Category Archives: Separation Anxiety

Kaboom Talk

Are You Covered?

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Picked Up and on the way home.

Should the unthinkable happen–your Weimaraner gets lost, or runs aways are you covered? If you have an OwyheeStar puppy, they left here with a microchip. While that is all good and well, you need to enroll with the  AKC Reunite and get this chip registered to you. When the beloved “Trigger” got away from the yard through an unlatched gate, his return was imminent due to AKC Reunite. You can use the online form or possibly call them. Click Here to access that form. Your number is found on the OwyheeStar Health Record as well as the AKC Reunite pamphlet.

 

If you have another microchip–no problem, they will register your microchip too! Trigger was Lost, but he made it home again. We are all so very happy his parents had registered with AKC Reunite.

On Blog Last Thursday, we spoke about preparing in advance of the holiday. We hope you find this information useful and that your Weimaraner is sound-proofed before the 4th of July Holiday. If not, then we will discuss other options in a future blog coming soon.

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Trigger on a better day long after his return

 

Where Are You?

A Good Question!

 

Skye Awaiting Jean's Return

I’m watching for you, Mama. Hurry–please!!!

Skye Awaiting Jean's Return-2

Waiting for You!

Jean went away and Skye doesn’t understand why she must be gone. Who does? 

Skye Awaiting Jean's Return-3

Ok–I will be chilling!

 

The Weimaraner

Returns and Rescues

 

 

Luke-3

Luke–he has been here a long time; however, his new family will be picking him up soon!

Kudos to those who diligently work to save the Weimaraner from living situations that might be worse than death. This thought is a sad one, indeed. It is a less often reality because of those who love this breed. A Weimaraner placed on Craig’s List is all too often snatched up and soon cast off again. This cycle can lead to nothing good. Thank you, Rescue workers and individuals who look out for the displaced Weimarer to make sure they do not fall through the cracks. This work often cost you on every level, but you keep at, and the Weimaraner is made safer for your effort. This is no small matter. :O)

 

Recent News

Many of you know that we recently discussed a 4.5-year-old Weimaraner that has a behavior the family cannot abide. He is not able to stay along–even in the crate, he is beyond anxious and acting out. Let us just say that the importance of doing the basics cannot be overstated. We belabor the topics again and again because we want to forego this as a trend. Even the occasional event is upsetting to us who cherish this breed. No, it is not unique to the Weimaraner; however, they may well be more at risk due to certain traits (in this case it is separation anxiety).

 Jan’s Comment

It always makes me so sad when someone talks about getting rid of their adult Weimaraner due to behavior issues. As a 40-year Weimaraner owner and all-breed dog trainer, I can tell you that most severe behavior issues (in any type of dog) could likely have been avoided or solved with the owner doing the right things. Being a kind, calm, confident leader, setting the house rules immediately, tons of fun socialization, and being pro-active in training, are all very important. To avoid or reduce separation anxiety, leave the puppy with trusted people and in trusted places often right from the start, to teach them everything is fine when you are not there- because dogs don’t have the same understanding of time that humans do, leaving a puppy with someone for only ten short minutes and then returning to get them is really helpful; don’t make a big deal out of coming or going, just act nonchalant and calm. We all have training challenges with our puppies and dogs, but it helps to see them as challenges and not problems- dogs are just being dogs, we as humans have the bigger brain and it is OUR responsibility to train them and teach them what is expected of them. LOVE our Weimars! :-) Jan

Breeder Comment

Jan and Willow9562_oJan Magnuson is a Master Animal Control Officer at Des Moines (WA) Police Department and she also has her private dog training classes. Check her out at Sunstar All Breed Dog Training. As you might imagine, she sees a lot of this type of thing. We appreciate the fact that she works diligently to try to intervene and solve issues. She has resources and in addition, she teaches classes. This is an ideal way to get off to a good start. Jan shows her OwyheeStar and together they have earned titles as well as attained the status of Therapy Dog.

The 4.5-year-old Weimaraner will be coming to us soon. Eventually, we will have the assessment and more information after he settles into our routine. Once he is acclimated you find him by clicking here.

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

 

 

Therapy vs Service Dogs

Jan and Willow8461_o

 

I do Therapy Dog visits with my dogs; my dogs are certified and registered through Therapy Dogs International   http://sunstardogtraining.com/recommended-links/  .  Please note that there is a difference between “Therapy Dogs” which provide comfort to anyone, and “Service Dogs” which are classified federally through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and are trained to do specific tasks to assist people with their disabilities like Guide Dogs for the Blind and Seizure Alert Dogs (contact the ADA for more info).

To work toward Therapy Dog certification, you need a sound, stable-temperamented dog that is highly socialized and trained; so, start the moment you get your pup!  Contact a recommended humane trainer in your area http://sunstardogtraining.com/how-do-i-choose-the-right-dog-trainer-for-me-and-my-dog/  and start your puppy off on the right “paw”!  Jan~

sunstardogtraining.com
Like any job or career, there are many different types of people who train dogs, and the range goes from fabulous, professional, quality trainers to abusive, ego …

 

Jan Magnuson
SUNSTAR All-Breed Dog Training

Best-In-Show Champion American Bulldogs & Weimaraners, LLC
P.O. Box 98072, Des Moines, WA 98198 (206) 241-2908

Why oh Why?

Quirks and Quandaries

Many years of working with the Weimaraner and people associated with the breed have taught us a few things. One to keep in mind is that even though you have had the breed before it doesn’t ensure smooth sailing. The twists and turns of getting them raised can take a sudden spin and normally this in direct response to human error. Very often, this associated issue develops when it appears you are doing everything right. It has always worked before; however, those with multiple children will tell you that even with the same parents (and DNA pool) no two are identical. Each must be considered for the person they are and what works for them. A stressor for one is of no concern to another. With that in mind, we saw this comment from an OwyheeStar Client. Here is their response to a blog posted last week.

Hi we received a puppy from you, Bella from the litter on May 5, 2015. We are experiencing something I’m not sure how to deal with. When Jon and I go to work or at night when we are asleep, she is chewing holes in our drywall. She is exercised two a day off leash. She has plenty of toys and chew things. We know it is separation anxiety (except that we are home at night). We’re not sure how to address this. We’ve never had a dog do this before and we previously owned two Weimies.

 

Jardine's Trigger_n

Trigger

A few of Bella’s Littermates

Please note this is not the Bella featured in Sunday’s Blog. Nevertheless, this Bella is a littermate to two recently featured Weims–Bentley and Molly. Trigger is also a littermate.  You may well remember Trigger because he was lost and found and his story of recovery was featured on this blog too!

Sheetrock Chewing

This hole-in-the-wall-chewing is not an uncommon occurrence with this breed. Nevertheless, we have written about this on several occasions, and it is a behavior best avoided akin to digging, incessant barking, and chewing on the house siding. These behaviors can begin during a stressful situation or a transition period–some call them ‘fear periods’ during the developmental first three years. Yes, I said three years. The Weimaraner can demonstrate a teenage-type of flakiness that rivals the human counterpart.

The only response we know is to reel in the Weimaraner and to rely on the crate. Freedom must be earned. Continued freedom and allowance of this or any unwanted activity will ingrain it, and it can become nearly impossible to break the cycle. With the smallest stress, they may sneak around and find a place to chew for comfort or to let off the stress. No doubt the incurring response creates further anxiety and fuels the issue in many cases.

Unwanted Behaviors Thwarted

This (and other) undesirable behaviors can be overcome; however, the key is finding an approach that works. Being calm and proactive will serve you well. We recommend using the crate and supervising all activities until the behavior no longer becomes an issue. Positive reinforcement and getting them to realize you do not want this behavior is a plus. Stay calm and this means inside. If you are upset by the hole in the drywall (and who wouldn’t be?) then, this can add to the problem. Maybe some of you readers can speak to this situation. Please feel free to share your experience if you have overcome a quirky behavior situation. We appreciate your positive and appropriate suggestions. Cliff and I thank you in advance.

Please Note: A rehomed Weimaraner would also experience this type of stressor and can quickly become unmanageable. Change in a schedule, location, your attention, etc. are all potential catalysts.

Comments

Insight From OwyheeStar Clients & Fans

Yesterday, we spoke about the problem of relocating a separation anxiety prone Weimaraner. There are many considerations, and you can read the Dodging a Potential Issue blog and our suggestions if you missed yesterday’s post. Nevertheless, here are some of the comments and advice given.

Easy is a velcro-dog too… but he fortunately makes other places like hotels or houses of relatives to “his home” very quickly… my aunt was surprised to find him in her bed, but she has a sense for humor :o)

 

Hi, this is Ron Weatherman to tell you about OUR Sadie and her recent move. We sold our winter home in Mesquite, Nv. to return to our main home in Chewelah Wa. Sadie, who had a bed in most every room loves to travel and has gotten much better about being left for short periods of time. I have used a bark collar on occasion with great success. Returning to Washington was made more easy for her as she has many great memories here but her special toys, chew rags, bedding as well as sleeping on our bed for a few days made the transition more easy for her. She is very clingy with me and must be with me or under foot all the time. She has now returned to her nighttime bed and is doing fine. She is also 7 years old in one more month. Sadie is a big girl, now at 95 pounds of solid muscle. She gets a couple of miles walking every morning and play time in the afternoon. Instead of her life revolving around us, our lives revolve around her and all her needs. Worse or better than having children. Things we dislike the most are the facts that she is a Democrat or must be. She gets everything done for her and provided for her. Try as we do to convert her to being more conservative, she demands on being depended on us for everything and contributes nothing. Is that not a Democrat?

Jan and Willow8461_o

Jan and Willow

 

All good suggestions! I also make a point from the start (when I get a new puppy or dog) to leave them safe places for short time periods, so they get used to being left and know they don’t need to be upset. I leave my puppy/dog with a trusted friend, family, at the vet, boarding kennel, anywhere else you can think of that is safe. I try to do this after they have exercised and are tired out, so they are calmer. This can also be started anytime, I would suggest it for Sadie. It is important to always NOT make a big deal out of coming and going- our Weimars tend to be overly-dramatic sometimes, and when we feed into that or act dramatic ourselves, it makes things worse. Just be calm and non-chalant and know they are fine! Jan–Sunstar All-Breed Dog Training and a Weimaraner Expert (40+ years experience)

Breeder’s Comment

These shares were comments made to our Blog. There were other comments made on Facebook. Please feel free to comment, like, or share your thoughts. It doesn’t matter if we are not all of the same exact persuasion. Each of us has a different experience and something tidbit of information that might be helpful.

Oops Something HappenedFor those starting out with a puppy, we suggest you consider this situation in the mix. The concrete thinking Weimaraner can be trained very quickly; however, there are twists and turns. Your process needs to include a plan to help them become adaptable to change. Otherwise, an unforeseen situation may catch you and the Weimaraner off guard, and it can pose issues best avoided. Adding this factor in the mix also can help prevent severe separation anxiety.

Many thanks again for all the comments and your invaluable insight. 

Dodging a Potential Issue

Lisa and Sadie

 

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“What Do You Mean We Have To Move?”

Hello, my name is Lisa, and our weim is Sadie.  She just had her 7th birthday on 4/29.  We are going to relocate from our house to an apartment.

Sadie does have a lot of separation anxiety when she’s left home alone.  She is mostly never home alone for longer than an hour.  We take her with us in the car when it is possible. Sadie barks the full time she is left alone in the car. She sometimes quiets if she sees us go into the store. Anyhow, she doesn’t like to be away from us.
The weather is warming up here in Vancouver, WA. I cannot be taking her along and leaving her in the car. The warmer weather means that she must be left alone at home rather than taking her along. Now that we are moving it concerns me–I mean the heat means we need to leave her behind. I’m also concerned she will have a difficult time adjusting to her new surroundings or will she?
Can you tell me how to help Sadie become accustomed to the new apartment?

Thoughts from Cliff and Shela

Separation anxiety is something the Weimaraner is prone to develop. The best approach is preventative; however, even once your Weim has a healthy dose all is not lost. Here are a few thoughts that may help Sadie deal with or adjust to the changes.
1. First, don’t make a big deal out of the move yourself. Your frustration, anxiety, and concern will be internalized and externalized by Sadie. The Weimaraner tends to pick up on our cues.
2. Rely on the crate and go back to the basics. Freedom is earned until the adjustment is made. Safety first and apartment living also means closer neighbors.
3. Depending upon Sadies quirks, it might be a good idea to sleep on a pillowcase and then use it for a bedding cover in the crate. Don’t wash it–get your scent on it and then just use it. Your scent is a powerful thing to her–a comfort. Nevertheless, if she chews up her bedding and ingests it that can create a different kind of havoc.
4. If Sadie’s anxiety is severe, you might consider using Prozac. Medication can be a short-term solution to help her bridge the change. We like to avoid this situation; however, it is a judgment call as to whether this is something you need. If you are concerned, consider asking your Veterinary if this would be an option.
5. Old dogs can learn new tricks and one way you can help Sadie a lot is to help her learn to be more adaptable. That means mixing up her schedule and introducing new things. Don’t make a big deal out of this but even before you move, try relocating her crate and using it more. Do things in a different way instead of keeping things even keel.
6. Try to make a new Vancouver doggie friend and schedule a play date. Maybe you can work out a situation where you help someone else by taking the kids for an adventure and Sadie can learn to go with them. A home-away-from-home situation is always a welcome alternative.
7. Remain calm and believe in your heart everything is going to work out. Positive and upbeat thoughts will help you succeed.

Tell Us What Worked For You

We welcome ideas from our OwyheeStar clients. Can you help Sadie with this adjustment process? Please drop a comment here for Sadie and her mother. They live in the Vancouver, WA area if that helps anyone with a suggestion.

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.

Forget Me Not

Rule #1 –If you go, the Weim goes. Right?

Luna Ready To GoLuna says

Mom has accidentally forgotten me a couple times recently … If I stand right here she won’t be able to forget to take me!

Those eyes speak volumes. When left behind, the circumstances upon your return could be met with any number of scenario.

  • Chewing to deal with the stress of being left behind.
  • Incessant barking –“Woof, Woof–Hey you forgot me.”
  • Digging–sometimes under the fence to escape to look for you
  • Getting into something that has your scent; chewing on your favorite clothing because they miss you.

It ‘s hard to understand the Weimaraner’s need to be with you. Some Weims are independent. Others would crawl under your skin were it possible. This Velcro tendency leaves them prone to separation anxiety. For this reason, the Weim’s human needs to prepare them for times when they must be away from you.

No one can say they will never need to leave their fur family member. Any number of things could make that an impossible promise to keep. It is so much better to plan for the unexpected and to help them learn how to stay behind. A home away from home is another scenario–one they know and feel safe staying at when you are gone. While some of you cannot fathom ever using a crate; more Weims have been saved than lost by crate training.