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~Habits Good and Bad Take Hold Quickly

Innocence –but there is one in the Group (Haha)

Habits form quickly–once a behavior (good or bad) starts it can soon become habitual. For example, the Weim can become an incessant barking machine. I swear they can bark at a cloud. Maybe it looks like a bird. Incessant by definition means unceasing or Continuing without interruption. Maybe that is an overstatement, but if you have that behavior ingrained, it will not seem an exaggeration.

Barking, digging, territorial behaviors, chewing on everything, and the list goes on–if you allow it in a small dose, it can become a thing. Us humans, often get duped and our efforts undermined.

To prevent that and other unwanted behaviors a person must be vigilant early on. It is not one and done thing either.  The childlike tendencies often last past their third birthday with the occasional teenage behavior surfacing from time to time. I laugh at people who want this breed and expect them to be easy to manage. A lot can and should be accomplished in the first three months; however, you are not home free so to speak. At the same time—getting the basics done right up front will save you a lot of trouble. 

Also consider that the Weimaraner who wants to rule their world can employ growling and snarling. They can withdraw and sulk. They have all kind of ways to get what they want–some are acceptable, others are not. One thing for sure–do not reward or excuse bad behavior.

Preventing the Pitfalls…

……by recognizing them, and making the best possible decision…

Ruby tucked in Cliff's jacket

Ruby tucked in Cliff’s jacket

Dear Weimlover,

Meaning well, doesn’t guarantee nothing will go wrong. Following the latest, and greatest dog guru may not produce the desired outcome either. There are always those that go behind and pick up the pieces, and try to patch the Weims together after the unthinkable happens. They wear different hats, but it could be any number of folks that end up being involved–dog trainers, breeders, ordinance officers, shelter workers, and rescue organizations. Everyone wants to believe they are exempt when it comes to getting into trouble; however, nothing could be further from the truth. It is normally the most well-meaning gentle soul that accidentally ingrains a problem in their beloved Weimaraner. They may not be able to gain their Weim’s respect, because in their extreme kindness, the Weim finds they can manipulate them and gain control of their environment. 

Listing the Biggies

We (Cliff and I) may miss something on our list, but someone for sure will post the additional comment to finish this thought. Here are the most prevalent areas that see the Weimaraner struggling, and their owner frazzled:

  1. Puppy-biting that goes on for a long time, and gets labeled by everyone (possibly even you) as aggression.
  2. Territorial behavior–guarding the yard, the kennel, a corner of your office, a room, or the entire domicile.
  3. Food guarding (also called food aggression), often involves other items (such as toys, bones, and finds) too!
  4. Jumping up, and out-of-control behaviors.
  5. Fear of various things, and situations.

 Pivotal-Points and Frustrating Moments

These situations can leave a person wringing their hands, and at a loss. Normally, it is not a single situation or incident that leads to the bigger issue. Often it is a series of events. Regardless, there are a few pivotal-points (some of these are called fear-imprint stages) when things are more apt to go awry.

These pivotal-points are best identified from the sudden uncommon behaviors — sometimes they include a trail of destruction. One thing for sure, it is evidenced when the Weimaraner suddenly acts out of the norm. Usually, this means seeing unwanted behaviors. These behaviors get our attention, and our focus. How we address these behavioral situations makes all the difference. Usually this sends a person to the Internet to search for answers. Information can be wonderful, and at other times it leads down the wrong path. It is tough to read a comment on how to handle the situation, and implement it. Not every appealing suggestion is going to work for the Weimaraner; some are not going to work for you. A quick search of topical advice made us greatly concerned about the available information.

Common ground, but unique elements

There are always variables. The uniqueness of the situation can mean a common approach will not work. There can be variances, and a weave of things presenting in a crazy manner. In the end, it might not be as bad as it presents, but unraveling the mystery might prove challenging. 

It is important to stay positive, and upbeat. It may require us to rely heavily on the crate training. The crate can be used to allow you to regroup, and gain your composure. It is not doggy-jail, but time-out might be lifesaving on many levels. Working with a Weimaraner when you are upset is not going to produce a positive outcome. We might also comment that you cannot just put on an exterior smile (like you might do with your human friends), because the Weimaraner will pick up on the hidden cues.

Good Intentions doesn’t Guarantee Success

All too often, it is those of us that love them so much that set the Weimaraner up for failure. Take a deep breath. Most of these problems can be avoided, or managed. Nevertheless, what some people do thinking it will help solve the issue tends to fuel the problem. Many people are embarrassed, and others feel they (are dog-savvy); therefore, they can handle the issue. There is a time to get help–sooner is preferable to waiting. Who you get matters. The trainer choice is important; this is never more significant than when you hit a glitch. Yes, (sadly to say) too many times the trainer hired has made things worse instead of better. Not every method is going to work for every Weimaraner, or for that particular person. Methods vary. We don’t endorse being mean; however, a cookie-reward doesn’t solve every issue either. You must gain the Weimaraner’s respect–this is always an underlying truth. How that happens is a complex journey. There is no such thing as a one-size fit all program. Nevertheless, there are some basic principles. For example, gaining the loose-lead heel is vital to achieving respect. Click here to read more about what Cliff says about gaining respect.

Avoiding the pitfalls; Getting out of a bad situation

We will be addressing some of these topics as the weeks unfold. We believe they are important to discuss. Most Weim owners will (at least )see a glimpse of one of these behaviors. As the leader, you are walking a thin line between over-reacting, and not taking the right kind of action. Some people become upset, and frustrated. Other people find they are angry at the pup. More often than not, it is a mixture of feelings that result in an overwhelming frustration. Things had been going well, and then the pivot-point happened. Things changed on a dime.

Ruby Graduates from Jan Magnuson's Class

Ruby Graduates from Jan Magnuson’s Class

Note: If you are part of our audience at-large, we hope you will gain some insight, and help from our blog. If you’re an OwyheeStar client, we certainly want to provide you with as much help as possible. Cliff tries to get back to people who need help ASAP.