The adventure of getting to know a German shorthaired pointer

The litter of eight German Shorthair Pointing Puppies (GSPs), eight weeks old, were all actively moving in their outdoor enclosure, giving me time to observe their interaction with each other.

I also had the opportunity to see both parents nearby, who were exemplary physical examples of good breeding, and I knew they were from proven hunting lines which is always a plus. which concerns the potential of a selected puppy.

This happened last August, and having recently lost my old Brittany Spaniel, “Ranger”, I was looking for a new bird dog. For nearly 50 years, I have been a passionate Breton spaniel. However, this GSP litter was available near my home, and the dog breeder is a friend of mine, whom I trust with his ability to breed quality dogs, another distinct advantage.

I have also had many opportunities to hunt with friends who have the best performing GSPs, and this is a breed of hunting dog that I have come to respect and admire. GSPs are a very athletic, powerful, and hardy breed, and watching them work hard on a fresh scent, like a heat seeking missile, finally do a single rod movement and then go to a rock solid point, is pure delight to witness.

I was looking for a female and by the time I was able to check the litter of the puppies there were only two females left. GSPs are normally liver and white in color, but there is a black and white variety, which was this litter. The sire of the litter was a black and white roan and the mother a solid black with a white ticking across the chest.

The remaining two females were colorful like their mother, and when it comes to puppy selection, the “paint job” was never a priority for me. What is a priority is to see how a puppy interacts with its litter mates, as well as the intuition I get when picking up and holding the puppy.

The first female I picked up was restless and loved to chew and was clearly distracted by the moment. The other female was much calmer and looked me straight in the eye, and when she leaned in and licked my chin, well, folks, it was love at first sight! I believe we chose each other, and she soon rested in a box in my Jeep, heading for her new home.

My little female rat terrier, “Perp” (short for hangman) was waiting at the door to greet us, but looked grim when I installed the new puppy, who was similar in size to her at the time, on upstairs after the initial meeting. Much to Perp’s shock and utter horror, the puppy immediately piled on top of her and started to run away in a loud but playful manner, and Perp’s growls and snaps had no impact. .

Perp was soon making his way to a safer location, and I could tell at that point that the new pup had a distinct “dominant streak” and could use his powerful front legs as a pair of clubs, which would be an asset to pin down. injured birds. However, Perp wasn’t too happy to be quickly pummeled and pinned by those legs!

This wasn’t my first rodeo when it comes to dealing with dogs that have a dominant attitude, as it’s just about letting them know I’m more dominant than them, and the key is to s’ identify with dogs in their terms and not in human terms. It is much less confusing for the dog.

My wife, Ginny, had a bunch of quality chew toys, treats and puppy food ready and waiting, and in no time the attentive, loving, and kind puppy had literally wrapped Ginny around her. paw. After taking a bath the puppy actually wanted to jump back into the tub water again, which I liked for future waterfowl work. The GSP breed has webbed feet, is powerful swimmers, and is well known for its ability to retrieve downed waterfowl from the water.

A key goal right away was to come up with a name, something that I’m not too good at (for example, my three barn cats are called Stray-Kitty, Scaredy-Cat, and Fuzz-Ball). So I decided to have my grandchildren choose a name. Otherwise, I let them know, to their dismay, that the new puppy’s name was going to be just “Dog”.

Because the puppy was a German breed, the grandchildren came up with “Zelda” which took me a few days to stick my tongue out in a natural way. Sometimes I would call her “Zella”, “Zima” or “Zeba”, but I finally got it right.

One of the first attempts to bring a puppy home to become an indoor dog (which I think makes the best hunting dog due to constant interaction) is on the first night or the first two nights when they are alone in their cage and are missed by their littermates.

However, Zelda never made a moan that first night, and never did since, and was also very easy to break into. She is clearly very intelligent and always looks me straight in the eye, something that I really respect. Zelda, however, has a very unique whine when she wants something or desires our attention, which is similar to scratching a fingernail on a chalkboard, which she quickly discovered works, especially with a hearing-impaired master like me !

Maybe that’s because I’m getting long in the tooth, but Zelda quickly went from a cuddly little puppy to a leggy, near-adult dog, albeit still a cuddly one. But then, large breed dogs are like that. Originally, I was just walking outside with her, but she quickly became curious and adventurous, and I switched to an extendable leash and safety harness, but Zelda was quickly able to get into things like a riding horse. trait, and had to switch to a collar for more control. Eventually, I would have to adapt to other resources because Zelda wanted to spend more time outdoors than indoors.

A GSP is a finely tuned athlete who needs frequent exercise to burn off excess energy, or he can get a bit hyper, which in turn can cause him to become rascals and get in trouble. The GSP breed also makes, as we have discovered, an excellent family dog ​​and instinctively loves people and other dogs. Zelda is by no means a watchdog, has yet to bark at a visitor and is definitely a friendly and very outgoing “welcome”.

We have a large yard, but nothing is fenced in, and living in the woods means there may be temptations to hunt, especially rabbits. The best investment I have made in Zelda is a PetSafe “invisible fence”, which includes an electronic collar connected (over radio waves, I guess) to an electrical control box plugged into a wall outlet in the center of the Zelda. the House . This allows it to move at will within a defined radius around the house (no buried wire required). A warning beep warns the dog before a shock is sent, and it didn’t take Zelda long to figure things out. She can now roam around and let off steam outside to the delight of her heart.

There is something that I am planning and preparing for that will be a certain factor when the onset of spring arrives and skunks make their appearance. Zelda will undoubtedly salute automatically, and might even try to pounce on this new critter. Hopefully it will be an unforgettable experience and will only happen once!

I can’t wait to train Zelda for the hunt, a process we’re already in, the first part of which is our effective field communication, and she’s a quick and attentive learner. She was a bit young and not fully trained for my taste to go out during pheasant season this fall. It will happen in due course.

The North American Association of Multipurpose Hounds (www.navhda.org) is an organization that promotes dog breeds that can be used for all forms of hunting for a wide variety of game on land and in water. . There are 30 breeds listed so far, and at the very top is the German Shorthair Pointer, and for very good reason, because that’s what this unique breed was created for: versatile, energetic and ready to go. to please.

Email Tom Lounsbury at [email protected]


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