Hello, Barrett puppy owners! Hope the last week has treated you well, and you’re not too sleep deprived or blurry eyed.
The below is an index of training tips sorted by category to help you get through the next month or so with your new puppy. As always, please feel free to contact us directly with any questions, anytime.
Social Media. We’re on social media! And we’d love to stay connected. Our presence online is mostly shared on our Barrett Weimaraners Facebook page at www.facebook.com/barrettweimaraners. From time to time, we are also on Instagram at @barrettweimaraners (Kim) and @stacykzepeda (Stacy). Photos of Barrett dogs are tagged with #barrettweimaraners. If you have a Facebook account, please feel free to friend us personally; www.facebook.com/kimburnell or www.facebook.com/stacy.zepeda. That way, we can invite you into “The Barrett Collective” group for owners of Barrett dogs. It is a good place to share photos and updates on your puppy, and also connect with other owners for puppy play dates, meetups, training advice, babysitting trades, etc. Three great FB groups to post questions about training, and to solicit advice are 1) The Barrett Collective – Private Group, 2) Weimaraner Puppy Training – Private Group, and 3) Southern California Weimaraners – Public Page.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS.
Food. Whether you are feeding twice daily or three times daily, please do not over-feed your puppy as this will seriously harm his/her health. But please don’t underfeed, either. Try to feed to a set routine (same time every morning and evening) as this will keep your dog on a pattern, and it also make it much easier for you to predict when your dog will need a bathroom break.
NOTE: Please note that you should NOT follow the feeding recommendations on the back of your bag of food. Weimaraners are highly active dogs and will likely need a lot more than the “generic puppy feeding guidelines.”
If you can see a hard “indent” in your puppy when you look at him/her from directly above, now is a good time to up the food. Below is a photo of what your puppy should look like on an EMPTY stomach (before meals). Alternatively, if you do NOT see your puppy’s ribs when viewed from the side… you may be overfeeding. What you can do: Increase food rations by 1/4 cup per meal.
Water. If your puppy is needing to wake up overnight to potty, you might want to pick up the water bowl three hours before bedtime. Your puppy won’t die of dehydration, but you WILL get to sleep a full night!
Vaccinations. Please provide your veterinarian with a copy of your puppy’s vaccination protocol (which is provided in your Purchase Agreement) so there’s zero confusion on what your puppy should have, and when. For those who wish to learn more about how vaccines work, and why there’s a modified protocol for Weimaraners, please read this article. Check with your veterinarian about local area outbreaks; you may need to vaccinate for bordatella, leptospirosis, lyme, etc. depending on where you live.
Grooming – Nails. Check the length of your puppy’s nails, and clip them back if they’re long. You’ll need to do this about once a week to keep them trimmed. Also, your first few attempts may involve some teamwork. Someone to clip the nails one by one, with lots of praise in between, and another person to feed the puppy treats to keep it distracted and happy (as much as can be, anyway) during the whole experience.
Grooming – Ears. Weimaraners have long, floppy ears, so they should be cleaned out about once a week. Epiotic ear cleaning solution can be found at the local PetSmart or Petco. Here’s a great video that talks about how you can clean your pup’s ears.
Puppy/Juvenile Vaginitis. Puppy vaginitis is also called juvenile vaginitis, and refers to inflammation of the vagina in a puppy that has not reached puberty (i.e., has not gone through a heat cycle). (Likewise, male puppies may have a greenish yellow crusty discharge from the penis sheath.) This condition is caused by the normal sloughing off of cells and is part of the hormonal and developmental changes in a puppy. (Most of the puppies out of the 2013 Max x Friday Litter had this at some point in their puppyhood.) These opportunistic conditions are due to your puppy having a weak or underdeveloped immune system. It’s generally a mild condition and not something to be terribly concerned about.
Signs and Symptoms:
- Vaginal discharge (mucous-like, white to yellow to green, and usually not very heavy)
- Licking at vulva
- Mild irritation of skin around vulva
What you can do: Daily cleaning of the vulva or penis with an unscented baby wipe or alcohol-free ear cleaning solution is typically all that is needed to help keep the area clean and alleviate any irritation from the discharge until the condition resolves on its own. A trip to the vet is unnecessary.
Socialization. Guess what, folks?! You have THREE WEEKS left to socialize the snot out of your puppy before he/she enters a new development phase that includes a “fear period.” To increase your chances of being successful on the other side of this fear period, please socialize your puppy. as. much. as. possible.
Shout-out to the owner’s of Ruby’s Yellow Boy and Green Boy for getting together for a safe playdate a couple of weeks ago. Faraday and Jasper had a great time!
Play and Exercise. Puppies need to play and exercise every day – no matter what the weather. Play with your puppy by running around, chasing it, tossing a small ball (not small enough to choke on) to it, or getting a short thick length of rope and playing tug of war. Be friendly while playing. If your puppy gets a bit too playful and nips at you, say in a low-pitched tone, “Fido, no!” Sound firm but not angry as you don’t want to scare your puppy, simply to correct the puppy’s behavior. You may also want to make “ow” noises yourself and audibly play up the fact that you’re hurt. Remember, your puppy sees you as a member of the pack, so if you let them understand they hurt you, they aren’t inclined to do it again. Note that without sufficient exercise, puppies tend to be restless and unhappy and far more inclined towards discipline problems.
A note about the great outdoors. There is grass, wood, rocks, tree droppings, dirt and plants. Puppies try to everything in sight. To keep them safe, redirect them, give them a toy, play a game, etc. Also, twigs and sticks are okay for chewing, but watch your puppy to make sure it’s spitting out the pieces.
Alone Training. We did a lot of training with your puppy in the first eight weeks. But, “alone training” wasn’t one of them. And, it is CRITICAL for the success of a Weimaraner (because the breed as a whole is so family-oriented). Without “alone training,” traits that echo separation anxiety are a real possibility.
Now (and especially during COVID) is a good time to teach your puppy to be alone. This is the first step to successfully crating your pup for times while you are away.
- Start by putting your puppy into a crate and leaving the house for 5 minutes. Hang out in the front of the house. Get the mail. Just make sure it knows you’re leaving it. Then come back and see if it’s stressed. Praise it and let him/her out if he seems okay. If it’s howling or scratching, don’t budge until it stops. Don’t coddle your puppy. Wait for him/her to calm down before you release it.
- Once successful, try again with a 10 minute interval.
- Then go to the grocery store or another short errand (30 minutes or so).
Hopefully, within a few days or a week, you will have stretched it out to a good block of time so you can go to work or run some errands.
More about alone training: Don’t take your puppy with you, everywhere, ALL THE TIME. Your puppy needs to understand that sometimes, you have to leave him at home. Alone. AND THAT’S OKAY. Encouraging a puppy to think you’ll be there for it all the time is setting yourself up for separation anxiety disasters. Don’t be that enabler. 🙂
Crate Training. Dogs are hard-wired by their genetic history to be den animals. A den is a small, safe, well-defined space. It is a place in which dogs feel instinctively safe. It is also a place that they instinctively avoid soiling. The combination of these two native traits are what make crate training, done in the right way, a kind and effective component in house-training your new puppy or dog.
Weimaraners need “down time.” A crate is a great place for your Weimaraner to have just that. For your new puppy, a crate can limit access to the entire house until your new dog knows the house rules. A crate can help with house-training by setting up a routine. For example, you can feed the puppy in the crate and, afterwards, carry him or walk him on a lead straight out to an elimination site where you can use a word or phrase to remind the dog what the trip outside is for.
At some point in your dog’s life, it may also be necessary to use a crate when you are traveling with your pet or when your dog is recuperating from an injury. (Or when I’m borrowing it back for dog shows!) These situations will be much less stressful if your dog is already familiar with and comfortable in a crate. Tip: We cover our wire crates with a blanket to heighten the den experience.
Three articles to read about crate training here:
Question on behalf of Yellow Girl/Rilo from the 2013 Max x Friday litter: What if I come home to my puppy and find her wailing in her crate? How do I let her out without sending the message that she can control me through her whining?
If you ever come home to your puppy wailing, watch her through the crate and wait for her to stop. The second she stops, praise her, but don’t let her out. See if she starts up again. If she starts up again, ignore her. When she settles down, praise her. Do this a few times until she stays settled. Then praise her and take her out. This should only take a minute or two, tops, so well within your 25 minutes. Do NOT let her get away with her whining!
Also – Don’t feel bad about leaving her alone like that. It’s part of the routine and she’ll get used to it. She’s a puppy, so she’s naturally whiny. All normal.
BEHAVIOR AND TRAINING.
Behavior and Training – Puppy Mouthing. You may have noticed that your puppy has razor-sharp teeth. When it gets caught on you: OW! Here’s an article about what to do about puppy mouthing.
Leash Walking. Barrett puppies are introduced to the leash at six weeks of age. If you haven’t already, start walking your puppy (and work on your leash walking skills) for short distances. Do your best to just “let your puppy be.” Put the leash on, but don’t yank it on the puppy. Instead, talk to your puppy and encourage him/her to follow you as you move along. If it stops and gets distracted, stop. Get their attention using your words, and then continue. At this point, do NOT yank your puppy or drag it along if it isn’t cooperating. If it’s being fussy, simply take a break and wait for it to calm down. Praise your puppy when it’s not pulling, and then use your words and/or some training treats to get your puppy to follow you. Bonus points if you can keep your puppy to your left side. There’s an article here about leash walking a puppy. Further reading: http://www.justweimaraners.com/walk-your-weim-without-setting-back-training/
Clicker Training. Clicker training is a method for training animals that uses positive reinforcement in conjunction with a clicker, or small mechanical noisemaker, to mark the behavior being reinforced. It’s great for Weimaraners, since our breed is sensitive and doesn’t take well with negative reinforcement. The clicker is used during the acquisition phase of training a new behavior to allow the dog to rapidly identify the precise behavior of interest. To learn more about clicker training, visit Karen Pryor’s Clicker Training website.
Last updated: May 2021