By Monique Anstee
Victoria, British Columbia

Dogs need to be socialized. This means they need to be able to handle a variety of floor surfaces. They need to be able to think their way through stress. They must be presented with problems that they can solve, and stressful situations that they can master and feel good about.

They must learn how to learn. They must learn to be calm and clear in their minds. For those of us that have dogs with ample piss and vinegar, they need to learn an off-switch so that we can enjoy living with them.

They must see all of their work, for any working-dogs, and know what it will look like. They need to learn to work closely with you, and yet also far away from you. Many sports require dogs to make their own decisions, at great distance from you, and this concept needs to be taught early (or rather training must be altered so that this is not squashed out of them). They must learn to use their noses for scent- discrimination, their bodies so that they are nimble and don’t get hurt, and they need to have the freeness in themselves so that they can have the right emotions for their work. And they need to be biddable and take instruction.

Their instincts must be allowed to be free, and explored, then rules put on them (if you are using it for your work).

They need to be able to see any situation, and even if it causes stress, they need to learn to cope with it, to recover from it, and then to bounce back from it.

They need to learn to switch rewards from toy to food, back to toy, and then back to food.

They need to learn to bring toys back to you. To follow you. To come when called. To always keep half an eye and half an ear on where you are domestically around the house and on walks. And your opinion needs to matter to them.

They must believe that you are the best and coolest person in the entire world, and follow you adoringly wherever you go. And you must be that person because you cannot lie to a dog.

They must allow you, your Vet and your Groomer to handle them and manipulate them.

And they need to trust you so much that no matter where they go in this world, nothing scares them or worries them, because ultimately you have their back.

This is Puppy Socialization as I define it.

5 Steps to Ruining a Dog

Please read this article in entirety by clicking here: 5 Steps to Ruining a Dog Below is an excerpt of this short but excellent article on training and behavior mistakes people make with their dogs. Because Weimaraners are prone to anxiety problems, these two paragraphs are particularly important. Never reward signs of anxiety in your dog.

Encourage and Reward Whining and Other Signs of Anxiety – This seems to be one of the more popular items on the list.  Fido cries in the crate, he runs over to you and shakes when the garbage truck drives past, he has also started to hide behind your legs when men enter the home, and he barks at the window to let you know that someone has just walked past the house.  Make sure you let Fido knows that he’s doing a great job at being afraid, be sure to teach him that his crying is the best way to get your attention, and make sure you constantly touch him and tell him “it’s okay” when he’s fearful and hiding.  That’ll learn ‘em!

Why this can ruin a dog – Barking, fearfulness, whining, and other anxious behaviors are NOT desirable traits in dogs.  So why do so many owners pet, praise, and verbally mark such behaviors?  From my experience, dog owners may be attempting to send the correct message in these instances, but they are using human emotion to deal with a canine problem.  If your child was nervous of thunder and lightening, you are going to give her a hug and tell her that it’s okay, there is nothing to worry about.  When you do the same for a dog, your’re basically encouraging them to be more fearful by implementing physical touch and verbal praise.  Marking and encouraging behaviors is training.  It’s up to us to make sure that we are marking and encouraging the correct behaviors in our dogs.

He Just Wants To Say “Hi!”:

Rawlie and NoraAggression or appropriate response to rudeness? Far too many dogs suffer because handlers & trainers don’t know the difference between the two.

This is a lengthy article, but take the time to read it especially if you have a new puppy! A lot of behavioral problems in dogs are developed when dogs are young by owners misinterpreting dog body language.

Click here .

My commentary…

We live with a lot of dogs. Our youngest right now is a 7 month old male. Our oldest dog is a 14 year old female (his great-grand mother coincidentally!).  Having our own wolf pack, we’ve observed all kinds of dog behavior and interaction. Rude and inconsiderate youngsters are the top cause of arguments in our house. Over the years, we’ve set up a hierarchy of introducing puppies into the pack.  Puppies start with dogs that will gently correct. After basic manners are established, they move on to the more difficult subjects in the house. There is a basic respect puppies must have before they can meet the less tolerant dogs. Generally, if one of them ends up getting snapped at by grannie, or one of the adult males, they deserved it. Puppies really can be the canine equivalent of a jerk.

Of course, I trust my dogs not to go too far with each other. Even the most intolerant subject in my house would rather not be pushed to the point where they make a correction. When socializing with strangers’ dogs it presents a different level of complication. Read this article! The last thing you want to create is a dog that is fearful of other dogs because it rudely got into an adult dogs’ face a few too many times as a puppy — and faced the canine consequences!

Crate training

Probably the most important piece of equipment you will ever buy is a dog crate. The dog crate is accepted, trusted, and taken for granted by dog show exhibitors, obedience and field trial competitors, trainers, breeders, groomers, vets and anyone else who regularly handles dogs. Individual pet owners, however, often reject the idea of a ‘cage’ for their pet because they feel enforced confinement is ‘cruel’ or a punishment. However, the dog does not feel confinement is punishment when the crate is properly utilized.

The dog is a den animal (like a wolf or a fox) and the safe, enclosed shelter of the dog crate becomes a haven, a ‘security blanket’ for the dog, in the often bewildering world of humans. The dog is much happier and secure with its life controlled by a human ‘pack leader’ and benefits by the prevention from causing trouble, rather than punished for the trouble later.

The crate is a rectangular enclosure with a top and a bottom and a door, made in variety of sizes proportioned to fit any type of dog. Constructed of wire, aluminum, or molded fiberglass/plastic , its purpose is to provide guaranteed confinement for reasons of security, safety, housebreaking, protection of household goods, travel, illness, or just general control. It is escape proof, non-chewable, easy to clean, and well-ventilated. A good quality crate will last almost indefinitely.


When correctly and humanely used, a dog crate has many advantages for both you and your dog.

1. You can enjoy complete piece of mind when leaving your dog in the house alone, knowing that nothing can be soiled or destroyed and the dog is comfortable, protected and not developing any bad habits.
2. You can housebreak your dog much quicker by using the close confinement to encourage control of its bladder, establishing a regular routine for outdoor elimination, and to prevent ‘accidents’ at night or when left alone, since the dog will avoid soiling its ‘den’ if at all possible.
3. You can effectively confine your dog at times when it might be underfoot (meals, for instance), or unwelcome (workmen), or ill.
4. You can travel with your dog without risk of distraction to the driver or the dog getting loose and lost, and with the assurance that your dog will more easily adapt to any strange surroundings as long as its familiar ‘den’ is along. It can retreat to it when it is tired or stressed.
5. Avoid much of the fear/stress/punishment caused by your reaction to problem behavior.
6. The dog is spared the frustration and isolation (basement, pen or boarding kennel) when the whole family is together or gone on a family outing.

The use of a dog crate is not recommended for a dog which is frequently and regularly left alone for extended periods of time, such as all day or much of the day when the owner is away at work or school. In these instances, a secure outdoor kennel run is much preferred, but if a crate must be used, arrangements should be made to take the dog out for exercise at midday.

In the case of the puppy, the crate is used strictly as a playpen for general confinement and for housebreaking. DO NOT ever use the crate for punishment.

House-breaking Your Puppy

A young puppy (7-16 weeks) will normally have no problem accepting a crate as his own place. The puppy will likely ‘carry on’ for awhile for the first few times it is crated, but do not give in. As with all other training, it takes patience, understanding and a firm hand. Remember, it is not the crate the puppy is protesting, but the separation from you. Sooner or later the puppy will settle down.

To help you both adjust to the crate, try feeding it inside the crate a couple of times, or toss in a biscuit before closing the door and saying, ‘Good puppy!’. If the puppy is crated where you can see him, it will not feel quite so lonesome. Ignore the wails and whines and never take it from the crate while it is carrying on.

Puppies like babies have little bladder control and will need to relieve themselves many times during the day. Sometimes as often as every hour or so. Take puppy outside after he awakes from a nap, right after eating/drinking, after active play or any time it looks as though it is looking for ‘that spot’. The numerous trips outside will become fewer as the puppy gains control of its bladder. Proper use of the crate/den method sometimes has a normal, healthy dog mostly trained in about four weeks.


1. Place the crate in a convenient location, out of the mainstream of activity, but where you can watch the puppy awaken from its nap and needs to go out. Also, the puppy can see you and not feel abandoned and isolated.

2. Establish a routine that takes the puppies need into account. If the puppy goes out every morning at 6:30 a.m., Monday through Friday, he should go out at the same time on the weekend mornings as well. Establish a regular feeding schedule so that the need to eliminate will be more regular and perhaps, anticipated. Pick up the water dish and hour or two before bedtime so the puppy will not need to urinate as frequently during the night.

3. Establish a ‘crate’ routine for the puppy, crating him at regular intervals during the day. The puppies normal nap time is a good time and at nighttime. The very young puppy will have to go outside hourly and once or twice at night.

4. Crate the puppy when you are not actively playing with or watching him. Allowing a puppy to roam the house before he is trustworthy is counterproductive and unfair. Not only will it make it impossible for you to be consistent in training, but the puppy may get into real trouble. Chewing on electrical cords or eating poisonous houseplants are just two examples of trouble.

5. When the puppy has to go outside, pick him up and take him out (otherwise, he might go as soon as he outside the crate); praise him profusely when the puppy does as you expect. Always go out with the puppy (he may run out and back without eliminating), even if it is inconvenient. The idea is to establish a consistent and expected behavior.

6. NEVER discipline your puppy for an accident in the house unless you catch him in the act, if so, scold him, scoop him up, and take him out to the proper place. Punishing a puppy or dog after the fact is useless; the only thing you accomplish is confusion and fear, as the dog does not associate the past action with your present anger. NEVER, even in the most trying circumstances, strike your puppy or rub his nose in the mess!