Are You A Hostage To Your Weimaraner?

By Chris Conklin | Last Updated: July 13, 2021

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.

If you have a Weim with separation anxiety here are some tips on how to deal with separation anxiety.

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.

Hey you made it to the end of the article!

If you want more tips like this, just enter your email address below to get 'em for free!

MAKE LIFE EASIER, HAPPIER (AND MORE FUN!) FOR YOU AND YOUR WEIM!

By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from JustWeimaraners. I'll respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.

About Chris Conklin

Chris was a long time dog trainer, and was especially adept at training the owners. She was also the founder of Michigan Weimaraner Rescue and bred under the kennel name Celestial Weimaraners.

71 responses to “Are You A Hostage To Your Weimaraner?”

  1. Jessie says:

    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.

  2. Tonya O’Hara says:

    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.

  3. laura says:

    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!

    • Anne Taguchi says:

      Great tips, especially the kong recipe! Thank you!

    • Oz says:

      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.

  4. Marysia Appleton says:

    We bred these dogs for years and never experienced this with any of ours?

  5. Melissa Pleshek says:

    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.

    • Anne Taguchi says:

      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!

  6. Terri says:

    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.

  7. Nate B says:

    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.

    • Nate B says:

      And both people who suggested the euthanization of our dog are very respectable in their fields and we dont take the thought lightly

      • Anne Taguchi says:

        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.

    • Ann says:

      Hey Nate,
      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.

    • Debbie says:

      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?

      • G says:

        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.

        • Sue says:

          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.

  8. Marthena Scollon says:

    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”.

  9. TC says:

    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! 🙂

    • Anne Taguchi says:

      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?

      • TC says:

        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.

  10. Therese Smith says:

    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.

    • Anne Taguchi says:

      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!

  11. Kyndi Newman says:

    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.

  12. Nicole says:

    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!!!

  13. Kelly A Koren says:

    I have gates all over my house. In the beginning I lined ALL of my furniture with the wire gates to keep any chewing at bay. They are in the great room which is 40′ by 70′. Plenty of room and most important a dog door. A dog door is going to save your sanity and your pocketbook. Plenty of toys, that I to this day rotate. I just reintroduce them in a month or two. They act like it is the first time they ever laid eyes on them. Lol I also get hugh bones (10” or larger) from the butcher with the marrow inside. I do not cook them for 2 reasons. 1) I feed a raw food program with supplements. 2) a cooked bone can splinter, whereas a raw bone will not. They will last for months and keep them occupied. All of the above works, but perhaps the most valuable way to help or eliminate SA….A pet sitter/walker. The best investment you will probably make in your dogs. Mine comes 2 time a day. Two meals and 2 walks every time I leave. “Your pet sitter is your best friend”. They are worth every dollar I pay to them. When you go on vacation or a weekend outing, use a pet sitter. No stressful trips to the boarding house where they will be locked up in a crate without anything that is familiar to them. Truth is…I went on a 20 day vacation recently. I thought for sure when I got home they would be extra happy to see me…not so. You see, my pet sitter is another “Me”. I was the one that really missed them. Believe me when I say “you won’t regret having a pet sitter” No stress for you or them, just peace. I also like someone watching my house and most important, making sure my babies are safe.

  14. Tori says:

    I have been reading through these comments and am glad there are others out there struggling. And I’m at a desperate level now with my weim, so I thought I would put this out there for any more suggestions.

    My weim is 9 1/2. He has battled separation anxiety throughout his life. I’ll say right now we’re in ‘episode 3’. When he was a puppy, less than a year old, he went through separation anxiety. He whine and howled and destroyed so much at the time – he learned to open doors and would find anything he could eat. For example, he at my razors once. At the time then, he was put on medicine to calm him and also saw a trainer . The combination of the two got him to calm down. He could freely roam the house while I was gone with no issue. Then around 4 years old, he had the ‘episode 2’. Again, We went through about a 3 month process of training and medication again. This time he learned to be crate trained and eventually he got to the point that he knew if he went into his crate, I was not ‘forgetting’ him and that I would come back to get him. Well, since the summer now, we’re in ‘episode 3’. He seems to be going crazy when he’s by himself. (Which is about 2 full work days and then a handful of hours here and there.) Again, he’s back on medicine and I also started from scratch leaving him alone – starting with a few minutes, then an hour, two hours, etc etc. He’s howls so much I had to soundproof the room. His new thing is that he bites on the crate and moves the wires of the cage. He has taught himself how to open one latch and squeeze himself out of the crate through the one opening. He hyperventilates so much that there are puddles of water from his saliva. His heart is racing when I come home. I have worked so hard over the last few months when this started to get him to feel better – but it’s only getting worse.

    I am seriously not sure what else to do anymore. 🙁

  15. Karen says:

    We have a 14 month old male Weim ( our second one, first is deceased). He is CRAZY and stubborn!
    Our biggest problem is that he swipes anything he can get; scissors, razor, cork screw, eyeglasses, clothes etc… and he will not drop them. I have tried treating in exchange and sometimes after 20-30 minutes he will drop.Sometimes though when you reach for it he will be aggressive and bite. I have tried putting him in the small bathroom ( which is what we use vs a crate). He now drops the item immediately but if you reach for it will snarl and bite you. If you leave him for 20minutes and come back he is standing over the item and still refuses to surrender it. If we do nothing and ignore him he destroys the items. Alot of times he will do this while you are engaged in play with him, at other times, while your doing something else. Doesn’t appear to be a pattern. He is not aggressive any other time ( not with food or his toys). I’m looking for help with this situation.

    • Anne Taguchi says:

      What happens with the treat exchange? Does he just refuse the treat, and eventually trades for the treat after 20-30 minutes? Or is it after he’s bored with what he has? When you say he’s not aggressive with his food, does that mean you can reach for his bowl while he’s eating and take it away?

      • Karen says:

        Treat exchange scenario: I will sit down in a chair, he will come to me with the item and sit ( but not look at me- looks down, ears usually back). I will hold a treat in my hand and he will put his snout on it, look away etc. Eventually 20-30 minutes into this scenario he will drop the item and take the treat. End of situation, however, sometimes if I reach for the dropped item he will bite me.

        Regarding his food. Yes I can take his bowl away while he’s eating, I can drop a treat into his bowl and reach for his food etc. Nothing. He really could care less about his food. The only time he is aggressive ( snarl, bite) is if I try to take the snatched item from him.

    • Rikki says:

      I have a 20 month old weimaraner that does just about the same thing. He won’t give up rawhides or toys, but comes and puts his head on my lap while making a purring/growling noise. It is a constant battle of wills over who gets the item. I’d love to hear what you think, Anne!