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 an important thing. They allow their Weimaraner to abscond and run around the yard with the toy or the bumper. Yes, this is a hoot–although it is just one more Weim antic, this is one we suggest you not allow to take root.
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 upon 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!
When you first bring your puppy home, there is so much going on, and the atmosphere is ethereal. It is hard to stay focused or to decide what is most important. Housebreaking and crate training is at the top of the list; however, a little retrieving work is a smart investment.
Cliff suggests you find a place to do this exercise. One place 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.
Weather Permitting the OwyheeStar puppy will see the water before they depart. Nevertheless, this is not going to ensure they will swim. It will still require time, effort, and patience to get your Weimaraner to swim most of the time. A few suddenly jump in but don’t expect it to happen that way.
With the solid retrieve, you can begin working along the edges of a pond and very slowly ease them into the water beyond their comfort. 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.
Imagine the possibilities!
The Water Retrieve
Ringo loves Lake Michigan this summer (and Oakie still does too)!
Abbey Comments on Ringo’s Tail
We love it, and it’s never been an issue or gotten in the way. He gives us great big wags every time we get home. Oakie has a short tail, and it startles us every time we visit.
Swimming is an excellent summer activity. It is cooling but also great exercise as well as being easy on the joints. You might notice that Ringo sports the undocked tail. Nick and Abbey requested the undocked tail. Oakley is Nick’s parent’s Weimaraner, and he has the traditional docked tail. They didn’t get him from us, so that is about all I know about him.
For those just took home a Mesquite X Stackhouse puppy, Ringo is from a previous litter born to the same parents. The undocked tail preference upsets a lot of people. Others feel you should be allowed to have a tail undocked by choice. In many countries, tail docking and ear-cropping are either illegal or discouraged. Personal preferences run deep.
Before The Swim
Here are three pictures before the swimming part happened. My daughter, Libby, threw the ball and not one of the three dogs (she has two-Merle, a black lab, and Millie, a Burmese mountain dog) would go get it. Merle loves sticks and doesn’t really care about balls. Millie is eight and she just thinks water is not that great. Only Stella would consider saving her orange ball. It was so hilarious! Eventually, she did it!
I thought I’d pass along two videos. Video_1 is her first moment of realizing that she can swim and the Video is actually the next day when she’s got it down pat and we are in a different part of Bend.
Then This Happened!
We are really lucky to live in a place that is very welcoming to dogs. We have lots of trails and water areas that she’s been experiencing. I love the persistence Stella shows in video_1 where you can almost see her thinking, I can do this! We love our sweet girl.Have a great week! ❤️ jill
This is our Dutch dog. From the very beginning, you could tell he was going to be a great hunter. But to tell you the truth he’s always going to be my kid. When he was just a babe I started him out young training him with pheasant wings and of course ‘the ball.’ Dutch wouldn’t stop..and in his training he became great.
I decided about three years ago to teach him how to swim. ( Oh, he was 2 years old when he first swam. ) Mind you he always liked the water. Short hairs usually don’t like the water but he’s a mix* because his Dad is a Longhair. I’d thought I’d risk it. We live on some pretty big water in Boring, Oregon along the Sandy River. The day was hot and water just right. I started him off slow throwing him a stick a little farther each time. After a few trial by error and gulps of water Dutch learned to raise his head and use that long whipping tail as a rudder. By that rate I couldn’t stop him from taking the plunge, jumping in and swimming against the strong currents. Dutch is unstoppable. Thank you, soo much for the joy you’ve brought into our lives. He’s really such a great dog! 😘 ~ Bonney
From Bonney’s Mom–Jane
Dutch has been the best of all the Weimaraners that we have owned. Some of that may be due to our own growth in how to train a hunting dog, but most of it has to do with his personality.He plays alone with a stick ball or blanket…throwing it up into the air and pouncing on it, tossing it and chasing it on his own while he spins, jumps and prances.He plays well with other dogs, too and will lower himself to their level if they are small breeds.Of course, we treat him like a human member of our family, but he has his own dog bed and toys. Bonney has assisted greatly in his training to hold or stay. He will allow Sam to walk around the area while he is on point (hold) and Dutch loves to dive into the brush to retrieve. He does not like to come back empty handed. He has also been swimming in the Colorado River and loves the water.Mom’s dog, Molly, was born about 12 days after Dutch. Mom and Bonney keep me up to date!
At OwyheeStar Earlier This Year
The Sadie X Stackhouse Litter
The First Swim
I posted this video on Facebook yesterday. I never gave it much thought, but it deserves an explanation. There are six puppies; four are Longhairs. Of the six, five have the natural European-style tail–full length. This tail length is typical around the world for the Longhairs–and it is the Breed Standard. You may have noticed that the one Blue Ghost puppy has a full-length tail too. It was by request.
The traditional undocked puppy requires advance notice. We have a very specific protocol for this situation. I will forego the details here, other than to say we require a larger deposit for the obvious reasons. The number of inquiries regarding the undocked tail continues to increase each year.
Introducing Something New
The pups had never seen more than their water dish. Cliff set them in the water as gentle as possible. They all swam. The Weimaraner has webbed toes, and it should be noted that they are often excellent swimmers. When introducing them to water, it is important to be sure they don’t get spooked. Cliff uses lots of patience when he is working an older pup or an adult into the water. Obviously, you cannot carry them out into the water and then set them gently as Cliff did with the pups.
It is important not to spook them. The best technique is to engrain the love of the retrieve from and early age. This obsession with the retrieve works in your favor to get them into the water. A pond with sloping sides is ideal. First, get them retrieving along the water’s edge. Gradually you will ease them out where they must go beyond the bottom. This process could take a couple of days or weeks. With patience, any Weimaraner can learn to swim.
Here is Stackhouse
~ another Longhair
Keep In Mind
All Weimaraners have the potential to take to the water. It takes a bit of knack and patience. Our puppy imprinting does guarantee success–nor does it hurt the process. The retrieving and water-work sometimes get cast to the side during the flurry of early adjustment. There are so many things pulling at the process it is easy to forget a few. Socialization (a lot of touches in a safe way), exposure to noise, ingraining the love of the retrieve (not playing keep away) as well as engaging the pup with water are equally important. Balancing everything you are trying to accomplish–the basics we keep talking about and a lot more while doing it in the right manner is not a small task. It is important to spook them and create a fear of people, places, or situations. Some pups are more sensitive to stimuli, and others let it roll off their back. Approach the process with caution staying optimistic and upbeat. Small steps to success will get you results. Preconceived ideas should be shelved. See what you can become together.
A Tired Weim is a Good Weim
~Thank God, it’s Friday!
Seriously, that saying is one that is commonplace. It has merit. With the high-energy young Weimaraner, you may find yourself challenged to find age appropriate exercise ideas.
Seriously, that saying (about how exhaustion is directly related to the Weim’s behavior) is one that is commonplace. It has merit. With the high-energy young Weimaraner, you may find yourself challenged to find age appropriate exercise ideas. For the long distance runner, the obvious seems to be to hit the trails. Nevertheless, caution is in order. If you are a serious athlete (who goes the distance), you want to get longevity from your Weim’s hips and joints. Therefore, you need to be careful not to overrun the pup’s development and growth–their growth plates do not close until about 15 months. That is a sobering thought.
Age-appropriate exercise is up for interpretation–like all things subjective. Nevertheless, the high-impact frisbee, agility-type activity, and distances of more than 3 miles should be limited. The latter is most important if the run is on the pavement; however, even pounding the dirt trail can be damaging to those developing joints. We have always suggested you set the Weimaraner up for the longer distances once they are done growing by making better choices–swimming is a favorite. The high-energy Weimaraner can always benefit from being able to water retrieve. Long after the growth plates have closed they will have plenty of energy. If they love to fetch and swim this will be a plus in so many ways.
Insurance for your Weimaraner is a good idea–at least major medical. This is especially true for the serious athlete. A torn ACL is expensive to surgically repair. It is said if a ligament problem develops on the left side, the other side may also suffer the same fate. There are other injuries that are equally expensive to treat. Lurking in the background is the risk of bloat–thank goodness, we have only known of a couple of cases in the OwyheeStar Weims. Nevertheless, it is always a risk with this breed. It is also very costly to treat. Should it strike, it is an emergency situation–which may not end well. No one can guarantee such a fate will not visit your household, but to have it do so would (most assuredly) mean to wish you had gotten the insurance.
The Weimaraner can go the distance once they have finished growing. Your faithful running companion should be by your side for a goodly number of years. Consider that hip replacement and other repairs are an option. You might check the insurance to see what it covers and discuss this with your Veterinary office professionals. The person that does the billing will know which insurance pays best and typically have a recommendation.
Luna– does it all!
Luna, pictured above and at the top, has many favored activities on land as well as water. She does it all. She is kid friendly and the hostess with the mostest (if you know what we mean). To say she is popular would be a vast understatement. Her life is indeed exhausting. She has a myriad of responsibilities that is mind-boggling. We thank her for all she does for her family and others.
Joins Skeeter Valentine
~ At the Pool
January 23, 2017–Kaliece wrote
Hi! Wow, time flies.
So Virgil is doing great and I just can’t be more pleased with my Skeeter girl. She has accepted him so well and for the most part is really helpful in his training…except when she’s not haha. They are going to be best friends forever. So I have been doing loose leash training with Virgil and it is soooo beneficial to start from the get-go. He totally gets it, now the human needs to continue to follow through haha.Skeeter is really helpful in this area as she stays by me for the most part. So, super excited about this…
I booked Virgil’s swim assessment at Paw’s aquatic on February 2nd. I’m trying to make it so Skeeter can swim at the same time.
We captured this you tube video so we could let you know how it went. We’re excited to see him swim–thought he did great for his first time.
It is great to hear from you and to see Virgil doing so well with training. We are glad you were able to have them swim in tandem. It is going to be great fun for all concerned. Thank you, for keeping us in the loop.
New Things Take Time
Hi and happy fall!
Just a quick note to let you know we have found an indoor pool with regulation dock diving dock and have taken Skeeter there twice in the last month. It is primarily a rehab clinic for dogs, but the owner also opens it up for recreational swims and dock diving practice.
The first time was a swim assessment and she passed with flying colors. The second visit was to work on getting her to jump off the dock. The first time or two it took a lot of coaxing but then the next time she jumped. After that, she began to hesitate again. The trainer said that was entirely expected. I know once she gets over that initial fear she’s going to fly!
I have included a video. 😮 Unfortunately, she required coaxing for the most part. She will gain confidence and become an excellent dock diver with time.
Skeeter’s Practive Dock Dive
We Lost Kava
Oh, by the way, Skeeter lost her best friend about six weeks ago. Our Kava was put down due to a liver mass. At thirteen years, I couldn’t see putting her through anything just for me. She was suddenly VERY ill. Therefore, the decision to let her go came without notice.
We were both so sad to see her go. Skeeter got sick after that for about a week. It was worrisome. She had severe bloody stress diarrhea. We had to put her on IV fluids and injectable meds due to vomiting. We couldn’t find any medical reason for her illness. Maybe just grief and that stress. Poor girl. Obviously much better now!
Thanks for Skeeter Valentine and you take care, Kaliece
Breeder’s Comment: We are pleased that Skeeter is learning to dock dive. It is an excellent opportunity. She appears to be getting comfortable with the process. Soon, it will be second nature. Maybe the two of you will end up on television.
We were very sad to learn of your loss of Kava. We know it is hard for everyone. Thank you, for taking care of Skeeter on every level. We hope the two of you find great joy together.
Dear Shela and Cliff
I love hearing about other people’s Weims; it is no surprise that someone finds the challenge more than they expected–even shocking. Well, this ain’t no French poodle! Ha ha.
Letting the Weim Run Things
Training is On-going
Battles are Few; Our Bond is Tight
… yesterday we swam for the first time!
I often bemoan the fact that we don’t have a swimming pool. The pool would be useable year round; nevertheless, the farm pond works well to swim these guys. Above you see Shiny’s first swim. Our foremost goal is to implant the experience on their young spirit. Secondly, we would like them to have a good experience. Finally, we love it when we can get them to swim to the bank.
Returning to the house
…and the after the swim we unload with Deven
The pups are wet and anxious to get back where they feel safe. Not that they hated the swim, but it was out of their comfort zone. With the Weimaraner, we encourage you to keep doing things to expand their comfort zone. The more adaptable they become, the better for all concerned. The change-up idea is a good to visit for any routine. If the Weimaraner’s viewpoint of what should happen becomes set in stone, you may well find yourself hugely challenged to change their mind. For example, feeding routine, bedtime, the time you come home or leave, and the placement of their food dish. These are only a few of the things that can become concrete in the Weim’s way of thinking. It is ideal to get them to realize that change is good because we all know it (change) does come even when we resist it.