My dog Sasha is a 9-month-old Weimaraner. She is very submissive with other dogs and also with my husband – she will do anything he asks her to do. However, when my husband is not home she becomes a crazy dog. She runs around, bites, jumps on me and the kids, and does not listen to any commands. We have to put her in her kennel, but she starts to whine so loud that is almost impossible to ignore her. I have tried to speak calmly and forcefully, but she doesn’t listen to me.
– Luz, Fullerton, Calif.
You have a breed of dog that needs quite a bit of daily exercise. You need to address two things with her. The first is the truly mandatory need of at least one hour of strenuous exercise daily (fast walks leading up to jogs, ball tossing, etc.).
Agility would be a great sport for you and Sasha to get involved with, not from a competitive aspect but as a wonderful way to improve your relationship with her while helping to burn off some of the energy Weimaraners are famous for. Many people/dog pairs enjoy this sport for that very reason.
The second thing you need to focus on is Sasha’s training needs. It’s common for dogs to show deference to the man in the family because he’s taller and has a deeper voice, but Sasha needs to look to both of you as leaders. Weimeraners need strong leadership in order to thrive. This means consistency, clarity of commands, and frequent, short training sessions with her that end with her achieving incremental success.
Your entire family needs to learn how to train Sasha. Have a clear idea in mind what you want her end behavior to look like and reward her incrementally. Don’t expect Sasha to learn something in the first session! Keep it short, fun and exciting so she looks forward to training. Wait at least half an hour before each training session.
You can find a trainer near you by going to the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) website and entering your zip code. APDT is worldwide, and the training is based on positive reinforcement and motivational techniques. Since you have a dog with specific training needs, I strongly recommend you interview three to five trainers and then choose the one you feel the most comfortable with and who has experience with Weimeraners.
You can then all enjoy the benefits of a good training program – it’s invaluable in meeting the needs of your dog and your family!