What a wonderful looking pair.
There are a few minor issues to fix, but the main aims of my visit are to control Weimaraner Lulu’s territorial barking and hunting – for her to have reliable recall.
At present the dogs run freely off lead a lot of the time, so the price the owners would need to pay in terms of training and restricting Lulu’s freedom is probably not worth the gain in their eyes, and they may need to settle for the compromise of ‘much better recall’, or on lead only if unsafe! When she sights a deer or a hare, without intensive long line work over a long period of time, they don’t stand a hope of getting her back. She has practised freelancing and hunting for a long time and has an extremely strong Weimaraner prey drive.
They live in a lovely house overlooking fields – ideal for Lulu’s sharp eyesight and keen hearing to spot animals or people in the distance resulting in a lot of barking. She has leapt the fence in the past. Some management solutions will help to a degree – including enclosing part of the garden.
Both dogs have been to obedience classes but obedience training doesn’t necessarily mean an obedient dog, or that the dog won’t choose to disobey a command!
The owners believed that Lulu ran the roost, but I saw it a little differently. In his quiet way Viszla Hugo shares the job. He mainly lets Lulu take responsibility for territorial stuff, but he has other tricks. He is protective of his personal space whilst not particularly respecting that of others. He plays games over food – controlling Lulu. He uses his ball to get people to repeatedly jump to his bidding and throw it whilst not letting them touch him. Because Lulu is more hyper, this disturbs him; he may try to control her by humping her, or he may get very worried if her stress levels get out of hand or cause the owners to get cross with her. Their toddler is a bit vulnerable when Lulu jumps over him or pushes past him to frantically chase or bark at something.
So once again it is a leadership issue. From early morning Lulu whines to get them up – and in order to stop her they go to her for fear of waking the baby – proving to her that whining works. She makes it very hard to get her collar and lead on before walks. As I said, a mix of more minor issues, but they all contribute to the overall situation where Lulu in particular ignores what she is being asked to do, her noisy territorial behaviour is causing them problems, she is stressed, and calmer Hugo is a worrier.