Information for New Dog Owners
When You Arrive At Home
Please make it a good, positive start. Know what your rules are beforehand and help you Weim to learn them. A quiet introduction to the rest of your family will set a precedent for quiet and joyful greetings. Teach your children that your Weimaraner has rights and deserves respect. It is his crate and they are his toys.
NEVER leave a small child unattended with your dog.
When you arrive at your home, take your Weim outside to the area you have designated for him to relieve himself. Always give him praise when he relieves himself outside. Bring him inside on a leash and walk through the entire house. Give him a chance to sniff and investigate each room while he is on the leash. Let everyone quietly pet him for a few minutes, then crate him for 20 to 30 minutes so everyone has a chance to calm down. After this quiet time, let him out to explore his new home. Watch him! Nervous dogs urinate more frequently. Show him where his water bowl will be kept and offer him a drink. Keep the tone calm and quiet. Begin teaching! If you Weim is not allowed on your furniture, tell him “NO! OFF!” as he approaches. You may need to repeat this several times. He may have been a couch potato in his previous home. Do give him a place to cuddle. A folded blanket on the floor or a dog bed in the family room can be “his place.” Get down on the floor and pet him quietly.
Entering a new home is stressful for a dog. You can help by keeping it quiet and controlled. Use the crate. He already knows from his foster home that this is his own safe place. He can observe and process how your family lives without getting into trouble. Set the crate up in the room where people gather in your home so he doesn’t feel alone. Put his blanket and a chew toy in the crate for him; the blanket is familiar and the chewing helps relieve stress. It’s better that he chews his toy than the leg of your antique table.
When he comes out of his crate, take him outside for few minutes. Always give him praise when he relieves himself outside. Stressed out dogs need to relieve themselves more frequently. Few Weims bark to go out; most simply pace near the door. Some simply stand looking at the door. Be watchful. If an accident happens, tell him “NO! OUTSIDE!” and take him out, even if he’s “through”. Clean up the accident and treat the spot with water mixed with white vinegar or a product like “Outright Simple Solution” or “Nature’s Miracle”. If you didn’t catch him in the act, take him to the accident, slap the floor and tell him “NO! BAD DOG!” and take him outside. Always give him praise when he relieves himself outside.
When You Play with Your Weimaraner
WHEN YOU PLAY WITH YOUR Weimaraner, you are teaching him. Puppies and older dogs learn through play. NEVER set up a contest between you and your dog! He needs to know that HE IS NOT ALLOWED TO CHALLENGE YOU. Never play tug-of-war games. Never tease him with a toy or encourage him to take you hand, arm or shirt in his mouth. This can only lead to biting. NEVER WRESTLE OR ROUGH HOUSE WITH HIM. Sooner or later, he’ll decide to win. If play gets too rough, STOP PLAYING and put him in his crate until he calms down.
Teach him good games. Teach him to fetch. It is good exercise. (No tug of war when he brings the fetched item back to you.) Teach him to come when he’s called and to recognize your voice by a playing “hide and seek” with him. Make the hiding spots harder as he gets better. Teach him to jump a log and to walk a balance beam in your yard. It’s wonderful for building self-confidence. Praise him warmly when he succeeds. Be creative, but never be a competitor. Build his confidence and ear his trust and respect.
A Word About Feeding
Some of our Rescue Weims have had the misfortune of not getting enough to eat. Some have had more than their share. The feeding instructions sent home with your dog have been carefully selected to meet his needs. Please follow them carefully. Dry food must be soaked in water for 20 minutes before feeding to help prevent bloating. It is human nature to show love with food, but overfeeding is not in you Weim’s best interest. Obesity puts additional stress on the joints and heart muscles. It shortens the life span of your dog.Remember, his mother let him know he was loved and cared for and never overfed him!
Try to feed him in a quiet spot on a fairly consistent schedule. Pets should not be fed together. They are animals and it is their nature to fight over food. Put each dish down in a separate room if at all possible. This allows each pet time to eat at their own pace and to eat just their own food. Put his food dish down and let him eat for 30 minutes. If he hasn’t finished by that time, remove the food and let him wait until the next meal. Remember to take him outside after meals. Use treats meant for dogs (not people food) as rewards, but use them sparingly. An affectionate rubbing or scratching gets the message across without calories. Other low calorie treats some Weims enjoy are ice cubes, and small pieces of some fruits and vegetables.
Correcting Undesirable Behavior
Chances are your Weim has a few undesirable behavior traits. It’s the most frequent reason for Weims being in Rescue. He wants to be a good dog, but no one has taught him how. A bit further on there are specific suggestions for correcting specific behaviors, but first some general, but very important information…….
Dogs, like their wolf ancestors, are pack animals. The pack has a leader, and ALPHA dog. This ALPHA dog makes the decisions, passes out reprimands, praises appropriate behavior and keeps the pack feeling secure because someone is in charge. It is good go be ALPHA.Your dog already knows this. Now you know it, too. And knowing it, you MUST decide to be ALPHA yourself, or your dog will take over the job (and your life). You are his pack and you are his ALPHA. The alternative is an ill-mannered, unruly dog that will not be at all enjoyable and will most likely end up back in rescue.
How does one act ALPHA? Be firm, be fair, and be forgiving. (forgiving, but not excusing) Establish eye contact with your dog. Use a firm, deep voice when correcting. Do not let him break the rules one time and correct him the next. Be consistent. Praise warmly when he’s a good dog. DO NOT HIT THE DOG WITH ANYTHING INCLUDING YOUR HAND. It only encourages aggression and is beneath your intelligence. If you mush physically correct him (and you probably will), grab his collar on each side of his head, scowl in his eyes, lift him a bit off the floor (front feet only), and shake him from side to side twice. Shake firmly, but not viciously. This imitates the corrections his mother used on him, so it is language he understands. Always use the least amount of correction that will get the job done. Start with a firm NO! Save the big guns for when you need them. That’s ALPHA.
A Basic Obedience Class is a Must
We can help you find one. It is worth the expense and the effort. It will speed the bonding process, establish your ALPHA status, socialize your dog, and build self-confidence in both of you. You will have a well behaved Weimaraner that is welcome anywhere. On top of all this, obedience training is fun for you and your Weim!!
It will take about 2-6 months for the bonding and adjustment period to be complete. KEEP YOU WEIM ON A LEASH AT ALL TIMES unless inside your fenced yard. PLEASE KEEP HIS RESCUE TAG AND NYLON COLLAR ON HIM AT ALL TIMES. DO NOT LEAVE A CHOKE CHAIN ON HIM UNLESS HE IS ON A LEASH WITH YOU AT THE OTHER END. CHOKE CHAINS ARE NOT MEANT TO BE USED AS IDENTIFICATION COLLARS. Dogs have choked themselves to death when left in a choke chain that got caught and the dog tried to escape. YOU WILL NEED HIS RABIES CERTIFICATE AND PROOF OF SPAY OR NEUTER TO OBTAIN A CITY ANIMAL REGISTRATION LICENSE. The cost is usually $7.00 per year and is required by law in most municipalities.
Take him for walks around your neighborhood. When you get near home, say excitedly “HOME!” and run toward the door. He needs to know where home is. Teach him to ride quietly in the back seat of your car and take him with you as often as you can. Be careful in hot weather. Cars can become death traps as the temperature climbs. If you must leave him for more than 10 minutes in the car while you shop, leave him at home in hot weather. He will take his cue from you. You are ALPHA, remember?! Praise him when he is good. Correct him appropriately when he is not. Teach him the right way. Love him unconditionally as he loves you. Stay ALPHA.
Changing Inappropriate Behavior
Jumping Up. Greet him calmly and quietly when you return home. Ask him to sit, and then pet him with long, slow strokes and a soothing voice. If he jumps up, grab his collar and swing him to the side so that his four feet are on the floor. Then ask him to sit and pet him as above.
Mouthing. Many Weims, especially young ones, take your hand or arm gently in their mouth when excited. It is never permissible for your dog to put his teeth on you for any reason. A firm “NO! NO BITE!” followed by a scowling face and a collar correct should do the trick. As soon as he settles down, praise and pet him quietly. Repeat as needed; it takes awhile to break his habit.
Countertops & Tabletops. If the table is a problem at mealtime, crate him until the family is finished. Watch closely for countertop exploration. When he begins to sniff the countertop, say “NO! OFF!” If he gives up, praise him. It also helps o remove temptation by putting away all food in the household.
Chewing is a stress relieving pass time for dogs. They also chew when teething and seating new teeth, and sometime just for fun. Provide plenty of acceptable chew toys such as rawhide, chew hooves, and safe chew toys. If he chews on anything else, say “NO!” firmly, take the object away and present him with his own toy. He will eventually learn what is allowed, but it will take some time, so be patient. Do crate him when you are out of the house and unable to watch him.
Barking Excessively. As your Weim come to believe his good fortune at having a wonderful master and a safe new home, he will probably become protective of “his” house and warn you when “intruders” approach. One or two barks is appreciated, more is a nuisance. Praise him after the first few barks, to let him know that you are please with him as a watchdog. To stop his barking tell him, “Enough”.