I have a German shorthaired pointer, and let me tell you, they are absolutely crazy! For one, they are a hunting breed. I’m not a hunter. This obviously created an ownership dilemma that caused me to get creative throughout training.
My dog’s name is Bosco, and he’s a classic German shorthaired pointer (GSP). He’s 7 months old and some days he seems younger and other days he seems older. It’s totally unpredictable. He’s all over the place, mentally and physically. Having said that, he’s also come a long way and is starting to fit nicely into a routine.
Below I list some quick ways that I was able to harness the energy of Bosco, with the goal of helping future owners of German shorthaired pointers.
I taught him how to win
This particular breed of dog is one of the most difficult that I’ve ever dealt with. However, the breed is also very desirable in the sense that once they are trained, they become a wonderful acquaintance. My first step in training Bosco was to teach him how to win. I noticed from the very beginning with Bosco that he always wanted to do things his way. Whether this behavior is the result of his biology or not, I wanted to control it immediately.
How I did it:
I fell back on the traditional method of dog treats to train him on the basics. For instance, I would show him that I had a treat before hiding it from view. I would wait patiently until he backed up and sat down. Just as he did so, I would provide the treat. I did this over and over. I got control quickly and he learned to listen to me and respect my personal space. For broader training, I learned what he enjoyed, and then showed him when it was tolerable for him to do those things.
I helped release his energy!
Sometimes pet owners fail to truly understand what makes their animal click. With German shorthaired pointers, movement and action make them click. I knew this going in and am very thankful for the knowledge. As I’m not a hunter, I had to take into account the biology of Bosco and what it would mean to our relationship. His breed has evolved over years and years to form a creature of rambunctious energy and playfulness. I had a plan from the beginning to incorporate him into my life and meet his energy demands.
How I did it:
- Golf: I take Bosco with me when I golf at a local course. Not many places allow this, but it’s a great idea if there is one in a particular owner’s area that does. It’s great exercise for both of us. He has plenty of space to run and I get to hit the links while having a leisurely stroll.
- Frisbee: One of my best friends and I love to huck the Frisbee. This activity is also convenient where Bosco is concerned. Not only does he chase the disc, but the throws are usually of great distance. This gets the guy running! Any adventure that an owner can utilize to tire a GSP is immediately an ideal pastime.
- Late night bike rides: When I first got Bosco I had a lot of trouble sleeping because he would continue living life until the wee hours of the morning. He didn’t ever want to hit the sack and get some sleep, so I got creative with my bike. My routine is to ride around the neighborhood three or four times before I head to sleep, with him chasing. This gets me outdoors at night and gives him one last chance to expel some energy. This idea has worked wonders.
I respected him
German shorthaired pointers demand respect, and rightfully so. I did some research before getting Bosco and expected this from the get go. I can’t stress enough how important it is to respect this breed of dog. Not only are they smart, but they have high expectations with regards to their daily life and activity. Bosco is not the type of pet that could survive in a college apartment or sedentary household. I learned to give him what he needs before he demanded it. He began to respect me when he realized this.
How I did it:
I did my research on the breed and gauged his individual personality from day one. I got a sense of what he needed to sleep well at the end of the night and planned my activities around his needs. Oftentimes pets can totally change the livelihood of their owner, and in my case, this held true. My life is different, but much better, with Bosco.
German shorthaired pointers are great dogs. However, they need to have the right owner and caretaker. I don’t think I would be a sufficient guardian if I hadn’t done my research and altered my lifestyle to accommodate Bosco. I hope this article helps future owners of GSPs, because they are a great breed whether used for hunting or simply a family friend.
Griff Haeger is a dog aficionado. When he’s not taking Bosco for a crazy hike or fixing an air conditioner at work, he writes about natural dog food.