Starting off on the right track with your Weimaraner puppy or dog is going to be a key factor in developing the type of working and companionship relationship that this breed is famous for. As a somewhat dominant type of dog, the Weimaraner has to see the humans as the leaders, or the dog will simply assume the role. A happy Weimaraner knows that they are well loved members of the family, but that there is a leader, which has to be one of the people that are going to be involved in the dog's life.
Training the Weimaraner does pose its challenges to a person not familiar with the breed. Although they are slightly dominant, they are certainly not a highly headstrong dog and they love to please, striving to earn their handlers praise and attention. As such, they are a dog that bonds very closely with the people that work with it on a positive basis. Training a Weimaraner puppy has to be completed both firmly and consistently, but it must also be done with love and positive training rewards.
This breed is very sensitive to changes in the handler's emotions. This includes both the positive and negative aspects of emotional change. Changes in the tone of the handler's voice, their body posture and even their eye contact with the dog can signal either approval or displeasure. A Weimaraner that sees that the owner is not happy will avoid continuing on with the activity, often causing further frustration for the individual trying to complete the training. Over time, if this continues as a pattern, the Weimaraner may develop a helpless type of behavior, which is often translated into human terms of being lazy, non-compliant or even non-trainable. In reality the dog simply doesn't want to do anything that may cause the owner or handler to signal disapproval.
The way to prevent this issue from developing is to teach the Weimaraner in short, very specific training programs. Each training program, at least when first learning a command, should focus on one particular aspect of the command. Teaching each specific component then allows the dog to master that part, get rewarded, and move on to the next part. For example, if you are trying to teach the puppy the correct way to greet a person the first step would be teaching the come command. As soon as the puppy gets to you, give praise, regardless if they do something you don't want immediately after. Then the next step, teach come and sit when the dog gets in front of you. The third step may be come, sit and shake a paw or bring a toy.
If you did try to teach it all together and the puppy came but didn't sit, and you corrected the puppy for the not sitting component, next time they may not want to come either. Allowing the dog or puppy to always feel successful is key in working with the highly intelligent and emotionally attuned Weimaraner.
It will also be essential to start the Weimaraner puppy off on a leash and collar as soon as possible. This breed is a natural chaser and has an incredibly high prey instinct until completely socialized, and even then they will still be a high prey drive dog. Always keep the Weimaraner puppy on a leash when outside of the yard to prevent them from getting on a trail and taking off. Since recall off-leash is going to be difficult without practice, never allowing them to run off and not come back is really the best possible option.
Socialization is another very essential part of training a Weimaraner puppy. These dogs have very strong natural watch and guard dog instincts and they will actively and very loudly defend their property and their families. These dogs don't need to be trained to be family watchdogs, but they will need to be trained not to become aggressive and territorial towards people and other animals. A Weimaraner is not naturally aggressive with proper socialization, which means being around people as well as other animals. A puppy kindergarten class is very strongly recommended for these dogs, as are routine trips to dog parks and even fenced off-leash areas once the dog has basic obedience training mastered. Ongoing socialization throughout the Weimaraners life will ensure they are friendly and well adjust dogs when outside of their property and yards, yet still effective and very courageous watchdogs when at home.
Weimaraners are wonderful dogs with children, but as puppies they need to learn to stay calm and not to become too excited and high strung when playing with kids. Typically Weimaraner puppies raised with children will adjust to the sudden noises and movements of kids and will become a great companion pet for the children. Younger kids, especially those that are lighter and smaller than the dogs, need to be supervised when playing with the Weimaraner to prevent any accidental injury. The kids should also be involved in obedience training after the Weimaraner has mastered the command so the dog understands that the child is also a leader in the family.
Always plan for lots of exercise breaks before, during and after the short training sessions. The Weimaraner is a high focus dog which may mean that you have to work training around distractions. Look for relatively quiet places to teach new commands, then add distractions once the puppy knows what is expected. Since the dogs love to please, they make ideal competitors in all types of events.
Retrieving, pointing and hunting are natural skills that the breed exhibits and will need little in the way of training. Some trainers recommend that those Weimaraner that are going to be trained as hunting dogs learn best by watching and working with already trained Weimaraners. This ability to observe and learn is not common within the canine world, but it certainly does exist in several breeds, including the Weimaraner. Joining a gun dog club or a hunting dog club is often the best option, but be sure there are experienced Weimaraner owners in the club to help you in your hunting training program.
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