time around Weim. This magnificent creature can throw you a curve ball of the best or worst kind. Depending on whether you get the save or not. With that being said, let’s look at these touted characteristics one at a time.
  • Easily trainable

Depending upon breeding and early breeder socialization the puppy you receive should be ready to learn the basics. For those who understand the commitment and follow through faithfully with the basics (house breaking, crate training, the recall as well as the loose-leash heel) things go well. All of this and more is achievable. The ease of doing so will depend on your understanding of the breed, how you follow through and is contingent on you making the right choices.

Freedom is Earned!

OwyheeStar admonishes their clients to remember that freedom is earned. Too much freedom (and who doesn’t want the puppy running around) will lead to accidents as well as the idea they are free to do as they please. This situation will affect the housebreaking or all of the basics as mentioned earlier. Even more disconcerting is the fact failure to achieve these areas of discipline may also set your pup up to develop bad habits. These behavioral issues will lead to non-compliance and in turn, create other scenarios such as making them less than welcome to others.

The Human Factor

The vast majority of the OwyheeStar puppy clients achieve success with ease; however, even some of those fall on hard times. The Weimaraner is not a dog you train and move on–they require a strong leader and insistence that they meet the standards you have set. We don’t know anyone who would claim this is an easy breed to train. Nonetheless, if you get it right, they can become a joy. To enjoy living with them requires a sense of humor as well as the ability to deal with their quirks and the quandaries to which they gravitate.

Described As

  • Friendly
  • Obedient
  • Loves children
  • Pack-loving
  • Delight to live with
Friendly— Most Weims are friendly to some degree. Socialization is important once you bring home your puppy. They can gravitate toward only caring about their family. They can become aloof and standoffish with strangers. Some are more prone to this behavior than others.
Obedient — Many people fail to master compliance on the leash. They resort to head halters or front hooking leashes to manage the situation, but that is not compliance. Others are unable to get the recall–the Weim coming when called part down. We need to remember that the Weimaraner can spend lots of time manipulating their humans. Is that the description of obedient compliance?
Miles kissingLoves Children — Raising the Weimaraner with children usually makes a big difference. There have been cases when the Weimaraner doesn’t tolerate a child. We believe this to be rare–it does happen. Conditioning the young Weimaraner to children and situations is important. They need to learn to tolerate children if nothing else. Some Weims just love the baby of the family and will lay with them for hours.
Pack-loving — The family is their pack. They are never happier than when they are leaning against, sitting on, or close to their beloved family members. This leads to a propensity towards severe separation anxiety. They really don’t like being left behind.
Delight to live with — This is probably the one item on the list we think is very misleading. 11891270_10207599167758656_1427309952331633864_nWhether they are delightful or not is going to depend on your expectations. If you are a neat freak and come home to the toilet paper shredded, the trash was strewn, and a vomiting pooch will this be upsetting? How will you approach this issue. Some are perpetually into the garbage or stealing things from the kitchen counter. Some are chewers–they munch on your house siding, furniture, etc. They shred every toy you buy. Some dig, bark, and demand constant attention. Many of these behaviors are the result of human failure to condition them while it counts. Avoiding behaviors start while the pup is young and continues as they reach teenage behaviors. Freedom is earned — write that on your heart. It might save your Weim’s life and you a lot of frustration.

Maggie Updated

Time Slips By…Maggie's Headshot

Crate TrainingI’ve been trying to get an update out to you for a while and as you know time keeps slipping by.  Maggie has been fun and a challenge.  She has been getting better with crating training, but still has slight separation anxiety.  She’s potty trained with the bell on the door.  She now knows sit, lay down, roll over and she brings me her food dish when she’s done.  But best of all she’s sleeping through the night!!

Weim Ears

Her 9 week vet check was fun, the vet rarely sees a Weim so a blue one caught the eye of the whole staff.  Maggie was taken to the back to be weighed and became a show and tell.   Her vet check went well, she did however have a bacterial infection in both ears which was an easy fix.  All in all, she’s been fun- and the family, including the cat, are really enjoying her.  She has become a really joyful addition to our family.

I love My Kitty Pillow

I love My Kitty Pillow

Breeder’s Comment: First, we want to take this opportunity to remind our clients to check out the ear-care section of the Website we gave you. Flop-eared dogs have a tendency toward ear issues. Over the years, we have found several little tricks, (and products) that work better than spend cash at the vet’s office. 🙂 🙂

We also want to remind you to stick to the suggested vaccine protocol. Raising the puppy you will find yourself in the thick of things. It is easy to rely on your vet for direction. We have the greatest respect for our friends in that profession; however, their vaccine protocol is meant to cover a broad-based practice. They must operate in this manner. We (Weimlovers) have to remember to do things a bit different for the benefit of our Weimaraner. That means getting the titer test in lieu of a sixteen-week shot, and when you get a puppy shot, it should not contain Lepto or Corona. If Leptospirosis is endemic to your area, please do the shot separately. Vaccinating in this manner, you get better protection, as well as less risk of a vaccine reaction (some of which can be life-threatening.

Finally, any number of small things can go awry. Bacteria, parasites, and general health issues can pop up. This doesn’t mean the pup is sickly, but the developing immune system can get overwhelmed. Be as holistic in your approach as possible. Raising the Weimaraner takes work. Regardless, they have a growing fan club.

Housebreaking the Weimaraner


The most effective way to house-train the Weimaraner puppy is to use the crate. Consistent follow-through with the following approach will get results…….
Rule # 1 — When the puppy is not in the crate they require constant supervision. This means if you are typing, talking on the phone, or cooking dinner they need to kennel-up.
Rule #2 — Freedom is earned. Until the housebreaking is mastered rule # 1 applies.
Rule #3 — The crate needs to be the right size. It must be slightly larger than the puppy. Extra room means they can set up a potty-end in the crate.
Rule #4 — When the pup first wakes up from a nap in the crate, you need to take the pup out to the yard immediately. Walk around the yard, and give it time to potty. See the tip at the bottom of this page!
Rule # 5 — When you arrive home, be ready to go directly to the crate, and to take the pup outside to the yard. Don’t expect them to wait for you.
Rule # 6 — Never take the pup out when they are throwing a fit. (The exceptions are if they just woke up, and started to whine, or if you just walked in the door.) If you get the pup out of the crate because they whined, then they will know when they raise a ruckus, they get out of the crate.
Rule # 7 — Be Consistent. Stick with the program. Don’t become lax in your methods. Giving unwarranted freedom never comes to any good.

What happens?

406912_2981624655046_1094825338_33308748_748134300_nPeople take their puppy home. They believe that taking them to the yard to potty means the puppy can run around the house for a while. They are shocked when the puppy squats to pee in less than ten minutes. (Keep in mind) puppies have to learn to hold their pee–the crate training when done correctly will support this process. Until they show they are in control of their bladder, (and running for the door to go outside to potty) it is ill-advised to give them any freedom. The Weimaraner puppy who starts going potty inside the house, will soon believe this is the norm; you will find yourself embattled rather than empowered (and in control).

Did we say smart?

B Arrives in Canada croppedThe Weimaraner puppy will do almost anything for a treat. This can also create a backlash so fast you won’t know what hit you. They can pretend-potty, ring a bell, or do some adorable antic for the reward. Relying on the treat-method all too frequently side-tracks the training. If your puppy runs to the door to ring the bell for a treat rather than to go outside, you have trained them to ring the bell for a treat. Can you see how confusing your training was to the Weimaraner? Sometimes praise is the best reward. Ingraining the desire to want to please will take you further than the treat-reward system. Do we ever use treats? Yes, but we don’t use them for a sustained length of time to achieve a goal. They are used on a random basis, and mostly when we have visitors.
It is a big shock to realize that the Weimaraner puppy has manipulated you. Never forget once they get an idea (the notion that something is going to be a certain way), the concrete-thinking Weimaraner will do whatever it takes to achieve the norm. You don’t want them thinking the inside potty is preferred. Puppies sleep a lot. They can spend a great deal of time in the crate next to where you are working, and it will not be harmful. If you have a ready-eye to keep on them, they could be on a bed next to you. Proceed with clear, concise, consistent follow through of the right type combined with supervised freedom.


Dan and Wader Meet_8185If you got off on the wrong foot with the housebreaking, all is not lost. Start over. It might take you longer to get to the finish line; however, this is not a horse race. Making it one is best avoided. This is a journey; one that will take time to complete. You are making the trip together. It remains to be seen what the two of you can accomplish. Hang in there, and stay upbeat. It will come together if you follow these pointers.

The things of Christmas recent…

Rosario Family with two OwyheeStar Weims

The new kid finds a fitting name…

As you well know, finding the right name is not always easy. Before we brought him home, we thought Griffin might work. We have finally agreed upon on a different name. I just didn’t love Griffin, and one family member insists on a nickname and Griffey. I wanted a short name to counter the longer Winchester name. We liked Bere. But then it was changed to Bexar  (that’s the county we live in, pronounced like bear). And on and on and on….Yes, everyone agreed on Opus, which was the biggest hurdle. This name resonates with everyone; it relates to guns, a cigar brand named Opus X, and a million years ago, a cartoon strip “Opus.” It’s Latin for work.

It’s certainly different, and it is shorter than Winchester. So he is  Opus! Guns and cigars. When shortened it will be Opie, which reminds me of Mayberry, which is FINE.

The new norm begins…

On Friday morning (the 20th), Winchester decided the puppy is OK. Winchester commenced  playing (with Opus) as though he had waited his whole life for something so grand.  He very carefully carries the baby’s toy in his mouth to entice him to play. It’s so much fun to watch. It is also a relief that things are coming together in quick order. It was hard to lose Bruno, and we knew we could not replace him. Regardless, we wanted another gray male. We are delighted that Winchester is accepting him early-on. They are going to be great friends.

The two dogs have been great entertainment this week. They play until they’re tuckered out. Little Opus is a chow hound. He knows where the food door is, and is very vocal if he has to chase a bowl (I fed him in his kennel, and he talked the entire climb up the stairs). And the kennel training is going much better, thank you. It requires Patience, hmmmmm. By the fourth/fifth day, we were in better shape. (Click here to read our earlier struggles–back when he was still being called Griffin.)  

We have a Winner. Thank You for what you do!

~ Melinda and all here (with Opus and Winchester)

Breeder’s Comment: We are thrilled you found a name that everyone likes. Thank you for the lovely Santa photo that included your two OwyheeStar kids. We are also glad you flew in from Texas and carried Opus back on the plane. We are convinced this helped you get off to a better start. Finally, thank you for your loyalty. We truly appreciate it. Good luck with Opus, and we sincerely hope he is the perfect fit he seems to be.

Geist is a dream come true…

Here’s a photo of me and Geist on the drive home.

At the beginning(September 23, 2013) He’s just a dream. He is so smart. We’ve started some obedience and he is really taking to it.

Breeder’s Note: Our suggestion is to keep the adjustment process simple. Nothing is more important than your relationship. Cliff recommends keeping any training session short–10 minutes is about right. You always want to end on a positive note, with success. If you don’t master the current command, go back to one the pup has mastered. Do that, and reward them by lavishing praise for their achievement.

The two areas that are an exception to these instructions are housebreaking and crate-training. These are the two areas where you must achieve compliance–get results. A casual approach usually ends up in frustration, and sometimes in failure. It takes commitment, clear direction, and a realistic approach. Freedom needs to be earned. That means, do not let the puppy run around without you having your eye on them. The misconception that the pup just went potty outside, therefore; they should be good for a half an hour is just that–a misconception. Pups that are running around could need to go potty again in ten minutes. They need constant supervision. They have to learn how to ‘hold-it’ until they get out. They have to decide that going outside to potty is the right approach. They have to go out (or want to go out) even when it is raining. A big part of achieving this is your attitude. If you, yourself, balk at going outside in the rain; they will feel the same. With rain commonplace in the Pacific Northwest, it is good to make going out in the rain a fun event.

Mastering crate-training will help facilitate your housebreaking efforts. When using the crate, your puppy will learn to wait to go potty outside. This is where using an appropriately-sized crate becomes important to achieving success. The kennel should be slightly larger than the puppy. That way, they cannot set up a bathroom area. Make every effort not to feel bad about using the crate, or the size of the crate. We could write a chapter on this one topic, but just trust us. The right-sized crate is going to be what is best for the Weimaraner puppy. Using the crate when you cannot have your eye on your puppy is smart. Then, the habit of eliminating inside the house doesn’t begin. Once the puppy discovers they can eliminate inside, this can become a battle of the wills. This, like many other unwanted behaviors, is best avoided. Freedom is earned. Don’t feel bad about these steps. The crate is not doggy jail, and accidents usually happen because of human error.

Some people  hang a bell on the doorknob (that they ring) when they take the puppy outside to potty. Many people find this method a good approach. Soon the pup may run for the door and ring the bell to ask to go out. Eventually, the bell may need to go away because some Weimaraners will manipulate you using the bell-system. Early-on it can be a grand approach to getting the housebreaking accomplished.

Whatever you do–keep your approach simple. Over-thinking, and getting elaborate may confuse your puppy. Clear, concise, consistent actions will facilitate your efforts. Getting off to a good start is very important. We believe (and many of our clients will attest to this fact), that we have our OwyheeStar puppies set up for the initial housebreaking. Even if you were to get a bit older puppy, and housebreaking (and crate-training) had been mastered prior to their arrival, you will still need to approach the process as if they are a puppy. This is about learning the ropes, establishing a pattern, and your relationship. These are the first steps in gaining compliance, and earning your pup’s respect.

Blue Vs. Silver or Gray

I know I originally said I wanted either a Silver or gray Weimaraner. However, we both know it came down to two choices–1. Me changing to a silver gray female. 2. Me accepting a blue male.I must say, I wouldn’t trade my blue for any silver. I am an absolute convert.

Getting off to a good Start

Crate training is going well, he still whines a little at times but is getting much more stable. I have started nightly 10 minute obedience sessions. I’ve started with commands “here” and “sit”. What should the timeline be with these. And what should I work into our sessions next. I think he is going to he a great bird dog.

It continues to go well…

(September 25, 2013) Hey there Shela and Cliff. I am happy to report that Geist is doing wonderfully. We are working on leash manners, going on short walks throughout the day. He is getting used to the crate, a little whining still but he’s getting way better. He has mastered “Sit”, and “Here”, and can do “down” when he really thinks hard. He is just a pleasure to have around.

Another day — we are having fun together….

(September 26, 2013) Like you recommended, I have been making our obedience sessions 10 minutes in the evening before dinner, so he is food motivated. It seems like a good time amount of time so he doesn’t get discouraged. Lots of treats, and
praise. At the same time, I am slowing down the reward process for certain things once they are learned. Sit is getting less an less rewarded, and should be combined with other behaviors to get a frequent reward.

Do you guys have any tips and tricks for starting them walking on leash. I feel like that is a next step to work on. I have read a lot about correcting and improving leash behavior, but not about getting them to walk with the leash to begin with. He definitely spend the day a little testily, I’m not giving him an inch until its earned, but I can sense that he is trying to find the loopholes in my behavior. Such a smart little guy, but otherwise it wouldn’t be as fun.

Cliff’s CommentLeash training is important. It will be an area you will find yourself challenged even once mastered. This is so important to master. Honestly, there is no shortcut, or tip that will prevent them from wanting to walk-ahead, pull on the lead, or not to heel. Of all the devices, and methods I have used, the Don Sullivan collar (when used correctly) works the best for getting compliance. If you want to learn more about this system, or to order it, please click here! When you use this correctly, compliance can be achieved in a quick manner. Other than using the right methods, the most important component of training is the human-element. Your connection, and your demeanor is going to make all the difference. We harp on the importance of crate-training and mastering leash compliance. There are very good reasons we continue to bring up these two topics. They are a cornerstone to on-going success. Almost without exception, failure to achieve success in these two areas will result in challenges (best avoided) down the road. 🙂

Skye has a busy first week

I am Skye!

Jean and Skye on shoulderJuly 27- August 2, 2013

Going Home- My First Week.

I took my first car ride to meet my new mom (Jean) & her friend on Saturday. Cliff & I met them in a big parking lot in Pendleton, Oregon.

IMG_2290Intro to camping

On the way home, I got to go on my first camping trip, because Jean didn’t want me to have to be in the car all day. It was really fun sleeping in a tent- and I slept really good, except Jean says I groan a lot when I sleep.

998856_10151456703762574_312659417_nMe at Palouse Falls

The next day Sunday, I got to see Palouse Falls. If this is a taste of my new life- I love it! We get to do all kinds of cool stuff! Jean carries me everywhere because she says I’m too little, and doesn’t want me to get dog germs.

Meet the Family…

IMG_2319Monday I got to meet my new family. Whoa! What a mix! Donkeys & sheep & horses & chickens & dogs, oh my! So even staying home is fun and busy too. IMG_2334I’m learning to really like my crate. I eat all my meals in it, and take all my daytime naps in it. I have a special bone in there! I slept quite well in my crate at night. I didn’t even have to go out until 5am and then I went right back to sleep until 8am!

I garner a lot of attention…

Tuesday I got to go meet the tellers at the bank. They all think I’m so cute and they all want to take me home- but I’m stickin’ with Jean!! Jean takes me out to potty right after I eat, and every couple of hours. I’m already learning what “get busy” means, and I’ve been accident free! I slept all night in my crate- made it until 6:30am, went potty outside, and right back to sleep until 8:30, yay!!

Aunt Kassie Rocks…

On Wednesday I got to go for another car ride to town, with my aunt Kassie. She’s a big golden retriever mix. We were helping Jean with one of her dog training clients- an Irish Wolf Hound- all I can say is he’s HUGE! I stayed in my crate and watched. Wednesday night I slept all night! I woke up at 7:30 am and then we were ready for the day.

It seems I have a job as Jean’s assistant

On Thursday I went with Jean to her physical therapy appt. because they all had been waiting to meet me. Tyler the doctor, has a really cool dog who Jean also trains. Her name is Stella, and she is huge too!!! She really likes me and Jean said we can play sometime soon. My night crate time is really good- I’ve decided I can just sleep through the night. I don’t have to get up to go out. Jean is so happy!

I travel well…

Friday is yard sale day. I did a lot of car crate time, and met lots of really nice people. I’m learning to just go to sleep when the car is moving. It makes the time go by so quick! Jean also clipped my nails while I was asleep- that didn’t bother me at all! I go in my crate by myself now when I get sleepy and want to take a nap. I’m so glad Jean decided to crate train me!

No this is not my travel mode, but it is pedicure mode....

No this is not my travel mode, but it is pedicure mode….

So that’s my first week at my new home. So far, so good. I’m a pretty happy girl!!

Incorporating an older Weimaraner into the household

When you bring home a Weimaraner that has been part of another family, there are many things to consider. It doesn’t matter whether they have been in a rescue situation, a normal family situation, or with a foster family–they will need housebreaking during the adjustment phase. Much like a puppy, they must learn your routine, and how to find the appropriate potty area. They need to earn your trust, and their freedom.

If you stick with the process, the transition often occurs fairly quick. Housebreaking is not the only issue. New relationships require a delicate touch. Socialization needs to begin afresh, and the process should be taken very slowly. There is a balance between getting them settled and feeling safe in the home, and helping them discover new people and other critters. Pushing the envelope too quickly, can prove counterproductive.

Any change in venue or family structure is a high-stress situation for the Weimaraner. This level of stress may trigger an illness, and it may well require veterinary care and medication. In an essence, stress can trigger a small underlying issue causing it to surface. Usually, these are minor issues. While medical care might become necessary, a general exam would be advisable. The exam should include a fecal or stool sample screen. This can help determine if the Weim needs wormed! If possible, it is best to hold off on vaccinations until the transition is complete.

High-stress situations require a person use extra care. Some Weimaraners may need medication, to help them make the transition. This should be short-lived, and necessary for only a few months at the most. The Weimaraner is all about the relationship. They like to feel secure within their family and the household they know. When anything changes, it can create a stress-point.

If you already have a dog, or dogs within the family, it is never a good idea to come home with a new dog. Meeting at a neutral location, and going home together seems to work well. There is always the tendency to lavish tons of attention on the newest member. This is never truer than when you bring home a puppy. We caution you to keep your attention and routine normal, and then you can slowly move towards a change in routine. In this way, you avoid some of the jealousy and rivalry that could rear its ugly head.

For many, the older dog is a better solution than a puppy. Nonetheless, many seek the young dog (six months to a year) in hope of bringing home a more trouble-free, and trained pup. The problem is that the transition and change to a new environment, normally will undo most of the previous training. If you can deal with the situation patiently, the older Weimaraner can be just as rewarding as bringing home the puppy.

Here are some pointers (many of which will also work for a new puppy)….

1. Do not come to the situation with preconceived ideas, or only your own agenda. To get where you would like to be will take as long as it takes. The outcome might be different than expected.

2. Take baby steps. Change is difficult for the concrete-thinking Weimaraner. A rushed agenda or wrong turn will create unnecessary problems.

3. Rely on the crate when you cannot watch them. Make it the Weim’s safe place. When you cannot have your eye on them, they must be in the crate.

4. Do not change their diet. Diet changes cause added stress which in turn often results is severe diarrhea. Any stress, gives an opportunity for bacteria, viruses, worms, and other parasites to take hold and multiply.

5. Do not vaccinate or use unnecessary medications. There are very few times when medication for a stress-related situation is called for, but this is one. Some people have been able to ease the transition-stress by using canine Prozac. This requires blood work to ensure the liver enzymes are within the normal range. We suggest that should this be the option you choose to make the medication short-lived.

6. Make it about the relationship, more than about getting through the transition. Keep it fun, this helps build the relationship.

7. Keep any command or expectation clear, concise, and consistent. Don’t change your way of doing things and the Weimaraner will soon capture the idea. If you frustrate, overwhelm, or confuse them, the inclusion process will not go as well.

Final thought, every year all too many Weims find themselves at the shelter or worse. For those contemplating the Weimaraner puppy, we urge you to know you will be able to stick with the process. We also understand life is filled with the unexpected: death, illness, and financial loss to mention a few.

No matter what your choice is (puppy or older Weimaraner) repeat after us! I will keep it fun! I will keep things simple, and not overwhelm them! I know it will take as long as it takes to get wherever we travel. I understand that sometimes you hit a roadblock. I am willing to make the entire journey no matter how many detours happen along the route.

#1 Mistake New Puppy Owners Make

The first challenge you face when bringing home the Weimaraner puppy is housebreaking. Getting this done right is never more important than with the Weim. File away in the back of your brain, the fact that the Weimaraner is concrete-thinking. If they get the idea that their potty area is inside, it is going to be very difficult to change their mind. In fact, you may find yourself embroiled in a lifetime battle. Although it may seem the pup is not smart, nothing could be farther from the truth. The Weimaraner has worked their first manipulation.

The puppy factor vs. accomplishing housebreaking!

So, how does the new owner balance the puppy-factor with getting the task done? This can be challenging.  Early-on the vast majority of accidents will occur because of owner failure. Yes, we said it! Look in the mirror, you are to blame for the housebreaking failure. You might be surprised that many people take home one of our Weimaraner pups and have the housebreaking nearly accomplished in two weeks. How do they accomplish this daunting task, and so quickly? Here is our formula for success!

  1. Remain calm, consistent, and clear about the expectation.
  2. Stay single-focused. Don’t worry about sit, come, stay, fetch, and other commands while on a potty break.
  3. Make sure housebreaking happens outside!  Fair weather conditions are nice, but during the life of the Weim, they are going to have to go out in bad weather too! Never set up an inside potty-area or implement the use of pee-pee pads. You are sending the message that to go potty inside the house is acceptable. 
  4. Don’t set a timeline for having the housebreaking done. It takes how ever long it takes. Setting a goal might seem like a good idea, but often leads to frustration. Frustration takes you down a path that is counterproductive. Follow pointers 1, 2, and 3 and let things take their course.
  5. Make sure you are upbeat and having fun. If it is raining, don’t cringe but embrace the opportunity to go out in the rain. Freezing from a north wind, and the chill-factor is a killer, brush it off. Sorry, but if you are not having fun, neither will the Weimaraner. If they pick up that you cannot wait to get back inside, they will be looking that direction as well. Once the deed is done, take a moment to play. At the end of the play time return to their potty-area and give them the opportunity to drop a second deposit before returning to the house. Wait patiently and lavish them with praise each time.

    Jax -- A 10 week old Weimaraner puppy, rings the bell to go potty!

  6. Consider using a bell as part of the housebreaking process! To implement bell-training, you can either purchase bells that hang from the door, or make one like this family. Ring the bell each time you take the puppy to the yard. Very soon, they should be ringing the bell to be let out.
  7. Until housebreaking is accomplished, never give the puppy unsupervised freedom. To do so, is to set them up for failure.
  8. We recommend implementing the use of the crate, when the puppy cannot be supervised.  This means if you need to talk on the phone, cook dinner, or are distracted because of any task. Think of the crate or kennel as a positive thing, as a special place, and a tool that helps the puppy succeed. It is not doggie jail and the Weim that learns to embrace the crate is better for it.  (More to come on crate training in a future blog.)
  9. Never forget the puppy is a puppy, and they are taking their cues from you. When an accident happens, it is more often than not a human-mistake. 
  10. Put your expectations, goals, and the need to look good to your friends on the shelf. This is a journey, and it may take you down many paths. Preconceived ideas are sure to lead to frustration.  Your neighbor’s input may leave you feeling a failure. Everyone wants to share how they were successful, and how smart their dog is compared to yours. Brush this off, and focus on your relationship, and don’t forget to have fun together. 

We sincerely believe if you relax, have fun, focus on the relationship, and follow our ten steps to housebreaking success you will succeed. The vast majority of people who hit a snag do so because they have in their minds and hearts that the puppy will eventually learn. Balance this with the Weimaraner may learn the wrong things and cling to what you taught them was acceptable. 

What is the #1 Mistake New Puppy Owners Make?

The biggest mistake you can make is using pee-pee pads, or setting up any type of indoor potty area. Not long ago we heard from a client who was insisting on using the pee-pee pads because she just replaced all her carpets. Despite her reasoning, we feel it would have been better to have come up with a plan whereby the puppy didn’t have the opportunity to go potty inside the house. Everyone has their personal agenda. Agenda’s aside, ten to fifteen years of having the Weimaraner sneak around the corner to go potty in their favorite inside place is a scary thought. Having to force the Weim out the door when they feel a raindrop is not a good thing. When you arrive home with the puppy, you are entrusted with their future. Much of what they will become, is affected by your approach, your attitude, and your understanding of the Weimaraner.

Jaeger the Weimar Pup

Kristyn with Jaeger

February 2, 2012–

Jaeger is doing so well, we are just in awe of him :).  He is such a sweetheart!! 

He is so loveable and gives alot of kisses, the kids just adore him.  He curls up on the couch and really loves his dog bed and likes to nap in his crate.  And yes, he loves to play!!! … he uses his puppy teeth.. alot:-).

Potty training was going pretty well, but we are having difficulty the past few days…

He was signaling us when he had to go to the bathroom by giving a little whimper or two and then we bring him outside right away.  He would have some accidents peeing on the (hardwood)floor and we were snatching him up right away and carrying  him outside to the potty area.  But with it being so cold outside Jaeger does not want to go outside at all!  And we have had more accidents inside.    

We are trying to bring him outside more often… and we also bought a fleece jacket (to try and help with the cold… and the shivering). And I know we must sound crazy (adding a fleece jacket:) lol … I’m going to blame that one on Mike. Lol. The cold weather is killer, and we don’t want him getting too cold. 

Jaegar enjoys the sofa

We are novices at housebreaking a puppy , and its showing.  But we will keep at it:). Mike and I did read over the housebreaking pointers in the OwyheeStar Puppy blog at one point.  And are using it in the potty training approach…. We try to keep an eye (our problem is its not constant) on Jaeger and scoop him up immediately when he squats ,  and immediately after meals too .. to bring him outside to potty.  We give him LOTS of praise when he goes outside, and ignore him when we goes inside.  We will read over it again and we’ll remember to keep it Fun:).   He definitely has lots of fun around here :).

Breeder’s Note~

Housebreaking can be a challenge. Jaegar will do just fine with this family. The importance of being consistent cannot be overstated. We recommend very limited opportunities be given for freedom until housebreaking is achieved. Many people employ the crate or a soft-side near a work-station, or while they must be distracted. The soft crates do require supervision when used with the Weimaraner.

Whatever the weather, it is important that the pup learns to enjoy going out. Prior to leaving we have them loving the current weather. Those that live in rain need to go out with their pup and have a good time–rain or shine. The same is true for the colder weather issues. A pup that is moving will stay warmer than one that is standing there. A person could go out and get them to chase you are around the yard, to keep warm. The pup will pause and relieve their self along the route whenever they need to do so. Having fun is vitally important, but being consistent, clear, and concise will take you a long way toward success with the Weimaraner puppy.