What To Expect When you Bring a Weim Home
While bringing home a new dog is exciting, it can be a stressful event for everyone involved, but most especially for your new pet, who doesn't understand what is going on. Most of our rescues experience several drastic changes in the weeks and/or months preceding their adoption. Bringing them into a new environment requires patience, understanding, structure, and time to successfully adjust. Every dog has its own personality, quirks, and history; what works for one dog may not work for another. Treat each dog as the unique individual that it is.
Here is a list of tips and suggestions that will help you and your new dog transition in a loving, long lasting relationship.
Never bring your new Weim home and leave him/her alone that night. They need to feel a sense of security while they adjust to their new surroundings, siblings and family members.Give lots of pats on the chest and treats if necessary and kindly establish boundaries like no kitchen entry and ‘Off’ for the sofa.
Time Frame for Adjusting
If at all possible get your Weim when you will have about two days at home with them before returning to work. Anything longer tends to establish a routine that you should be home all day and crating and separation anxiety may become worse. Two days gives you just enough time to introduce your Weim to the house, family members, yard and crate. Your next departure (on the second day) might be for only a couple of hours if possible. By the time the two days have passed, you should be able to move to your normal workday without too much difficulty. It will always require patience and a willingness to make this relationship work.
Expect your Weim to snort all over the house. These dogs are bred to hunt and they search game by scent. They will inspect every inch of the house with their nose, which may take up to an hour or better. This allows them to learn their new surroundings and gain an understanding of what is ‘normal’ by smell. It does not necessarily mean they are looking for a spot to potty. Make sure your Weim potties outside before entering the house for the first time.
Be Prepared Ahead of Time
Make certain you are prepared for the arrival of your new Weim. Have a new crate, bed, leash, collar, food and water bowls and toys just for him/her. If you have a multi dog home, DO NOT allow the other dogs to lie on or use any of their new things. This allows them to scent their new things thus making it their own.
A Family Affair
Everyone should be home upon the arrival of your new dog. Weimaraners are very protective and family oriented animals. They need to know immediately everyone who belongs to the family. Children, spouses, and other family members should be in the home when you bring your Weim in the door. This makes it clear to the Weimaraner who the family members are and establishes a family boundary with which they will associate. Allow the Weimaraner to approach each person on his/her own. DO NOT allow children to run up to the dog or yell/scream at the dog.
The New Siblings
When introducing a Weimaraner to a multi dog family, it is best that they meet on neutral territory. Use a park, baseball field, or other outdoor facility that is not familiar to either dog. This allows the dogs to meet in similar circumstances, where territorial boundaries are not established for either dog. Use a towel or cloth to introduce your dog’s scent to your new Weim. You can rub it on your dog or his/her bed and take it with you when you pick up your new Weim. This allows him/her to get accustomed to the other scent before the actual meeting. Make sure that you have treats and use an upbeat praise and pats on the chest to encourage good behavior at the meeting.
Method for Meeting Siblings
Upon meeting keep both dogs on their leads and let them wander toward each other. You may want to start at a distance and in an upbeat voice tell each dog about their new sibling. Make certain they can do the “nose to tail” thing comfortably while you stay in one place. You (and another person, not by yourself) might also want to take both dogs on a walk, allowing them to walk near each other to get comfortable to each others' presence. Reward both dogs for good behavior with an upbeat praise and treats. If a dog raises it hackles or stiffens its muscles simply back the dogs apart and try again. Speak calmly and reassuringly to the dogs and be patient. Please remember that this is a big adjustment for both your current dog and your new dog.
When introducing a new Weim into a multi dog household, there are bound to be disagreements. These can occur over a toy, bone, or food, but can also be over the affections of the master or who sits where on the sofa. Provided there is not harsh aggression, it is best to allow the dogs to work things out amongst themselves. Dogs are pack animals and need to work out their place in the pack on their own. Dominant dogs will physically assert themselves over the other dogs to establish their place in the pack, often by standing over or pushing against the other dog or place their mouth on the other dog's neck to insure they understand their place. Most often, there is no blood shed, but boisterous bantering that sounds much worse than it is. The submissive dog will lower themselves to the floor and look away from the dominant dog. We do not recommend the introduction of toys until the dogs have established their pack order, and then the use of toys should be supervised. Dogs should be separated during feeding time, making sure each dog has plenty of room to feel safe and secure while they eat. If one dog eats much faster than the other, then they need to be kept away from the other dog while they finish their meal. Crate the dog, if necessary. New dogs should not be allowed on the bed or sofas until it is well established who is in charge and what their place in the pack order is.
Make certain you show your dog where to go when they need to potty. Even though your Weimaraner may be house trained, they will not instinctively know which door to go to if they need to potty. Go into the yard with them and walk the perimeter. Show them any off limit sights and gently direct them away from the area by their collar with the command “Out”. They may have an accident or two in the house while getting established. Unless you catch them in the act, verbal punishment will be non-effective. You will have to be very alert to learn their signals also. Older Weims especially, will have distinct behavior patterns already established for this need. The first couple of successful times you can use a treat reward to let your Weim know that they are doing just great.
Your Weimaraner may exhibit anxious behaviors over the next couple of days. He/she is simply adjusting to your routine and the household activities. This behavior may include pacing, panting, drooling or excessive water drinking. Simply stroke and verbally comfort your Weim. DO NOT say “It’s O.K.” By doing this while the dog is doing an unwanted behavior, you are reinforcing that this behavior is “O.K.” “It’s alright” is another no-no phrase as is “Be a Good Boy/Girl”. Try distracting the Weim with treats or other activities like a nice long walk, a belly rub, or play a game of fetch. A simply distraction is usually all it takes.
Chewing and Destructive Behaviors
Chewing, especially for an adult Weimaraner, is a prime symptom of anxiety. You should always have healthy, safe toys for them, which allows good mental distraction to work through their frustration or fear. Kong toys, hard rubber chew toys that include the ever important secret chamber……the hole where the treats go, are excellent options! Smear the inside with peanut butter, fill with kibble or apple chunks or low calorie treats to provide hours of healthy chewing. Deer antlers are another safe chew toy for your dog. We do not recommend rawhide bones as they can be swallowed in large chunks and cause blockages.
A Weimaraner’s Own Space
Have a quiet time place for your Weimaraner established BEFORE he/she comes home. It may be next to or near your other dog, or in separate rooms or his/her own bed in the family room. We strongly recommend crate training your new dog. Practice crating during times when it is not necessary. Ask them to go into their crate with the command that you choose. Have them stay for just a moment or two and then give a treat reward with an upbeat praise. Repeat and gradually lengthen the time they stay inside. Make sure that family members, especially children know that if your Weim goes to his/her crate or bed voluntarily, they are NOT TO disturb them. DO NOT allow children to crawl into their crate or wallow on their bed. Click here for more in depth information about crate training.
Schedules and Routines
Weimaraners thrive on schedules and routines. While it is not always possible to follow the same schedule every day, we strongly encourage you to feed your dog at the same times as much as possible. Try to follow the same activity schedule, too. This makes potty training, quiet time and temperament much more predictable.
Weimaraners are notoriously messy drinkers, allowing water to dribble out of their mouths when they're done drinking. Most Weimaraner owners learn to live with their kitchen floors being wet all the time, but you can minimize the mess. Place a towel or tray under the water bowl. Using a long trough shaped dish instead of a round bowl gives them a place to dribble. You can also teach your Weimaraner to wait just a second before walking away from the water bowl, but it does take consistent, gentle reminders from you. Make sure that you provide lots of fresh water daily.
We recommend some form of supervised and/or assisted obedience training for EVERY Weimaraner. After your Weimaraner has adjusted to their new surroundings, enroll them in a command-oriented training course. Find a positive reinforcement trainer near you and make that 4-7 week commitment! Most classes are held once a week and have homework assignments for you to work on at home in between sessions. No matter the age, Weims need refresher courses in obedience and it is a marvelous way in which to establish master/dog relationships. In addition, it helps socialize your dog. Even the most experienced Weim owners use qualified facilities to train their dogs. We know that socialization is critical for a Weim, as is the assistance of professionals.
Some Weimaraners rescued by WRS have come from abusive backgrounds. In these situations, it is especially important to be even more patient and move slowly as you introduce these dogs into your home and family. The best thing you can do for you and your dog is enlist the help of a professional dog behaviorist, someone who uses positive reinforcement methods only. Please remember that WRS volunteers are also always available for advice and suggestions.
Weimaraners are very active dogs. Chewing and destructive behaviors are often the result of a lack of exercise, so it benefits both of you mentally to schedule regular, interactive exercise. It is recommended that you provide at minimum one (1) hour of physical activity for your Weim daily. Physical activity is as vital to not only their physical health, but also their mental development. Walking, or jogging, daily with your Weimaraner is an excellent way to provide the exercise they need and get your exercise also. Make certain that you get a sturdy collar/harness and leash to prepare for this activity and night glow items if you plan on jogging after dark. Swimming and hiking are other outdoor activities that Weimaraners and owners can do together. Play time in your own yard can be fun for both of you. Provided you have a large fenced area, you can work on retrieval, manners, obedience or just simply throw the ball. Weimaraners need interaction from their masters and this activity time together is great bonding/play time.
NEVER leash your dog to a bicycle or motor scooter. Exhaustion and over heating will occur rapidly and you will not be as aware of their status.