The GSP is best suited to a busy, active lifestyle. They are extremely intelligent and have a high working drive. They are best suited to experienced dog owners or those that can allow for their GSP to be predominantly outside exploring or working. They will need confident training, not for the faint hearted. A key aspect of this dog’s personality is that they instinctively have a very high prey drive. And so you should be wary when your GSP is off-lead, it can prove too tempting to most should a rabbit come into its eyeline!
Loyalty and close bonds to their family are what can be expected from a GSP. Families with older children or couples is a good family unit for this breed, they can be a handful and need a lot of time and dedication. But this can lead to them to being incapable of coping when left alone for extended period of times. If they are left in an unstimulating environment, they tend to display destructive behaviours. But this may never be an issue should you provide the right setting for them.
Now for more on their training.
With their training, you can start them off with simple commands almost as soon as you get them home! 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 have matured, 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.
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! It isn’t recommended to get a GSP for a first dog largely due to them needing a complex training routine combined with extensive, interesting exercise.
I will be making you aware of the most common health concerns and sharing a little bit of information about each one. To begin with, let us explore hip and elbow dysplasia. GSP’s commonly suffer from this disorder. It comes from the joints in the hips and elbows not fitting together harmoniously. If left untreated, it can cause arthritis and even lameness. This is a hereditary issue, meaning that preventing it is to ensure that any breeding bitches and studs get full hip and elbow scores before being mated. This will help stop the issue being handed down to their pups. If you should notice your GSP becoming stiff, sore, or reluctant to get up ect, it is always best to get them seen by your vet!
Another major concern I will share with you is GDV, or bloat. The symptoms are that the stomach will flip upside down in the chest due to a build-up of gas. Once it does flip, it is a time critical issue. A way in which you can help prevent this from happening is to slow feed your dog. This will stop them swallowing excess air if they are allowed to quickly wolf down their food! A puzzle feeder if great for a GSP, it will help prevent bloat and it will also keep their minds active. For a wet or raw diet, slow feeder bowls are really effective. But for a dry diet, large kong wobblers are brilliant for their brains and their stomachs!
Now, let’s say you’ve researched and located a reputable breeder that will give you rambunctious, alert GSP puppy, you have to be able to give them the best home. Again, in the early stages, it is best to ask a reputable breeder who they think the breed is perfect for. They will know the breed inside and out, meaning they can make sure suitable homes are found. So, we’ve touched on the fact that the GSP is instinctively a working dog. This is going to mean that they have boundless energy and the intelligence to match! If you’re someone that enjoys hikes off the beaten track, has a lot of patience and time to train, a GSP will be the perfect hiking buddy. However, if you only have the time or access for simple walks around the block, don’t enjoy a stubborn challenge, maybe start off with a breed that isn’t so highly strung! As much as you might prefer one breed over another, you have to be somewhat objective when looking at your suitability.
Let’s recap what we’ve gone through today.
So whilst their temperaments make them loyal in a family unit, they are predominantly a working dog and that is important to remember when you’re thinking of the whether you can provide a suitable home for them. Their high drive to work means that they will need a complex training routine that is best handled by someone with previous training experience! From a young age, they will need to be trained using techniques specific to working breeds rather than the ‘average puppy training’ techniques. The breed just demands a stimulating, working home, they will thrive if you can provide that but if you have little to no experience training dogs, it would be best to look for a breed that is not as highly strung!