The Art of James Mellick: Weimaraner Behavior
Weimaraner Behavior by James Mellick
The following is written on the basis of questions I've been asked and observations of Weimaraner behavior over the years. These attributes may not be unique to the Weimaraner alone. If you have seen the hilarious movie "Best of Show", it does not mean that the Weimaraner personality has to match the high strung personalities of the Yuppie couple showing that breed in the movie. I will say that training is everything . If you are permissive in the upbringing of human children, the Weimaraner is smart in recognizing every opportunity to get their way and you may soon have a problem on your hands. They will remember the time they were allowed on the couch or bed, to ride in the front seat of the car or take food scraps at the table. They are a working dog and want to please the owner, so on the flip side, they learn quickly and are trainable as long a the owner establishes who is boss in the relationship. If you are neurotic, you will probably create a neurotic dog. The following is not the "Gospel truth" nor is it a guarantee. These are just some of my observations.
Weimaraners and Children
My daughter soon became pregnant a year after adopting one of our female Weims from our first litter. (I often warn young couples that as soon as the nurturing instinct kicks in with a puppy, their human baby is soon to follow). Their dog Haley was curious when the baby came home and would stick her nose in the cradle. Then she became protective of the new family member and would sleep at the foot of the cradle and would become concerned when the baby cried. I can not speak for all dogs of the breed but I've only heard good things from the Hamlet and Holly's pups and children.
In a situation where a puppy is coming into an established family order, the dog will be recessive and there is less adjustment to the "pecking order".
The Weimaraner wants to be and will think of themselves as member of the family. They want to be where it is happening and I find them very good and tolerant with children within reason. Nobody likes to have their ears pulled. For quick introductions, I advise letting visiting children offer the dog a throw toy or a biscuit. They are very much "the friend of my friend is my friend" and they will remember.
My greatest concern for young children are the energetic (but usually agile) movements of the well meaning Weimaraner. The toddler can easily be knocked over by an affectionate Weim. These dogs are expressive with their front paws and this is how some get your attention. My female Holly is bad about the use of her paws and has the impact of a three-year-old running into my groin area (ouch). Sharp, newly cut and un-filed toe nails can scrape and cut. They need to be trained not to jump up on people and I usually do that with a gentle knee to their chest and a stern "No".
The Weimaraner's greatest danger to children is knocking them down in the energetic rush to be friendly. The dog wants to be by your side and have to be told to follow, especially when on the stairs.
The crate can be the dogs "den" and place of security. On the first floor living area, our male Weim often retreats to his crate to sleep. When potty training, the key is to start early for a pup who will not want to mess in his space.
Don't associate the pen only with punishment or "time out" though this is a good use of the crate. After the pup has done his duties outdoors, bring him in and reward him going into the crate with a biscuit for positive reinforcement. Make sure the crate has plenty of room for the dog and a chew toy.
Need for Companionship
In my lifetime I've had a German Shepherd, St. Bernard, Irish Setter, Labrador and several mixed-breed dogs and I find the Weimaraner to be the most dependent on being near you constantly. If my Weims think that something is up, they follow me from room to room like school of gray sharks. I call it "schooling". They don't want to miss out on the action.
A Lab is content to be separated in a different room of the house. The Weim needs to be where you are. If I go upstairs, they go upstairs. If I go to the bedroom to take a nap, in a few moments they are asking to get on the bed.
I do not recommend penning the Weimaraner out doors. They will dig under or climb over the fence. They are a great field dog but they are a family dog first and want to be a part of the family.
If you can't stand these "gray children" constantly following you around, don't get one. They want to be near you when you sleep, work and eat. They become excited when you put on your coat or see a leash. They go crazy when they hear the words "ride" or "walk". That is why we have to spell these words when they are listening--no kidding.
Other Dog Companions
I think they make a great "second dog". Having another dog of any breed relieves some of the pressure of constantly entertaining them when they are not snoozing. If they have to be left at home for longer periods of time, the companionship of another dog will relieve the separation anxiety. It depends on the dog. I leave my male Weim in a crate when I'm out of the house but can allow my female to roam free for hours at a time when we are away.
Two Weims At a Time?
I do not recommend having two Weim puppies at a time, especially if siblings because they are apt to bond to each other before they bond to you and will make for difficult training. It is better to get a second Weim after the first has had a year of maturation and training because the puppy will learn good and bad habits from the older dog. We acquired our female as a puppy when our stud male was three years old. She would curl up on top of him to sleep. Not only are they a breeding pair (from unrelated blood lines) but they are also best of friends. They only become obnoxious during the "heat" season.
More to come..........