Canine behavior is largely instinctual. Understanding how dogs think gives us insight into how to help them have good behavior and manners.
To understand canine behavior, we need to look at the relationships of the wolf pack, the ancestor of our modern dogs.
Every dog breed, including the Weimaraner, can be traced back to wolves in northern Europe, more than 10,000 years ago.
Wolves are pack animals, with a very clear pecking order or hierarchy. Each wolf knows its place within the pack, and there is always a very clear alpha or dominant Pack Leader.
Wolves and dogs know their place within the pack, and they are comfortable with their position.
Each member of the pack has a place. After the leader, there is a number 2, a number 3 and so on. Knowing where he stands within the pack, makes a wolf or dog feel secure.
As humans, we need to take charge and be in the leadership positions. It is normal for a dog to challenge others to determine where they stand in the social order. He is simply seeking information about where he stands in the group.
Every human (including children) needs to be in a superior position to your dog. Your dog will understand this, and he will be comfortable knowing his place in the pack.
From your dog’s perspective, this works very simply. Your dog will respect and obey everyone who is above him in rank. Dominance and submission are not good or bad. You just need to figure out who is who.
Pack members do a number of things together.
- Walk and run
- Sit, lie and relax together
- Groom each other
- Hunt together
The Pack Leader
Every pack needs an alpha or leader. The leader does not keep his position by being aggressive. Leaders signal that they are dominant by their actions.
Dogs understand body language and actions, rather than verbal communication. Submissive dogs or wolves show respect to the leader by their actions.
The wise dog owner will take heed and work with his dog at his dog’s level of understanding. We need to help our dogs understand what we want, using communications that they understand.
How Pack Leaders Show Dominance
Wolf packs have a male and female alpha pair as leaders. They get the best of everything–the choice of food (including as much as they want) and the best place to sleep.
The wolves or dogs below the alpha are quite content to assume their positions. In fact, they are relieved to know where they belong, as they do not have to make important decisions or take responsibility. When a dog doesn’t know who is in charge, she can become aggressive, barky, clingy and destructive.
When you are the pack leader, training is simple. Your dog wants to obey you. This is one of the 5 simple principles taught by the Doggy Dan dog training system .
Confusion about who the pack leader is, may lead to problems like submissive urination.
Improve Your Dog’s Behavior
Good canine behavior does not happen by itself. No matter how sweet your puppy is when you get her, she will need some dog behavior modification as she matures!
Dog behavior modification is simply correcting bad dog behavior, or teaching your dog which behaviors are acceptable, in your home. It is a learning experience for your dog, and she learns that doing what you want her to do, has positive results.
For example, aggressive dog behavior in a family dog must be stopped, and dogs that jump fences are putting themselves in danger. In either case, you need to work on changing the bad canine behavior to acceptable behavior.
Weimaraner training must begin early, to make sure that undesirable behaviors do not develop. Training begins the day that you bring your puppy home.
Weimaraners who do not understand that you are in charge, quickly become demanding, bold, and difficult to correct.
You need to be the Leader. This is important for a number of reasons:
- When company arrives, you do not want them to be knocked over by your 50 pound Weimaraner. This would not endear them to you or your dog.
- A grown Weimaraner insisting on your attention can be annoying, with his barking, jumping, nipping or whining canine behavior.
- Your dog must leave your things alone – This means no chewing shoes, biting clothing, destroying furniture, etc.
- Barking for a treat or food is not acceptable. Your dog should learn good canine etiquette for meal times and treats. Barking for food interrupts you while you are visiting with others, and it can ruin your meal, within seconds. You eat first as the leader. Your dog eats later.
- Your dog must be under your control at all times. If she does not listen to you, she is putting herself in danger. She could run out in front of a car, get lost, or run away to explore the neighborhood on her own. She needs to know her boundaries.
One of the most important things to enforce in the Weimaraner breed is that the house is YOUR territory.
When your Weimaraner puppy is still little, show him a place in each room that will be his spot, when he is full grown. For example, you might have a dog bed, blanket or towel where your puppy can relax in each room, while you and your family are in the room.
Keep your puppy with you, since Weimaraners are very prone to separation anxiety. When you are together, you can correct bad canine behavior more easily, as well. Your puppy will quickly learn what you expect of her.
Preventing Canine Behavior Problems
A dog that gets in your way, must be trained through repetition, to go to a specific location in your home, such as a bed or a dog pen. This training is for the dog’s safety and to decrease your stress level.
Outdoors (i.e. when hunting together) you need to trust that your Weimaraner will move in the right direction, at the right time. If you don’t know where your dog is (or she is not where you expect her to be), she could end up being in the line of fire.
Free Doggie Dan videos show you how easy training can be.