Jump to section
You work hard all week, living for the weekend. Because you know when the weekend comes, you’ll be head to toe in camouflage as you go out on a hunting expedition. You love everything about it. The excitement, the uncertainty, and the challenge. However, there is one part you’re not such a fan of, and that’s returning home empty-handed. Fortunately, you may have a solution.
You’ve now got a Weimaraner in your home. This big dog was once used specifically to hunt large game, so you know hunting is in their blood. If you can train your Weimaraner to track and point, then locating and bringing down your prey may be much easier.
Training a Weimaraner to point will hopefully help you achieve the primary goal of success on those early morning hunting trips. It will also help to teach Leo a range of useful commands. Then there’s the simple fact that training will be a great way for you both to bond.
As you can probably imagine, training a Weimaraner to point is no easy feat. These large dogs require a regimented, effective training plan. You will first need to get your dog familiar with the sight and smell of her prey. You will then need to train her to respond to a whistle and certain commands. You’ll need to drill into her to point when she locates the prey. All of this will require patience and a tasty incentive.
If Lucy is a puppy, then you could see results in just a month or so. This is because she will be a fast learner and keen to please her owner. But if your Weimaraner is older and she prefers spending her days lying by the fire, then you may need a number of months before you see consistent results. Persevere with training and you will be rewarded handsomely as you head home with game slung over your shoulder.
You can’t start training until you’ve gathered a few items. Firstly, you’ll need a decent stockpile of treats or your dog's favorite food broken into small pieces. You will also need some decoy toys and scent spray. A launcher and a friend will also be needed.
Set aside around forty-five minutes several times a week for training. Note that the more frequently you train, the sooner you may see results. You will need a large yard or local fields to practice in.
Once you have all of the above, just bring patience and a proactive attitude. Only then can work begin!
The Whistle Method
The first thing to do is train your Weimaraner to stop to a whistle. Take her out into a yard and whistle. At the same time, take a step towards her and hold up your hand like a traffic signal. This should make her hesitate for a moment. You can then give her a reward. Keep practicing this until she responds to your whistle every time.
Set your launcher so the decoy will land around ten feet in front of you. Now call Lucy, launch the decoy, and give her the command to stop. Keep repeating this until your Weimaraner automatically stops as soon as the dummy pops up.
Now try practicing this again but with a live bird that flies away instead of a dummy. You need to keep repeating this step again until your Weimaraner shows you that she will stop as soon as she sees the bird launched.
Now hide the launcher in the field with a bird in it. You need to approach the launcher from the downwind side. As soon as the Weimaraner makes game, launch the bird. Simply practice this in several locations until Lucy starts stopping whenever she smells the bird.
It’s important you don’t train Lucy too hard. Like all dogs, Weimaraners need rest. So keep training sessions relatively short to start with. Stay upbeat and positive as Weimaraners respond best when they think they’re playing a game.
The Advanced Point Method
Wait until you have launched the bird and your Weimaraner has stopped. Then wait a moment and toss the bird for Lucy to retrieve it. You’re going to drill extra discipline into your Weimaraner.
In the cover
Now place a wing-clipped bird in cover, but not in the launcher. Bring your Weimaraner to the downwind side. Wait until she stops when she smells the bird, then wait a few seconds and send her to retrieve it.
Now place a bird in a cover, but not in the launcher. Bring your Weimaraner into the secret cone. As soon as Lucy stops to indicate there is game, send her in to flush. Once the bird flies away, you can fire a shot into the air. Now you want to keep her staunch on point, so you can go in and flush the bird yourself sometimes. Lucy must wait for your command.
Add the retrieve
Once your Weimaraner has demonstrated that she is steady to wing and shot, you can then add the retrieve as well by shooting the bird.
It’s important you don’t rush these steps. Weimaraners are intelligent, but you may confuse yours if you move too quickly. Wait until she masters a step before you move onto the next one. Also remember to give Lucy lots of rest. You don’t want her to lose interest.
The Natural Method
Weimaraners are natural hunters. Therefore, this method relies on you naturally encouraging the skills you want to see. Take your Weimaraner out on lots of walks and let her off the leash. She will develop hunting skills by chasing prey and failing. With every failure, she will learn.
Closely watch Lucy when she's out trying to hunt. Your job is to monitor her skills and identify areas for improvement. You can then concentrate on these areas during the training process.
Now find a balance between letting her chase and you maintaining control. Use the check cord to show her the distance you want her to be. Use it each time and this will soon become habit and then you can get rid of the check cord.
It’s important you reward your Weimaraner whenever she points which is a natural reaction for many hunting breeds, including Weimaraners. As soon as she does, quickly run over and give her a treat or a toy to play with. Try to give it to her within three-seconds. Any longer and she may not associate the action with the reward.
It’s important you show your Weimaraner the same consistency with training and discipline at all times. If you let her do whatever she wants in the house, then she may not follow your lead and point when you’re out hunting. That also means everyone else in the house needs to follow the same rules with Lucy too.
By James Barra
Published: 05/25/2018, edited: 01/08/2021