Any breed of dog will potentially have behavioral issues, especially during their teenage stage that typically occurs between one and two years of age. At this time young dogs, particularly those with more dominant temperaments such as the Weimaraner, will test the human's ability to be the leader of the pack. This testing is usually fairly predictable and includes simply ignoring the owner, refusing to follow commands or showing challenging types of behaviors. This may include play growling at the family during games, attempting to be the leader, and becomes a bit of a bossy dog with the other pets, dogs, kids or people that are not seen as the alpha leader.
The Weimaraner absolutely requires consistent and firm training and this needs to begin immediately when the puppy is brought home. By setting firm boundaries with the puppy, many potential challenges and difficulties can be avoided. Unfortunately most of the Weimaraners that end up in rescues or shelters are turned into the facilities because the owners did not spend time with the dogs and allowed the dogs to see themselves as the leaders. A Weimaraner that believes that he or she is running the show can be very destructive in his or her behaviors as well as impossible to work with unless training starts from the beginning and works forward.
One of the first steps that have to be mastered with a young Weimaraner is to teach him or her the correct way to great people. These very loving dogs will learn bad habits such as jumping up, putting their paws on people and even leaping right at people in their excitement to greet the family. This behavior is seen, at least by the dog, as a joyful greeting. For the family it is both a nuisance as well as dangerous as a fully mature Weimaraner can weigh up to 70 pounds. Weimaraners will also have to be properly socialized with other people, as they can become very prone to excessive barking, growling and lunging at people they see as potential threats to the property or family. Even a very well socialized Weimaraner will typically be rather reserved around strangers, at least for the first few meetings.
Problematic barking is typically of most breeds of dogs that are bored, neglected and not properly exercised and trained. As with any other breed, Weimaraners can turn to barking as a way to entertain themselves if they are left alone for prolonged periods of time. The natural protective instinct of the Weimaraner does make them a possible candidate for becoming a problem barker, but there are steps that owners can take to prevent this issue from developing. Always be sure to exercise the Weimaraner before he or she is left alone. While some Weimaraners do have separation anxiety issues, the vast majority of dogs can learn to stay at home, alone, during the day while the family is at work. The key is that the dog has routine, regular attention for the rest of the time that the family is home. Dogs that feel loved, have interactions with the family and feel that they are a part of the family typically do not develop barking problems.
Separation anxiety is occasionally seen in the Weimaraner, as with any dog that has been selectively bred as a companion pet. Separation anxiety can develop because of a change in schedule, a change in the family, or even a move to a new house or location. For Weimaraners, separation anxiety can be problematic if the person they see as "their person", the person the dog is most bonded too, suddenly changes their schedule or even moves away. For some Weimaraners separation anxiety can also occur when kids go back to school after a summer off at home with the dog.
Minor issues with separation anxiety can typically be corrected by getting the dog into a new routine that is very consistent. Spending additional time with the dog but not fussing over the dog can also be very helpful. Breaking up time alone for the pet with a walk or a visit from someone the dog trusts can also help prevent them from becoming as anxious when left alone. Typically within a week or so of any changes, providing the routine has again stabilized, the minor issues with separation anxiety should fade out. Extra exercise will not prevent separation anxiety, but it may help the dog feel that he or she has more contact time with the owner or a person that the dog trusts.
Major separation anxiety can be a serious concern as the dog will become distraught and destructive if left alone. These dogs will pace, chew, bark, stop eating and appear to be hyperactive all the time when left alone. Dogs will become literally frantic in running through the house over and over to look for owners that are not present. Medications and gradual desensitization to being left alone can be helpful over the short and long term, but it is important to get help from a trainer or vet immediately. Some herbal treatments such as Bach Flower remedies can help with holistic and natural treatments for anxiety.
With the bonding that occurs between the Weimaraner and the family, rehoming these dogs can be a real concern once they have matured to the adult dog stage. Some Weimaraners will rehomed very well and are suitable for adoption, while others never really completely bond with a new family. Since this is an issue with the breed, it is essential that prospective owners understand and commit to these outstanding dogs before making the decision to bring a puppy home.
Many Weimaraners are true escape artists. They are smart enough to figure out how to open some types of gates and latches, plus they are also athletic enough to jump and even climb to get out of many different types of fences. Wire around the bottom of the fence may also be necessary to prevent the dogs from attempting to dig out, however like with the barking issue, preventative steps that work on the dog's behavior are often the most effective. Routine playtime, interaction and training as well as lots of routine exercise are typically all that is needed to keep the Weimaraner happy in their own yard.
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