~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.
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.
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.
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!
A Few Final Thoughts
- Weims who balk at the sight of rain or a sprinkler often achieve the swim.
- Don’t go in with the *pre-conceived idea that it cannot be achieved.
- Select the venue to work on this carefully.
- Go in with the idea it takes as long as it takes.
- Make this part of your young pup’s agenda.
- If you *failed to achieve the swim early on, don’t believe it is impossible.
- Some people use a life vest**. The vests are not necessary.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Breeder’s Note: We had had this in file for some time as you see. Easter Sunday certainly was not all that warm, but it looks like they were having fun. We hope you agree that sharing this now is not too late in the game; better late than never, right?