Why own a Weimaraner? What can I do with one? A lot! But only if we come to one basic understanding first: Unless you're careful (and sometimes even if you are) the Weimaraner will own you rather than the other way around. Seriously though, the Weimaraner has the talents to let you choose from among many things you can do with one! There's only one thing you can't do with one - and that's NOTHING. The breed does not accept being shut away from people well. Because the Weimaraner is a breed that was bred to work for its master by finding, pointing, and retrieving birds as well as being an intelligent and affectionate dog, the uses are many: There's only one thing you can't do with one - and that's NOTHING. A companion - naturally clean, short coated, easy to care for. A personal hunting dog - many are used with minimal training and work ideally for the foot hunter. Contrary to the original ball years ago, the Weimaraner is not a superdog, does not walk on water, does not clear tall buildings in a single bound, but is a dog that does better if its instincts are helped by some training and does vary in its abilities from dog to dog. A show dog - dog shows offer fun and challenge to many. The Weimaraner can provide its owner with many a pleasant day in quest of blue and purple ribbons and eventually the title of champion. He has also shown he can compete successfully with other breeds in competition for Group and Best in Show awards. Obedience Trials - because the Weimaraner is intelligent and quick to learn, it makes an excellent obedience competition dog. AKC offers four increasingly difficult and meaningful titles, which can be earned: CD (Companion Dog), CDX (Companion Dog Excellent), UD (Utility Dog), and OTCH (Obedience Trial Champion).
Many owners take themselves and their dogs to obedience school just so they can live together better - a good idea. Tracking Trials - AKC also offers the titles ofTD (Tracking Dog) and TDX (Tracking Dog Excellent). Because the Weimaraner has excellent scenting ability they do well in this activity. They are being used for rescue work. Guard Dog - although the well-bred Weimaraner's temperament is basically friendly, he will usually regard his master's family and possessions as his and with encouragement will bark on the approach of strangers. We do not recommend guard dog training for any breed unless the owner is skilled in that activity since a guard-trained dog is unskilled hands is just like a loaded gun in a child's hands. Nevertheless, the mere proximity of a dog of the size and presence of the Weimaraner has often had a great discouraging effect on unwelcome people. Field Trials - a field trial is a competition to determine the best and most spectacular hunting dog. They provide a great deal of enjoyment and challenge for many. Three classes of competition are puppy, derby, and all-age. Puppy requires mostly instinct; derbies must show experience; and all-age dogs must be fully trained. AKC offers the title of field champion for those few who can earn it. WCA offers three ratings: Novice Shooting Dog, Shooting Dog, and Shooting Dog Excellent. Each rating is more demanding. The NSD can be earned with relatively little training, while the SDX dog should be a candidate for the field champion title. Retrieving Trials - the Weimaraner is a fine instinctive retriever and retrieving competitions are held in most parts of the country in the summer. AKC does not offer a champion title, but WCA offers three ratings similar to the field ratings. They are Novice Retrieving Dog, Retrieving Dog, and Retrieving Dog Excellent. Here again the novice relies mostly on instinct, while the RDX requires a great deal of training and ability. Junior Handling - for those with children, AKC offers the challenge of competition to see who can learn and develop the skills to handle a dog in the show ring and present it to its best advantage. The WCA has an active Junior Program. Versatile Ratings - WCA offers two Versatile Ratings, which require demonstration of excellence in at least three major areas, such as show, field, obedience, retrieving, etc. The ratings recognize the versatility of this breed. That's just a starter list of what one can do. Try for an AKC Triple Champion title (Champion in Show, Field and Obedience) - or go on from obedience to team, hurdle or scent races and special events - or try for a WCA Versatility Rating - OR you can just sit by the fire and enjoy the love of the dog at your side. The choice is yours; there's something for everyone.
For more information on how to find a show or trial or get started, contact WCA headquarters. By T.W. Jarmie
DOG TRAINER'S DIARY Carol Benjamin Second-Hand Dog
The second-hand dog has become commonplace. He may be a champion you purchase from a fine kennel. She may be an established brood bitch you wish to add to your breeding program. Or it may be a dog who was disappointing as a show prospect. More often than not, the second-hand dog is slated for pethood and his somewhat checkered past is rarely revealed in full, in fact, the dog in your life who needs a bit of patching and refurbishing may even be a found dog, a treasure left somewhere to fend for himself in a cold, cold world. Whether the older, used, second-hand, pass-around dog, you know was recycled for a "legitimate" reason or not, you will have taken on a problem. Solving the problem, or more accurately, the set of problems that come with your new pet, can be a most satisfying, and necessary, pastime. If your second-hand dog has been abused, neglected or battered in any way, even by being low man on his pack's totem pole, you'll want to change your rules and standards for him, at least for the first few months. I would not take a dog who had been wandering the streets or neglected in a kennel run and teach it not to jump up. In fact, I'd be delighted to see a dog with that history jumping up to say hello. And while any new dog needs a dose of Rand R (rules and regulations), the hand-me-down dog needs more than that. He needs, in fact, more of everything; more good food; more grooming; more contact; more company; more bonding activities; more long, solitary walks with you; more exposure to your particular environment; more time in your car; more games; more patient training. Since every dog has a history, if your new friend comes without one - or with a sketchy one - careful observation will help fill in the missing details. You'll never get them all, but you'll get a surprising amount of information by watching quietly while your dog adjusts to his new home and new playmates.
You'll learn more by watching without interfering than you'll learn by jumping in and trying to control what he does. Eventually, alone with him, collar and leash securely on your pet, the training process will be another stage in your learning about him, while he learns to understand what you want and what you'll praise or correct. While each of us has certain standards of behavior for our pets, the second-hand dog, in some severe cases, may not be able to live up to your most fair standards. Something in his past, something you mayor may not know about, may eliminate the possibility of you using a crate, for example. There are some dogs that will not tolerate confinement, especially if they are grown when first exposed to it. In this case, the dog may be destructive when left alone. This is a most difficult rehabilitation case because it will take a month or more to work the dog out of it. The chore of convincing the dog that past is past and this is now, will take time and cannot be done with words. But if you are one of those who feels that "if it isn't me who'll help, who will it be," here are some guidelines for helping a slightly or very used do to adjust well to your new and loving home. Remember that you may not be able to do all of these things with every pass-around dog, particularly, as stated, item #1. Buy and use a crate. Give your wanderer a permanent den, a room with a view, a place to call home, somewhere where he can dream and rest in peace. In most cases, the crate will offer security to the dog who badly needs just that. Some dogs will do better with the crate in the hub of the house -- the den or kitchen. Others need a quiet place. Some like a good view and even some conversation while they rest. Others need a towel draped over the crate or the comfort of a semi-closed up, airline-type crate rather than the all wire models. This can be discovered only by trial and error. Luckily, most of these dogs, even the homeliest ones are so sweet and needy that you won't want to stop trying until you get the job done. Bonding is urgent. Make time for him in your life. Tie your new dog's leash to your belt and keep him attached for five minutes at a time, working up to two hours a day, indoors and out. Tie up time is silent time. Don't keep hammering away at the animal in an effort to get acquainted. Don't be a distracter. Let him understand the full implication of the physical attachment to you (leash on belt) and let him make the decision to watch you. Dogs are not verbal animals. Give him time to absorb the way things are in silence. He's smart. He'll get it. He'll become attached to you and figuratively as he is literally in this exercise. Train with patience, affection, and quiet firmness. Your rules and regulations will help make the dog secure in his new home. But he has lost something profound. He'll need reasons to feel proud of himself again. You can give him those. Whenever he does something worthy; let him know it. Don't gush and st01 the training. Call to him like his mother used to and keep the work flowing. Work is the best medicine for anxious, insecure creatures. It even works for people in trouble. Give your pass-around pet the best diet you can afford. He needs it to combat the stress of change. Even if the change is for the better, it will still cause stress at first. Explore with your new dog. First, explore your house and grounds with him. If your "grounds" are your block, fine. Explore it. Continue off your property and into your neighborhood. Make big circles, the way he would. Walk around the block one way and reverse the next. Walk from your drive-way left and go right the next day. You can watch him getting familiar with the turf and enjoying knowing where home is. Ah, home. Who doesn't feel that way? Now, play a game with him. When you get near home (a house away, a block away, an acre away), tell him GO HOME, GO HOME and run him to your door. Now, get down with him and praise and hug. Kissing is in order, too. Here's a dog who'll soak up affection. That, in fact, is one of the rewards of working with a slightly used dog. Now take your dog out in the car when you have places to go. Show him the world. Make him bold. Make him yours. Grooming time isn't just for knots and mats. Grooming him relaxes both of you. It's another quiet way of getting the message across -- I love you, kid. You're here to stay. Grooming is a nice ending for a walk, a training session, a hectic day. The dog is a contemplative animal. He's a hairy computer. He likes to look around, take things in, and occasionally make a print out. Take some long, silent walks with your new friend. Get to know him away from home, away from your kennel, your kids, your other dogs, your phone, your Cuisinart, your answering machine, your power mower. Go someplace quiet and pretty and watch your little sponge soak it up. Learn to see like a dog, like this dog. You'll love it. Bed your new dog down in your room. That's seven or eight hours of bonding time at no cost to you. Again, it's an important message. You belong to me. But don't, in your zealousness, let the dog spend the night on the bed with you. This message says, we're equals. And, of course, you're not. While you may have to put up with time of crying or destruction or jumping that you would not tolerate from a dog who started out with you, still you do not want to initiate anything that is false, that is a lie. Keep the dog in his place, in his crate or on a mat, but in your room. Staying alpha will help get the proper message to your dog. And that will help the rehabilitation process along, too. It is not true that a puppy will only make a strong bond during the first few months of his life. And while it is indeed wonderful to bring home a wool ball who still smells like mother's milk and raise him "from scratch," second-hand dog can also become a fast friend. He can indeed bond well to a second owner and he can indeed provide the kind of loyalty and companionship that bonds all of us to the family's dog. The rehabilitation of a second-hand dog is, in fact, a rich project, one you're unlikely to regret or forget. Bibliography For further information on how to locate, raise and train a Weimaraner, we recommend the following materials compiled by members of local Weimaraner clubs in service to the breed. So You Want A Weimaraner Send check or money order for $2.00 (make check payable to WCC) to: Weimaraner Club of Columbus Vicki Stoddard 656 Marburn Drive Columbus,OH 43214 The Weimaraner Manual Send check or money order for $10.00 (make check payable to WCWDCA) to: Weimaraner Club of the Washington, D.C. Area Barbara Walsh 6618 Tuscarora Drive Frederick, MD 21702 Weimaraner Ways This newest book, co-written by the chairman of our standards committee and noted breeder, Virginia Alexander, and long-time breeder Jackie Isabell, is the most comprehensive work ever written on the Weimaraner. Send check or money order for $79.95 plus $8.95 shipping and handling, as this book weighs over 5 pounds to: SUNSTAR P.O. Box 1800 Germantown, MD 20875 1-800- WWEIMAR These may be available through your local library: Burgoin, Gillian, Guide to the Weimaraner, Dog World Books, 1985. Denlinger, William W., The Complete Weimaraner, Richemond, Denlinger's, 1954 (out of print). Hart, Ernest H., This Is The Weimaraner, Jersey City, NJ, T.F.H., 1965. Nicholas, Anna K., The Weimaraner, Dog World Books, 1986. Scott, Jack Denton, The Weimaraner, Fawcett-Dearing, Louisville, 1952-53 (out of print).
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