Independent Weimaraner Rescue & Re-Homing Service

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Know your Weimaraner

Weimaraners Talk - But are you listening?

OK. So you’ve got a Weimaraner. Just a grey dog. Nice to look at. Dominant, demanding, active, needs your companionship, never grows up. All true! Talks to you? All the time! But do you understand the language?

  • Between humans, communication is 7% ‘What you say’, 38% ‘How you say it’ and 55% ‘ Body Language’.
  • Between dogs, communication is 1% ‘What they say’, 1% ‘How they say it’ and 98% ‘Body Language’.

So that means that at least 55% of the time, you and your dog should understand one another. Well, that’s the theory, anyway! Your Weimaraner belongs to a dominant breed. They had to be a bit bossy to stand in front of the charging Wild Boar or Wild Stag. So how does that show itself in your house?

Dominant dogs will:-

Go through openings in front of you, that includes the front and back doors, internal doors and even the space between the chair and the sofa.

Imagine a situation where an eminent person is coming to your house for dinner. You really admire and respect this person. You were, hopefully, taught as you grew up that ‘good manners’ mean that you demonstrate your respect by allowing your guest to go in front of you.

So why are you standing back and letting your dog go in front of you? He’s the dog. You’re the human. Don’t you deserve respect from your dog? Can you re-train him? Of course you can. It takes time and patience, but you already know how easy it is to teach a Weimaraner, don’t you? After all, he learned to push in front after only one lesson!!!!????

How’s it done?

Dog and you at door. CALM ‘Wait’ to dog. Open the door a fraction. Dog goes to push forward. Shut door immediately. (No noses trapped, please). CALM ‘Wait’ to dog. Open the door a fraction. Still pushes forward? Shut door immediately. Slowly build up the amount you can increase the gap with the dog ‘waiting’ till you can have one foot over the threshold. Allow dog to ‘follow’. NO FUSS. Keep it going even if the dog just needs to go to the toilet. You go FIRST. (Oops! Not first to the toilet! First out the door.)

Now, we know Weimaraners go everywhere in the house with you. So, when you’re heading for the kitchen to put on the kettle, where’s the dog? In the kitchen first? NO! For doorways already open:- Come to a stop before stepping into the next room. Calmly call the dog back to you. NO FUSS. ‘Wait’ to the dog, step through. Be patient. Insist – calmly­. When it works, and it will, say nothing more, just go ahead and do what you were going to do. Be consistent – that means every time – and no touching the dog, no holding it back, calm voice and hand signal – that’s all.

Dominant dogs will:-

Go upstairs first and stand in the middle of the top step looking down on you.

Next time you go upstairs, try thinking about what you do by instinct. When you’re at about the second step from the top, you will drop your eyes. You’re not unique, we all do it. In ‘dog speak’, you have just ‘submitted’ your status. The dog will then stand in the centre of the step forcing you to move around him. IF that was a human standing in your way, you would look directly at them, say ‘Excuse me’ and the person would move to one side to let you past. With the dog, you don’t need the ‘Excuse me’, just don’t drop your eyes. The dog will move. But then, he shouldn’t have been in front of you anyway, should he?

So, at the bottom of the stairs, use the same as doorways. Calm ‘Wait’ to the dog. Zig-zag up the stairs preventing the dog from overtaking or carry large bags each side of you. Same coming down stairs.

Now, you may want the dog to go down first for safety reasons, but only when ‘instructed’, not ‘allowed’. Calm ‘Wait’ at the top. YOU  in the centre. ‘On you go’ to the dog. Likely your dog will get to the bottom, turn and stand. Do not drop your eyes when you reach the bottom.

Dominant dogs will:-

Want to greet the visitors first and get very excited. Ask yourself? Is part of the excitement your reaction and your visitors’ reaction? Why have a dog and bark yourself? If you shout, your dog thinks you’re barking and 2 barking is more effective than 1. Don’t believe me? Next time he barks and you shout, who has the last word? Is it you or the dog?

So visitors arrive (the rare kind that actually like dogs). What they and you need to do is ignore the dog. Jumping up should be rewarded by a back turned and the dog ignored, no looking, no talking, no touching, arms folded and don’t stand still – that makes you an easy target! Only when the dog is calm and you/visitors are comfortable can ‘calm’ attention be given. Any demands for attention– pawing, jumping about, mouthing – should be treated the same way until you are ready – turned back, arms folded, no talking to the dog. But he won’t be doing this anyway as you’ll have already taught him ‘welcome manners’, haven’t you?

Remember, if you expect your dog to behave calmly, then you also have to expect your friends and visitors to behave calmly. It’s your dog so they must understand what you’re trying to achieve. Sometimes they need trained too!!!!

Dominant dogs will:-

Lie beside, or on top of, the ‘underlings’. Never the other way round. If you have more than one dog, or have watched two or more dogs who live together, have you ever noticed who’s the ‘boss’ between the dogs? One of them will be. It may be subtle, but one of them is the ‘boss’. Usually a bitch, indoors. The ‘boss bitch’ will go lie down beside, or on top of, the other but will not allow that kind of familiarity in reverse. So, if you or a member of the family is lying on the floor and your dog comes to lie with you, where does that place you in the greater scheme of things? Lying with you at your invitation is not the same thing – it depends which one is making the decisions. Is it you or the dog?

Same thing goes for the chair, the sofa or the bed. And, if you allow that, do you ever go to lie with the dog? NO? Remember, the ‘boss’ lies alone or chooses to join another. That’s the law of the jungle.

Who’s the king in your jungle?

Jean Fairlie