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!
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. Another point to mention about their nature is that they will more than likely show signs of ‘pointing’ and marking prey even if you don’t teach them! This is what’s called Instinctive intelligence. This type of intelligence refers to what a dog knows what to do prior to 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 well 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.
With their training, you can start them off with simple commands almost as soon as you get them home! (After letting them settle in first!) But because of their drive to work, they’re very receptive to learning from a young age! Even though a mature Pointer will be able to understand complex verbal and physical cues, you still want to start them off with simple, one-word commands. Just the usual ‘Sit’, ‘Stay’, Wait’ ect. Once they mature, that’s when you can really start to challenge them.
When it comes to the training of you GSP, including activities that will satisfy their instincts will make for a very obedient and happy Pointer. So historically, they are versatile hunting dogs. This means they can excel at tracking, hunting, and retrieving. Mimicking these activities, if you’re not from a hunting home, is what will mentally satisfy your Pointer. Tracking can be mimicked by trailing a treat or toy along the floor, out of sight of the dog, and then getting them to follow that track! Letting them smell and analyse all the scents so they find and follow the one they recognise is a super way engage their brain! Retrieving can be incorporated with this by simply teaching them to bring back whatever they find.
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! Whilst you aren’t 100% sure of your dogs steadiness or recall, a longline is key. A longline wont take away from your training but it will give you that safety net of stopping you Pointer from running off to chase the wild rabbits!
So, let us recap today’s video. A GSP is a working dog through and through and has the intelligence to reflect that! With their high working drive and their high intelligence, they make for a great companion if you love walks off the beaten track where they can satisfy their need to track and hunt through the foliage. They will be happy in a family home as long as you train them according to their instincts. Focusing their training on what they were bred to do is the key to fully engaging their brains. But remember to be firm when training them. Their instincts can make way to a sudden chase after wild rabbits. But with consistent and engaging instruction, a GSP will make a loyal and loved member of the family!