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Getting Respect

Cliff Asks

      ~Who is in the lead?

A lack of respect (for your authority) often shows up when the Weimar is walking on the lead (or leash). Go anywhere there are dogs, and you will see dogs lunging and yanking on the leash. You see dog owners pulled down the street. This scenario is scary stuff for a public venue. Some owners gain compliance early in their morning walk only to find when they turn for home it is almost impossible to prevent the pulling. It is as if to say, “I know where we are going, and I can get us there.” It’s true. Maybe this is a horse-thing–heading for the barn syndrome. Nonetheless, it is smart for you to be in control and for them to defer to your pace.
A14_Here Comes Lacee & Cliff__8884C

Loose is Important

I understand how much fun it is to have the off-leash freedom. I say go for it when it is appropriate and once you have this skill mastered. There are places where being off-leash is safe. Otherwise, you need to reel them in, and to get them to comply by walking on a loose lead at your side. Pulling, lunging, and dragging you where they want you to go is not Okay. When faced with this scenario, many people turn to a front-clip harness or a head-halter like a Gentle Leader. Yes, these get you away from the behavior, but they don’t change the underlying cause of the problem. I urge you to master the loose-lead walk. I see it as a necessary skill and a sign of respect for your leadership.

Seemingly Harmless

Mouthing Weims

3_Sadie X Stackhouse 2014 Wk2-44In many cases, we see Weimlovers, who are so addicted to this breed that they are willingly blinded to the Weimaraner’s ability to manipulate them, and their surrounding world. Most of the time this is not lethal as with Jonestown, but it can have some pretty ugly outcomes.

Mouthing can seem harmless. Over time, it can become a problem. It can be so cute when the Weimaraner meets you at the door, and gently grabs you by your arm. They continue on by leading you (arm-in-their-mouth) into the house. Their tail is wagging, and there is nothing aggressive about this behavior. It might scare another person, but you (the beloved human) find it amusing. The two of you have a special connection. That being said, mouthing from a Weim’s point of view puts them in control. It gives them the upper-paw. You are the one blindly letting them leading the way. This is empowering to the Weimaraner.

We suggest you discourage this behavior. Don’t overreact, but find ways not to allow this to happen. For example, carry a ball that you hand them; keep a toy by the door that they get when you come home. It is so much the better they carry this, than they lead you. We are sure some of our readers will post suggestions here. There are other ways to stop this unwanted behavior.

This behavior can Prove Costly

Consider the risks involved. Allowing them to mouth you could escalate into a battle of the wills. You must always win their respect, and gain their compliance. At the same time, you have to maintain your composure, and stay upbeat (as well as positive). A fun atmosphere produces positive outcomes. Beyond the jockeying for compliance, your best friend might get into trouble when someone catches a tooth. Older people have thin skin, and a tooth can create a deep gouge that appears to be more than happenstance. This can cost you emotionally, and financially. Someone could file a grievance against you and your beloved (well-manner, and well-meaning) pet. They don’t love them like you do. Children are another danger.

The toddler is full of energy, and this constant motion fuels the Weim’s need to get with the program. In their zeal to take part in the fun, a child is easily knocked over. Food can be snatched from their hand, and remember those sharp teeth hurt. This can lead to a terrible situation, and this is equally true within the family structure. You got the pup for the kids, but they don’t enjoy the pup. We want you to avoid this scenario too. Ultimately, it comes back to the kind of leadership you provide. It takes time. Raising the Weimaraner puppy doesn’t happen in a few short months. It takes time for the journey to unfold. You have to invest in the relationship, and you have to gain the young Weim’s attention, respect, and compliance. Sending the pup to a camp or trainer rarely fixes the problem. The issue is about the family dynamics, the household environment, and your relationship with the Weimaraner. Another person can get compliance, but that doesn’t fix your relationship.

It Comes Back to Your Relationship

This Weimaraner  (and your relationship) can be fixed, but it will require a lot of desire on your part. This is the dig-deep, and humbling kind of desire. It will be important to use the right approach. Finally, change will require investment of your time, energy, and getting the Weim-savvy kind of help. Usually, you must go back to square-one, and begin the process as if this was a new relationship–all the while you must have the right attitude. Frustration, and such will thwart your attempt to make this work.

These situations are best avoided. Some people come to the end of what they feel they can do. Truly, in some instances it is the right thing to give the pup back to the breeder, or turn them over to rescue. This is in many situations the best hope of getting a second chance for this pup.  Sadly, the same pup often goes to a new home (after rehabilitation), and thrives. There are hurt feelings, and sad moments. It is our hope that writing about the various pitfalls will help avoid such situations. Weimlovers, and those that work at Weim rescue will be the first to tell you this breed is not for everyone.

Cliff on Collars

Cliff and babyRecently, we spoke about the basics of raising the Weimaraner. We are invested in your success. We talk a lot about earning the Weimaraner’s respect; this means achieving the loose leash heel. When I suggested this must be done with the use of a flat collar, that caused some people to wonder what I meant.

The reference to achieving the loose leash heel while using a flat collar means, that you have only succeeded when the collar has no part in you achieving the result. Gentle leaders, head halters, and front clipping harness will give you a feeling of relief. They will thwart the Weim’s ability to pull; however, they do not (in my opinion) change the behavior. The first change the Weimaraner gets they will go right back to dragging you around by the leash. Earning respect requires that you achieve compliance, because the Weimaraner wants to please you. There are no gimmicks.

1-in-mendota-durasoft-orange-hunt-dog-center-ring-dog-collar-20931002lgI am good with using an interim (or training) collar of the sort that leads you toward achieving this goal. To be clear, another acceptable end-result collar would be the adjustable collars. Many companies make this style of collar. Some people prefer them over the buckle collars. Those pictured here are linked to the website where we borrowed the photo. The Adjustable collar (pictured to the left) is a Lupine brand collar which not only makes a fashion statement, but offers a lifetime warranty. The other collars are from Gun Dog Supply. Steve Snell of Gun Dog Supply has a tutorial on collars, and his reasoning behind what you should list on a name tag.

A regular (or flat) collar

A regular (or flat) collar

I am asking you to remember if you to remember if you resort to another alternative to escape the tugging, and lunging on the leash, that this doesn’t solve the underlying issue. You and the Weimaraner are in a situation where they are winning control. They may comply in some areas, but when they get their head (so to speak) they are dead-set on being in the lead. It is at this point other folks give the Weimaraner more freedom. They let them go loose; and the Weimaraner is never happier. Happiness doesn’t always lead to good things. The Weimaraner that learns to be in compliance, and gives you proper respect, is going to be much happier in the long run. Those around this Weimaraner, likewise, enjoy the benefits of their respectful behavior, and the training you invested.

Achieving the Loose Leash Heel

This brings us to the question of how we achieve the loose leash heel. There are various methods of achieving this goal. Different trainers use various philosophies. You want the rock-solid outcome. For our OwyheeStar clients, we have a video in the works. You need to turn to the trainer of your choice for help.

Good luck in achieving results. I believe if you do this you will reap the benefit. The loose leash heel needs to be maintained throughout the life of your Weimaraner. Thank you for considering this training information. I do hope it proves beneficial, and that you get it done.

~Cliff