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When to train a puppy

Dear Trainers,

I have a 7 week old Weim and I'd like to start him on pointing. Will it just happen or should I try to encourage it? When should I introduce birds and the gun?


Hold on a second! Take it easy, your pup doesn't even have all of it's shots yet! At least wait until the pup is 12 weeks old and has had it's second round of vaccainations before taking it afield.

Have fun with your pup. Bond with your pup. Let it know you are the one responsible for feeding, sheltering & keeping them safe. Build confidence, introduce your pup to a VERY lightweight leash and collar.

SHORT training sessions, (5 minutes long) 3-5 times a day is a good start. Get the pup responding to it's name. Fun fetch with a small training bumper, NO TENNIS BALLS!!! (they learn to hardmouth)......

By the time the dog is 3-4 months old, introduce them to a training table. If you aren't familiar with one, go to NAVHDA's homepage, you'll find directions on how to make one there. The URL is: Also, as an aside, your dog's pointing abilities have already been encoded via his/her parents. It's your job to develop those insticts to fit your needs. What i'm trying to say is that if both of your dog's parents couldn't find a bird if they were standing on one, you'll have a more difficult task as opposed to if both parents were NAVHDA Utility or Natural Ability qualified with high scores in pointing.

Genetics plays a huge role in aptitude and ultimately performance. Not to say that a dog from show blood can't excel in the field. Just that's it's harder for the trainer.

Here's a key.........if the dog isn't having fun, it's a safe bet that you aren't either. My point being, let the dog grow up, build confidence, and slowly introduce them to new tasks as you deem appropriate.

Weims are not "out of the box" hunters like alot of GSP's and Pointers. My older bitch, Aja, was 3 years old before she was steady to shot. She's now 5 and a half and rated SDX by the WCA.

I'll assure you of one thing. If you come down too hard on your pup, or expect too much too soon and start hacking it, the dog's range will be affected.

Never shoot a bird your dog doesn't point. It all starts with "whoa". I'm a true believer in the philosophy that whoa traing is 60% of Gun Dog training. If your dog will stay put, anywhere, anytime, under any conditions, you are more than half way home. It can also save the dogs life.

So to reiterate, in order:
  • fun
  • confidence
  • training table
  • whoa training
  • yard training
  • field training
During all of this training, take the dog to a place where it is safe for them to run off leash (make sure they're wearing a tagged collar). Get them moving/working in front of you. If they're doing that, say NOTHING!!! Talk to them to change their direction, too much yapping to a dog while they're down could affect range as well.

Any other questions? Go to: That's my website, it has a bunch of useful training tips.

Good Luck,

rob hopkins
Hoppy's Kennels

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