I’ll start off by saying that a GSP’s intelligent and exercise expectations are a bit of a double-edged sword, but first we’ll look at the good side to it!
The GSP is a highly intelligent dog with an instinctively high working drive. This breed has been historically cultivated and bred to be a versatile, eager working companion out on hunts. This means they are quick to learn, they thrive from learning and can be taught to understand complex commands. In addition to learning verbal commands, Pointers can comprehend physical cues just as confidently, which is handy if you’re out on a hunt stalking grouse or other fowl! If you plan to work you GSP, you will struggle to find a better, more willing colleague.
Due to their working nature, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that these are extremely energetic and extremely intelligent dogs and they will ideally need over 2 hours of high quality exercise every day. They love to be surrounded by nature, in all terrains and just love to search game out and be on a hunt! If you can give them hiking trips to interesting places or are one for hunting, a GSP will be perfect for you.
A positive about the nature of GSP’s is that they aim to please! They will love to listen to their family, as long as the training is consistent, and they will respond well to positive reinforcement. It should come as no surprise that these dogs thrive in a busy, active lifestyle. Loyalty and close bonds to their family are what can be expected from a GSP. This is something that has been bred into them. They have a natural loyalty that can be cultivated into creating a perfect addition to the family. The close bond comes from the time and energy you put into your GSP, what you give to them, they will give back in abundance!
As I’ve mentioned, the GSP can be a bit of a double-edged sword, so now we’ll explore what can be described as their cons.
A GSP has something that is called Instinctive intelligence. This type of intelligence refers to what a dog knows to do prior to any training, its intelligence that has quite literally been bred into them! So don’t worry if on a walk your Pointer puppy suddenly stops and assumes the pointing position at random! It just means he’s stopped something of interest or caught wind of an intriguing scent.
Because of this innate behaviour, the training of your Pointer may take slightly longer and require more patience than with other breeds. They will be distracted quite regularly if you’re training out in the open. If you find you aren’t progressing as much as you’d like with your dog, train indoors for a period of time to reduce the distractions.
Do keep in mind that a dog that has been so specifically bred to hunt and retrieve game, a firm hand will sometimes be needed to override that. In an open space that is home to wild animals, your Pointer will have an extremely strong instinct to chase and retrieve everything that catches its eye!
Their love for their family and the close bonds they create can be a beautiful thing, but this can lead to them incapable of coping to being alone for extended period of times. If they are left in an unstimulating environment, they tend to display destructive behaviours. This doesn’t have to be an issue should you provide the right setting for them.
Another con to mention is a medical one. The deep chest of a GSP allows for the stomach to twist should enough gas develop. This is known as GDV (Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus), or bloat. Should this happen, surgery is the only response to return the stomach to its proper position. Ways to prevent this is to use a slow feeder, not exercising for at least an hour after food and serving smaller portions throughout the day. Aside from this, should they be fed properly and cared for in a suitable manner, these dogs are generally healthy.
A GSP can typically suffer from either hip or elbow dysplasia. This can be prevented with responsible breeding but it wont outlaw it completely. You need to be aware of this so you can put preventative measures in place to reduce any suffering. When they get older, be wary of any stiff or lame behaviours. And think about upping their Omega 3 intake to ensure their joints are as looking after as they can be!