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Water Weims

Webbed Toes

     ~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.

The Recall

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.

Early On

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.

Water Exposure

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!

Crane's Lucy 957

A Few Final Thoughts

  1. Weims who balk at the sight of rain or a sprinkler often achieve the swim.
  2. Don’t go in with the *pre-conceived idea that it cannot be achieved.
  3. Select the venue to work on this carefully.
  4. Go in with the idea it takes as long as it takes.
  5. Make this part of your young pup’s agenda.
  6. If you *failed to achieve the swim early on, don’t believe it is impossible.
  7. Some people use a life vest**. The vests are not necessary.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.





Not Short on Adventures

      ~ Digging for Sportimage3

I think Stella’s about nine months old now and we just moved into our brand new, very own home!   That’s some good news.  The bad news is that we are working on our backyard.  Of course, Stella thinks it’s awesome because she has a lot of dirt to bury bones in. She is so silly and dirty.

Running Free and Swimming

Another piece of good news is that Stella’s been on lots of adventures with her dog pals!  Here are some pictures from our last trip up the Deschutes River.  There’s no bad news to that.  Stella runs free and happy through the woods and eagerly swims in the river!  She’s also ‘almost’ stopped jumping on all the people she meets.  Maybe that’s some bad news….

Snacking on the Stairsimage6

Anyway, the worst news is that on the day she was contained in our new dog run and had access to our garage in case of rain…. she opened (or we left open) the door to our new house. There were builders in the backyard putting up the new fence.  Anyway, long story short…SHE ATE A STAIR!  She’s never chewed anything!  Yikes!  I included a picture!

Looking Pretty or Contemplating her next Anticimage5

Anyhow, through that whole adventure, we love our beautiful girl still.  That’s the best news.  I attached a picture of her posing.  Or maybe, she was contemplating her next move!  Hahahahahaha.
That’s the scoop from our family!  We hope your family is doing well.
Jill, Timothy, and Stella
Oh, Shela!  Our daughter is enrolled at TVCC (Treasure Valley Community College0 there in Ontario and playing basketball.   She’s loving Ontario!  Hooray!  Go, Chukars!

Breeder Comment

Relocating a Weim can be laden with pitfalls. They don’t do change well, but it seems Stella is adapting well. The most significant concern may be that she is developing the habit of digging. The concrete-thinking Weimaraner is tough to retrain once they get the idea that something is the norm. (oops) This way of thinking can carry over into all areas. Well, such as chewing the stairs could transfer to fencing, etc.

It is outstanding that she is water-friendly–swims in the river. Jumping up on people she greets is not pleasant for those being welcomed; however, at least she is super friendly. We would Prepare these jumping-up issues rather than dealing with a Weimaraner that is not people-friendly. Thank you, for the great share. We truly appreciate it!

A Problem Desired By Some Weim Fanciers

Note: We get an unbelievable number of requests for help from folks who didn’t get their Weimaraner from OwyheeStar. We can only offer so much advice or personal help–there are only so many hours in a given day. We try to do what we are able to do. Recently, we received this request for assistance.

I have a mixed Weimaraner pup who is now 7 months old. We have a backyard pool that she instantly took to at the age of 4 months. She swam like a champ from the start! Any time anyone goes into the backyard she instantly runs to the pool and will look back at whoever is outside with her for an approving word to jump in. The temperature where I live (Hanford, CA) has dropped making the pool not a pleasant swim ( I prefer the weather to be much warmer!) yet my pup does not seem to mind. My question to you is, is it harmful for her to swim in the winter months? Just recently the pool guy who cleans my pool, put in his net to skim the pool and my pup (Quinn) jumped right in!! She just swam back and forth the entire time he was here. Quite honestly I could not get her attention to get out!

Sincerely, Theresa


Gunner in her neoprene

Reply: (In regard to the Weimaraner) The waterfowl hunting companion retrieves in icy conditions; most wear a jacket. Gunner sports one of the popular cammo neoprene jackets. This is most important (after the swim) when they are wet. Cold temperatures, and the damp Weimaraner being required to sit–such as in the boat (or duck blind), don’t mix. The Weimaraner field companion works in zero temps, and in the summer, they hunt upland game in the extreme heat. Regardless, they need to be acclimated to the conditions. It is important to monitor their well-being. Hot or cold temperatures both require the dog need to be well hydrated. Sometimes we forget that our Weim needs water during the winter. Gulping large quantities of water during (or directly after) the extreme exertion is never advised. Later, we touch on feeding the Weimaraner during an extended hunt, or longer period of exertion.

We understand your concern about the cold weather swim. Nevertheless, non-compliance, and anything less than a solid recall are far more threatening than swimming in cold weather. Please take time to read this recent blog on what happened to another person without absolute recall–click here.)

The concrete-thinking Weimaraner that loves the water can get some of their best exercise with the water-retrieve. For the younger Weimaraner (under two-years of age) that is still growing, and has open growth plates, swimming is the ideal way to get the safe exercise completed. A tired Weim, is a good Weim. Your problem is one many Weim owners covet–some folks struggle to get their young Weimaraner into the water. Once the Weim embraces the idea, it can become a favored activity.


Salty rides on the water–no paddling for this Weim. It is a human-powered ride.

The Extended Hunt; Swimming; or the Longer Run


A Christine Anderson's Milo Right_0438

45 degrees

The extreme working condition might also call for nourishment. Supplementation should be easily digestible–such as as a high-calorie supplement (the type that comes in a tube).  Exercise and the feeding the Weimaraner adjacent (within an hour) to the exercise is not advisable. This is  due to the risk of inducing bloat–a life-threatening condition. As we mentioned early, gulping water is also best to avoid. Hydrating the working Weimaraner is important–the water should be cool, not ice water.

Temperatures tend to be subjective. Milo sports a hat and coat when temps in Texas drop to 45 degrees. People in Texas are grabbing a coat at temperatures, we Treasure Valley folks would call seasonally balmy winter weather–shirt-sleeve; no jacket required. Cool temperature swimming should not be a problem unless you were to leave your pet out in very cold temperatures. Bringing them inside (and toweling off) should take care of any issue. The fact that they are a natural swimmer is a huge plus.


B Water Ret Feb 2006_0151Cliff and Shela are proponents of getting the Weimaraner to swim. To many hunter’s chagrin, the versatile hunting Weimaraner can resist the notion of doing the water-work. A versatile hunting companion must be proficient on land (with upland game), proficient in the search, as well as  in water-retrieve. The Duck Search requires special skills.

Here is a video of Stackhouse during a VHDF (Versatile Hunting Dog Federation) Hunt Test — Special Thanks to Nick Petersen for the photography

We are pleasantly surprised at the number of our OwyheeStar Weims have taken to the water, and achieved the swim. People are finding ways to get their reluctant pups in the water. The key to success often is linked with a solid retrieve. The Weim that loves the retrieve, can be gradually worked into achieving the water retrieve. This takes some patience, and a knack for getting them to play the game. Clearly, folks are getting the idea. Keep up the great work!

This Week’s OwyheeStar News

June is preparing,

         to wrap up its 2014 business…….Stackhouse Swimming (2)

We will wave good-bye to June this coming Monday, after saying hello to summer at the end of last week. There will reports of folks floating the Boise River, and a lot of swimming going on. The heat will (surely) arrive in full-force.

Extreme heat is often directly followed by the violent ripping thunderstorms. Toad-strangling downpours, hail, and dry lightening sparked range fires are some of the things that can happen during such an event. The storms are fun to watch, as long as they don’t shred or burn something close to your heart.

This week’s blog had a theme–the swimming Weimaraner. People have told us all kinds of stories about their Weim, and the water-work. These stories have ranged from the surprise swim, to the person who threw their Weim over the side of the boat. The latter is not something we can endorse. Yes, the tossed-in-the-water Weimaraner may swim to save his or her life; however, it may well ingrain the fear of water making the voluntary swim impossible. Employing knack, patience, follow-through, and fun water’s edge games will take your further. Cliff believes wholeheartedly in instilling the love of the retrieve, and keeping it as the focus. This one thing (along with a fun-upbeat relationship) works nearly every time people use it.

 Here are the links for this week’s blogs….

On a personal note……Jeep and ripening grain

Cliff continues irrigating–the hay and the winter wheat. The golden hue is coming to light; soon it will be time to harvest. Our neighbors will combine the wheat. Cliff will be planting alfalfa (in this field–now planted with winter wheat) once the field is prepared. The second cutting of hay is around the corner too. Those events pale in contrast to the arrival of our first great grand child–Evangeline Grace. We ( like her parents, and grandparents), wait breath-abated. A family Baby Shower is slated for later today. It should be a really fun time. Before Eve’s arrival, pups should be on the ground. It will be a busy July for sure!

As Always…

Thank you for your love and support. Keep the puppy updates coming. In the weeks ahead we can use them. We appreciate you all!


Many blessings and warm wishes from Shela and Cliff–(and the OwyheeStar Weimars too!)

~Thank you for being a part of our lives!