Category Archives: dog behavior

Is This the Dog for Me? Weimaraner and Labmaraner

Weimeraner copy

Check out the link on this site or your local rescue group for adopting a rescued Weimaraner.


The Weimaraner was bread in Germany over one thousand years ago and is kin to the German Pointer. Some claim it is discernable in a 17th century painting by Van Dyck. It was used for big game hunting until big game declined. Treasured in the 19th century by the aristocrats of Weimar, Germany, it was then and now popular for hunting small game, and, because of its soft carrying mouth for water fowl. It has Bloodhound and Pointer blood and is still used as a working dog.


Weimeraners are strikingly beautiful dogs with a strong boned build, light amber eyes and a sleek short coat of silver to mouse gray. They can reach heights up to 28” and weigh between 60 and 85 lb. Not in need of extensive grooming, once a week brushing keeps the coat shiny.  Shedding in minimal.

Although more rare, the longhair with a smooth or slightly wavy coat up to 5″ long needs more grooming attention.


Weimaraners need thorough training and regular and extensive exercise. This is not a city dog. Sufficient space, a fenced yard, and lots of human attention will make them excellent companions as they are all-round dogs who love family life. They are friendly, intelligent and energetic but, with their vigilance, make excellent guard dogs if their home or family are threatened. Because of their dominance, they are not recommended for first time dog owners.

Overbreeding has let to temperament problems such as aggression and separation anxiety in some lines. Lack of exercise will make them aggressive and difficult and can lead to destructive behavior.


Weimaraners are affected by the usual canine problems but with no great frequency. They are, however, prone to two more unusual problems: spinal dysraphism which is a severe though non-lethal condition, affecting the gait and giving an unusual stance which resembles a crouched position. Ear infections are easily acquired due to the drop-eared conformation.

Related Designer Mixes:

Recent designer dog mixes have produced the Labmaraner, a cross of a Labrador Retriever and a Weimaraner. This breed is an outdoorsy, fast, agile breed not meant for urbanites. They need good management which can be trying because of an underlying stubbornness. Consistent training and tough regulations are needed to keep the peace in your house.
Labmaraner can weigh from 50 to 100 lb and their coat color ranges from dark gold to pale cream, black, and chocolate.

LabmaranerLabmaraner (photo by Anna Kuperberg)




‘Tough Love’ (Toys with their Dogs series) Painting by Gabriele Bungardt

Dog Training –Timing and Consistency-

'Good Dog'

'Good Dog'

Timing is everything! Dogs will only recognize the meaning of a reward or a correction if the time between them is very short. Most behaviorists say that one must deliver feedback within a second of the behavior. This is not only because dogs have a short attention span and memory. If you like him to sit but don’t give feedback the second he puts his bottom down, he might be already back up. In that case it’s better to not reward at all then to reward the wrong behavior. Move the treat out of sight and say “UH OH!” Then ask him to sit again and reward immediately. Rewarding or correcting your dog immediately also teaches him to act fast and not hesitate when a command is given.

Consistency is another must. Mixed messages confuse dogs and can make them anxious and non responsive.
Can he jump up at you or not? If you allow him to greet you by jumping up at you, but yell at him if he does the same comming back from a muddy run, what message are you giving him?
This goes for anyone handling your dog which is sometimes hard to enforce. Especially people who don’t have dogs, need to be educated unless you want to spend hours un-training the bad behavior. In my experience this is especially difficult around food. Because dogs can be incredible cute and persistent around the good smells of home cooking, it is difficult to keep people from feeding him with table scraps. Unless you don’t mind your dog getting obnoxious as soon as you sit down for your dinner, you need to be as firm with your friends as with your dog. A good trick is telling them your dog is allergic to people food.

Using consistent commands is also important. Dogs can, with training, associate the word ‘come’ with coming to you. But it confuses them when you have taught them the word ‘come’ but then ask them to ‘come here’ or ‘here’ . What in the world does ‘here’ mean, he might think.
One of the biggest mistakes is to punish your dog when he finally comes back to you after you told him to do so for the last ten minutes. Grind your teeth and reward him for coming back at all. If you yell at him you will have taught him that it was a mistake to come back and he will stay away longer next time. (By the way, a good trick to get your dog to come to you, if he is not yet properly trained, is running away from him. If you run after him he’ll think it just a fun game, if you run in the opposite direction he’ll want to follow you. Have your treat ready when he does.)

Most dogs react more to the tone of voice than what is said. Try saying ‘Good Boy’ in an angry voice or ‘Bad Dog’ in a high pitched happy voice and you know what I mean.

Hear, Hear!

'Zipper' of Sausalito

'Zipper' of Sausalito

Nearly all dogs (and cats for that matter) love having their ears rubbed. Ears are one of a handful of nerve centers on a dog’s body that are extra sensitive to touch. It’s pretty hard to rub dogs’ ears in ways they dislike. To launch them straight to cloud nine, however, you need to hit as many of the nerves as you can. Starting at the base of the ear, hold the flap between your thumb and forefinger, Dr. Makowski suggests. Very gently pull the ear straight out from your dogs head, letting your fingers slide as you go. If you do that about four times, moving your fingers each time so they slide over a different section of the ear, you’ll hit just about every hot spot, and your dog will be very, very happy.

Source: The Secret lives of Dogs

Training Humans from the Dog’s Perspective

Source: Training People by Tess of Helena

In addition to increasing the variety of your cuisine, you find that when you share food with your human, he is all the more eager to meet your other needs.
People greatly appreciate praise, and the excellent preparation of food is certainly worth a reward. If you are pleased with your person’s cooking, feel free to mimic that peculiar “mmmmm..” sound humans make when they enjoy the taste of food. With our higher-pitched vocal cords, the sound you make will be perceived by human ear as an endearing ‘whine.’
If you are especially fond of a particular dish, you can give your person exceptional praise through Physical Cues: sitting up on hind legs, rolling over, or other enthusiastic gestures. Humans deeply appreciate such generous displays of approval.

Tess goes on to describe physical cue combination dog can use with humans who react negatively to dogs taking food directly from their table:
The instinct to protect one’s food is strong – even in humans – and if they see you eating from their plates they may protest. An immediate Ear Drop combined with Drooping Tail lets them know how seriously they have disappointed you. Faced with that rebuke, almost all humans will back off, and many will even offer additional potions.

"Cookie?" Painting by

“Cookie?” Painting by Gabriele Bungardt

Dog senses: Smell

In the wild, the dog’s highly developed sense of smell gives the species a great advantage when tracking down prey and identifying fellow pack members. Where we would size up a new situation with our eyes, dogs explore new environment by sniffing them. When they meet other dogs, they sniff them in what -to our eyes- are the most embarrassing places, places where odor is most concentrated.
Scent passes on an incredible amount of information to a dog. Scent –marking with urine or by leaving deposits from the sweat glands between the toes is the way dogs communicate and establish their territory. Sacs inside the dog’s rectum also produce a scent that coats feces. When you’re out walking in the park with your dog, he’s using his nose to pick up who’s been there before him-perhaps a dominant dog, a female in heat, an old dog, a sick dog, or a dog he’s already met. Dogs can smell females in heat who are miles away.
Source: It’s me or the dog by Victoria Stilwell

Training from the Dog’s Perspective

I recently picked up a delightful little book called –Training People- by Tess of Helena.

Tess, a Black Lab shares her insight and expertise in successfully training humans. Under -Basic Training- she describes that humans tend to believe that they, not the dog, control the relationship because they (the humans) are prone to delusions. Tess, goes on to describe how this ‘harmless fantasy’ can be used to dogs advantage.

The following is a quote from the book on how this can be accomplished:
“People respond well to physical cues. They are primarily visual creatures, and, driven by their innate desire to please, humans can become very adapt at interpreting signals you send through your posture, position, and facial expression.
Ear angle, head position, and tail motion are simple and effective training tools. If you want humans to pay attention, simply raise your ears. Even a slight lift will cause them to focus on you. Combining the Ear Raise with an altered head position reinforces the effect.
For example, tipping the head to one side while raising the ears will more often than not generate an inquiry by your human as to what it is you want.

Photo by Gretchen Lemaistre

Photo by Gretchen Lemaistre

If you wish him or her to pick something up for you, combine the ear Raise with staring intently at the object. With duller humans, a bark command may be necessary.”

Tess goes on to describe how dogs can praise their humans with 3 variations of tail wagging, get attention with nose bumping, encourage back scratches with a paw pull, get humans to do something particularly pleasurable for them with an enthusiastic hind leg hop and how to use the technique of mimicking a human smile for getting pretty much anything they want.

It makes for a fun read but also gives some unexpected insights into the dog – human relationship.