Category Archives: Puppy Swim
~Propel them through the Water
The Weimaraner is a powerful swimmer once they get going. The trick is getting to take the first step. Their toes are webbed making them better equipped to paddle.
There is no one way to get them to swim; however, we find having a love of the retrieve ingrained goes a long way towards accomplishing this discipline. (Sorry to some of you!) For the non-hunter, many times the retrieve is not viewed as essential. All too many of you allow the Weimaraner to abscond and run around the yard with the toy or the bumper–instead of bringing back to hand. Yes, this is a hoot–although it is just one more Weim antic, this is one we suggest you not allow to take root. The idea of achieving the swim is only one reason in a myriad of why you need to get the rock-solid retrieve. We won’t list those as we are speaking about achieving the Water Retrieve.
You want the Weimaraner coming when called. The Recall is a safety issue and the underpinning of compliance. Two areas where compromise cannot be allowed (in our opinion). Depending on your approach to training there are various ways to get this done–we will forgo the discussion on methodology. Let’s just say get this done! It is going to help you with achieving more than a Water Retrieve.
Cliff suggests you find a place to do this exercise. One location that works well is a hallway. Close all the adjoining doors (so they cannot take off with the bumper of the toy). Make this a special event and stop before they tire–while they are still begging for more. He also suggests you use a dedicated toy or bumper you save for this activity only. Depending on your pup’s attention and skill level keep the number of reps down–at first maybe as few as three. Bear in mind; the idea is to make this celebratory and fun. You want them having the desire. This activity will serve you well on so many levels and enhance your training outcome positively.
Weather Permitting the OwyheeStar puppy will see the water before they depart. You saw the video we shared, if not we included it here. Nevertheless, this is not going to ensure that your pup will swim. It will still require time, effort, and patience to get your Weimaraner to swim–plus a bit of knack. A few suddenly jump in but don’t wait for that to happen. Oh–and if you doubt, the Weimaraner is more than likely going to read your thoughts and agree with you.
You might wonder how to begin. Cliff does it this way–your situation may require you to adapt. Using the reliable retrieve, you work along the edges of a pond. Just play in the water’s edge–a tiny bit on their feet initially. Slowly ease them into the water beyond their comfort zone. It might take a few tries, a few days, or a few weeks. It takes as long as it takes, but if you follow this protocol, you will achieve the goal. Like anything with the concrete thinking Weimaraner, you want to make this part of the early life training. Then it becomes the norm. Oh, and you notice he mentions using the pond. Waves could spook them. You want to avoid that scenario.
Imagine the possibilities!
A Few Final Thoughts
- Weims who balk at the sight of rain or a sprinkler often achieve the swim.
- Don’t go in with the *pre-conceived idea that it cannot be achieved.
- Select the venue to work on this carefully.
- Go in with the idea it takes as long as it takes.
- Make this part of your young pup’s agenda.
- If you *failed to achieve the swim early on, don’t believe it is impossible.
- Some people use a life vest**. The vests are not necessary.
- Often Cliff is teaching a Weimaraner who has not swum since they were a puppy. They might be 2 years old or older. They always learn. Cliff knows it can be achieved. Sometimes it is challenging but, with patience, it always happens.
- Deem this as invaluable to your process. It is a healthy activity that can burn off the excess energy and not take such a toll on the hips and joints. It is good for their cardiovascular as well.
~ We hope this helps someone achieve the swim! ~ Cliff and Shela
*You would be shocked to learn how many folks achieved the swim after they told us it was impossible.
**Life Vests–just a note here that Cliff never uses one. The only vest he might use is a Neoprene one if he were to swim them in inclement weather–like for Duck Hunting. Some of you need this for peace of mind. It might help the Weimaraner take their first few steps, but again–it is not necessary. A lot of clients who live in cold water regions cannot keep their Weims out of the water. This scenario is true even in the winter.
The First Swim
I posted this video on Facebook yesterday. I never gave it much thought, but it deserves an explanation. There are six puppies; four are Longhairs. Of the six, five have the natural European-style tail–full length. This tail length is typical around the world for the Longhairs–and it is the Breed Standard. You may have noticed that the one Blue Ghost puppy has a full-length tail too. It was by request.
The traditional undocked puppy requires advance notice. We have a very specific protocol for this situation. I will forego the details here, other than to say we require a larger deposit for the obvious reasons. The number of inquiries regarding the undocked tail continues to increase each year.
Introducing Something New
The pups had never seen more than their water dish. Cliff set them in the water as gentle as possible. They all swam. The Weimaraner has webbed toes, and it should be noted that they are often excellent swimmers. When introducing them to water, it is important to be sure they don’t get spooked. Cliff uses lots of patience when he is working an older pup or an adult into the water. Obviously, you cannot carry them out into the water and then set them gently as Cliff did with the pups.
It is important not to spook them. The best technique is to engrain the love of the retrieve from and early age. This obsession with the retrieve works in your favor to get them into the water. A pond with sloping sides is ideal. First, get them retrieving along the water’s edge. Gradually you will ease them out where they must go beyond the bottom. This process could take a couple of days or weeks. With patience, any Weimaraner can learn to swim.
Here is Stackhouse
~ another Longhair
Keep In Mind
All Weimaraners have the potential to take to the water. It takes a bit of knack and patience. Our puppy imprinting does guarantee success–nor does it hurt the process. The retrieving and water-work sometimes get cast to the side during the flurry of early adjustment. There are so many things pulling at the process it is easy to forget a few. Socialization (a lot of touches in a safe way), exposure to noise, ingraining the love of the retrieve (not playing keep away) as well as engaging the pup with water are equally important. Balancing everything you are trying to accomplish–the basics we keep talking about and a lot more while doing it in the right manner is not a small task. It is important to spook them and create a fear of people, places, or situations. Some pups are more sensitive to stimuli, and others let it roll off their back. Approach the process with caution staying optimistic and upbeat. Small steps to success will get you results. Preconceived ideas should be shelved. See what you can become together.
~First a Question!
Just wondering if you know of any websites that would be posting stuff about local Kennel Cough outbreaks?? Roy has had all his pup shots and is scheduled to get his kennel cough nasal drips at 16 weeks and will be getting his rabies around 22 weeks.
Hello, Megan! No, I don’t know of any online resource that posts pet viral outbreaks. I think mostly, dog professionals stay up on this — Vet offices, Dog Trainers, Boarding Facilities, and those associated with the task of Dog Park Management. Maybe if there is such a thing in and around the Pacific NW someone will leave a comment.
We feel you are doing the shots the way they should be done for the Weimaraner. If you are going to be out and about, getting the kennel cough protection is wise. Since it is not a long-lived protection and the problem seems to rise in the late fall to winter time frame, getting one later in the year seems to be a wise choice. We are happy to see Roy is doing well. Thank you so much for taking good care of him.
He’s doing great, we learned to “shake” this week. He is eager to please 😉 (more like get a biscuit!)
The Social Butterfly
We went on a road trip through Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. We’re actually just heading home. Roy is a social butterfly, in fact, he actually seems really offended if someone walks by and doesn’t acknowledge him. So funny the compliments we get one lady said he was “… Kinda of an iridescent color if you will”
He is my little shadow, I never go anywhere and don’t feel his eyes on me. Nick is jealous!
Ready for adventure!
~Wyoming mornings are cold!
Here he is in Idaho at Anderson ranch reservoir. I didn’t get a picture with him wearing his yellow life jacket. Turns out he loves swimming, just not in the pool at home!
He loves the Water!
We have taken him on another adventure since the three state roundabout. Above Roy is pictured with me. It was a lot warmer on the Pontoon Boat in Portland.
~ Swimming the MacKenzie River
With the novelty of sprinklers wearing off, Porsche decided to take on
the MacKenzie River. It took 3 or 4 lessons before she would swim
across. The river is low, so for 40 feet of width only about 10 feet
required swimming, and I could walk all the way across to an island.
Please note life jacket found at St. Vincent de Paul for $2.00 is a
great teaching aid and confidence builder for swimming. Of course,
everyone should wear one on the river. When I slipped and fell into the
water, I was glad to have my life jacket, and Porsche immediately came
to my rescue. She steadies me when I go up and down the river bank. I
think she is figuring out her role in my life.
The New Cooling Pad
Here is Porsche’s new cooling pad. My daughter gave it to
her. Porsche seeks it out when it is hot. For us, 90 degrees is hot,
and it’s been a bit hotter than that.
I hope you enjoy this news of Porsche and her life
Click Here to read about Porsche and the sprinklers!
At Wallowa Lake
This afternoon (August 9th), I took Benson with me in my kayak at Lake Wallowa. He sat still for most of the way, even fell asleep for a bit. Thanks for exposing him to water, I don’t think he was scared of the water.
He sleeps in his kennel at night and walks on the lead with ease. He is lovable and wants to please; however, at certain times, he ignores me and does his own thing. He starts puppy class next week. Thanks for him.
You are doing great! Keep up your efforts. For sure keep him water friendly so he can join you on the lake. We look forward to hearing more in the future.
The Puppy Experience
Do you believe that a swimming pup is imprinted with the ability to know they can swim? Some young pups swim but soon develop an affinity for the water. Nevertheless, every year the percentage of swimming OwyheeStars rises. We believe the imprint makes a difference. We think that the belief that the swim can be achieved is also is a huge contributor. Some pups are clearly more natural in the water than others. The web-toed Weimaraner should have no difficulty in learning to swim when given time and the opportunity to take to the water.
(July 9th) My little water dogs made their way out to the pool for a little Saturday afternoon swim sesh. To say they LOVE the pool would be an understatement, but I’m still not sure who loves it more; me being able to splash and swim along side them or them as they race to get to their favorite water you.
(July 15) Summer Friday’s have officially turned into Swimming Friday’s for the fluffies!! Apparently, the pool gives my Weims snoozy eyes.
We were at a different pool today, G (Goldee) didn’t like it as much. I am positive I swam way more than her! Mav (Maverick) liked it, but the entry ramp is at about 1/4 way into the pool, so he didn’t get as much swimming in either. We will be heading back to the big pool for open swim on Sunday.
There is nothing better for the Weimaraner than the right kind of exercise. They are difficult to wear out as we all know, and swimming can exhaust them without the typical wear and tear on the joints. For the long distance runner, this activity can set up their companion without undue stress–never truer than before the growth plates close.
Ears are another breed issue. Damp ears can promote ear bacterial growth. A good ear powder after the swim can help thwart the little buggers from taking off like wildfire.
After the Snow
Olli is from OwyheeStar. When we met these folks they already had the Longhair Rudi, and were excited to add a second. Becoming a two Weim family was an adventure. Maybe you remember when they reached detente?!?
Big Into Birds
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)
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!
… yesterday we swam for the first time!
I often bemoan the fact that we don’t have a swimming pool. The pool would be useable year round; nevertheless, the farm pond works well to swim these guys. Above you see Shiny’s first swim. Our foremost goal is to implant the experience on their young spirit. Secondly, we would like them to have a good experience. Finally, we love it when we can get them to swim to the bank.
Returning to the house
…and the after the swim we unload with Deven
The pups are wet and anxious to get back where they feel safe. Not that they hated the swim, but it was out of their comfort zone. With the Weimaraner, we encourage you to keep doing things to expand their comfort zone. The more adaptable they become, the better for all concerned. The change-up idea is a good to visit for any routine. If the Weimaraner’s viewpoint of what should happen becomes set in stone, you may well find yourself hugely challenged to change their mind. For example, feeding routine, bedtime, the time you come home or leave, and the placement of their food dish. These are only a few of the things that can become concrete in the Weim’s way of thinking. It is ideal to get them to realize that change is good because we all know it (change) does come even when we resist it.