Also known as Deutsch Kurzhaar and GSP, The German shorthaired pointer is one of the most versatile of hunting breeds, combining pointing, retrieving, trailing and even game-killing abilities. With a sleek, athletic body and a unique dappled coat, this is an instantly recognizable breed.
GSP's are athletic and streamlined, with powerful hind muscles that aid in quick pursuit or sudden turns during a hunt. To aid in swimming, the breed also has webbed feet. Its muzzle is long, broad, and strong, allowing it to retrieve even heavy game. Shorthaired pointers have broad ears that flop over close to the head. It is also very common to have a shorthaired pointer's tail docked, though this is now illegal in some countries.
One of the most interesting things about a German shorthaired pointer's appearance is its coat, which is dense and sleek, and also comes in many interesting colors. A dark brown color, often identified as "liver" is quite common, as is black, though a black coat disqualifies a dog from showing in the AKC. These colors are often accompanied by white spots, sometimes in large amounts, other times in a mottled appearance that is known as "ticking". A very common color variation is a dog whose whole front half is liver, followed by ticking on the hindquarters and extremities. The German shorthaired pointer's coat is also extremely functional, having a dense undercoat topped with stiff guard hairs which are water repellant and seal in warmth. Overall this breed not only has a uniquely beautiful appearance, but also an extremely functional one as well.
The German shorthaired pointer came about through the purposeful blending of various breeds beginning as early as the 17th century. The earliest dog that the German shorthaired pointer can be traced to is the Spanish pointer, which was introduced in Germany in the 1600s.
The German hunters were after an all-purpose utility dog that not only had a good nose, but could point, track, was an excellent retriever, in both field and water for both feather and fur. They also wanted a dog that was an excellent weekend hunter, but made a good family companion and watchdog.
It is not entirely known what breeds were mixed with the Spanish pointer to achieve the German shorthaired pointer of today, but it is thought that the foxhound, schweisshund, German bird dog, English pointer, and several Scandinavian breeds were mixed along the way to create the breed.
The breed was recognized in the late 1800s in Germany with the first shorthaired coming to America in the 1920s. The German shorthaired pointer gained AKC recognition in 1930. the breed soon attained a reputation as the ideal dog for the hunter who wanted only one dog that could do it all.
The GSP was bred to point, retrieve, trail wounded game, hunt both large and small game, furred and feathered and to work in low or heavy cover as well as water. The dog was also intended to be a family companion good with both adults and children.
The German Shorthaired Pointer needs plenty of vigorous activity and needs to work off energy on a regular basis. Playing fetch, agility training, hiking, and swimming are all great ways to work with a shorthaired pointer if they are not to be used as a hunting dog. If this breed is not trained well and exercised regularly they can become quite destructive, simply out of sheer boredom.
It is tenacious, tireless, hardy, and reliable. In short, it is a superb all-around field dog that remains popular with hunters of many nationalities.
The GSP is intelligent and bred for a certain amount of independence (e. g., when a dog is working out of sight or sound of its handler in the field). Along with its superb hunting ability and companionable personality, the intelligence and the obedience of the GSP make it one of the more popular large breeds.
HEIGHT AND WEIGHT
Height: Males 23-25 inches; Females 21-23 inches
Weight: Males 55-70 pounds; Females 45-60 pounds
Most German shorthaired pointers are tough, healthy dogs, but the breed can be subject to a number of hereditary disorders just as any other purebred. A few individuals may suffer from hip dysplasia, genetic eye diseases, epilepsy, skin disorders and cancerous lesions in the mouth, on the skin and other areas of the body. Because the shorthaired pointer's nose is long and thin, the nasal passages can become constricted and cause the dog to gag and have difficulty breathing.
As with any other hunting dog, contact with game can cause the spread of fungi and bacteria that can easily colonise in the gums or cause infections on open wounds and small cuts from scratching against plants and bushes during a regular hunting session.
One final health concern for German shorthaired pointers is the unexplained enlarging of the nipples, even in male dogs. This is normal for the breed, and most of the time is harmless. If the nipples are bleeding or there is discharge though, the dog should be taken to the vet, because these things can be a sign of cancer.
About 12-15 years
GROOMING AND CARE
German shorthaired pointers are a very clean breed. Their short coat needs very little grooming, just occasional brushing. There is typically only one coat shed in the year. They should be bathed only when needed. A rub with a piece of toweling or chamois will leave the coat gleaming. Check the feet also, especially after the dog has been exercising or working. Dry the dog thoroughly after hunting to prevent chilling. Like all dogs with floppy ears, German shorthaired pointers can be prone to ear infections and their ears require regular checking and cleaning.
Shorthaired pointers also require a fair amount of high quality food as a working breed, though they need to be exercised in order to avoid obesity.
This breed is not recommended for apartment life and does best with a large yard and an active, athletic family. When they lack in exercise they can become high strung, and frustrated. GSPs do not do well left alone all day or if relegated to a kennel without plenty of human interaction.
They may be able to jump any fence that is lower than 6 feet tall. Under-exercised, bored GSPs are great escape artists.
It is also important to have a fenced yard for shorthaired pointers, because of their hunting instincts. Once a shorthaired pointer is set on the trail it can be hard to recall them unless they are very well trained. The natural instinct to hunt may result in the dog bringing home occasional dead trophies, such as squirrels, rats, pigeons and other urban animals. A strong hunting instinct is correct for the breed, which is not always good for other small pets such as cats or rabbits. With training, however, the family dog should be able to discern what is prey and what is not, and they can live quite amicably with other family pets.
Well adjusted, stable minded GSPs who receive enough mental and physical activity along with a balance of consistent leadership will get along with other dogs and cats.
This breed likes to bark and they can be reserved with strangers. Most German shorthaired pointers make excellent watchdogs.
Faithful, spirited and friendly, they like and mix well with children, although care should be taken because the breed can be boisterous especially when young.
The German shorthaired pointer is very intelligent and takes to training with great enthusiasm and skill. All the basic obedience training commands are picked up easily by GSP's. The German shorthaired pointer will not listen if they sense that they are stronger minded than their owner, however they will also not respond well to harsh discipline. The GSP needs an owner who displays a natural air of authority. Firm, but calm, confident and consistent with rules they must be made to follow. They crave order and need structure in their life. If this breed lacks in either exercise or leadership they can develop separation anxiety and possibly become destructive and nervous. Be sure to use positive reward based training methods with your Pointer - they certainly don't require (or enjoy) any forceful methods based on intimidation and fear.
A couple of training issues you will want to get right with a German shorthaired pointer are the "come" command (they love to wander off at the dog park!) and how to walk nicely while on leash. Pointers are very strong so you don't want to get involved in a tug of war with your dog while on leash - no one wins in such a game.
Even though some may appear physically mature by the time they are six months old their brain may not be engaged until they reach two years of age. Thus you may have an adult size dog with a "teenage" brain.
If you are looking for a sweet, energetic, and very smart dog, a German shorthaired pointer would be an excellent choice. One of the most energetic breeds, the German shorthaired pointer is a hunting dog by nature. Protective, clever, eager and willing to please, they are very fond of their human families. Happy-go-lucky, they love nothing more than to engage in some type of constructive activity with their owners such as a long walk, jog, hike, hunt, or a game of Frisbee.
Not only does a German shorthaired pointer make a good hunting partner, the breed also makes an excellent family dog that is generally intelligent, bold, affectionate, cooperative, and easily trained.
Original article by Marybeth Bittel, Tails Magazine
When I was a young music student growing up in Chicago’s western suburbs, my family adopted an Airedale puppy we named Beethoven. I picked Beethoven out at the shelter because all the other puppies rushed forward to greet me, while he hid shyly in the corner. Most trainers agree that’s not necessarily the ideal benchmark for selecting a furry friend, but we got lucky. Beethoven matured into an outgoing, even-tempered, fun, and affectionate family member who sternly guarded our front yard one minute, and romped through our sprinkler the next.
But then came the Fourth of July. Fireworks went off at random intervals around the clock. We discovered that when it came to loud noises and ear-popping explosions, Beethoven was absolutely terrified.
At first we wondered how this could have happened. After all, we’d never left our beloved boy outside while pyrotechnics peppered the sky. He hadn’t been exposed to extreme noises as a puppy. In all likelihood, Beethoven’s fireworks aversion, like so many pet fears and phobias, was just one of those things that took hold when his sensitive hearing encountered a sudden trigger he could neither see nor anticipate.
So we did what numerous pet parents do when their cherished companion is struggling: we cuddled him, coddled him, and cooed comforting words of reassurance. We also sat, feeling helpless, watching him cower and hide as the problem held steady each year. In fact, through all the years of Beethoven’s life, he never overcame this disabling sense of distress, no matter how soothing or supportive we attempted to make his surrounding environment.
When my husband and I began working with abused rescue dogs, we noticed that most arrived with an array of deep-rooted anxieties acquired over time. One Bichon was terrified of rotary fans. A Shih Tzu mix became a jittery mess during thunderstorms. A sweet and docile Foxhound routinely hid from houseplants. These fears ran the gamut, but they had one thing in common: They were exceedingly real to the dog, and they had a great impacts on the entire family.
We began working with local animal behaviorists, and that’s when we learned an invaluable truth: The way we, as caregivers, react to our pet’s anxieties can actually perpetuate the patterns.
Why would this be? As Abe Mashal, owner of Marine Corps Dog Training in St. Charles, explains, “Dogs form extremely solid bonds with their humans. That means most canines are highly attuned to any type of interaction with their human ‘pack’ members.” So when something a dog is doing earns our attention—whether that attention takes the form of praise, pampering, or peevish irritation— the behavior is often unintentionally reinforced.
“Reinforcement,” a common term in the world of animal behavioral training, is really just another word for strengthening. In reality, a reinforcer can be anything that strengthens a behavior.
So for those of you thinking, “I never reinforce my dog’s non-stop barking! I scold her on the spot,” see if these examples sound familiar:
“Every interaction with your dog has the potential to teach and reinforce, merely because you’re paying attention,” explains Sara Swan, owner of Narnia Pet Behavior & Training in Plainfield. How can you tell if this is happening? Simply observe over time. Dogs continue to engage in behaviors that provide some sort of payoff. If you’re dealing with a fear or anxiety response that’s ongoing—such as Beethoven’s abhorrence of fireworks—some kind of inducement is likely contributing to the pattern. In Beethoven’s case, his reactions earned him almost round-the-clock nurturing.
Fortunately, we as dog parents can leverage these same dynamics when it comes to re-programming undesirable behaviors. Let’s say your 80-pound “lap dog” excitedly jumps on you whenever you come home from work. When you withhold the coveted attention—immediately going back out the door, or turning your back on him—many pups gradually begin to seek out a different behavior.
The same thing can work with a fear response. If your pet is terrified of your Swiffer mop, for example, try propping it against the family room couch and just leaving it there. Then, simply act like it’s no big deal and go about your daily routine, even if your pup exhibits an unsettled reaction. Very gradually, over time, as your furry friend begins to approach the mop with quiet but tentative curiosity, reward that calm behavior with brief praise or a small treat. Keep it up, and eventually your dog can learn that “mop = calm = good.”
Helping your dog manage his stress is one of the keys to having a happy and healthy pet. If your animal companion has specific challenges beyond what you’re comfortable handling, always reach out to a certified animal behaviorist who can help you develop targeted interventional techniques that will work on your pet’s unique needs. It will not only help with unwanted behaviors, but strengthen your bond, as well.
Safe, Drug Free Ways To Soothe Your Pet’s Stress
The Thundershirt. The ThunderShirt leverages the age-old principle of swaddling an infant to promote calming reassurance. Simply fasten this snug, stretchy shirt around your pet’s ribcage. During anxious episodes of panting or hyperventilation, it provides ongoing sensory feedback that suppresses this common panic response. ( Thundershirt.com )
Music or ASMR. As a musician, I can attest firsthand that deep, resonant tones often work wonders on a nervous pup. You can also try leveraging something called ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response), which is promoted by many hypnotists and human sleep therapists. ASMR is a subjective, perceptual phenomenon characterized by a distinct calming or scalp- tingling sensation in response to quiet, seemingly mundane sound triggers. Certain pets appear especially receptive, and may even be lulled to sleep. To gauge effectiveness, try playing low, calming music or ASMR audio with your dog in the room. Use a meditation CD, or visit YouTube to access ASMR recordings by reputable “ASMRtists” such as The Waterwhispers.
Calming Sprays. Help create a relaxing environment for your pet by using a calming spray on their bedding or by plugging in a calming spray diffuser. Many cats and dogs experience reduced anxiety and stress after being exposed to these non- sedating sprays, which use soothing scents such as lemongrass, cinnamon, and lavender to encourage relaxation.
Original article by Virginia Simpson, Unleashed Canine Obedience
“You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between”
“Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive” - Johnny Mercer
If you are interested in training your dog, you will quickly find that your pup will more than likely respond and learn more quickly through praise for good behavior versus punishment for inappropriate behavior. Seems obvious, but it all starts with how we think about behavior. When people come to me for training advice, they usually start out telling me what they don’t want their dog to do. “I don’t want my dog to jump on people, bark at the mailman, run away, pull on the leash, poo or pee on the floor, etc.” In other words, the definition of a good dog is - not a bad dog.
What I try to do is get people thinking about what they do want their dog to do instead of what they don’t want their dog to do. What does a good dog look like in their mind. For example, “I want my dog to sit on a place mat when people first come over until they are in enough control of themselves to politely say hello.” “A good dog goes to the bathroom outside in the back yard and tells me when they have to go.”
It is easier (and WAY more fun!) to train a dog when you are focusing your attention on what you want your dog to do instead of what you don’t want them to do. This will help you come up with alternatives to “bad” behavior. You can’t just say no all the time; no fun for you, no fun for your dog! You have to redirect and teach appropriate behavior. And it all starts with a positive outlook!
So, make a list of all the things you don’t want your pup to do and then write down the opposite of that. What would you like your dog to do instead? Feel free to contact me if you would like any help!
Virginia L. Simpson
Certified Dog Trainer
Unleashed Canine Obedience, LLC
IACP Member #3141
Original article by Tails Magazine
It’s a terrifying feeling to lose your pet, and an experience that no pet parent ever expects to go through. According to the ASPCA, nearly one in five pets goes missing in the summertime due to triggers like fireworks, thunderstorms, and loud noises. Fortunately, 93% of missing dogs and 75% of missing cats are eventually returned to their homes.
The first step to keeping your pet safe and at home is prevention––make sure your pet is microchipped, that his tags are up to date with your current information, and keep him crated while you’re out if you’re concerned about escaping. If your pet does get loose, these tips from Paul Mann, the founder and CEO of Fetch! Pet Care provide helpful advice for bringing him home safely and quickly:
Original article by Jordan Walker, Tails Magazine
Approximately 10% of dogs suffer from separation anxiety, and if your dog is one of them, you know the stress it can cause on both of you. Disruptive and destructive behaviors are typical of separation anxiety, and are signs of a dog in distress. Read on and find out the causes of separation anxiety and some ideas for dealing with it.
So how come canine pals are bound to suffer from it in the first place? This question is still considered a puzzle to experts. However, there are suggested theories as to why it occurs:
1. Shaky background. Dogs acquired from shelters sometimes had tough beginnings. Neglect or abuse from previous caregivers could be at the root of anxious behaviors. Sometimes just the act of being left at a shelter is enough to spur separation anxiety.
2. Lack of conditioning. When left alone, some dogs are able to make themselves comfortable with their own toys. However, others have been conditioned to rely too much on their caregivers for entertainment and struggle to keep occupied when alone.
3. Unexpected changes. Establishing routines for dogs is very important as it helps foster feelings of comfort. When things suddenly take a different turn (such as with a new work schedule), your dog may act out in response.
What You Can Do
The good thing about separation anxiety in dogs is there are ways to treat it. Consider the tips below for helping your dog get over his separation blues:
1. Let him warm up to being alone. Don’t shock your dog into leaving the house for extended periods. What you can do instead is to gradually get him used to the idea of being left alone. Start at five minutes, extending it to twenty minutes and then increasing it every time you notice he has gotten comfortable with the previous allotted time.
2. Make leaving not a big deal. Touching, eye contact, and talking to your dog before leaving the house and when you arrive could make separation anxiety worse. Make it a rule to leave the house without fanfare. This way, your dog will get the message that your leaving the house is not that big of a deal.
3. Be confident yourself. You are your dog’s pack leader. If he senses you are not confident about him being okay when left alone, he will be inclined to act the part. Stay calm and confident and you have a better chance of your dog following suit.
4. Get his energy out first. Try to walk your dog before leaving him alone. Burning his excess energy will put him in a resting mode, making him calmer for the rest of the day.
If your dog is acting particularly unusual or out of character, a visit to the vet is probably in order. Some of the signs of separation anxiety––such as urinating or defecating inside––can have medical causes and should be treated immediately.
Most importantly, remember that anxious behaviors are a sign of an underlying issue, and punishment is not a helpful tool for fixing the problem––in fact, scolding or punishing will probably just make the issue worse. Instead, be your pet’s best friend and stay calm and consistent. He’ll thank you for it.
Jordan Walker is the lead content curator for Coops And Cages as well as a couple of other pet related blogs. His passion for animals is only matched by his love for ‘attempting’ to play the guitar. If you would like to catch him, you can via Google+ or Twitter: @CoopsAndCages