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Michigan Weimaraner Rescue Inc.

Know Your Weimaraner Breed

WCA Quiz Link Do You Want a Weim? Before You Get a Weim
Is a Weim the Right Dog For You? Vegas' Letter Suggested Reading and Other Links
Questions to Ask Your Breeder

Weimaraners do not come with printed instructions. It is up to the person to learn to manage both the instinctual and the learned behaviors. This will provide guidance, but you must learn about Weim behavior and master basic training methods if you are to have the most pleasurable experience from sharing your life with your Weim.

Do You Really Want a Weimaraner?

The Weimaraner is a short coated, gray dog, whose colors range from a light silver gray to dark gray. The eyes are always blue at birth, and then turn to light amber as the dog ages. The females are usually between 23 and 25 inches at the shoulder, and will normally weigh between 50 and 70 pounds. The males are larger, between 25 and 27 inches at the shoulder, and weighing between 60 and 80 pounds, on average. Some Weimaraners are larger or smaller than these norms

The breed is used for hunting pheasant, quail, grouse, and other upland game birds, and for waterfowl. Because of the lack of a thick, insulating coat, many people consider the Weim to be a poor choice for a duck dog, due to the extreme conditions a great deal of duck hunting is done, but in more moderate temperatures, they are excellent swimmers, and will retrieve to hand, in or out of the water. They are bred for intelligence and stamina, and are able to work all day in the field. They love to work and play, and have seemingly endless energy. When not working, they are part of the family, and expect to be included in everything that the family does.

Although they excel at hunting, they are also used in obedience, tracking, as show dogs, drug detector dogs, in pet facilitated therapy, and as companions. They are a versatile dog with the brains and energy to do almost anything.
Does this sound like the dog you are looking for? Then read on.

The Weimaraner Personality
The following pretty well describes a typical Weimaraner:

Intelligent, Loyal and Dependable, Responsive, Fun-loving, Takes charge if no one else does, Stubborn, Highly Energetic, Spiteful, Demanding, Good with Children, A good Watch Dog, Strong Willed, Bossy, A Good Friend, Very Devoted to its Family, Mischievous, Very Sensitive

Are You Confused?
The Weimaraner is at times almost human. The degree of any of these traits depends upon several things. How the dog is raised and trained has a big influence.

A Weimaraner knows that someone should be in charge, and be the leader. If no one in the family takes that role, the dog will happily take over the role. However, when one of the family is in charge, the Weimaraner will accept his role as a family member.

Weims at the beach

Will a Weimaraner Fit Into Your Lifestyle?
If you are a couch potato, or live in a small apartment, a Weimaraner would not be a good idea. The dog would soon become a problem to live with, and neither of you would be happy.
If you like moderate exercise, such as walking, and/or have a fenced yard where you can let the dog run safely, yes, it could work out well for both of you.

If you cannot say NO, and mean it, or set boundaries of acceptable behavior, do not get a Weimaraner. He would soon take over the running of your home and life.

If you want an intelligent, stimulating companion that will require daily sessions of attention, training, togetherness and fun, the Weimaraner might be a good choice. If, on the other hand, you want a dog that sits quietly and waits for you to notice it, you should look for another breed. You must understand and appreciate the love that this dog will lavish on you, and not feel that the dog is too demanding.

This is a breed that you will either love or hate. Spend as much time around Weimaraners as you can, before you decide if this is the breed for you. You must be willing and able to make a financial commitment, as well, to ensure your dog’s long, healthy life.

How Much Training Will Be Needed?
The time required for training will depend on two things:
What you want to teach – housebreaking, basic manner, tricks, advanced obedience work, retrieving, etc.
How you train – patience, praise, consistency and repetition work best with a Weimaraner.

Raven enjoys the lake! Raven loves the lake!

To develop the Weimaraner's potential as a most enjoyable companion, you must devote time for serious and consistent training. To get the calm, wonderful temperament you may have seen in other Weimaraners, you must plan on socializing your pup at an early age. Your breeder will have already started the process, but you must do your job, too. It is strongly recommended that you attend at least a puppy socialization class and a basic obedience class with your Weimaraner. The exercise and the socialization will be good for both of you; it will help to establish that you are in charge, it speeds the bonding process, and improves the dog’s self-confidence. All this happens while you are learning useful skills and having fun. An eight-week basic obedience class is the kindest gift you can give to your Weimaraner.

Weimaraners can learn to do almost anything. Weim owners tell stories of their dogs who can turn on faucets to get a drink, open doors, even one who has figured out how to turn on the microwave. They can open the typical fence gate latch in a flash. They can learn as many tricks as you (or they) can think of.

Weimaraners are generally easy to housebreak and crate train, because they like to be clean with their personal habits, and like to have a place that is theirs. Many breeders will have begun this elementary training before the pups leave for their new homes.

Weimaraners tend to suffer from “Separation Anxiety”, causing excessive barking, destructive chewing, etc., when left alone. They must be conditioned at an early age, to be left alone for short periods of time, daily.

Most Weimaraner owners and breeders would be delighted to have you visit their homes, and see their adult dogs in a home setting. One of the biggest mistakes people make, is that they buy a cute little puppy, with no idea what that puppy is going to grow up to be. A visit to a home with adult dogs is the best way to learn, for any breed, not just Weimaraners. You can also meet Weims and Weim owners at local dog shows or kennel clubs. Any member of the Southern Michigan Weimaraner Club will gladly talk to you about their experiences with Weimaraners.
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Before You Get a Weim: About the Breed

WORDS OF WISDOM FROM GINA GRISSOM

Gina Grissom has been involved with Weimaraners for over twenty years, and is a member of The Weimaraner Club of America and the Southland Weimaraner Club, Inc. She is very involved in public education, teaching obedience classes and assisting Rescue, and competes in Obedience, Conformation and Ratings Tests.
Gina says, "My hope in writing these questions is to inform potential Weimaraner owners about the characteristics you may not yet be considering when you decide to purchase a Weimaraner. Too many people decide on a breed of dog based on looks and have no understanding of the pros and cons of their chosen breed. Consider these important questions BEFORE acquiring a Weimaraner, not afterwards."


Jobe and Gabi play rough

Note: These questions are appropriate not only for Weimaraners, but also for any large, active breeds you may be considering. I urge all potential Weimaraner owners to ask yourselves these questions:

Can your entire household handle the size and activity level of a Weimaraner? The adult weight of a Weim can be overpowering. Weims are more active than a lot of breeds -- by this I mean that many, not all, Weims are busy, busy, busy. Does that type of dog fit your lifestyle?

Has
someone in your household grudgingly agreed to allow you to have a dog/Weimaraner?
Is
someone only giving in to your pressure? Too many times a reluctant family member "lets someone have" their dream dog, but when that dream becomes a reality -- along with the housebreaking, barking, chewing and digging -- suddenly the dog has got to go. Tolerance is a big part of dog ownership, all family members have to really want to accept and cherish your new family member. If one family member dislikes the idea of a large house dog, you should instead compromise with a pet you can all agree on.

Will you obedience train your Weimaraner? Due to the size of a Weim, their busy attitude, and desire to work with people, you must have the time and commitment to obedience train your dog at an early age.

Can you live with the consequences of a Weimaraner's high prey drive? Weims can and do kill small fuzzy critters. If that happens, can you live with it? That is the one single question you must answer, and do it honestly. Weims can sometimes live successfully with cats and other small animals; however, if the worst happens will it cause you to want to get rid of the dog? If the answer is yes, then you should NOT get a Weimaraner -- period.

Will your Weimaraner live indoors? I think that all dogs should be indoors when people are at home. Dogs desire to be members of a pack and as such they need to be with you (their pack leader) when you are at home. You are acquiring a companion animal: Livestock and lawn furniture are kept outdoors 24 hours a day, NOT companion animals. So ask yourself, how much time (out of a 24 hour day) do you plan on spending with your new companion?

If the answer is only an hour or two at most, please consider an alternative to getting a dog. A Weim's size, energy level, and desire to be with people means that if the dog becomes frustrated at being outside they can and will do significant damage (tear up lawn, chew hoses, chew electrical wiring, chew tires, chew off screens, chew through wood doors, chew molding, chew plants, chew up chain link, etc.). Oh yeah, if they are frustrated, Weims can also BARK real loud for an amazingly long time!

How will you deal with destructive phases? Weims hit a major energy and destruction phase from 6-18 months old -- and you need to have a plan to keep the dog from destroying the environment and the environment from hurting the dog. If all you intend to do is to keep the dog loose in the house or yard when you are not home (during this adolescent/puppy phase), you should plan on significant damage.

Are you ready to take on the responsibility of a Weimaraner for the next 10-15 years? Our rescue organizations are flooded with dogs that are given up for many, many reasons -- but the overwhelming reason is that their owners where not responsible enough or committed enough to stick it out. Owning a pet requires a sense of caring, tolerance, humor and love. If there is even the possibility that in the future you might move and not take your dog, get divorced and not want to keep your dog, or not have enough time for a dog - then DON'T GET A DOG. (reprinted by permission)

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Is a Weim the Right Dog for You?

"The Weimaraner"

Gunner

by Roger Caras
The Weimaraner, one of Germany's top sporting dogs, dates back less than 200 years. It was meticulously developed by noble sporting patrons at the Court of Weimar. It was a snob sporting dog developed and jealously guarded by one of the biggest collection of snobs the dog world has ever seen. You were RIGHT or you couldn't get your hands on one. Bloodhound stock clearly played a large part at the beginning, as did a German breed not known in this country, the Red Schweisshund. The Weimaraner is a first cousin to the German Shorthaired Pointer.
The Weimaraner is the perfect example of a highly refined breeding program that paid off, but it did produce a breed that is exactly right for some kinds of people and perfectly dreadful for others. The snobs of Weimar weren't entirely wrong in the degree to which they protected their creation.


The solid mouse-to-silver gray Weimaraner with its short, dense coat is a breed that simply must have early obedience training or it is capable of being a first class pest. It is headstrong, willful, adoring, incredibly intelligent, and responsive to praise. When a Weimaraner doesn't know what it is supposed to do, it can be counted on to do all of the wrong things. I have known Weimaraners whose owners had not bothered to train them or teach them manners to go through a plate-glass picture window because they had been left home alone too long and were bored, bless them. I know of one that dragged a charred log from a fireplace and pulled it from room to room chewing charcoal off as it went. It took a professional cleaning firm to repair the damage. It could have burned the house down.

That kind of flaky behavior must be seen in contrast to the well-managed dog, however, or it gives a distorted picture. A well-trained Weimaraner is a regal accomplishment of canine genetic art, and as intolerably ill-behaved as a mismanaged specimen can be, that is how extremely good, solid, and reliable a properly raised example will be. It is one of those dogs, and this is so often true of the sporting dogs, that is what you want it to be. Few dogs can be more of a nuisance than an Irish Setter, a Vizsla, or a Weimaraner that has had its vital energy levels, its need to perform, and its exuberant love affair with life ignored. They need to exercise, they need training, and they need opportunities to participate in vigorous, ongoing events. You ignore these facts at considerable risk to your property. I have known very few sporting dogs that had anything wrong with them except their owners.

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Vegas' Letter

As you have probably come to realize through your breed research, the Weimaraner is a challenging, complex and intelligent dog. Adopting a dog from rescue enables you to pick your battles and chose the dog most likely to match your family's capabilities. Some Weims are happy to just be a part of a family and take part in normal daily activities; some will require additional daily training, exercise and mental stimulation; and some... Well meet Vegas...

Linda,
I would like to thank you for responding to my mother's email regarding Vegas. It absolutely breaks our heart to have to look for a new home for Vegas, however we do not feel that she is receiving the attention that she so badly needs and deserves.

Vegas came to us a year ago from a breeder in North Canton, Ohio. The breeder advertised that the Weimaraners she bred were 'calm bred'. As soon as we met Vegas, we fell in love with her.

Upon returning to our home, we attempted to cage her when we were not home. Vegas defecated and urinated in her cage and on her bed, and would scratch the cage so hard that her paws would bleed. We decided to no longer keep her in the cage for the short time that we were gone, but to put her on a tie down in the kitchen.

She continued to defecate and urinate in the kitchen. We continued positive reinforcement methods that we learned through training other dogs our family previously owned, to housebreak Vegas. After about 5 months, she was housebroken; however, we found that if she could not be right at our side at all times, she would urinate/defecate. If we took showers and closed the door, she would scratch at the door until we opened it to let her in. If we did not open the door, she would continue to scratch, and eventually urinate/defecate (this is a behavior that continues).

We contacted the trainer my family has used with all of our pets. She referred us to a behavioral specialist. The trainer felt that Vegas would not benefit from group classes because she was so over stimulated and would not be able to apply enough attention to learn. We contacted the behavioral specialist; however, financially we could not afford her services. We were on our own.

We took Vegas for walks daily. The longer the walk, the better she responded to commands. Throughout the entire time we have owned Vegas, whenever she is left alone, she destroys items in our home. She has literally chewed through the drywall in the kitchen and has removed woodwork form our walls.

We purchased a training collar to assist us with training her to stay in the backyard, however I could not bring myself to use it. It continues to sit on the shelf and collect dust.

I took her to the vet with my concerns regarding her behavior. He prescribed a medication that would help Vegas better adjust to instances when we were not home or we were unaccessible. The medication failed. It was prescribed to be used in addition to plenty of exercise, and a continuous training regimen. We could not provide a consistent training regimen for Vegas due to the new baby. She continues to jump on everything and everyone she encounters; she desperately makes advances for attention.

In the year Vegas has been a part of our family, she has NEVER displayed aggressive behavior-not a growl, bite, snap, or bark. We have a four year old that attempts to play with Vegas; however, she ends up getting knocked down or scratched - unintentionally - by Vegas, who just wants to play. Our four year old now runs from her or hides in her room. Vegas will jump on anyone holding the baby and "cooing" to her. This has resulted in our newborn encountering a small bruise from the jump.

We have been unable to exercise Vegas as much as we used to and our attention to her has regressed due to the recent family changes. We do not feel that it is fair for her to be cooped up in the house and we feel it is complete torture for her to watch others as well as ourselves give attention to the baby and not her.

We love her so much. We have tried everything we can think of to help her and provide an adequate home life for her. It is unfair to both her and the children to continue their lives this way, and selfish of us to continue to try. She is such a sweet dog and only wants to be loved, and we do love her greatly. We just can no longer provide her with the environment she needs and the attention that she demands. We feel Vegas needs a home where she will receive a large amount of attention, with plenty of exercise and activity.

She loves to be around other dogs - my mother has two golden retreivers - and Vegas loves to play and run with them. She is great around kids; however, the kids need to be tall enough to avoid being knocked over. We want to make sure that she is placed with a family that will love her as much as we do, and can meet her needs. Whatever you can do to help us find a new home for her would be greatly appreciated. I can be contacted by email or by phone. We understand that there may be a short waiting period for her placement- we have no problem with that at all, and we will be willing to assist with whatever transportation may be neccessary.

Please forward me the forms or information you will need. Here is my address, or you can email them to me. If you could, please also let me know who I need to contact here in Ohio and the contact information-
Thank you so very much for your assistance.

Jennifer and Vegas

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Suggested Reading

Would You Like Further Information On the Weimaraner?

Your local library, bookstore or online source should have a variety of breed books. The Weimaraner books that we recommend are:

"The Weimaraner", by Anna Katherine Nicholas, T.F.H. Publications, 1986

"Guide to the Weimaraner", by Gillian Burgoin, The Boydell Press, 1985

"The Art of Raising a Puppy", by The Monks of New Skete

"Weimaraner Ways", by Virginia Alexander & Jackie Isabelle, Sunstar Publications
P.O. Box 1800, Germantown, MD 20875
(This book is available by mail only, or you may find a copy at a vendor’s booth at a dog show).
You can also request the video, “The Weimaraner”, from your local library. It is produced by the American Kennel Club. You can order this, or other videos on different breeds, training, or other information, directly from the:

American Kennel Club
5580 Centerview Drive
Suite 200
Raleigh, NC. 27606
or by phone at 919-233-9767.

Visit the Southern Michigan Weimaraner's website: http://smweimclub.angelfire.com/index.html

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Questions to Ask A Breeder:

  • Please give me more information about your breeding program?
  • Are both parent's hips OFA certified?
  • Do the parents originate from reputable breeders? (Kennel names)?
  • Do the parents meet the breed standard?
  • Do you show your dogs, or do obedience, agility, or other training with them?
  • Do they have hunting titles?
  • Do at least three or four dogs in the last three or four generations have titles?
  • Do you offer a written health guarantee of at least two to five years?
  • Do you limit your breeding of each female to a maximum of once a year? (Has the female reached maturity, and again, OFA hip certified?)
  • Are your puppies raised in the house and socialized with adults and children, and has their housebreaking and crate training begun?
  • Do you belong to your National breed club?
  • If the dog doesn't work out, do you require that it comes back to you?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, reply with 'thank you for your time'.

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Michigan Weimaraner Rescue Inc. Copyright 2007