Training German Shorthaired Pointers
Posted on November 5th, 2018 by FetchMasters in Resources
Probably because of our Positive Gun Dog Training background (and maybe because of our name), we get many requests for training German Shorthaired Pointers. But lots of people dream of having them without fully understanding the implications. So much so that I felt it smart to create this article as a resource.
Exercising a German Shorthaired Pointer
Shorthairs typically possess a high prey drive, boundless energy and needy personalities. The notion that high volumes of exercise create good dogs is not wholly accurate. But the concept certainly has relevance where GSPs are concerned. Athletes in the dog world, they can run ceaslessly and overcome the worst of conditions to find prey animals. And unless you can abate that energey reserve somewhat, a GSP will not be happy.
Key Factors in Training German Shorthaired Pointers
I’m confounded by online articles rating the intelligence of dog breeds — confounded because GSP’s are not in the top five. They are incredibly intelligent and curious animals. And they even are eager to please if raised appropriately.
They are highly trainable and easy to motivate. Most GSPs are motivated by food, toys, play, elements in the environment (which can be used as rewards) and praise. And while they are rugged and intrepid beasts, they still bond tightly with their owners and are sensitive personalities — which make them particularly responsive to changes in vocal tone.
Tight Bonding vs. Independence
But as bonded as they become, and as sensitive as they can be, they have a very independent streak when they are in an outdoor environment. This makes them seem stubborn and renders them a more of an advanced dog from a dog training perspective. In the positive dog training world, not all trainers enjoy working with German Shorthaired Pointers — particularly when the dog moves out of the puppy stage and the training moves to difficult outdoor environments.
But if a trainer (or owner) understands how to motivate and manage the German Shorthaired Pointer’s personality, the dogs are a joy to train and live with.
Is a German Shorthaired Pointer for You?
And just as they are not the right dog for all trainers, they are not the right dog for all owners. A lot of trainers and GSP owners comment that, if you are not going to hunt with a GSP, you should not own one. While I get the concept, that’s probably not wholly true in modern times. GSP’s are ideal for people who jog or run a lot. One of our FetchMasters trainers is a marathon runner who chose a GSP as a running companion. But quick jogs around the block will not be sufficient.
German Shorthairs are also ideal dogs for dog trainers, who can give the dogs ample attention, training and mental stimulation.
Here in Colorado, we have a high percentage of active people who love to hike in the mountains and spend time exploring the outdoors. German Shorthairs certainly can be in good hands with such folks.
However, they may not be such great fits for parents all-consumed by raising young children; having a shorthair is like having another kid — albeit a crazier one. For that matter, anyone who is too busy to train, exercise and spend time with a Shorthair probably needs to steer clear of this breed; there are plenty of less driven dogs in the world.
And I would not recommend them to people with compromised balance, strength or physical resilience. A GSP can hit the end of a six-foot leash very hard if a rabbit jumps from behind a bush. While training a Shorthair to be steady in the presence of game animals certainly is doable, they are a highly-instinctive animal and … well, nobody’s perfect.
If anyone needs help training German Shorthaired Pointers — or any other high-drive sporting breed — FetchMasters is happy to help you do so in a positive, effective way.