Weim lives matter!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fiona's Fabulous Family

Yesterday Fiona moved to New Jersey.  This has been quite a journey for a young Weim who started out in Northwestern Ohio, moved to Western Pennsylvania for a month or so and now goes to her forever home in New Jersey!

It was a very rainy trip and even the meeting of the new family was a wet occasion, but no one seemed to mind the dreary weather as the thought of meeting Fiona and getting her to her new home kept everyone's spirits up.

Fiona shares her home with two adults and their children, as well as her new canine sister Charly, a three-year-old Viszla.  Here's a couple photos of Fiona with her new family before they headed out for home:

Wishing Fiona and her new family a very happy life together and many years of companionship and good health!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fiona Frolics in the Field - The Movie

These videos are a bit rough, it was just me and Fiona out taking our walk, but they give you an opportunity to see Fiona moving and having some fun...

INTERMISSION:  Grab your popcorn and ice-cold soda and then enjoy part 2.

Fiona's First Film - A Video of Fiona and Rocky Playing

Fiona and Rocky having some fun.

Fiona's Second Day of School and More

Fiona attended her second class of basic obedience training on Friday night.  I was able to give her a bit more exercise before class than I had the first week and I think that may have helped Fiona's behavior a small bit.

Fiona once again did very well in class doing all that was asked of her until, again, all the dogs started moving.  Right now that is just too much stimulation for her and getting her attention on me, even with the use of food, was very difficult.  At one point I pulled her out of the group of circling dogs into a quieter area to try to get her attention back on me.  Again, this is puppy behavior and she is very much a puppy.  It also shows that she needs someone who will take her places and show her new things so that she will learn to be calm in all environments.  I could tell a big difference in her at just the second class, that she was calmer and more settled than the first week.

Fiona did her sits and downs and she worked on the beginning of the sit stay.  We did more work on the "leave it" command and she was ignoring a treat in my open hand and looking for the treat that would come from my other hand.  We also started to work on getting Fiona into heel position, which will be very helpful for getting ready to walk beside me.

During part of class I put Fiona in a crate, just to give me a break, and I stayed right beside her.  She never made a sound and even played a bit with a toy that was made for her by one of my friends (Thanks, Pat).  I must say that Fiona maintains her happy attitude all during class time and her tail is wagging and she has a very happy look on her face.  She loves to be a part of things and wants to please.

At the end of class Fiona got some time to play in the building once the other dogs had left and she enjoyed getting some extra attention.

Fiona continues to enjoy our daily walks through the fields and is getting more and more fit.  Yesterday she spooked a deer and watched in amazement as he ran away.  We continue to work on her recalls on the 40-foot line and she is pretty good about paying attention to me, although it's sometimes hard when there are birds she'd much rather be watching.

At home Fiona is really enjoying her play time with my boy Rocky.  She has learned that his favorite thing is his dog bed and she loves to tease him by laying on his bed and daring him to get her off of it.  He barks at her till she jumps up to play with him again.  They play pretty roughly, but both seem to know the limits of their games and they are truly enjoying each other.  I just hope Rocky isn't as sad when Fiona leaves as he was when Gretchen left, he had a bit of a hard time dealing with her absence.

Fiona continues her diet and is looking very good.  She seems very healthy and has a beautiful coat.  I get so many compliments on what a pretty dog she is.

Monday, March 12, 2012

So You Think You'd Like to Adopt Fiona?

Let's talk frankly about who Fiona is and what she needs going into the future.

Fiona is the type of Weimaraner puppy who, if she was at a shelter, would get adopted out to an unsuspecting family and be returned within two to three months.  She is a very pretty, eye-catching pup, who is athletic, energetic and needs to be kept busy.  She is a solidly built dog, very strong and her nickname in our home is Tank.

Fiona is a very smart pup and learns quickly.  She is housebroken and has only had one accident in the over two weeks she has been with us.  Now, I must admit that we are careful with Fiona and try to help her be successful in her house training efforts.  Fiona is allowed free run of the house only when we're prepared to keep an eye on her and she goes from her crate right out the door to do her business before she is loose in the house.  She has started to go to the door to indicate that she wants to go out and she has even made some whining noises to make sure she gets her point across.

Fiona is crate trained.  In our home she is in the crate unless she is supervised and although there are times she'll whine and cry, for the most part she is pretty calm in her crate.  Because my husband is home during the day she has not been left in the crate for over 4 to 5 hours at a time since she's been here, if even that long.  Sometimes she'll dig at the floor of her crate, but other than that she's been good.

Fiona seems happiest when we go for her exercise in the big field near our house.  I keep her on a 40-foot line, but that gives her a lot of freedom and she runs and plays, sniffs and hunts and is always looking for birds.  I've used this time in the field as a chance to teach her to come and when I call she returns to me, sits and gets a treat.  Today we went to a small park and she got a new experience as we crossed bridges over a high, fast-running creek.  She likes water and has walked through a small stream without hesitation.

Fiona's worst habits right now are her mouthiness, batting with her paw and jumping on people.  When she gets excited she just can't contain herself and if you reach to pet her your hand will be in her mouth very quickly.  We are working on correcting these problems, but it's going to take time to change these old habits that are really ingrained in her conduct.  Because of these behaviors Fiona would not do well in a house with young children or older or frail people.  She needs people who can approach her calmly and will not tease her by playing "games" that involve enticing her to bite at hands.

Fiona loves to go for rides in the car, but she is not a dog I'd want loose in the back seat of my car.  I have a barrier in my SUV that separates the back of the vehicle from the front seat and Fiona rides behind that barrier.  She never lays down, she's always on alert.  She barks at cars, she barks at people and she sometimes lunges toward cars as they pass.  I'm trying to log more time with her in the car, hoping that she'll start to relax and not be so hyper vigilant and I think that in time she will be a better passenger in a car.

Yes, Fiona barks.  We have two Weims that rarely bark at home and so it's been a bit different to have a barker in our home.  She has a very loud bark and it can be very menacing if she thinks there is something dangerous lurking in or around the house.  She has barked when the ice falls from the ice maker in our freezer, barked at dogs on TV, barked at noises that are new to her.  Hopefully, as she is introduced to more noises and has more life experiences she will bark less and less.  I want to make it clear that she only barks when there is a reason in her mind, she is not a constant barker and is quiet most of the time.

Fiona has showed no aggression of any kind while she's been with us.  I pet her and have reached into her food bowl while she is eating.  She plays with my 8-year-old Weim and is submissive to him.  I would not put Fiona in a home where there is an older, frail dog, as she plays hard and might cause harm to a dog that could not handle her rough play.  She showed no stress at her first night of dog classes when there were 8 or 9 other large dogs in the room with her.  She has met many people and seemed to love them all.

Fiona would be a great dog for someone who lives an active life and wants a dog to join in those activities.  She could do agility, she would make a great tracking dog, she'd love to go hiking and she'd make a good hunting companion if properly trained.

Fiona really needs a home where there is an adult who has time to spend with her, give her attention, make sure she gets exercised and who will take the time to work with her and train her.  She is a dog who I would probably put a no-pull harness on if she were my dog, but, even with that harness, I would continue to work with her and in a year or so she could probably be walking on a leash with a flat collar.  Given the proper care and training Fiona is going to be a great companion for someone.

If you're still interested in adopting Fiona, I suggest you read all the posts I've logged since bringing Fiona into our home, starting with her introduction on February 22nd.  She is a great pup and deserves a wonderful home.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fiona Goes to School

Last night was Fiona's first night in the Basic Obedience class at Golden Triangle Obedience Training Club.  It was quite a night for a young Weimaraner who was basically on sensory overload, but all in all she did pretty well.

When Fiona came to me she knew one command and that was to sit.  It was obvious that she lived a very sheltered life where she saw the same things day in and day out and was not exposed to very many new things.  She did not get much exercise and was allowed to eat all she wanted.

So entering a building with about 9 or 10 other dogs and 15 to 20 people and all the smells, noises and activity that comes with those things was very exciting to her.  And let me say that that excitement never abated and she was happy and playful the entire hour.  

I didn't have time to make a list of all the different dogs in the class but I know there was a Collie, 2 German Shepherd Dogs, 2 black labs, a Golden Retriever, a very reactive Boxer, a Giant Schnauzer and a Puli, so she had quite a variety of dogs to look at.

To prepare for class I had taken her on a short walk in the morning and then taken her to the field at the fairgrounds around 5:00 to run off some of her energy. Then, to make sure she'd be a little hungry we only gave her half of her dog food and green beans at supper.  Pretty good ideas, but she could have used double the amount of exercise.

My challenge was to get her attention on me as much as possible to keep her from barking, lunging at the other dogs (in a totally playful manner) and so that she could try to work on the exercises that we were to teach our dogs in this first class.  With the help of some pretty good treats I had moderate success with her and I was pleasantly surprised that she actually could hear me when I talked to her (as opposed to listening to those puppy voices in her head saying, play, play, play).

Through this I have to keep in mind that Fiona has only been with me for 2 weeks and in the past month she's lost her home, lived in a vet's office for 10 days, got spayed, took a 5-hour car ride, had her name changed and is now in a new home with new people and two strange dogs and she is, after all, a nine-month-old Weimaraner puppy.

Earlier this week, actually on Tuesday, I thought it might be a good idea to teach her to "down" so that she'd at least have two commands that she'd know.  So for four days I worked on teaching her to down from a sit.  The first day we were having no success, her little rump just flew into the air instead of staying on the floor, but then when I used my favorite method to teach a Weim to lay down, putting them on the bed and using the same method as on the floor, she caught on in minutes and would repeatedly lay down for me (something about the soft bed seems to agree with Weims).  Then we worked the second day on the bed for the first few repetitions and then she was laying down anywhere I asked.  

Now I was ready for class, because if she ignored my down request at class I could use the old stand-by line, "Well, she does it at home."  Oh, how many times have we heard that!

Thank goodness, I didn't need to use the excuse, because Fiona not only sat when asked, she downed and she caught on very quickly to the game of having a treat in one hand and learning that when she quit mouthing my hand with the treat in it that she got a treat from the other hand.

The only area where Fiona had a problem was when the class got too stimulating for her and it was pretty much impossible to keep her attention on me and that was when we tried some loose leash heeling across the room.  She was just too interested in the other dog moving beside her and wanting to engage the other dog in play.

I was exhausted at the end of the class from the constant effort of keeping her attention on me and keeping her in her own space.  She is a very strong dog and if there's something she wants she's going to give a good effort to get to it.

The positives from the night were that she showed no signs of aggression either to dogs or people, even when put in a totally strange environment.  She was able to adapt to the situation enough that she listened to me and followed commands.  She showed she is a quick learner and a willing training partner.

On the other hand, Fiona showed that she still needs a lot of work on her social skills both with dogs and people.  A few people who wanted to meet her helped me tremendously by following my request to not pet her on the head, but to calmly try to pet her behind her head, as she still sees hands coming toward her mouth as toys to clamp onto with her puppy teeth.  She still needs work on not jumping up and batting with her paws, in addition to the mouthiness she shows.  But, hey, it's only been two weeks and these are puppy traits and she is a puppy, so we'll continue to work on getting better and better.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Fiona Frolics in the Field

Fiona is working hard to take off those extra pounds and get back her girlish figure.  She loves to run and play and I've been taking her to the Washington County Fairgrounds where the parking lot is a very large field that gives her room to have some fun.  Using a 40 foot tracking line, she burns off calories and is getting back in shape.

Fiona wants to make sure everyone sees how pretty she is and she took time to pose for some beauty shots, too.

Being a playful girl, she found some sticks to carry and shows her scenting technique, as well as showing off that lovely, long tail.

Fiona is quickly gaining confidence and now jumps in and out of my SUV with great enthusiasm.  She is a quick learner and loves to cuddle on the couch.  She is doing well meeting strangers and continues to work on not being so mouthy and using her feet to bat at people.  She is scheduled to start a basic obedience class next Friday and in short time she'll be ready to move on to her forever home.

DERBY -- A Transport from Kentucky to Pennsylvania

Today I took time out to participate in transporting an 8-year-old male Weimaraner from the Louisville Weimaraner Rescue to Tri-State Weimaraner Rescue.  Derby had quite a long day but he was a great traveler, very friendly and a good boy.  He went to a foster home where he will await his introduction to his forever family.

As you'll see from the photos, Derby is grossly overweight and needs to take some pounds off so that he might live a more healthy, active life.  It's sad that people think that over feeding a dog is a way of showing kindness, when it's really just another form of abuse, often causing a dog to suffer from joint problems and a shortened lifespan.

Here's Derby and one of his transporters when he was in Wheeling, West Virginia.