[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 There are a few outdated concepts discussed, but I still think that there are valuable insights to be gleaned.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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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!)
How to Treat Separation Anxiety in Weimaraners
Separation anxiety in Weimaraners is a common problem! Here are tips on how to treat this problem backed by the most recent research.
I have had my Weimar for 2 years and I can leave him at home up to 7-9 hrs alone. How? He and I are very active!!! Just like a Weimar should be. I believe these pups love to be tired and they need to be out with their owners doing things that will make them tired. Murph and I spend most of our time outside walking, running, playing, or just sitting outside. Try this method and see if you have any changes.
Ha. We had a Weimaraner that tore up the house when it was left alone. We also had a Weimaraner cross Pointer which demolished our sofa one day when left alone. She was a really emotional dog but so gentle, I often have dreams about her.
We have helped our 3-year old Weimeraner curb her separation anxiety by: 1) keeping her very active and making her tired; 2) keeping her entertained – fill a Kong with pumpkin, applesauce and 1/4 cup of Turdunkin (merrick wet food). Freeze it. She’s focused on getting all the yummy bits and 3) Leave her alone for a few hours at a time and come back. Add more time and repeat. Don’t make a big deal when you leave. In fact, don’t say anything, just leave. Weims are incredible dogs…Enjoy!
Great tips, especially the kong recipe! Thank you!
Great advice. I’ll try it. I have 3 mo. old Weim and a 4 mo. old Aussie-Lab mix. The Weim has recently started howling when I leave the house and specially if she catches a glimpse of the other dog. They both stay/sleep in crates in separate rooms. He’s fine–she’s starting to show bad separation signs.
We bred these dogs for years and never experienced this with any of ours?
My weim is 7 years old and has recently started to destroy our home when we leave for work. I left and 2.5 hours my husband came home to a chewed up pair of jeans (his), the handles off my school bag, the blanket in the living room, the rug in the kitchen, and drywall off the hallway. PLEASE!! help I am at my wits end! She isn’t crated during the day anymore because for 1 year she has been a good girl. Now this and I need to start crating her again but do not want to because she cries.
My husband leaves early, my children at 7:30 and I leave at 9 or 9:30 and the kids return at 3:30 each day. She is let out before and after, and is usually sleeping during the day.
Oh my it sounds frustrating, I’m sorry you are going through this! I think though that you should put her back in her crate since she’s “abused” her out-of-crate privileges. Try it for a few days, go through the crying and see what happens when you give her loose privileges again, I’ll bet she won’t need the reminder for too long before she gets the picture. She might just need an attitude adjustment 😉 you know how these Weims are… especially the girls it seems!
My Weimaraner will be 4 next month he has started weeing everywhere and opening doors to get in rooms he isn’t allowed in to wee. Please help he has been such a good boy till about 2 months ago. He hasn’t got an infection I’ve been to the vets. I just think he doesn’t like to be left but we have to go to work.
This might sound a little strange but you aren’t pregnant by any chance are you?
I am experiencing the same thing and am pregnant. Does that make a difference?
Just anecdotal but it’s not unheard of!
I adopted a 7 year old weim from a shelter. When I was adopting her they said she had been returned because she was over active. No problem I already had a 1 year old weim male in the house and knew how to handle their outrageous energy. We put her in good metal wire crate and less than 4 hrs after putting her in there she broke out cutting herself on the metal, tore up flooring, tore up dry wall, and so much other stuff. Weve been to multiple vets and behavioralist, been medicating her on clomicalm and trazadone but still have to wore about her hurting herself or burning the house down….literally I came home today she had managed to turn on the stove. The behavioralist and even a weim rescue contacted suggested putting her down. We dont want to because of how close she has become to our family especially our other weim. They are inseparable. But its become hard not to truly consider that option. Any advice you have would be helpful thank you.
I know ill probably get some flak for considering putting her down but it is bad.
And both people who suggested the euthanization of our dog are very respectable in their fields and we dont take the thought lightly
Hi Nate, first kudos for all the effort you have put in with your girl. I wish I had something to add to what you have already tried, but I’m afraid that I am at a loss. I do know someone who went through a very similar situation with an adopted Weim. They were also experienced Weim owners, and did everything they could to rehabilitate him and spent a couple years and many dollars, but unfortunately they did have to euthanize him. He was not adoptable and they were literally a hostage to the dog. I hate replying in such a manner, I hope someone else has words of encouragement for you.
I have never had that personal experience, but my parents did. What they ended up doing was making the dog purely a “outside” dog, and put him in a solid area (“doggie prison”). It’s not ideal, and the dog never really got his head on straight, but he was able to live out the rest of his years happy for the most part. He destroyed whatever was in the yard with him, so they just went ahead and let him have stuff they didn’t care about being destroyed, and it kept him happy.
Like I said, it’s not an ideal solution, but if you are really attached to this her, it might be a way to keep her from hurting anything, and let her live out her life.
Whether or not my words help, I hope things work out for you.
My Weim is now 6, he also destroyed nearly everything in our house and also turned the gas cooker on, how the house didn’t blow up I’ll never know. He has calmed a lot but continually begs and steals food, we have a lock on the fridge and any food has to be stored at head height as he opens all the cupboards, I have child safety gates all over the house to prevent him getting into certain rooms. I can cope with all that but he now whines during the early hours until we get up, it’s a steady high pitched whine and it’s driving us insane. My husband and I are like zombies most days. Have you experienced this problem too?
Weims can be very difficult to handle. A bark collar helped us some in the morning and while away. I don’t think its a good idea to get rough with a Weim. He nipped me once and got a muzzle and shock collar in exchange. Today he’s as sweet as could be. Is left alone sometimes for hours. doesn’t steal food, and waits at his bowl to be told when to eat. He will drop when told, nt always on first time. Have plenty of hard plastic toys for him as he will chew almost anything into pieces including kongs, and lacrosse balls. He is 5 and typical Weim stubborn, but knows to retreat when I raise my voice. I try never to raise my hand and he’s too tough to put on his back. Yet he knows I’m boss of everything.
The vibration ( shock) collar has saved my boy’s life. All I have to say is one word and he is submitted. I rarely have to use a level higher than tone and we are still addressing issues one at a time. Needs to be a high quality collar, bought through a hunting store or something like it.
We must remember, Weimaraners were bred as companion hunting dogs, that means they need their companion to do their job. A crate should be treated as their private special place and signify that they are “off duty”.
We have a 6 month old Weimaraner male. He has severe separation Anxiety. We have to crate him when we leave or he will destroy the house. He has already torn the blinds down, eaten the door frames, doors and base boards trying to get out of the house. When we leave we do not make a big deal about it and when we return we do not touch him until he has gone outside and done his business. Most mornings he is given ample exercise for about a little over an hour.
While getting ready for our day he will follow me from room to room whining…(can’t remember when I went to the restroom by myself without being whined at or leaned on)…
He has a great personality and I am sad that he feels so insecure when he is left alone. (even from room to room)
I have read every article and advice blog I could but We really need help to help him grow into a secure self-confident weim. I would love to eventually do away with the crate and allow him free reign of the house so he can sleep in his big bed while we are gone. Please let us know if you think you can help! 🙂
I know what you mean about wanting him to feel secure. A couple questions… Is he calm in his crate? Do you crate him when you are home?
Yes, we crate him when we are gone. At first he barked for a long time. Now he is calm. Although he ate through the clamps that hold the corner of the crate together.
I was trying to acclimate him to being free reign in the house while we are gone since the crate is so large and our house is not.
We have an almost 6 mo. old Weim we got 2 mos. ago. She is being crate trained and is doing well with that-especially since we both work 9 hours of each day. She likes to play and fetch but my question is: She will not walk on a leash. I am a huge power walker and always enjoyed walking with our previous dog. She halts and will not move even with treats and a lot of praise. Is there something else we can try? Unable to understand this behavior. She was the last of 9 puppies to a breeder who was gone long hours and she and her mother had the run of the back yard/garage all day and night but was never put on a leash or walked. We are also working on more social interaction with people and other dogs and she is doing better with this all of the time.
This is something that comes up now and again and I think as you suggested that it’s related to the fact that she didn’t have as much socialization as maybe was ideal. I actually am working with a dog that was also under-socialized and has some of those tendencies as well, and I do wonder if it’s more that just the lack of experience on leash and more related to not wanting to be restrained. Besides praise, treats and patience, I’m not sure what else to suggest other than to mix it up. With mine, I have tried making sure the destination was something fun. I’ve also tried changing routes as in the beginning I thought maybe something startled him on the walk. Our situation gets better as well, but it’s a slow process…. but you are saying she does better all the time and with her age, I think you are on the right track. Good luck!
I have an 11 mo old male weim, he’s recently in the past month taken on being randomly aggressive. This is very new. I have taken him in numerous public places before and this has never happened. Then suddenly I will be walking him and he will literally go into bark attack mode. I take him to daycare during the day where he plays with other dogs and seems very socialized. And I cannot figure out the pattern of his aggression. It’s not particular to make or female or kids or even what they are wearing. And he us actually a very sweet dog otherwise. I desperately need help.
Is it only when he is on leash? It may be protective behavior/leash aggression
We have two weims: a 22 month old female and a 11 month old male. Our male has not been neutered yet but it is our intention to have that procedure completed soon. We’re looking for suggestions on how to cope with separation anxiety as it seems like he is definitely showing signs. We stopped crating him several months ago because whenever we came home there would be piles of saliva outside the crate and small cuts on the top of his nose. We didn’t want him to continue hurting himself so we started leaving him (and our girl) in the living room/kitchen area with all other rooms closed off. He frequently urinated on our couch (causing us to replace the couch) and chewed up anything he could manage to find. Our dogs are only left alone for a few hours here and there. During the week while we’re at work they go to my in-law’s house where they can run around and get plenty of exercise. Now that we’ve replaced the couch and he is not having accidents in the house we’ve started keeping them in our bedroom. After several short absences (going out to dinner, grocery shopping, etc.) he has scratched the paint off the corner of the bedroom door, pulled/chewed the bedskirt off our bed, ripped holes in our sheets, and chewed holes through several comforters. We leave plenty of toys in the bedroom for them and have tried leaving the tv or radio on while we’re gone. We’re sure that our female has helped with some of the weim crimes but are fairly certain she’s not the main culprit because we didn’t experience these problems when it was just her. Any positive advice would be greatly appreciated!!!
This is a tough one as it sounds like the behavior has been going on for a while. In addition to reading the SA article on this site (https://justweimaraners.com/tag/separation-anxiety/) you may want to seek out a behaviorist. Will he crate OK if he is next to your girl or even in the same crate?