Last week we shared about Libbie’s (Liberty Belle) trip home on the airplane, as well as her extraordinary initial adjustment. It was nothing short of phenomenal, but a lot had to do with how she began her journey. She learned to settle in the carryon bag–yes, I did work with her before she left OwyheeStar. Regardless, there is something to be said about the pup that settles–they can learn nearly anything. The carryon bag is like an extreme crate-training session–only you must succeed to be able to fly with them in the bag. Here are some photos of Libbie on her day of travel.
Finally, a calm follow through makes a lot of difference. So, there were two huge factors contributing to the excellent start. 1. There is the settling in the carryon bag. 2. There is the human factor where they stayed calm and followed through. Honestly, it is not all that easy, but it is effective. All the human emotion and excitement can be the unraveling the transition. (OMG)
Day One with Libbie
We got up this morning and started the daily routine. I took off work to help her transition to her work days with Scott, and get familiar with how it’s all going to work. As I’m typing this, she is sleeping and figuring it out.She has really done phenomenally so far with everything, I, we are truly amazed at her learning things and remembering them. It’s almost scary as to how smart she is, are we going to be able to keep up with her staying interested and busy learning more 🙂 ?!What an incredible gift you have given us! We are more grateful than you can possibly know! As I mentioned earlier, our family is complete again, and we owe it all to you. Thank you!!!!
Thank you for all of the suggestions! I’m definitely going to check out the AKC Good Citizen Title program, sounds fun and will help me keep Libbie learning and interested and obedient :)! Also, I’m going to start the standing process as well, what a great idea, makes total sense!
She is Home in Portland
Hailey did an excellent job on the 4-hour trip back to Portland. She slept most of the way, making just one pee stop in Hood River.
She is Adjusting
She was a little shy at first but has been having a wonderful time the past few hours playing with the family in the backyard. Above are a few pictures. Also, she has a new purple collar on that Grant picked out for her a few days ago.
It is a little cooler her in Portland today, but weather reports show it will be 106 by the 4th. Thankfully we replaced our old air conditioner this winter so our house is nice and cool.
Keep it Simple
We like to remind new puppy parents not to overthink things. Enjoy the pup. That doesn’t mean you can be slack, but keep it simple. We like to believe we have your pup set up for success. It is hard to imagine what to do. Sometimes folks read all kinds of advice thinking they will get ahead of the curve. It might work; however, much of the advice you get can be counterproductive. Here is what we recommend.
- Be committed — Commitment to the process is primary. Training your pup will take time. Just when you think you are done the pup will hit a stage that will throw you for a loop. Throughout the first two years, there are many of these ups-and-downs. Training can be going along well and without seemingly any cause the process can come to a standstill or suddenly regress. Please take this in stride because it is nothing personal. Often the first regressive occurrence occurs directly after a huge success. When this first setback happens we say the honeymoon period is over. When this happens you need to simply return to the basics. Go back to something that will yield success. Keep the same positive, upbeat, cool demeanor. Keep the same level of commitment to see things through to the end. As Rick Smith often says, “It takes as long as it takes.” It doesn’t matter what you are trying to achieve, simply commit to teaching them in a step-by-step approach.
- Keep your eye on the puppy at all times for the first 2-3 weeks at least–or until you have the housebreaking part accomplished. Use a crate, bag, or soft-side crate to confine the pup when you cannot be alert. The crate should not be too large. If it is more than they need they may select one end for a potty area. Allowing your pup freedom means allowing accidents which can soon turn into habitual patterns.
- Be consistent–Do the same thing all the time. For example, the pup wakes up and stirs. Pick them up and carry them directly out to the area where you want them to potty. Each time you see them circling or rousing from a nap go to the potty area. (Soon they will be running to the door and out on their own!) If you use the poochie bells (as described in one of our Emails) then ring the bells when you get to the door. Soon they will be ringing the bells to go out on their own.
- 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. Although some people offer a treat when they bring the item to hand it is not necessary. Lavish them with your attention and tons of praise. Keep the activity a highlight of the day. Also, this is important because bringing things back is far superior to a game of keep away. This teaches many skills or habits you want to encourage.
- Keep it fun — Weimaraners are very intelligent 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 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 the relationship. If they get their feelings hurt things can go sour quickly. Your bonding experience is vital to the success of this relationship. Take the 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 be taught how to stay alone. The relationship you have with the Weimaraner is a double-edged sword. They need a lot of time, attention, and affection. They also need to learn to be without you for periods of time. 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. Teaching them to be able to stay alone goes a long ways towards thwarting the tendency to foster separation anxiety.
- Be patient — Again, we love what Rick and Ronnie Smith (developers of the Huntsmith Puppy Development method of training) say regarding training exercises. They say, “It takes as long as it takes.” Keep this statement and thought written on your heart. When you attempt teach your pup a new skill, make sure it is a learn-able task. Then plan enough time to accomplish the task. If you are feeling stressed or disenchanted do not try to train your Weimaraner. One reason we recommend the Huntsmith Puppy Development DVDs (and keep them in stock) is because they set you and your pup up for success–even if you are a non-hunter. The very first exercise is one using a table. The goal is to teach the puppy to calm. The idea is if you can teach your pup to calm, then you can teach them anything. Don’t try to imagine what teaching the pup to calm is like — they show you how to accomplish this on-table exercise. The primary reason we love the Huntsmith method (besides it gets results) is it gets your puppy ready to be receive instruction from you. There are many methods of training, but this enhances your bonding experience and creates an environment that will produce results. This method is about patient steps to getting your pup ready to learn.
The Right Balance
Accomplishing a few vitally important things during the first 4-6 months can make all the difference from here on out. We all have different abilities. Some of us are more Weim savvy than others. These 7 steps to success are doable even for someone with limited abilities. Personally we feel pushing your pup too hard can prove disastrous and counterproductive. Keep things basic, fun, upbeat, and moving forward by small steps. Reinforce the basics and add new things from time-to-time. A healthy relationship makes for a sound foundation which in turn leads you toward success. A pup that loves you but doesn’t respect you will run over you. That is not a good relationship. A pup that obeys because they fear you, tends to be less self-confident and possibly timid. A pup that obeys out of fear does not describe a good relationship.
A good relationship with your pup is one where they follow you willingly because they love and respect you. That doesn’t mean there is no limit to what they can get by with, however, a happy and confident Weimar is more likely an obedient Weimar.
Ducky had his 12 week booster yesterday and weighed in at 18.6lbs. He’s so big it’ll be a challenge to pick him up in the near future. Training around the house is going well although he hates the ‘Gentle Leader.’ :)))
Charming and Handsome
In the meantime, I wanted to share these photos. Everyone marvels at how gorgeous he is!
Also, just an FYI – the states of California and NY do not allow ‘complimentary pet insurance’ in the case of the AKC 60-Day Trial included in your packet. We ended up going with TruPanion as we found that to be the most popular pet insurance here.
Breeder’s Comment: Thank you Mindy for the wonderful update. Everyone (us included) hopes to read about some their pup’s litter-mates. Some folks are frequent contributors; others mean to get me an update, but they forget. Life is eventful. We suspect that sending us a note about the pup is a pretty low priority for a lot of folks; reasons will vary–not good on the computer, working hard with the pup, obligations, other interests, etc.
Pet Insurance: A few years back we didn’t think pet insurance was a must. Recently, it is more clear that a lot of pets have been put down due to lack of funds. The Weimaraner might not see that happen, but when a person is facing $ 4,000 plus, and there is no guarantee–anything can happen. DNA weaves through. Despite efforts to eliminate or eradicate problems, it is impossible to avoid all problems. The Weimaraner is prone to bloat, and athletic. The first could lead to an emergency situation. We have not seen many of the OwyheeStar pups lost to bloat, nor have we lot one of our Weims. Nevertheless, it is always a risk. Secondly, the athletic Weimaraner can easily tear an ACL, injure a limb, or do serious structural damage in one of their antics. Yes, we did say antics–those living with these wonderful creatures may well know what we mean. Therefore, we recommend carrying some kind of insurance. The down-side of having insurance is the vet may recommend too many chemicals, shots, etc. for the Weim if you don’t hold the line. They mean well, but the Weimaraner is not tolerant of anything other than a holistic approach. Problems are best avoided when possible.
Our Vet recommends Pets Best Insurance–click here to learn more. It is good to compare policies. The AKC insurance is another option, and of course in your puppy packet comes a trial version. This is meant to get you to keep their insurance, and we are positive they make a little kick-back. Supporting AKC is not necessarily a bad thing. Regardless, we recommend you compare the policies, and talk to someone at your vet office. Certainly, a major medical type policy would be good to have if something untoward knocks on the door. We have seen reports that show where the first year the cost of the insurance is a wash–there are a lot of factors, and expenses in the first twelve-months. Some of these probably are not covered, but many are, and a lot of policies help with the spay/neuter expense.