Category Archives: The Weimaraner
Now that spring seems to finally be here Loki and I are having all sorts of adventures. For the last month or so I’ve been working on introducing Loki to water. First, it was getting his toes wet, then the ankles, and so on. I’ve attached a video from this evening— we headed out to the lake after work. Needless to say, we’ve come a little ways from not getting our paws wet. You may notice the cord on the bumper— sometimes Loki needs to remember that the game is retrieving, not keep away, but the water work has seemed to really help this. Also great insurance in case he doesn’t go for it, so I don’t have to swim.
Other adventures include hide-and-go-seek at lunchtime on a trail system near my office. It’s a great game for anyone to play to help their pup remember to check in on hikes, but with Loki, in particular, we want to develop the idea that he can use his nose to find people. When we’re out on the trail, I wait until he gets just a little too far ahead of me, and I hide in the bushes next to the trail where I can still see him. He is quick to notice that I’m no longer in sight, so he runs back down the trail. He usually goes past me until he hits my scent (in the air), and then he usually works the scent cone back towards me. When he finds me, we enthusiastically play with his favorite toy.Another new thing is teaching Loki to pull me on my longboard. I keep it short and easy so as to not stress his joints, but it’s a great way to practice verbal directive commands. And to take the edge off the wiggles!Loki is also turning into quite a camping dog. Last week was his first tent camping adventure in Glacier National Park over Memorial Day weekend.The two pictures I’m sharing here show our work on the down-stay (he’s not tied in either). You can see the drool starting to come with the cheese! That’s what happens to those who attempt to counter surf. He got no cheese.
As always, we constantly incorporate sit-down-stay-heel-come into our daily routine. The heel is finally taking hold— at least 50% loose-leash on a flat collar, and his off-leash heel is almost better. The red harness he’s wearing in the picture is his working harness and includes a handle to help keep him safe on the chairlift. We are working on associating it with good listening and lots of fun search games.Anyway, I can’t believe he’s 6 months old already! It has gone so fast. ~ Erica
~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.
If Your Weim
~ Doesn’t Swim
Yesterday, we shared what happens during our puppy swim–something we do weather permitting with each litter. Doesn’t this guarantee the Weimaraner will take naturally to the water? No. Nonetheless, it expands their experience, imprints the idea of the water, and gives their family inspiration to keep them swimming.
Not every Weim that swims at OwyheeStar takes to the water. This concrete-thinking breed can get a notion that they don’t want to do that. They can get spooked–that is never a good thing. If that happens, don’t make the mistake of ingraining the fear by babying them. Stay matter of fact and move forward as if everything is just fine–because it is.
The extremes our OwyheeStar folks to achieve the Swim is impressive. The benefits are too many to list here. You know–it is a great way to get a lot of exercise without damaging the young Weim’s joints. It is a fabulous way to expend a lot of energy–speaking of the water retrieve. (Once the Weimaraner embraces that activity), then you have a lifetime of tossing the ball for the retrieve. We used to use a rocket launcher to toss the bumper way out in the reservoir. Cliff’s arm could only make so many throws–this solved that solution. Even then, we stopped sending before the Weims were ready. They would swim for the bumper until they could no longer go if allowed.
If you are looking for Inspiration, look no further.
- Skeeter Valentine
- Earlier Skeeter Water work
- Emma’s Swim
- Tomorrow — I want to post the pool/pond built for our Client’s Two Weims. Watch for that!
- Trigger — a Versatile Hunter who Water Retrieves
- Charlie Mae and Murphy
It is Lizards
Did you know the Weimaraner is a Watch Dog? Of course, you did. All that nose art on your window didn’t come from the goldfish. (Haha)
In the Northwest, it is the squirrels who taunt the Weim window watchers. Or maybe it is a feral cat that walks the fence gingerly out of reach. Bunnies and other scurriers are also fair game–sometimes the watching crew gets after the watched. The chase is on if caught it might not end well.
In the southwest, the lizards taunt the Weimaraner. It doesn’t take much to get their attention–sparrows, blackbirds, robins, butterflies, and sometimes bugs. Some Weims are more attuned to their duty of watching the premises than others. Nothing gets by these two.
Whiner or Weimar
~It kind of Goes Together
Recently, a friend who will remain anonymous sent we a list of reasons someone dropped a Weimaraner off at a shelter. It didn’t happen in America, but people are people worldwide, I think. This is not a joke. Here are the reasons for which he was being released.
- He wakes up his masters at 7 in the morning moaning ‘ cause he wants to go out while their other dog never gets out before 9
- The Weim sits moaning while they prepare his bowl while the other dog is silent
- Also, he moans very loudly when he has to wait in front of the baker to the point that passers-by will return (the abandoned Weimar song! )
- He also is moaning (loudly expresses his joy) when we put his leash to get out (I understand that the walk in the neighborhood was the only walk to get off)
- He pulls too much — while madame has tendinitis
- In every way, he moans too often and it doesn’t go well with Monsieur who has high blood pressure.
No reputable breeder wants a pup to end up in rescue. How do we avoid that? We screen applicants. Regardless, things happen. People sometimes say all the right things. As we often share with folks that say they have done their research, “there is no amount of research that will adequately prepare you for what could arise in the process of raising or living with the Weimaraner.” Honestly, this breed either suits you, or it doesn’t. It is demanding of your time and resources. They simply put are not the a-leave-in-the-yard type of dog.
Troy and Macy
~(March 9, 2018)
Here’s a photo of Troy and Macy today!
I just wanted to see how you guys were doing since I haven’t spoken to you for so long. I also wanted to let you know how much we love Troy! When we first got him from the guy in LA in 2009 I was sure it wasn’t going to work. But after keeping to Cliff’s advice of letting him learn from the other two dogs – he melted right in with our home, and into our hearts! Just wanted to touch base with you. God bless!
It is nice to hear from longtime OwyheeStar Weimlovers! Brad has been a faithful fan for more years than we can remember. Troy was his third OwyheeStar. He took the risk to pick him up when things went sideways with his original family. Typically, we don’t do that kind of thing–ask for help. Nonetheless, everyone needs a bit of help from time to time. This rehome situation seemed like something that might be a win-win situation. We are so happy to hear our assessment was accurate. It is outstanding to get this photo and to learn they are doing well. Thank you!
~Or What’s a Girl To Do?
You might remember reading about Skye and Haze a few days ago–Part One of the Three Part Series. Then Part Two featured Skye. Here is the final segment featuring the lovely Haze. It is good news that there are not two dominant (run-the-show) girls.
About Nancy’s Haze
~ Part Three
Haze is very submissive and larger. She weighs about 70 pounds. Hazey loves to hunt… her instincts are incredible. She will track the smallest feather on the ground. She stalks and catches birds… woodpeckers on our decks, turkeys in the yard. It’s too bad we aren’t people that hunt with dogs!!
Haze competes in Rally as well and also is working on completing her Excellent title by this summer.
We keep the girls in weekly classes at our dog training club to keep them socialized, and to give them something for their minds to work on. We are delighted with our pups and can’t imagine life without them! Blessings to you! ~ Jean & Nancy
How Important is it to achieve the recall? The retrieve. The Fetch. Combined with the essential rock-solid recall it is a thing of beauty. Exercise is easy and fun–for both you and the Weimaraner. The Fetch-addicted Weimar can be eased into the water retrieve. The benefits are nearly endless.
When should you begin? There is no time like the present. The earlier you achieve the recall and have the pup retrieving–the better.