Category Archives: The Weimaraner
~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.
~ About the Longhair Geneotype
There are 3 possible genotypes:
· Clear FGF5:c284G>T -/-; (those having 2 copies of the normal allele)
· Carrier FGF5:c284G>T +/-; (those having 1 copy of the normal allele and 1 copy of the long-hair mutation)
· Affected “Fluffy” FGF5:c284G>T +/+; (those having 2 copies of the long-hair mutation)
My understanding is there is typically two copies of the allele, and if both are normal, then the Weimaraner would have the traditional smooth coat. If there is one copy of the normal and one copy of the longhair mutation (as they call it), then that Weimaraner is a carrier. They look like a traditional smooth coat. Some of these carriers will have a bit of wave to their coat, and some will have a plusher coat. If both copies are the longhair mutation, then you have a longhair.
Okay – when we first learned about this we felt that if you mated a Longhair with a Carrier you would get 50% Carriers and 50% Longhairs. Whew—we soon learned that this must be an average,–because we mated a Carrier to a Longhair and we got 8 pups – 2 were Longhairs. The next year we repeated the same mating expecting only a couple of Longhairs to be born, and this time we got 8 pups—6 were Longhairs. So, we became acutely aware that it didn’t work exactly like we interpreted this chart.
Whenever we have a mixed litter, we take the DNA sample ASAP and send off the samples as quickly as possible. The other choice would be to be the home of the undocked tail. Haha Then, there would be no concern as to whether they were Longhairs or not. I do believe the world is moving toward a stand against docking, but the American Weimaraner Breed Standard is for the docked tail on the traditional Weimaraner. There is no American Standard for the Longhair per se—but worldwide the Longhair sports the full tail.
Some breeders feel that they can accurately guess which pups are Longhairs—we don’t feel all that confident. We have guessed nearly every time we had them born and then sent off for the DNA test. We are never 100% accurate. I cannot say why that is for sure. We have tried taking close up photos and looking at the hair on their ears and between their toes if the hair is smoother on the face and forehead that is an indication that you have a Longhair, too!
People are discovering the Longhair—I cannot say for sure why, but a lot of folks are equally addicted to them. Several of our clients have both, and some have converted to the Longhair. Click here to learn more about Coat Length (or the fluffy coat) test.
~The Much Loved Duke
Friday, April 5th –It is with a heavy broken heart I wanted to let you know we lost Duke (Dusty x Gracie) last night. I knew this day would come but are we ever ready to lose part of our heart and soul?? Foster came home from school to bloody urine and diarrhea. Duke has turned 13 January 2nd and I couldn’t see him suffer. I had a vet come to the house so he could die peacefully on his couch.
It has been a rough couple of days. The news of Duke’s passing came less than twenty-four hours before Dusty’s departure. We appreciate how much he was loved. Thank you, for the beautiful life your family gave him.
We are saddened to report that our beloved Dusty has departed his earthy domain, and joined the great group of Weimaraners awaiting his arrival at Heaven’s Door. We really cannot say more, but please remember him as captured in the lovely photo.
~Titer Test @ 16 Weeks
You might remember that Dr. John Calhoun’s Idaho Veterinary Hospital (IVH) agreed to start offering the VacciCheck Titer Testing. OwyheeStar’s Henri was the first to be tested using this system–and the fabulous Rebecca A Balls (Certified Veterinary Technician) handled all the laboratory details. We cannot thank IVH and their competent staff for their professionalism and making this possible.
The results are returned a little different than with the traditional titer test–but by all reports it is reliable. Henri’s results showed her having protective antibodies sufficient enough to provide immunity to
CDV — Canine Distemper Virus
ICH — Infectious Canine Hepatitis–Adenovirus
CPV — Canine Parvo Virus
This less expensive titer test is relatively new so most Veterinary practices may not yet offer this option. Please click here to read about the titer test, and ask your Vet if they can make this available to you–it is affordable, accurate, and helps you avoid vaccine reactions that are common in our breed.
~ Sounds Like
I often wonder how we do it. You know–raise a puppy. We bring the little bundle home and hover over them. It is essential to do the hovering thing–otherwise, how can you accomplish the housebreaking, etc.? But this obsession with our new fur baby runs deep–some of this never goes away.
Their every sound–a rattling, a snore, a hacking sound is cause for alarm. We watch breath-abated wondering if we need to run to the Vet. Ah–it is hard to know sometimes. We always suggest you wait and watch a bit–possibly take their temperature. Remember that a pet’s temperature is much higher than ours–typically around 101 degrees. Anything above 104 degrees is emergent. Of course, if you were monitoring their temperature and it was 102 degrees and then within an hour 103 degrees, there might be cause for alarm. Always err on the side of caution–but rushing to the Vet for everything is probably not necessary. In fact, your alarm will be internalized by the puppy increasing the stress-factor. Try to stay calm.
A lot–and I do mean a lot, of our concerns, are for nothing. Puppies can cough, they snort, the sneeze, they can reverse sneeze (something we recently learned), they choke, and create a myriad of noises. Many of which are concerning. Most of which are in the end nothing at all. Thank goodness.
Keep your eye on them. A pup can ingest something in quick order–so despite saying not to overreact, there is vigilance. Recently, Henri went under my recliner and came out with a packet –that must have been attached underneath the chair. We didn’t realize it was there, but Henri found two–probably toxic packets. Oh my gosh–it is good we heard the crackling sound and asked what she had. We retrieved each package and tossed them in the trash. Thankfully they were not broken open.
~ We Do What we are able
Cliff and I get a lot of Email inquiries–most are from folks hoping we have a puppy that can make their dream come true. Others are from folks like Dale–seeking advice and making commentary on our blog. We cannot always offer the level of advice some need or expect. Recommendations are hard to give when we are not in the loop and time is limited; however, we do what we are able to do. In this situation, we shared the food we have used and some information about the Weimaraner and heart issues. We have not seen many cases –so relax. Nevertheless, there are plenty of things that can go wrong when it comes to health. We always recommend being as Holistic in your approach as possible. I have posted Dale’s note (with his permission)–maybe some of you can identify with Dale. We all can agree that the loss of our beloved Weimaraner is something inexplicable. There are no words to adequately describe our relationship and the hole they leave behind. It is best to focus on what they brought to our life–to count every day allotted a blessing.
Hello Shela, Your Owyheestar blog is the first email I open EVERY day. And re-read. And forward to friends and family. I know it’s a lot of work keeping up with the blog, but know that you do a great job, and all these Weimaraner pix and stories warm a lot of hearts. Although we adopted Duke, our Weim, at 1, we did not get him from you. Though we will next time. But this question is important to you and all your Weim lovers. I stumbled upon your website a few months after we lost our beloved Weimaraner, Duke (below) at age 10. He was a bullet running, swimming, hiking, playing until two weeks before he died of asymptomatic congestive heart failure and cardiomyopathy. It’s been almost 8 months and I still can’t believe he’s gone. Such a personality. I’d like to discuss your food recommendations. I purchased what I researched as the best foods, mixing up flavors every month. The brands were Origen, Acana and Zignature. Mainly Acana. They all had high protein levels (28%), and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. No grain. He received 5 cups of food a day, mostly chicken, beef and fish, until shortly before he died. One month after Duke died, research came out from Joshua Stern, UC Davis, that certain foods that were high in legumes, were linked to heart disease in several breeds that lack a genetic history of the ailment. (Canine diluted cardiomyopathy CDM) Apparently these expensive boutique foods had a taurine deficiency. Meats have plenty of taurine, but legumes do not. So the red flag is legumes listed in the first six ingredients of the food. Also, chicken and beef are high in taurine, while many exotic meats such as lamb, rabbit and others, and legumes have little or none. Research is ongoing, and I know that CDM happens in these big-hearted dogs like Weims, pointers, etc. I don’t know if the food caused or contributed to Duke’s premature death, but given his excellent health, it is a possibility. But have you heard anything? And what foods do you recommend? Also, we’re wondering about getting another Weim at our age. I’m 66, my husband is 68, and we’re not sure we can keep up and do justice to another Weim. Any thoughts on this? Thank you for all you do, Dale
Note: This is a repost of an article we have shared several times. Our pups are ready to acclimate to their new environment upon arrival. We recommend not over-thinking at the early stages.
- Be committed — Commitment to the process is primary. Training your pup will take time. Think of this as a journey (a road trip) with a destination in mind. Don’t set timelines; instead, take this adventure together. It will take as long as it takes for each achievement. Sometimes just when you think, you have arrived; your Weimaraner will hit a snag or transitional phase. There are many of these stages in the first couple of years. As with an adolescent, they can be going along well and suddenly regress. Please take this in stride it is nothing personal. The first occurrence could well be prior to week twelve. Stay calm and move ahead–this is how to avoid ingraining fear or some unwanted behavior.
- Keep your eye on the young puppy at all times—This is vitally important for at least the first 2-3 weeks, or until you have the housebreaking part accomplished. Use a crate, bag, or soft-side crate to confine the pup when you cannot be vigilant. The crate should not be too large. If it is more than they need they may select one end for a potty area.
- Be consistent–Do everything in the same manner! For example, the pup wakes up and stirs. At first, you would pick them up and carry them out to the area where you want them to go potty. Each time you see them circling or rousing from a nap go to the potty-area. If you use the bells hung at the door, then ring them as you go out the door. Soon they will be ringing the bells as a signal for you to open the door.
- Keep it simple — Although your pup can learn amazing things, it is best to do a few simple things and build upon those experiences. The process will unfold naturally if you allow it to do so; start with getting them to come. Although they all follow and come to us, it is different once they start to mature. Do the hallway exercise (5-7 retrieves each night). By using a hallway (with adjoining doors closed) there is nowhere for them to escape with the toy, ball, or dummy. Some people treat them when they bring the item to their hand. It is not necessary. The activity is a reward in and of itself. Have a couple of bumpers or toys (designated for this activity). Make it an event every day until you move to the yard because you have compliance.
- Keep it fun — Weimaraners are brilliant and learn quickly. A trainer might tell you to work for an hour and even a half hour doing one exercise every night, but we suggest ten minutes. Do it for ten minutes and then do something fun. This approach works for us! If your Weim pup loses interest, you lose ground in the training process.
- Remember it is about your relationship — No matter what you are doing it is important to remember that Weims are all about relationship. If they get their feelings hurt, things can go sour quickly. Your bonding experience is vital to the success of this relationship. Take time to think and see things from their perspective. You are the center of their world. They not only want to control you, but they want to own you. Weimaraners are the ultimate Velcro dog and must learn how to stay alone. Your relationship is a double-edged sword. They need a lot of time, attention, and affection. They also need to find ways to cope when you are absent. We recommend starting this process very early, or they will come to expect you will be there 24 X 7. Separation anxiety can be a huge issue in this breed.
- Be patient — When you go out to teach your pup a skill, make sure it is a learn-able task. Plan enough time to accomplish the task–but keep your training focused to ten to twenty minutes maximum. The short bursts of success are more effective than lengthy sessions. Your attitude and demeanor play into the equation too! If you are feeling stressed, forego training your Weimaraner. There are many methods of training. Nevertheless, choose one that enhances your bonding experience and one that creates a respectful environment for all concerned.
The best Weimaraner people are those that are natural leaders. Anytime you feel your relationship is stressed then you are going down the wrong road. The persons that are neither too strict nor too lenient are usually, the ones that excel. Regardless of what happens, it is always best to pro-active than to be reactive. Stay calm. Keep it simple. Get results. Plan little steps of learning and build upon them. Try our 7 steps to Success, and we believe you will be on the right path.
Wishing you fewer puppy bites and more puppy kisses
~ Shela and Cliff
~Naughty Maizie, Or Not!
You wouldn’t believe that this little beauty, MAIZIE, age 6.5, has a penchant for paper!
You can file this in a chapter of “Weim Crimes!” Yesterday, we left the house for an hour. Maizie stayed home. Usually always on our return home, she happily greets us—smiling, chattering, nibbling, wiggling with glee. Yesterday she did not greet us. Uh oh. (She doesn’t greet us if she’s been naughty). I found her laying in her living room sofa bed—ears back and shivering! Uh oh. Major telltale guilt! We did a search of the house to find the “evidence” and came up with nothing! We assumed then that she was just “thinking” about doing something naughty—reason for her guilty behavior. That was, UNTIL…..
…..I went to make dinner! Before we left home, I had printed a new recipe, Martha Stewart’s “Bacon-Mushroom-Leek Galette.” It printed out on 3 pages. I had left it on the dining room table. It was nowhere to be found!
BUSTED! She didn’t leave a trace! I had to reprint it to make dinner! This is why we close our office door when we leave the house, can’t leave mail on the table, or leave a package in sight! This girl’s got a penchant for paper!
We cannot believe how smart this girl is, and as I replied–this is not her first paper raid you told us about. Old habits die hard. I guess the good news is it is paper—just so she doesn’t take to eating cash or important documents. (OMG)
~What We Don’t Want
The emergency Vet Vist probably tops our list. It is the quickest way to spoil our celebration. Nonetheless, is there a time when our attention is more divided? The snatch and grab Weimaraner could abscond with some spectacular finds. They are everywhere–the counter, the dining table, the plates, and possibly on the floor. One thing you might overlook–the rising bread dough or rolls. Bread Dough Toxicosis can prove life-threatening. Maybe a toddler is waving a turkey leg. Is that an invite? The opportunist Weimaraner will make the most of this food-driven holiday gathering.
The humans at your table–they are a significant threat to the Weimaraner. Who doesn’t want to sneak the pup a treat? But too many sneaks and the gut can become overloaded even with acceptable food. The sensitive Weim might have a bout of pancreatitis from too much fatty food. Then there are the cooked poultry bones–be sure if you throw them out it is where the Weimaraner cannot steal them.
You Might Consider
What if you made a plate for the Weimaraner that everyone could help share? This plating idea might work. Here are some excellent choices.
- Turkey — no bones
- Green beans (plain)
- Squash or Pumpkin (plain)
- Apple slices (without the seeds)
~ to mention a few
- Mashed Potatoes
- Corn on the Cob
- Nuts (pecans and Macadamia)
- Grapes and Raisins
You can bake a Weim cookie or a Weim pie that forgoes the seasonings. Eggs and pumpkin and a tiny bit of milk will bake up nicely. You could make the crust using treats. Possibly make them in a silicone cupcake pan or cupcake papers. We are not saying it cannot be a lot of fun for the Weimar too. However, no one wants the unthinkable to spoil all the fun.
Remember, it is all good and fun until the unthinkable happens!
Here’s to an excellent Thanksgiving Day Celebration for all our Weim-loving Friends!!