[Editor’s note: Chris Conklin was kind enough to share what she knew about separation anxiety in Weimaraners over 10 years ago, and this article reflects the research and knowledge available at that time. There are a few outdated concepts discussed, but I still think that there are valuable insights to be gleaned. For the most recent information about separation anxiety and how to treat it successfully, please click the link below on How to Treat Separation Anxiety in Weimaraners.]
Imagine this: You are held hostage by your Weimaraner. You cannot leave the house to do any brief errand and leave your Weimaraner alone because he will destroy the house, become completely unglued, and bark and howl in misery. Does this sound familiar?
Weimaraners are notorious for being prone to separation anxiety, but some behaviors are normal and due to boredom. True separation anxiety is a highly anxious mental state where your Weimaraner cannot cope with your absence, and this is manifested in negative behavior. When left alone, your dog may drool, bark, or howl excessively; he may inappropriately urinate or defecate or be extremely destructive.
Separation anxiety can have genetic roots so one of the easiest preventive measures is to purchase a pup whose parents are not prone to it.
Some early signs of separation anxiety typically involves a Weimaraner that paces, whines or cries when an owner leaves the room or the house for a short period, especially when other family members are still present.
With a new Weimaraner puppy, establishing a routine that involves crating the puppy not only when you are gone but at set times when you are home will get him accustomed to his crate and being alone.
It’s also important to give your puppy behavioral responsibilities like waiting when entering and exiting doors and at dinner times. Do not give your puppy, no matter how well behaved, all of the privileges of an adult dog like sleeping in your bed or being loose unattended in your home.
Older Weimaraners such as those newly adopted from rescue should should be treated just like a puppy with a bigger attention span. Don’t move them in like they have lived with you forever, reserve privileges for them to earn as they learn the rules and routines of your household.
Why Are Weims Prone to Separation Anxiety?
As a very intelligent breed Weims are often given privileges in the home that they are not emotionally capable of handling or that make their owners appear weak or submissive.
As Weim owners we tend to make them integral to the functions of our households and lives without giving them enough behavioral responsibilities.
They begin to think we cannot function in our own homes without their input or presence, so when we leave they are brought to a state of panic that we, as submissive pack members versus leaders, are alone in the bigger world without them. In a pack situation only the more dominant members leave for hunting; lower, weaker and submissive members are most often left to watch young and guard the den.
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Take notice when your Weimaraner is calmly laying down on his own initiative and praise him for offering good behavior. Your Weim will become empowered by being able to control consequences. This empowerment will reduce anxiety!
Alone Training Your Weimaraner (Or, How to Prevent Separation Anxiety)
How train your Weim to be alone while you are at work all day to prevent separation anxiety. (Important for Weims!)