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Is your GSP a handful? Then you’re not alone! German Shorthaired Pointers were bred in Germany during the 19th century for hunting. They’re full of energy and if not managed, they can become hyper and dare I say it… a tad bit crazy!
The German Shorthaired Pointer makes a good companion for active families. They are known for being a loving, loyal and gentle companion.
But there is a caveat; they were developed and bred to have strong stamina and energy for their original role as a hunting dog.
Frequently, a GSP who doesn’t get enough exercise will be climbing the walls with frustration and be what we consider hyper.
The situation can be stressful for all concerned, including your GSP!
Why is Your German Shorthaired Pointer Hyper?
GSP’s have seemingly endless energy, and they require long walks with runs for an hour twice a day. If you can include regular swimming in their exercise regime it will go a long way in helping them with their excess hyper energy.
Why they are hyper is a common question among GSP owners. It’s no fun to have a hyper out-of-control dog in your home.
Because they are naturally energetic, we need to take responsibility and make sure we meet their needs.
A GSP who is under exercised can direct their excess energy into destructive behaviors. If your GSP is digging holes, chewing up everything, barking, and running around the house, then they’re just finding an outlet to burn off their pent-up energy.
Consider this though:If your GSP is a puppy their hyperactivity may not be exercise-related.
It’s also important to realize that there may not be one thing that will fix your pup’s behavior. It’s usually multiple small things that added up together can help calm your pup.
For instance, your GSP will require training, but they will also benefit from having a crate, getting exercise, having day trips to smell new scents, and by having social outings.
One other thing that can help is changing up their toys. The same toys can become boring for some dogs, especially intelligent GSP’s! For this we recommend Bark Box, so your pooch will get a new lot of toys every month.
If you own a GSP puppy then we highly recommend you read our complete guide on crazy puppies. While an adult GSP might just require more exercise, a puppy may not be getting enough sleep, and they’re simply overtired.
What Age Will Your German Shorthaired Pointer Calm Down?
A GSP will calm down and mature around 2-years of age. They will always be a high energy breed of dog, ready to run and hunt, even into their older years. With adequate training, exercise, and boundaries in place, they will be better managed.
The German Shorthaired Pointer is a breed that suffers from the human equivalent of the terrible twos from about 6 to 20 months.
If your hyper GSP is within that age group, it will get better! But in the meantime, exercise, training, and positive reinforcement will ease the situation.
It’s best to be patient with them during this stage – they will become calmer by the time they are two years old.
I just want to quickly jump in here and say we’ve created a mobile-friendly, speedy video course on dealing with unwanted puppy behaviors, and one of the modules covers this exact issue, so be sure to learn more about it here.
Another reason that your GSP may be hyper is the food you are feeding them. Many people make the mistake of believing that because their canine is a breed that is a “hunting / working breed” that they should feed a “working dog” complete food.
If this is you, you’re not alone – it’s a common misunderstanding. The working dog complete foods are almost always high energy and designed for a dog who is out running around, on the go all day such as a sheepdog or a gundog in work.
If your GSP is digging in the garden, then distract them with a command, such as “Come” and then treat and praise. If they chew shoes, then you don’t want to scold them because it’s natural for them to chew. But you want to direct that chewing to a toy.
We also strongly recommend you teach your GSP the “Place” command. This command will get them out from under your feet when you most require it and is a great way to settle them down.
Treat the good behavior and distract from the bad.
A good exercise regime could include free-running or swimming or a combination of the two.
If you’re not a runner, teach your GSP to run off leash. Here is a great video of a GSP owner who rides their bike and lets their GSP have a run.
He explains the method of training to achieve this, but it is a little quiet so turn up your volume. Watch how he treats often around the space he wants his GSP and how he uses a voice command as he treats.
Because of their high level of intelligence, they are not a dog that is ideally suited to a treadmill for their exercise as they will soon get bored. They can, however, play catch or fetch in the yard.
They are well suited to owners who want to take their dog horse riding or mountain biking, and these are both excellent forms of exercise for them to do as part of the family.
Another method of exercise to do with your dog is Canicross – a sport where you run cross country with your dog and are attached via a long leash. It’s a good fun activity to have with your GSP on a one to one basis.
River canoeing or paddle boarding in areas safe from crocodiles and alligators is another fun way to get your GSP burning off their energy, too.
In this video dog trainer, Zac George helps a family train their five-month-old GSP. If you skip about a minute in, you can get to the good stuff!
How to Teach a German Shorthaired Pup Not to Bite
GSP’s are not aggressive dogs but may bite in play. Because they are bred as gundogs, they are what is known as a soft-mouthed breed, and therefore you wouldn’t expect a GSP to cause damage to someone if they bite.
Puppies also bite to play; young pups and older dogs will bite each other in play. Often if you have a GSP who is biting it is because the boundaries have not yet been set.
A GSP puppy needs to learn that we are not their littermates or canine play buddies. Be sure to always have plenty of chew toys, especially when teething.
You want to be able to redirect them to a toy if they’re chewing or biting on your hand.
If your GSP bites your hand, always be sure to yelp high and loud and pull back your hand. If it continues to happen, then stop play time. This will show them that the behavior is not acceptable.
Teach others in the family to do the same action and be consistent. And if they’re playing nicely, be sure to reward them with treats!
You may need to do a few sessions, but consistency is key to success.
Once into a regular exercise regime and with a quality lower-energy food, and of course with age, your GSP will calm down.
Tiring out your GSP may be a difficult task. The level of calmness you achieve is always going to be dependent on the level of exercise and training you do each day.
One of the most endearing features of the German Shorthaired Pointer is their carefree, happy nature; they really are friendly dogs who love their human family and want to be loved!
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Marie started HoundGames with her husband, Geoff. She is a life long dog lover and always wanted to start a business around dogs, and she's finally living out her dream. They hope to launch more products in the future!