Blog Archives

The Question

Most Asked

When do you expect your next litter?

Litter-Dixie X Boone 2017 Day One.sm-4

A simple answer it would make things oh so much easier. The complexities of answering what others imagine as absolute, it anything but the case. No one knows this more than people who have waited for a lengthy season to get an OwyheeStar puppy. (Thank you, to everyone who stuck it out and stayed loyal. To those whose trust was implicit.)

Inexplicable Craziness

The inexplicable craziness associated with raising the Weimaraner cannot be precisely defined. Nonetheless, we would like to shed some light on things from our side of the fence. We understand that many folks who come to us in search of the Weimaraner have waited until the eleventh hour and now they are in the hope of finding a pup sooner rather than later. On a rare occasion, we might see ourselves with an available pup upon your inquiry. This scenario could happen if the folks on the wait list are not ready (have a different timeline). There are the other factors too–the sex, the coat color, and the coat length to mention the three biggies. Also, for example, some folks want to hunt upland game, truffles, or sheds. We are looking for the Weims with the most hunt-potential for those engaged in hunting. During our Discovery and Placement Test process, we ascertain whether the pup is more inclined towards scent, and other cues. That doesn’t mean the less hunt-potential pup could not be a suitable hunting companion; however, we hope to place those pups with the Companion Weim folks. Other than the Weim-seeker’s preferences, availability and litters are affected by factors we often have little to no control over.

Heat Cycles

The female’s heat cycle might not be entirely consistent. Certain age-appropriate females will come into season every six months–others not so much. We figure on average any female might cycle about every seven months; however, there are times when our best guess is off. Last winter, for example, all the girls came into heat way behind schedule despite the chagrin of many. The lateness caused the arrival we got to be later and for some people, this time change was not going to work.

Mating Complexities

The complexity of mating cannot be understated. There is a reason we have more than one sire–we don’t keep breeding back to the same lineage. The right sire choice is essential. In some situations, we have had the luxury to use multiple sires; however, many times we have but one option. Or, where we have mixed in the Longhairs, we might have one option if we don’t want any Longhair pups in a litter. For example, Boone doesn’t carry the Longhair DNA marker–whereas, Stackhouse is a Longhair. Any female that carries the Longhair marker and is mated to Stackhouse would produce some Longhair pups. All this planning doesn’t always end up producing a litter.

Who You Get Nothing

There are times when a mating happens, and it doesn’t produce pups. We suspect this happens a lot more than anyone talks about because we get inquiries from folks who have waited elsewhere and after two matings they never got a puppy. We also know, as we talked about with the four (from the Callie X Zee litter), not every female is a good producer. Vidalia never produced a single pup despite many efforts. Ginger and Cindee inconsistently produced small litters. Only Mousse produced the average-sized litter consistently. Who would have guessed? The lack of litters from a mating thing is not the end of the challenges.

To list a few other things–some females do not carry the litter to term. You watch their tummy grow, and they miscarry. Yes, it happens to the Weimaraner just as it does to some women. Or the litter might only produce one or two pups. All that time spent hoping, and you have not much to show for it. Those folks waiting for a puppy can become disillusioned. We can experience these feelings too! We have to shake off anything negative quickly. After waiting, and the pups arrive new information is available. Sometimes it is not as we hoped.

What a Year

2017 was such a year. Our litters leaned toward producing more males than females. Who can guess why? The opposite has happened in the past. When there are only one or two females to six males, soon the Wait List becomes prevalently female oriented. It would be easy to sigh and grow frustrated. Instead, we opt to rejoice in each pup as they arrive.

Our Wait List

We hope you can better understand how difficult the earlier question is to answer. When is our next litter expected? Those simple words imply more than a matter of who is pregnant. Reading between the lines, we believe the real question to be–when could I expect an OwyheeStar puppy? It is complicated. It is impossible to reply with any measure of accuracy. For some, they might turn in an application and find the option to move forward coming swiftly. Others, while vetted for some time must continue to wait. Know one thing–we are waiting and hoping with you. Nonetheless, we can only raise pups for which we know we have a quality home. That means, although we might hope for seven females, we cannot mate three additional litters to meet a quota.

1-Dixie X Boone 2017 Newborn-7We leave 2017 with the shortest Wait List in a decade. Therefore, we assume that the wait will be less. Nevertheless, keep in mind, we have to wait for the girls to be in heat to mate. Then is nine long weeks of waiting until the whelp (or if you prefer–the delivery). It is then we learn the outcome of the former mating. Typically, we mention it is between four and six months on average. Sometimes longer depends upon what is born and who is on the Wait List. People imagine if they could look at all the details they could figure out what is going to happen. Can I say that is laughable? Cliff and I have been raising pups for forty years. We continue to be surprised. The juggling act and the unknows require us to breathe and to (patiently) wait to see what happens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blast From the Past

Garden Raiders

Mousse Ginger Gilligan Cindee and Vidalia at Pumpkin Vine_0085

Mousse, Cindee, Vidalia, Hollee, and Ginger–the pumpkin and tomato nibblers

Weaving DNA is tricky. Very often, you rely on experience, information gathered, and your best hunch. At OwyheeStar, we have kept the DNA pools fairly consistent. The way in which we did this was a bit too complicated to explain. Overall, the result has been similar–looks, personality, and general temperament. Even so, there are differences. At one point in time, we were desperately trying to get a particular mating to achieve a specific goal. There were many failed attempts–matings that didn’t produce a litter. Nonetheless, we kept trying and eventually, we had four females born to a litter of four pups (Cindee, Ginger, Vidalia, and Mousse). Some of these you will recognize. The parents of the four were Callie and Zee–in case you are interested.

Vidalia never produced a litter–not even a single pup. She probably was the finest-looking if you want to nitpick. Cindee and Ginger produced a few small litters of very lovely and well-received pups. Mousse was the one who has produced multiple litters and a couple of title-earning Weims–Juniper and Molly. Juniper has a show title and the NAVHDA Natural Ability; Molly has the latter as well.

Hollee (also pictured) was nearly the same DNA pool (missing one-leg in her pedigree if you want to compare to the other girls). She was a single pup born to Deli in a litter sired by Zee. Honestly, when Cliff said we would keep them all, I shuttered. It is expensive and a lot of extra work–impossible to give everyone the attention you would like too! Nonetheless, over time Cliff’s decision proved correct.

The fenced garden sat alongside our backyard. The pumpkin you see escaped the garden fence to the driveway. I pulled it along the fencing to make sure it was out of the way. For the photo, I turned this golden gem around. The nibblers were able to get their teeth and tongue through the fence to help themselves to the super healthy snack. Not only did they enjoy this but many of the prized heirloom specimen tomatoes turned out to be hollow at picking. It is amazing how they got their tongues through the fence and emptied the red gems. Therefore, you might say a fence is a fence, but it might not stop the Weimaraner from finding a way to get what they deem theirs for the taking.

Berkley

Off to A Good Start

We love our Berkley. You chose well!!

Peck's Berkley-9374

Here’s an update on CRATE TRAINING:

She was totally content in her crate for the 4-hour ride home from Oregon. We stopped once and she went potty. Her first night home, she was not happy at all to be away from her litter mates and her mama. We put her crate in our room so she could see us, but she still howled and whined much of the night. Yesterday we put her in her crate several times, for 20-45 minutes each time, during the day while we ate our meals and ran an errand. She was a little vocal about it each time but got better as the day progressed. We hosted a lunch event and a dinner event, and she did splendid meeting and greeting all the shoe-less guests (parvo precautionary rule). She was the absolute center of attention for a good chunk of the day. When it was time for bed last night we put her in her crate and she went right to sleep. Not one howl or yelp! She stirred at 2 am and gave me a little whimper. I took her outside and she went potty right away. She went back to sleep in her crate until almost 6 am, which is my wake-up time anyway! We were so thrilled and gave her lots of praise for doing such a good job.

An update on POTTY TRAINING:

We used the bell method with our first Weim, and it worked like a champ. So we knew this was the way to go the second time around. Every time we take her outside to go potty (after she eats, wakes up, just before bed or crate time, or every 30 minutes or so), we take her little paws and ring that bell and say “outside”. Yesterday she rang the bell all on her own. We took her out and she went potty right away. Then again today, she rang the bell on her own, and the same thing happened!!! She is catching on so fast. We haven’t had to clean up after any accidents. I am shocked.

An update on TRAINING AND LIFE IN GENERAL:

She is retrieving like a champ to our hand….stuffed toys, mostly. She isn’t into the balls yet for some reason. She is coming on command and just starting to get “sit”. I started working with her on heeling as well, but that’s a little trickier. She is starting to get it, but barely. Berkley went with us to take big sister to school for her first day of school today. And then she snuggled on the couch with us and listened in as I read a Sofia the First story to our youngest. She’s one fun pup. I attached a few pictures.

Thanks so much, Amanda

Breeder Comment

It was very sweet of you to update us on Berkley. We appreciate the follow through you are doing too! It is paying off. Yes, we try to set the pups up for success, but it takes more than a little knack to step quickly toward success.

The potty training is excellent. I love that you used the bell system. Around here that would not work, but in a traditional family setting it can get you off to a good start fast. Be sure to get a fecal exam. Giardia and coccidia are common one-celled parasites that can quickly multiply and reek havoc on the pup’s intestine. Treatment isn’t a big deal if you catch it early. Pups prefer puddle water, and they also lick their feet all the time. These are great ways to ingest something that can take off like a wildfire.

For those that have never collected a sample–you invert a baggie (Mark your name on this baggie first to ensure it is labeled). Grab a portion of a suspicious looking sample and invert and seal the baggie. Label a second baggie with your name, the pup’s name as well as the date and time the sample was collected. Keep this sample cool (not frozen). Freshness is important; therefore, get the collected sample to the Vet office ASAP. Collect it just before you leave when possible.

This one thing can save you a lot of trouble. Stress diarrhea is a thing. We might fear the worst, and it could be stress. Canned or steamed pumpkin is great for correcting a loose stool. It is not a bad idea to give your pup a couple of tablespoons twice a day and even some berry yogurt–the kind with live cultures. These are very good for their digestion, and the yogurt helps ward off yeast infections too.

Chess Anyone?

Christian Teaches Grievious Chessimage

We haven’t sent you any news on our Topper X Boomer pup (General Grievious) we got from you a couple years ago. We are happy to tell you he has been a great addition to our family. He has really bonded with our 9 year son (Christian). The two are inseparable and enjoy walking, playing in and out of the house. We go to the beach often and there favorite thing to do is running and playing on the beach.

Breeder’s Comment: We realize how much effort it requires to raise one of these wonderful creatures. (Even when we have raised a Weimaraner before), we often forget the struggles until we are embroiled in the process once again. Then too, no two Weims are identical. Preconceived ideas can get a person into trouble. Nonetheless, it warms our heart to hear of Christian and his best friend. What is more encouraging to the soul, than a boy and his Weimaraner? 

We liken the chess match to the raising of the Weimaraner. You need to figure out a strategy to keep you ahead of the manipulative, cunning, and clever Weimaraner. More than one dog-savvy person has been duped by a Weim. Jokingly we would say it is probably not a good idea to teach Grievous the game; however, then who would join Christian. It is nice to have an ever-present, and an available friend who wants to join you.

The complexities and challenges

Good Morning Weimlovers!

We thought a short personal note from us might be in order. It seems we find ourselves repeating things. That is because the same issues frequently arise–behaviors, problems, challenges, and issues. Then too, we are talking about a certain breed–the Weimaraner.

The attraction; considerations…

People are drawn to this breed for many reasons. First-time Weimaraner folks equate everything to their previous dog experience. This (and their research) is how they evaluate the appropriateness of the Weimaraner for them. There are a few questions new Weim people ask, more often than not it is about shedding. Possibly, they are sad to see their Labrador (or mixed-breed) depart this world; however, they will not miss the hair. Some write that their Labrador has been gone for two years, and they are still extracting hair from the house, and car. That might be an exaggeration, or not. Nevertheless, people remember the hair. The hair on their clothing; the hair on the furniture, and the amount of hair on the floor. The Weimaraner will shed. All dogs shed. The traditional Weimaraner has an eyelash-length hair. The hair loss is minimal, but it happens. A monthly brushing with the short-coat furminator will almost eliminate noticeable hair loss. The other distinct difference when comparing them to the Labrador is they do not have oily skin; those who have lived with the Labrador may have noticed the filmy deposit they leave on the hallway walls–or anywhere they rub.

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The shedding factor might be the main reason people are drawn to this breed; however, many times it is a chance encounter that snags their heart. Others have friends, or family members that have a Weimaraner. They secretly plan their next dog will be as Weimar. This breed is elegant, and when well trained can be a testament to the German breeding program. Americans have three main pots of DNA weaving happening. Cross-over and mixing of DNA pools will happen, and on occasion; breeders import. First, there are the Show-Breeders. Secondly, there are the Hunt-Breeders. Finally, there are the backyard breeders. Unfortunately, the latter usually grabs whatever they can get–the best possible in their eyes. The folks breeding for showing must have temperament as well as breed-appropriate looks; some work both in the field and show. Hunt breeders vary greatly. Some will only sell to hunters, and every Weimaraner they breed must score well–be field proven.Temperament is equally important, but to achieve field points, there must be a pocket of hunt-potential traits. Nevertheless, an untrainable out of control hunting Weimaraner will not achieve in the field, or make a good family companion.

Achieving anything with the Weimaraner takes patience, time, and a special knack. For those that live near Jan Magnuson, we urge them to attend her classes. She has thirty-five years of experience with this breed. It would be tough to overstate her ability to help you succeed. We sincerely believe if you follow our recommendations, and get off to the right start, you can avoid the pitfalls known to surround this breed. There is a reason the Weimaraner rescue sees too many cast-off Weims. Sadly, people get this breed for it’s looks, without counting the cost in time, and out of pocket. They don’t understand, that it is not a non-shedding Labrador. In general, folks want to believe that all hunting dogs are the same, and nothing could be further from the truth. Even in the Versatile hunting breeds, such as the Weimaraner, there are vast differences in personality, drive, and what is required. The Weimaraner does not make for a good outdoor kennel dog; some may be kenneled on occasion for short periods of time; however, they must be an integral part of the family, and family life. Unless that happens, they will  become disconnected, and resist compliance. They are all about the relationship. The successful Weimaraner person understands the balance required between getting compliance, earning respect, and having an excellent relationship.

The Journey and the Challenges…

Under estimating the Weimaraner is commonplace. Some savvy dog folks are tripped up to their chagrin. This can be true for the person who has had a Weimaraner (or even a couple of them). There are many ways to get in trouble with this breed, and the first is to run ahead thinking you know how this will happen. The better approach is to follow through, and to let the process unfold. Yes, there are many must-do steps; however, much of what you will achieve together will happen because you are patient, and remember not to give the Weimaraner unearned freedom. Too much freedom, can lead to all kinds of behaviors, and non-compliance.

There are many factors that contribute to finding yourself snagged or embroiled in a battle. The development process poses transitional hurdles; you are going along well, when the well-socialized young Weimaraner suddenly freaks-out over the commonplace. The key to getting back on track is the right human response; or not making a big deal out of it by focusing on the situation. In most every instance, the worst possible thing you could do is baby them–it is also the most natural response. You want to stay calm, and be pro-active. Get out of the situation, and back to a successful scenario. Otherwise, you will ingrain the fear; and that makes a bigger hurdle to overcome. Relax, don’t make a big deal over small stuff.

Challenges will come your direction. When you add the characteristic difficulties listed below to the hormonal, and flaky juvenile behavior patterns it can create a mystical convergence of issues. This in turn can send the handler into a tailspin. The handler’s tail-spin (or sheer frustration) fuels the issue. You can see how this can very soon gain momentum, and become too big for the average person.

 

  • Separation-anxiety–it is ridiculously easy to set up the Weimaraner for severe-separation-anxiety. They can become so attached to being with you, that your absence makes them crazy. This can trigger acting-out, destructive behavior, or tummy upset.

 

  • Concrete-thinking–once they get an idea, it is very difficult to change their mind. When the unwanted behavior starts, it can soon become habitual; it then may be nearly impossible to stop.

 

  • Digging, Barking, Chewing, Acting-out Behaviors are best avoided. Some Weims chew their entire life, and cannot be trusted with bedding, stuffed toys, free in the house, or even outside in the yard alone.

 

  • Manipulation–is how they gain the upper-paw. They use manipulative savvy to play on your weakness, and to push your buttons.

 

  • The Relationship is primary to your success; losing your relationship means all is lost.

562909_10202087541054554_941634985_n[1]We realize that it is easy to get in over your head with a Weimaraner. This is when people go running to a trainer. Not every situation is going to be cured by just any trainer. All trainers will claim success with the breed; however, some of the worst messes Cliff has had to rehabilitate were created by trainers. Nevertheless, there are many good trainers, and we recommend finding one that can help you. Not every person is going to need a trainer. Many of our clients have found that they are able to do the training on their own; however, the right class can help with socialization. It can help with public skills.

Sending your Weimaraner off to a trainer, or to boot camp is unwise. Refer to the last listed point–they are all about the relationship. They will return put-off that you abandoned them, and more than likely what they did at the training facility is not going to carry over with you. If it does, more often than not, it is short-lived. You have to change the way you handle things. You must gain their respect, and compliance. This is all about you, the journey together. Despite the concerns listed here, many first time Weim persons succeed, and go on to get another. Nevertheless, each Weimar-experience is life-changing on some level.

Gracie and I are learning tricks together…

Hi Cliff and Shela

Nat gets Gracie kisses.....

Nat gets Gracie kisses…..

It’s Natalie (from Reno, NV)  I just wanted to show you how smart Gracie is getting :).

Training is Fun……..

She loves training time. We train in short intervals because her attention span is still a little short lol. As of this week I am training her more on fetch, drop it and more on leave it also.

Did you say pose.....am I cute Mama?

Did you say pose…..am I cute Mama?

Shed Antler Hunting….

Gracie May July 2013--on the lawnOur next step will be to shed antler training. I have never formally trained a dog on that but I think it would be fun or her when we go on hikes. We might be able to get a good collection antlers too!

Whoa Did She Say Rattlesnakes?

Whoa Did She Say Rattlesnakes?

There is a Rattlesnake Aversion Clinic in our Future

When she gets older of coarse and because we do have rattle snakes out here I was reading about a class available to keep her safe from snakes.

I'm a water dog Mama

I’m a water dog Mama

We have just begun…

So we still have a long journey in front of us. But both of us are having so much fun together.

Breeder’s Note: There are many reasons to keep training sessions short, and fun. The bottom-line is this is the most effective approach. If you stay consist, and enjoy the process together. You will success. If you feel it is taking too long, or it is a competition, your attitude will have a negative affect on the outcome. Nat and Gracie are doing it perfect!

Featured Weimaraner — Goose

IMG_0161aGoose is doing great.

He has learned the words sit, stay, drop, five and toy very well. I am very impressed with how quick he learns.

0605131637bPuppy Teething Happens

He has lost two front teeth and I see a new tooth already poking through!0522132126a

He is driving us nuts right now.

I can see why people can get overwhelmed, and feel like giving up but he is not our first toddler.

No 16 Week Puppy Shot Needed

His titer test scored 160 and he needed 80 to be protected from parvo so we are skipping the 3rd vaccination.0620131300

In case you get the question again, his first bag of Diamond Pet Large Breed 40lb lasted 2 months. We hope you enjoy these photos. They aren’t the greatest shots, but you are free to use them if you wish.

Breeder’s Note: We are happy to learn that the vaccine protocol we are using is more than adequate. In this case, it was double what is required for the pup to be protected. The importance of doing the titer test in lieu of over vaccinating cannot be overstated. For many years, the Weimaraner Club of America (WCA) has warned breeders (as well as new puppy owners that the 16-week shot is usually not necessary. In fact, the potential risks associated with the 16-week puppy shot are documented. These risks, can be life-threatening, or lead to ongoing health issues; specifically, a vaccine reaction could result in on-going immune system problems, HOD, etc.

Raising the Weimaraner is a lot of work. It is not something you can approach in a casual, or hit-and-miss fashion. Getting the first steps right is imperative. Guarding against bad habits, by supervising the young Weimaraner is important. Once the less than desirable habitual act begins (whether it is digging, chewing the house-siding, barking incessantly, and the list can go on) it is hard to turn back the clock. This is why we tell people not to think about letting the Weimaraner potty inside ever. Some people feel the pee-pee pads are a great idea, and yes the Weimar would enjoy shredding them. They might even use them, shred them, and ingest them. It is disgusting. Forget having an inside potty of any kind. It is not the smart thing with this breed.

These are not the pups you can throw in the backyard, or put in an outdoor kennel. Doing either of those things, is most likely going to damage your relationship. Certainly, if nothing else, it is going to stunt the development process. The Weimaraner is all about the relationship. They are never happier than when they are touching you. If you are looking for a dog you can train in a few weeks, and expect them to become low maintenance, this is not the breed for you. Their intelligence, and manipulative behaviors are well known to those who reside with them. Seriously, it is hard to imagine what it is like until you live with one of these complex creatures. That being said, even though they disrupt our lives in ways we might at time prefer to avoid, they are very addictive. You are either a Weim-nut, or not. There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground.

This Week’s OwyheeStar News

Hello from far Eastern Oregon.

FB_Sweet Kiss for the baby

Nick gives puppy a sweet kiss. Is it precious or what?

Is it Saturday again? I am hoping this blog will publish after I cleared out a lot of files to make more room. You might have noticed that yesterday’s blog mysteriously disappeared after it was published. Don’t worry, I am working on a plan. The next week is going to be focused on the blog, and making a few changes.

Puppies First!

Regardless of what is happening, it is a puppy first policy. Email, the blog, and the website all play second-fiddle to whatever puppies need. That is our primary focus when we have them coming, on the ground (so to speak), and exiting. This can mean months of attention, rather than the weeks you figure. Once a female is pregnant, or suspected to be pregnant, she gets extra everything. So should she too! Then as the pups grow inside her, and her time appears to be coming to whelp, there is more attention to extra nutrition and care. From the time a mating takes place, it takes about four months (if we get a litter), until the pups are old enough to leave for their forever homes.

FB_Puppy in grassOnce they are born,the-around-the-clock work begins. There are many steps required to help a puppy grow and mature. These can vary due to the maturity of the litter, the weather, and the ultimate litter goals. Some steps are always the same regardless, but for pups destined to join a serious hunter, it is important to expose the pup to birds, scent, and more stimuli. Ultimately, the most important component is the socialization that takes place. Breeders who let a puppy leave early, and doing the pup no big favor. Puppy development happens through successive order of events. Each breeder has their own way of doing things, but the end result should help the pup develop potential to be trained.

OwyheeStar has many success stories. We cannot thank our loyal clients enough. Each week we try to post news, information, and articles that educate on the Weimaraner.

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

We are perplexed

Who can say why the article we wrote for Friday’s blog disappeared? It is not showing as a published blog, nor is it to be found in the draft’s folder. This coming week we will focus on the blog, It might take two weeks. You can expect some changes. We are not sure where this journey will take us, but we will try to keep you apprised as it happens.

Change brings the unknown

We sincerely hope there is no interruption in the cycle of publishing the blogs. We cannot guarantee that everything will be perfect during this transition. We thank you for your patience, and bearing with us. Change is a part of life.

Thank you again for liking OwyheeStar, and for keeping us updated. We have a couple of exciting updates to share for the coming week.

Many blessings and warm wishes from Shela and Cliff–

(and the OwyheeStar Weimaraners too!)

~Thank you for being a part of our lives!