HOW MUCH EXERCISE DOES A GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTER NEED?
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EXERCISE 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 are historically a working dog, they love to be surrounded by nature, in all terrains and just love to search game out and be on a hunt! Despite all their seemingly endless energy, whilst they’re very young, keep their walks very short. This is a general rule for all puppies, despite how energetic the breed is. Maybe just a 20 minute walk a day for the first few weeks. This is to protect their growing joints from the shock absorption of walking across hard ground. Another concern about puppies and exercise is that even in the house, try to limit them jumping on and off things from a height. For example, encouraging them to jump up and down from the sofa significantly heightens their chance of creating hairline fractures in their joints! Any damage to a Pointers joints at a young age will become an issue in their later years. But, just because you should limit the time your puppy charges about, doesn’t mean they have to be bored at home. Socialisation is a great way to exercise your puppy mentally without risking them risking injury. Take them out to dog-friendly coffee shops, teach them manners in a public place, let people come to visit your puppy, and again, teach them suitable manners even at home. Also, starting this breed young with scent work, even in the home, will be very beneficial to a Pointer puppy and their mental growth. As they mature, you can obviously extend walks and training accordingly. Now, because of their high levels of intelligence, you’ll want to incorporate a lot of different activities into their exercise regimes. Mimicking the work they were bred for is one of the best was to satisfy a GSP. Scent work will be incredibly enjoyable for your Pointer, whilst they will naturally follow scents in the park. If you harbour that skill and give them direction and reward, they will be in heaven. They do aim to please their owners and so the added bonus of a reward will help the two of you bond as well as mentally challenge your dog. Now, if you’re one of these people that enjoys parkruns, training for 10k’s or Sunday bike rides, you GSP will enjoy it too! Once they have matured, training them to jog alongside you or to run well beside a bike will be the perfect way to create harmony in your active lives together. As long as you take them for runs or bike rides that cover a minimum of 2 hours, they can be satisfied with that. For example, if you take your GSP for a 2 hour bike ride, you won’t not to add an hour of scent work. Now, something to keep an eye on with a GSP is their natural hunting instinct. It is extremely strong in a Pointer, even the best trained dogs will be tempted to chase and hunt a rabbit or squirrel. When you’re out in parks, if you don’t have 110% faith in your dog’s steadiness or recall, please do use a longline. This doesn’t stop your dog having the freedom to follow a scent trail, it will just give you that level of security to be able to hold it to prevent your dog racing off after something as irresistible as a rabbit or any kind of bird! As you GSP gets older, you’ll want to tone down their daily exercise. They are prone to joint issues, especially concerning their hips and elbows. Noticing any stiffness after a particularly long walk means it’s time for them to take it easy. These dogs have high drives to work. And whilst they will always want to do scent work and will always show interest in chasing birds and rabbits, you will have to prevent them from over-exerting themselves as they get into their twilight years. Please get to know your dog, and if you notice debilitating stiffness, get in touch with you vet about what you can do to ease that for them. You do need to be aware that they can become destructive when they’re bored. If you get to those teenage years and find that your dog is ‘unmanageable’, you may want to look at how much mental stimulation they’re getting. It won’t be enough to let your 4 year old GSP run around a park for 2 hours, they will need some training along with that. Getting them out in nature and learning to hone their natural skills is the best thing to keep you dog happy, and to stop your furniture developing teeth marks! SUMMARY So, let us recap today’s video. From day one, your GSP will require a lot of mental stimulation. Once they mature, they will require a mixture of interesting places to visit and appropriate scent work trainng to keep them happy. A puppy will need shorter walks but still take them out to be socialised appropriately, it’s key to teach them manners in different environments. As a teen, they may test your patience, but you may just need to get creative in their mental stimulation. And as they get older, let them get old graciously. Keep an eye on their joints and just give them leisurely strolls around the local park when you see that they need to slow down. All in all, a GSP will be an extremely active part of your family that will be eager to hone their natural instincts. If you’re unfamiliar on how best to train a working dog, do some research in to dog trainers that specialise in working breeds. And be sure to keep them at a healthy weight and allow them to slow down at their own pace. They will be thankful for it.