Off to A Good Start
We love our Berkley. You chose well!!
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
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.
The Basics …
Nothing is more important than loose leash heeling. It is imperative it be achieved. I am not talking about using a head halter, gentle leader, front-hooking harness, or a prong collar in order to accomplish the goal.
This is what I hope every OwyheeStar Weimlover will accomplish……..
- Loose Leash Heeling (on a regular flat collar)
- Come; followed by the Sit-stay
We (Shela and I) would like you to focus on achieving these four goals with your OwyheeStar Weimaraner. I am positive when accomplished in the right manner, the outcome will be good. There are various ideas on the appropriate timeline to have mastered these disciplines. I would like to see you have them done by the time the pup reaches 7 months–before the hormones kick in. Puppy classes can get you off to a good start, but the quality of sit-stay, etc. is not finished at 4 months. As the Weimaraner develops, there will be challenges.
Respect and the Relationship
Depth in your relationship is worth achieving; respect is a crucial part of your relationship-development. When you get the loose-lead respect, then you can easily achieve these other goals. It is a bit like a thread that pulls you through a good novel (or movie); without a strong relationship (or the underlying story-line), it is hard to get to end. Distractions come along.
Jan Magnuson –The priorities in my basic obedience/good manners classes are loose leash heeling, sit-stay, down-stay, come and sit-stay, and no bite. I agree, if folks can get these down pat, everything else tends to fall into place. Loose leash walking is imperative, as it is representative of the relationship between dog and handler (if the leash is relaxed, so is your relationship, if the leash is tense and strained, so is your relationship). Dogs that “do better off leash” feel they are in charge and do what pleases them, and if they mind it is because they happen to feel like it at the moment- that is not a trained dog. I like down-stays a lot because it is a subservient posture, the dog should learn to be totally relaxed so we do lots of these- we allow them to lie on one hip or their side and get their head and tummy rubbed, with lots of calm praise.
Get it done; Keep it Fun…
Never forget to have fun. If this becomes a grind, neither you nor the Weimaraner will enjoy it. If it becomes boring, there are always other things you want to do. Once these four things are mastered, you need to keep them sharp. It is not something you achieve and forget about; these are lifelong skills you take with you on the entire journey.
Note: We will discuss collars (and choices) in a later blog. There are many suitable styles of the regular (flat-collar) type. Collar purchases are more a fashion-statement than we like to admit. Hunters are field-fashion conscious. Some prefer a fine leather collar, while others prefer a durable plastic-based collar that resists dirt, odor, and fading. These collars wipe clean. They come in a variety of colors; fluorescent orange, fluorescent green, and fluorescent yellow are popular. Some hunters find the cammo collar a must-have accessory. One of our favorite vet techs saw a purple collar we had on a girl, and asked where we found it. There are other great colors too.
Here’s a photo of me and Geist on the drive home.
Breeder’s Note: Our suggestion is to keep the adjustment process simple. Nothing is more important than your relationship. Cliff recommends keeping any training session short–10 minutes is about right. You always want to end on a positive note, with success. If you don’t master the current command, go back to one the pup has mastered. Do that, and reward them by lavishing praise for their achievement.
The two areas that are an exception to these instructions are housebreaking and crate-training. These are the two areas where you must achieve compliance–get results. A casual approach usually ends up in frustration, and sometimes in failure. It takes commitment, clear direction, and a realistic approach. Freedom needs to be earned. That means, do not let the puppy run around without you having your eye on them. The misconception that the pup just went potty outside, therefore; they should be good for a half an hour is just that–a misconception. Pups that are running around could need to go potty again in ten minutes. They need constant supervision. They have to learn how to ‘hold-it’ until they get out. They have to decide that going outside to potty is the right approach. They have to go out (or want to go out) even when it is raining. A big part of achieving this is your attitude. If you, yourself, balk at going outside in the rain; they will feel the same. With rain commonplace in the Pacific Northwest, it is good to make going out in the rain a fun event.
Mastering crate-training will help facilitate your housebreaking efforts. When using the crate, your puppy will learn to wait to go potty outside. This is where using an appropriately-sized crate becomes important to achieving success. The kennel should be slightly larger than the puppy. That way, they cannot set up a bathroom area. Make every effort not to feel bad about using the crate, or the size of the crate. We could write a chapter on this one topic, but just trust us. The right-sized crate is going to be what is best for the Weimaraner puppy. Using the crate when you cannot have your eye on your puppy is smart. Then, the habit of eliminating inside the house doesn’t begin. Once the puppy discovers they can eliminate inside, this can become a battle of the wills. This, like many other unwanted behaviors, is best avoided. Freedom is earned. Don’t feel bad about these steps. The crate is not doggy jail, and accidents usually happen because of human error.
Some people hang a bell on the doorknob (that they ring) when they take the puppy outside to potty. Many people find this method a good approach. Soon the pup may run for the door and ring the bell to ask to go out. Eventually, the bell may need to go away because some Weimaraners will manipulate you using the bell-system. Early-on it can be a grand approach to getting the housebreaking accomplished.
Whatever you do–keep your approach simple. Over-thinking, and getting elaborate may confuse your puppy. Clear, concise, consistent actions will facilitate your efforts. Getting off to a good start is very important. We believe (and many of our clients will attest to this fact), that we have our OwyheeStar puppies set up for the initial housebreaking. Even if you were to get a bit older puppy, and housebreaking (and crate-training) had been mastered prior to their arrival, you will still need to approach the process as if they are a puppy. This is about learning the ropes, establishing a pattern, and your relationship. These are the first steps in gaining compliance, and earning your pup’s respect.
Blue Vs. Silver or Gray
I know I originally said I wanted either a Silver or gray Weimaraner. However, we both know it came down to two choices–1. Me changing to a silver gray female. 2. Me accepting a blue male.I must say, I wouldn’t trade my blue for any silver. I am an absolute convert.
Getting off to a good Start
Crate training is going well, he still whines a little at times but is getting much more stable. I have started nightly 10 minute obedience sessions. I’ve started with commands “here” and “sit”. What should the timeline be with these. And what should I work into our sessions next. I think he is going to he a great bird dog.
It continues to go well…
(September 25, 2013) Hey there Shela and Cliff. I am happy to report that Geist is doing wonderfully. We are working on leash manners, going on short walks throughout the day. He is getting used to the crate, a little whining still but he’s getting way better. He has mastered “Sit”, and “Here”, and can do “down” when he really thinks hard. He is just a pleasure to have around.
Another day — we are having fun together….
(September 26, 2013) Like you recommended, I have been making our obedience sessions 10 minutes in the evening before dinner, so he is food motivated. It seems like a good time amount of time so he doesn’t get discouraged. Lots of treats, and
praise. At the same time, I am slowing down the reward process for certain things once they are learned. Sit is getting less an less rewarded, and should be combined with other behaviors to get a frequent reward.
Do you guys have any tips and tricks for starting them walking on leash. I feel like that is a next step to work on. I have read a lot about correcting and improving leash behavior, but not about getting them to walk with the leash to begin with. He definitely spend the day a little testily, I’m not giving him an inch until its earned, but I can sense that he is trying to find the loopholes in my behavior. Such a smart little guy, but otherwise it wouldn’t be as fun.
Cliff’s Comment—Leash training is important. It will be an area you will find yourself challenged even once mastered. This is so important to master. Honestly, there is no shortcut, or tip that will prevent them from wanting to walk-ahead, pull on the lead, or not to heel. Of all the devices, and methods I have used, the Don Sullivan collar (when used correctly) works the best for getting compliance. If you want to learn more about this system, or to order it, please click here! When you use this correctly, compliance can be achieved in a quick manner. Other than using the right methods, the most important component of training is the human-element. Your connection, and your demeanor is going to make all the difference. We harp on the importance of crate-training and mastering leash compliance. There are very good reasons we continue to bring up these two topics. They are a cornerstone to on-going success. Almost without exception, failure to achieve success in these two areas will result in challenges (best avoided) down the road. 🙂