The Weimaraner is often chosen as a family pet for its unique silver, grey, or blue coat and it’s striking good looks. But the Weimaraner is, in fact, a hunting breed. Weimaraners were developed in Germany and are able to hunt a wide variety of prey as they are strong, fast, great at tracking, and have a strong prey drive. Introduction of bloodlines from pointers over the years has made these dogs especially adept as bird hunting dogs. They are able to track, point, flush, and retrieve, all skills that are useful tools for a bird hunting dog.
These sensitive, active, intelligent dogs have a reputation for sometimes being a challenge to train. When training a Weimaraner to hunt birds, it is important to allow his natural talents to shine. Work with and encourage his abilities, have patience, and use positive reinforcement to shape natural behaviors. It is important not to discourage a sensitive Weimaraner by introducing too many new things too fast, providing harsh correction, or overwhelming your dog.
It is important to start training a Weimaraner to hunt as young as possible when natural hunting behaviors can be more easily molded. Older dogs can be taught to bird hunt, however, it may require more time and patience to harness the skills of an older dog.
You will need to get your dog familiar with following bird scent trails. You'll also want to teach your dog to stay close to you, or quarter, to cover an open field where a bird may be located. Your dog will need to be familiar with guns so he is not startled when flushing a bird for hunters to harvest. If you want your dog to point or retreive, you will also need to teach him to freeze when he locates a bird so you can take the shot, or provide a command to flush the bird. To retrieve game, your dog will need to learn not to run off with or mangle birds, but to return to you and release it.
When training a Weimaraner, you may want to use treats to reinforce desired behavior. Toys that will encourage your dog to release birds to you are also handy. Many trainers use a check rope when training bird hunting dogs to keep their dog to range close to them. Tame birds and bird scent are also useful for training bird dogs.
Before heading out bird hunting, you will want to ensure your dog has good obedience commands and excellent off-leash recall. Tracking collars can be used if your dog taking off is a concern, but with good recall, you shouldn't need one.