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A New Family Member...HELP!

 
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Odie
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PostPosted: 04/16/03, 10:38 pm    Post subject: A New Family Member...HELP! Reply with quote

I have been looking for the "perfect" family dog and hunting companion when by accident or dumb luck I struck up a conversation with a co-worker about finding Brittany breeders. This person shows dogs in my area and she said she'd be glad to help me but thought I might be interested in a GWP she knew about. I guess you could call it a rescue of sorts, the current owner has to part with his 18 month old male GWP because of relocating and military commitment and wants to give the dog to a family rather than an SPCA.

I immediately got on the computer and put the GWP in the search engine and read as much as I could about them before going to see the dog. By all indications this breed is supposed to be loyal, obedient, hardworking, familyloving and an instinctual hunter. Of course, the more I read the more interested in this breed I became. So, I set up a time to go see the dog with my wife and two children (ages 4 and 1) to get a feel for how the dog would react to us, my concern for my children more than myself. I went in to the house first and found a dog a little bigger than I'd expected but by standards a dog that fit the mold of the normal male GWP. He was obviously excited at the site of a stranger and didn't seem to be "aloof" as read in many columns on different sites. He is crate trained and house broken and seemed fairly comfortable with me in the house. I then brought my wife and kids in to meet the dog. My 4 year old daughter, who adores dogs, couldn't get to him fast enough and he was very receptive towards her. He greeted my wife and kids with the customary nose-nuzzling sniffs and hand and cheek licks and calmed down after a few minutes. He gently took biscuits from my daughter and didn't mind my tugs on his ears and hugging around his neck. All in all I felt fairly comfortable with the dog around my kids.

The owner offered some info on the dog. The owner paid $700 for the dog who is a purebred with papers, as stated, housebroken and crate trained (when the owner told the dog "crate" he jumped right in without a fuss), has had shots updated etc, etc. He was bought with the intention of hunting but didn't have time. The dog has been around two children and seems socially adapted. Here's where my concerns come in......

I'm sure with some work I will be able to train this dog in basic obedience. I think he is still young enough to respond to learning commands. What I would like to know is am I too late to start him in the field? I took the dog for a short walk and he was all over the place, nose in the ground, sniffing and jumping left and right looking for (hopefully!) a bird. The owner told me the dog doesn't get walked much, which would explain it's wildness on the leash, but has free roam of the yard.

I guess what I am looking for is any advice you might be able to give me. What to look forward to when I bring him home, anything I can do to make his transition into a strange new home a little easier and maybe a list of a few books or periodicals that might help with his obedience and hunting training.

I am excitedly looking forward to our new family member and from the few things I've read here I'm glad I stumbled on this little gem. By the way, his name is Conrad....I think it gives the beard and moustache a little more character!

Thanks for your help,
"Odie" (like the dog, lol)
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dualgwp
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PostPosted: 04/17/03, 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A dog is NEVER to old to learn new behaviours or to be trained. And an 18 mos. old male Wire is just the right age to get started!

You really won't know if the dog is really birdy or not till you take him out and introduce him to birds, but chances are good he will be.

I think if you are comfortable with what you observed, the wife and kids are comfortable... then give it a shot. Expect some bad behaviour as the dog gets used to his new home, but as long as your family all agree on the dogs new rules, it may just work out great!

Best of luck...
Bernee Brawn
Justa GWP's
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Odie
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PostPosted: 04/17/03, 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Bernee! Do you know of any training books or magazines that have worked for you and might be of some use to me? I'm open to any suggestions from folks who own this breed and also hunt them.

Thanks Again,
Odie
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cmmilach
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PostPosted: 04/17/03, 12:43 pm    Post subject: A new family member - help Reply with quote

Odie,

Congrats on your new wire. As you will soon discover, they are very family orienated & love to run & play. You did not mention if he is an intact male or not. I just had my eight year old male neutered last year & what a difference it made. I do agility & hunting with him & he is very happy to be kept busy.

You need to remember that wires are smart & figure out quickly if you are not going to follow up on a command.

I read a great book called "Surviving your dog's adolesnce" & it helped.

Good Luck.

Cathy
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Odie
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PostPosted: 04/19/03, 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cathy,

Thanks for the advice. I brought him home today around 11 am. I took him to a groomer that's a do-it-yourself or have them do it. I figured this was a good time to see how he'd react to me. He was fantastic. He sat reasonably still through me giving him a shampoo, towel and blowdry and one of the women working there commented on his temperament considering he'd only been with me for an hour or so.

Of course he was well received by my daughter when I brought him home and the dog and my one year old son seemd to ignore each others annoyances with no problem. The dog handles ear tugs patiently and my son handles cheek licking with little apprehension. I have however made my decision fairly quickly about getting him fixed. It's a done deal. The only behavior displayed today by the dog I found negative was his urge to attempt to mount my daughter and my niece who was visiting. Thankfully my daughter wasn't scared of him and she only thought he was trying to "hug" her. (lol) But this has made my decision to have him fixed an easier one, regardless of the champions in his pedigree, of which I found out there are quite a few. I didn't plan on breeding him anyway and if it help his obedience and hunting training then it's all the better.

So far he appears to be a very loving and eager to please big puppy. He needs some work but I feel comfortable with him in my home and around my kids. Now all I have to do is work hard and hope he has a nose for birds and the drive to work in the field. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and I will be returning here regularly for info and advice. This is one of the most useful bulletin boards I've seen. Keep up the good work all!

~Odie
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Illona
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PostPosted: 04/21/03, 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Odie,

Let me add my congratulations on your new family member. I myself am new to GWPs having gotten my 15-mo-old rescue girl 9 months ago. We have a 5-yr-old daughter, and they are awesome friends. We had a long drive this weekend, and to and from our destination, Matea and Charlotte shared two narrow seats in the van -- Matea's body draped across Charlotte's lap while Charlotte lay across Matea's back - for hours! It was beautiful!

You will learn lots from this group, so keep posting.

Sounds like Conrad's already proven himself a keeper. You've got a lot of work ahead of you though. These wired-wirehairs need constant amusement and diligent work. I've got my girl into her 3rd obedience class (always top of the class, thank you very much!) and her 2nd agility. (Gasp, she FINALLY figured out the weave poles this weekend!) I do a lot of off-leash, distance work as well, and she requires a LOT of exercise. THe best exercise, of course, is getting your boy together with other pointers to play. They play hard and vigorous, and nothing tires them out faster.

I'd like to warn you about the intro. to the kids though... Take it slow. Get to know Conrad a lot better. Be sure not to leave him unattended with your children for the first while. I'm sure you already know this, but the trust people have in their new dogs is often misplaced too quickly. Within the first month of having Matea, Charlotte accidentally stepped on her while she was sleeping. Matea -- only 8 mos at the time -- woke with a growl (more like a growled-grunt). I immediately wayd "no!" and had Charlotte put Matea through some quick obedience paces to establish the pecking order in the pack. If your daughter is old enough for this, please have her learn how to give commands to Conrad and how to praise him accordingly. It can go a long way in establishing his position in your family. My 3-yr-old nephew -- barely capable of intelligible speech -- visited not long ago, and Matea was trying to give him kisses. After he saw me tell Matea to sit, he took up the word. You should have seen this tall gangly dog follow my portly nephew around, try to lick, then be told through garbled baby-talk to sit, and promptly put her butt to the floor. This went on for hours.

GWPs -- in my opinion, and in my history of dogs -- make the most excellent family additions. However, they need a lot of exercise and a good yard, as well as some decent training of house manners, etc. Don't let that boy of yours get away with anything in these early stages. Set your rules and stick to 'em. These dogs are smart! Our Matea is the most amazing dog and a wonderful addition to our family and our home, but the rules needed to be set and adhered to. She needs boundaries. I'm sure others here will agree.

sorry for the ramble. Just a few thoughts. Congrats again!

Illona
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cmmilach
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PostPosted: 04/21/03, 2:23 pm    Post subject: New Family Member Reply with quote

Odie,

Glad to hear that Conrad has fit into your family. Him mounting the children is a sign of domainance & needs to be nipped in the bud.

Good Luck & let me know if you have any questions.

Cathy

ciaradoc@aol.com
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Illona
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PostPosted: 04/21/03, 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good call, Cathy. Boy when I read your post just now, I had to actually go back and read Odie's last post again. I had totally skipped over that mounting part. Didn't even see it! Glad you caught it. Yes, the mounting thing has got to be stopped, pronto. Neutering is good, but it's not necessarily the answer to this one.

Illona
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Odie
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PostPosted: 05/01/03, 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all for replying to my post, you guys have been helpful.

It will be 2 weeks that we've had Conrad now and I am very happy with his progress and mine! He is a good dog and would have benefitted from more interaction from his previous owner but is learning how to be a good dog more everyday. His appetite has come back and he walks on his leash very well. He still sleeps in his crate at night but is up at the crack of dawn and wants out. He is good in the house and respects the rules pretty well (no furniture, no jumping, etc.). And thankfully after a swift and strong scolding he has not mounted or attempted to mount anyone since the first day. He is doing sit/stay in the house and on the leash very well but still seems bullheaded when told to "come". As soon as he consistently gets that command I want to take him in the field without a lead. I think if he knew those were my intentions he'd be more willing to learn! lol! While on walks he stalks and points doves, pigeons and robins....it is comical! I can't wait to see what he does in the field. And for some reason he doesn't stalk sparrows, cowbirds or starlings....maybe he's picky? lol!

At this point in our learning process the only complaint I really have is his behavior on a twenty foot lead in the yard. I put him out there to do his thing when I cannot walk him or when I or the kids are busy in the house and need a break. I do not want the crate to be used for these times and think he needs to learn to spend some alone time outdoors. Whenever I put him out there he paces the length of his lead rapidly back and forth and, until we moved the anchor point, he would jump on the house, windows and door to get back in. Now that he can't reach the house he begins to bark after a short time, another behavior he hadn't yet displayed and one I don't want to make my neighbors suffer through. I have a 3 foot picket fence around my yard which he can traverse with little problem so I keep his lead short of his reach of that also. So, notwithstanding a bark collar or e-collar does anyone have any back yard etiquette suggestions for Conrad?? lol

I have really grown to love this dog in a short time and am anxious to see what talents he really possesses. We are taking it slow and easy and all learning each other but in this short time I think we have found a very intelligent, loving, family oriented and protective friend. He is still great with the kids and puts up with some of their shenanigans better than I do! And I even think he's begining to win my wife over....she's a tough nut to crack! It amazes me these guys aren't more popular, I'm glad I found out about this secret.

Thanks again all,
Odie
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Illona
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PostPosted: 05/01/03, 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Odie,

I'm actually glad GWPs are a well-kept secret! I'd like to think this is what keeps the breeding of these amazing dogs to those people who really know and love them. My girl is a rescue, and her hunting drive and instincts exceed that of any of the GSP or viszla friends she has. I believe it's because these two breeds have started to become pet dogs as well, and GWPs are still mostly bred for hunting, therefore their lines are cleaner. But who knows? It's just a guess. I only know that I'm going to keep them a secret! Smile

But I agree, this GWP girl of ours is the most amazing family dog we could have dreamed of.

Now...as for the yard and Conrad's demands: Odie, he's part of the family now! GWPs are notorious for not doing well as a kenneled hunting dog. They want to be close to their people (as most dogs do, but I find it to be particularly strong in my GWP). Let him be close to you. My girl spends very little non-"business" time in the back yard alone. SHe wants to be here with us, and I think it's important to let her be. That continued closeness can only strengthen the bond - a bond which should serve you well in your recalls out in the field. In fact, I've had my girl for 9 months now, and more today than ever she is staying with me when off-leash in the field or woods. She has come to recognize her place in our 'pack', and wants to be with us. And you NEED that from a hunting machine you're trying to keep as a pet! Forcing him to have 'alone time' in the outdoors may only build more independence on his part, and then - when you've got him off lead in wide open spaces - he'll be much less likely to recall or stick with you. But that's only my opinion.

Glad to hear things are going so well. He's young still. If he's anything like my girl (at 15-months-old now) you won't need to demand time away from him (i.e. the crate). She curls up and is sleeping a lot of the time, just happy to be with us.

Illona
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possumjack
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PostPosted: 05/04/03, 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congradulations on your new GWP. Since your fence is so short you might look into one of the radio controlled fences that are on the market. I have one that is a wire that is buried in the yard and the dog wears a collar, so when he nears the boundary he gets a shock. The one i have is along the fence and I have had no problem with my GWPS since installing it.Good luck.
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