View Full Version : German Short Haired Pointers

June 11, 2012, 01:30 PM
I have a guy trying to sell me a pure bred short haired pointer for a good deal and I don't hunt birds. Are they good dogs otherwise? Good family dog? Guard dog? Good with kids?


June 11, 2012, 01:45 PM
Very head strong and my BIL's destroyed his breezeway (ate the wood!). They're friendly and are good with kids but......

There are better breeds IMHO.

June 11, 2012, 01:58 PM
Second. Great hunting dogs. Need lots of activity. Would get another breed for a pet.

American Made
June 11, 2012, 02:31 PM
We had one for about two months. She dug underneath our cement walkway and ran circles in our neighborhood. We're talking three foot of cement that she dug under for her escape. This kept taking place. Her last straw was when she ate our kids trampoline. I'll stick with my labs

June 11, 2012, 05:21 PM
GSP, GWP and other sporting breeds like them (Weimereiners etc.) are extremely intelligent and have very high levels of energy. As such they get bored easily and as I tell all my clients a bored dog is a destructive dog.

I advise people constantly (literally every day) NOT to get a sporting breed if they aren't either hunters or very active people (hiking, running, biking etc.) and are able to keep their dogs working and moving. Two things can happen - your dog will get bored and start chewing, scratching etc. on everything and ruin your home and/or they will get fat which in turn is unhealthy for them - cardiovascularly AND for their joints.

This is especially true of pointing breeds like the GSP and their cousins. These dogs were bred to run and seek out game. I've watched pointer trials where the judges had to ride horses to keep up with the dogs as they ran the course and found the game to point. This could mean literally miles of tracking and running. If you can't give the dog this kind of exercise don't get the dog because it'll turn out bad for both you and the dog.

This isn't just about pointers though. Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Springer Spaniels etc. are all touted as being great family dogs but they too can become bored and destructive. They are also capable of getting overweight easily and that takes a toll on their health.

Sporting dogs are working dogs. They were bred with high levels of energy and with a drive to run and hunt. If these basic needs aren't satisfied you will end up with a dog that you won't be happy with - a source of aggravation that you'll regret having gotten. I'm sure everyone has seen photos and/or paintings of a sporting dog sitting calmly at the feet of their master in front of a fireplace or just laying on the ground next to a chair... what isn't seen in those pictures is that in such dogs the owner has probably invested thousands of dollars into training and works the dogs on a daily basis - giving them an outlet for their energy. Then at the end of they day they can be found calm at the feet of their masters.

Now while I only mentioned sporting breeds other breeds are not well suited for sedentary life styles too - herding breeds and livestock protection breeds are one group that comes to mind.

There ARE breeds of dogs that are well suited for sedentary life though. A mastiff or other variations thereof is a good house dog - sure they're large but they are actually very low energy dogs and being not as intelligent as the sporting, herding and lsg breeds they are less prone to being bored. The drawback is that they are a little slower to train but still are trainable. There are other breeds out there that are well suited for being a house pet too.

Oh and just a note - small dogs aren't all necessarily great house dogs. Terriers for example are VERY high energy and have a high prey drive. They may be small but they can become very destructive too.

Now back to your basic question - whether or not to get a GSP. I'd suggest you take a look at your lifestyle and your family's lives. If you're not going to be able to let this dog get in lots of exercise and also keep it mentally stimulated so it doesn't get bored I would not suggest getting it. Just being a hunter doesn't mean your dog will be well suited for you either. You have to get him/her out moving EVERY day, rain or shine, warm or cold. Obviously in less than good weather you can take it easy and do less outdoors but we're still talking about a lot of exercise and a big commitment in time and effort on your part. Proper training is also absolutely required. Sporting breeds that have not been properly trained will become problems - running away for long periods of time, chasing after everything that runs across their path (and being gone for long periods of time), jumping up on people (and possibly knocking them down) and of course just not listening and minding what they're not supposed to do. I will say now that most people do not know how to properly train a dog, especially a sporting breed.

Good luck.

Hunter Customs
June 11, 2012, 10:52 PM
I've owned one and hunted over several others all were decent bird dogs, that being said for bird hunting I prefered English setters.

Back to the German Shorthair I owned, he was an extremly ill tempered dog.
I could not hunt him with another dog, he would kill them and made short work of it I might add.

He would retrieve to anyone, however whomever was hunting with me that day better not step in my yard at home as he would go after them with extreme aggression wanting to bite them.
I always had any hunting partners wait in the truck when we got back to my place until I had him secured in his kennel.

He bit me once, paid dearly for that mistake and never made it again.
If I was not home and my wife would go out to feed him she never went in the kennel she would slide his food pan under the kennel door.

I believe the above ill tempered behavior is not typical of the breed as I've hunted over several that was nothing like the one I owned.

Best Regards
Bob Hunter

June 11, 2012, 11:04 PM
The first hired gun job I ever had was guarding 130 head of cows, many getting ready to calve; line cabin, grub, '03 Springfield and ammo furnished. WATCH those dogs around cattle or keep them away from them altogether.

June 11, 2012, 11:20 PM
Had one years ago. As mentioned very friendly, but also extremely high strung! To the point of more like "NUTS"!:D

June 12, 2012, 12:07 AM
My buddy up in the mountains of W NC used to raise and train GSPs. Good hunting dogs. But... his male was extremely territorial, to the point that he might just try to kill any other encroaching male.

The only animals that scared that dog at all were bears. Even so, he'd jump up on top of my buddy's Jeep, and bark at bears in the yard from the rooftop, instead of running to the house.

No fear of guns at all. Problem with that was, I tried some target shooting at my buddy's cabin one time. Bogey (the dog) ran out in front of me, every time I fired a shot, looking for the bird. Kind of hard to have fun with an AR15 when you have to cease fire every shot...

June 12, 2012, 02:54 AM
I'll take any GSP that you want to get rid of.

As far as I'm concerned, they are the gentlest, sweetest breed of dog that God ever made. I've had a dozen or more since the 1950s, and they all made great pets. They do need exercise, but they are bred to serve and please their masters.

Oh, and get used to the idea that the pointer wants to sleep in your bed UNDER the covers. I think that is inbred in them.:)

(BTW: My nickname for the breed is "German Shorthaired Bonehead.":D)

June 12, 2012, 06:42 AM
There are "problem" dogs from every breed. Dogs are like kids. Most of the time when they become problematic, it's because of bad parents/owners. Ever notice how folks with well behaved dogs often have kids that are achievers and pleasant to be around also? I have owned pointers, GSPs and GWPs for the last 40 years. They are intelligent animals with a desire to please, strong drive to hunt and a great response to discipline. That said, lack of discipline and owner interaction will soon ruin them. Funny, when a toy dog gets bored and destroys something, it's cute. When a large dog does it, suddenly it's destructive. As I said before, most field bred GSPs are driven to hunt. If you are not a hunter nor have a desire to play hunting type games regularly with a dog that will demand it, simply outta fairness to the dog itself, I suggest you pass.

June 12, 2012, 07:33 AM
Back to the German Shorthair I owned, he was an extremly ill tempered dog.
I could not hunt him with another dog, he would kill them and made short work of it I might add.

He would retrieve to anyone, however whomever was hunting with me that day better not step in my yard at home as he would go after them with extreme aggression wanting to bite them.
I always had any hunting partners wait in the truck when we got back to my place until I had him secured in his kennel.

He bit me once, paid dearly for that mistake and never made it again.
If I was not home and my wife would go out to feed him she never went in the kennel she would slide his food pan under the kennel door.

No offense but I'd have shot a dog like that. I don't allow aggression of any sort in my hunting dogs. Sure there's controlled aggression such as in properly trained security/shutzhund dogs but that's a whole different ball game and those dogs aren't aggressive till ordered to be. The kind of aggression you described in the dog is something that needed to be trained out of him and if that was not fixable he should have been destroyed for the safety of your guests and family.

When I'm taking dogs for training I watch closely for aggression. If a dog shows minor signs of aggression the cost for training goes up quite a bit because of the extra training it'll take to get rid of that aggression. If the dog has serious or hard signs of aggression I don't accept the dog for training because of the risks involved.

I've already shot two dogs that I owned because of aggression - one was a $3500 dog - fully trained and purchased from a hunter who had the dog trained with another trainer. Somehow between being fully trained and he age of 4 he'd developed some aggression issues but of course when I bought the dog that wasn't made clear to me. I got the dog home and he was fine with me but my kids couldn't go near him without him lunging and trying to bite them. Same went for my wife and my neighbors. After 2 months of quarantine and attempts to train the aggression out of him I put a .22lr bullet in his head and turned him into a $3500 flower garden.

The other one didn't cost so much - he was a pure bred lab that I bought at 18 months to train for a client. The contract was that I'd find/procure a young (but mature) dog and train it for the client who would then pay me for my services. $500 later I had an 18 month old purebred lab male with great hunting instincts. Sadly the moment I tried to put a leash on him he bit me. I tried again and he tried to bite me again. A few weeks more of trying to work with him resulted in another bite and he was added to the flower garden. I found a different lab that wasn't aggressive and fulfilled the contract - the client was happy.

GSP and other dogs aren't supposed to be aggressive by nature. That happens when something is either wrong with the dog's head OR something happened to the dog that turned it aggressive. Either way if it can't be fixed there is no reason to put others at risk of a bite and injury (or even death).

That said, lack of discipline and owner interaction will soon ruin them.

Lack of discipline and owner interaction will destroy ANY dog, big, small, working, sporting or otherwise.

Funny, when a toy dog gets bored and destroys something, it's cute. When a large dog does it, suddenly it's destructive.

There's no distinction in my book and shouldn't be in other people's books either. A dog that gets bored and destroys something is destructive. It shouldn't matter based on size - after all it did destroy something. Its not cute. It is however a curable problem because the problem actually isn't the dog - its the owner. The owner just needs to give the dog more attention, exercise and activities to keep it occupied. That and crate your dog whenever you leave it home alone unless its job is to guard your home while you're away. If that's the case you'd better hope your dog is well trained and even then leave him/her something to keep occupied with OTHER than the table legs, shoes, doors etc.

June 12, 2012, 09:44 AM
What a superb selection of thought provoking responses here, thanks. The high energy levels of the breed are well noted and confirms what I have read elsewhere also. While I don't hunt birds, I do small game and also am otherwise outdoorsy so giving him exercise everyday shouldn't be a problem.

They're puppies right now @ 6 weeks old so if I start right away I should be able to train him up pretty good and perhaps take him to obedience also. He'd be coming to live with my English Mastiff also, who is very sedentary.

My Mastiff is very mature and gentle, and listens well. I can walk him without leash and he stays right on my heel. I just hope that the higher energy level of the GSP doesn't create a rift between them and be a problem later.

I'm going to chew on this until the weekend before I carve it in stone but so far I'm thinking this will work out ok for me.

Keep em coming! This is a big decision and I appreciate all the input I can get!

June 12, 2012, 11:28 AM
You can hunt small game with shorthairs. The Germans developed them as a versatile breed. My hobby is falconry. For years I used a shorthair on rabbits and upland. She'd flush the rabbits and the hawk would chase them. She would retrieve ducks we shot from a blind provided it wasn't too cold out.

June 12, 2012, 11:53 AM
The key here is proper training and exercise. The GSP is going to be a world apart from your mastiff. I've owned mastiffs and compared to sporting dogs they're just lumbering hulks that prefer to lay in the middle of the busiest part of your house - becoming an almost immovable obstacle to work around.

Sporting breeds WILL be VERY energetic (even English breed labs will be energetic compared to a mastiff) and that might cause a problem between your mastiff who already lives in the house and a new puppy. Be aware of the situation and don't leave the two together unsupervised unless you're ok with a crushed puppy.

As I said before most people don't know how to properly train a dog and that goes double for sporting breeds. If you're looking at obedience classes be sure to have in mind a set in stone list of criteria that you want. Do not compromise on this list. I'll give you my list as an example. Yours may or may not be similar to mine.

My list:

1. Dogs MUST be submissive to people.
2. Dogs are not allowed to jump up on people.
3. Dogs are not allowed to lick people.
4. Dogs are not allowed on furniture - that includes the bed.
5. My yard isn't fenced in or any of my property for that matter. Dogs must know and mind their boundaries.
6. Dogs must not rush out the door when the door is opened - rather they must sit and wait to be commanded outside.
7. Dogs must not rush into the house when the door is opened - rather they must sit and wait to be commanded inside.
8. Dogs may not eat till they are told its ok to eat.
9. Dogs will sit on command EVERY time no matter the proximity of their master when the order is given. This is synonymous to "stay" since they should remain sitting till ordered to do something else.
10. Dogs must return to their master when the order to return is given regardless of the situation or distance they are from their master.
11. Dogs must cease barking upon being commanded to stop from their master.
12. Dogs must obey their master regardless of the presence of other people, dogs, animals and/or sources of distraction.

These dozen requirements of mine are mine and when I train dogs for someone else I train their dogs to these requirements. If they choose to relax a bit on the discipline and say let their dog onto furniture that's their choice but its always easier to relax the discipline than to try and tighten it after a dog has been allowed to do something on a regular basis.

When looking at a trainer make sure to look at their personal dogs and decide if their dogs behave the way YOU want YOUR dogs to behave. Don't just judge them by how other people's dogs are but judge them by what you want out of your dogs and determine if the trainer is capable of doing that. I don't bother going with a trainer's previous customer reviews because they will almost always get rave reviews. This is because most people haven't got a clue what to expect out of a dog much less one that has been well trained.

Also don't just go by the diplomas and/or degrees they might have on their walls either. Some of the best dog trainers I know don't have any of these things - just showcases full of ribbons and titles from tests, trials and shows. There is no actual licensing requirement (at least on the federal level and not in my state) to be a dog trainer. I do believe it is that way in most states too. Anyway those diplomas and certificates don't mean anything except that the trainer has spent the money to get those. What matters is results. Look at their personal dogs, their clients' dogs and their accomplishments in the past to get a good gauge on their quality of training.

That said I'd strongly suggest finding a local hunt trainer in your area for your GSP if you get him/her. The reason for this is that while you may not bird hunt the hunt training is a good foundation for other types of hunting (ie. small game - rabbit, squirrel, raccoon) and the obedience that is trained into the dog through hunt training is so far above what the average non-hunting dog trainer would give. Get a properly trained hunting dog and you'll never think that dogs you'd previously thought were good dogs are all that good again.

If you get that puppy good luck and enjoy your time with it. Have fun with the housebreaking lol!

June 12, 2012, 12:29 PM
Dogs are pack animals - IF you are going to get a hi-maintenance dog like a GSP, get two so they each have someone to play with and thereby not eat your furniture; otherwise, get a Golden Retriever - the ultimate family dog where hunting is not part of the equation - besides, they're cute......:D

Hunter Customs
June 12, 2012, 01:56 PM
No offense but I'd have shot a dog like that. I don't allow aggression of any sort in my hunting dogs. Sure there's controlled aggression such as in properly trained security/shutzhund dogs but that's a whole different ball game and those dogs aren't aggressive till ordered to be. The kind of aggression you described in the dog is something that needed to be trained out of him and if that was not fixable he should have been destroyed for the safety of your guests and family.

I'm not offended at all, the dog was put down.

I purchased the dog as a pup 8 weeks old raised and trained the dog myself.
I might add I've rasied and trained many dogs, trained some for other people. So lack of proper training was not my dogs problem, he just had a bad temperment that got worse with age.

I don't give up on my animals easily, but I do realize there comes a time to cut your losses and do what has to be done.

I also don't believe my dogs temperment was typical of the breed, as I've seen and hunted over to many Shorthairs that were very well behaved.

Best Regards
Bob Hunter

June 12, 2012, 02:09 PM
Dogs are pack animals - IF you are going to get a hi-maintenance dog like a GSP, get two so they each have someone to play with and thereby not eat your furniture

Its true that dogs are pack animals but this is not good advice. Especially with high energy dogs you don't want to get two puppies at the same time. Unless you're an experienced dog trainer/handler you will not be able to handle them both.

The other problem is that dogs ARE pack animals. You don't want them to bond to each other more closely than to you though. Besides just because you have two doesn't mean they'll keep each other busy. I've seen cases (which happen more often than people think) where someone did exactly that - got two puppies "so they could play with each other" and ended up with two dogs that chewed/ate up everything they could put their mouths on. The owners came home one day to find one dog chewing on a shoe and the other dog chewing on the sofa - the path of destruction was horrible - 6 pairs of shoes pulled out of the closet and chewed up, two chairs with less than 4 whole legs each, a table with only 1 leg that hadn't been chewed on, the garbage pulled out of the closet in the kitchen and knocked over with trash spread all over the house, the closet door(s) chewed up, pillows torn etc. Sure the dogs played with each other - they also chewed on things with each other too.

The other thing is if you aren't experienced with training dogs and especially multiple dogs you can run into a problem known as litter mate syndrome. Some dog trainers say its near impossible to prevent if you get multiple puppies (2 or more) at once however I say its completely easy to prevent. Its when it occurs that it gets difficult to undo. In order to prevent it though you have to keep the pups separated from each other 24/7 till they have finished being obedience trained. The reason for this is that litter mate syndrome (LMS) occurs when the puppies bond to one another and decide that playing with each other is more enjoyable than playing with you, the owner/trainer/handler. In that case the puppies, while still liking to be with you, will be more eager to go play with the other puppies because its simply more fun than the training you want to do. No amount of playing you do with them will outweigh their playtime with each other since they have no new rules they have to learn after all.

If you're going to get the puppy get just one unless you're a very experienced dog trainer and have the stomach to do what is necessary when owning/training multiple puppies.

Bob Hunter -

I'm glad you put the dog down. Its really unfortunate those things have to happen but I've been privy to too many incidents regarding dogs and bite cases where it could have been prevented had the dog just been put down after all the signs were shown. A boy in a city near me had his face bitten in half by a dog that had been clearly aggressive and prone to violence. The dog (a pit bull) was outwardly aggressive toward strangers and had already bitten his owner twice. The owner didn't want to put his dog down and as such the dog was allowed to live long enough to break its leash (which by the way still amazes me how that happens since you should have a leash that is strong enough to contain your dog...) and attack a neighborhood boy. There are other incidents that I can recall that I have information about but I won't waste the bandwidth.

I will say that the majority of violent dog attacks occur because the owners didn't take the appropriate measures to prevent them... up to and including destroying the animal because of clear signs of unmanageable aggression. Thank you for being one of the few sane dog owners left in this country.

June 12, 2012, 02:28 PM
I have two of them and wouldn't trade them for the world. They are wonderful pets, great with children, and are the most intelligent dogs I have ever owned. We taught them at 9 weeks to ring a bell when they needed to go outside, we also taught them to heel, fetch, and come at the same age.

I have owned Labs, Golden's, Danes, and Beagles. I wouldn't trade the two GSP's I have now for any of the others.

Mine do have a high prey drive and we do exercise them daily (chasing tennis balls). They can easily jump a 6' fence to chase deer, squirrels, or any other critter they see but they immediately return when called.

They work and play hard but they also crawl in your lap at night and just want to relax. They aren't for everyone but if you take the time to train them they will excel in everything they do.

They both got out of their puppy stages around 3 years old. Neither of them chewed on anything but their toys that were given to them, but we also didn't leave them alone to get in trouble and corrected them early.

They go everywhere with me and my family, they love the water, riding in cars, boats, and anything else that moves even tubes at the lake. They like to take float trips and hike.

One of ours loves agility courses and flyball, and the other just likes to relax and watch the turkeys in the back field.

If you are an active person who loves going places and being outdoors you really couldn't ask for a better dog in my opinion.

Good luck,

June 12, 2012, 02:56 PM
I have two, a male and female. I don't get to hunt birds like I use to so they are more lile pets now. They are just as gentle and docile as can be and live in the house with us. My 21mo crawls all over the 80lb male, pulls on his tail, pinches his ears, sits on him and has even grabbed him by the stones (and they are large stones), he does nothing but wag his nub, well except with nut squeeze, that made him jump and he was a little nervous for about a week.

My 45lb female, plays with the kids, and gets into everything with them..

I can honestly say that I have seen both dogs immediately go stand between strangers to them and my kids in full protective mode. Delivery people call us prior to bringing something too, Chunk is large and quite formidable if he doesn't know you.

Mine retrieve, slide on slides, play in forts, and come inside and sleep beside my bed or recliner. Before long my baby boy is going to have the using silverware and napkins when they eat too.

GSP's are what you make them. If you include them as part of your family, then that is what they will be. If you treat them as tools or livestock, then you won't get a very good dog. They are very sociable and need that attention to thrive. They are not an ill tempered breed by any means, defensive and protective yes.

90% of the people that I have heard bad mouth the breed don't have a clue what they were doing with them in the first place. And 50% of those shouldn't even own a dog for that matter. About the worst thing my dogs do is dig and I haven't seen one working/sporting dog that didn't like to dig.

June 12, 2012, 05:44 PM
GSP's are what you make them

That is true as it is for most breeds of dogs too however there are certain traits that you simply cannot ignore about certain breeds. In sporting breeds there is a much higher energy level and higher prey drive than in other breeds. It is the same with herding breeds - they tend to have an instinctive need to herd something and will often be found herding children if they don't have sheep or other animals to herd.

I believe that a hunting dog is a different type of dog to some people than other dogs. While my dogs reside with me inside my home and live with my kids I can't condemn those hunters who choose to keep their dogs outside in a kennel. So long as those hunters continue to interact with their dogs and provide for the dog's needs (both physically and mentally) those dogs can be great dogs too. Again they are what you make them.

They are not an ill tempered breed by any means, defensive and protective yes.

I don't believe anyone said they were an ill tempered breed. As for defensive and protective I haven't got a problem with those particular behaviors however they must be manageable. My dogs will also stand between my children, my wife and even myself and strangers however they also stand down with the simple command of "at ease." Once that command is issued they become at ease and are quite friendly with the strangers - posing no threat at all to anyone.

90% of the people that I have heard bad mouth the breed

I actually don't believe I've seen ANYONE badmouth GSPs here. They've all cautioned about some of the things one can encounter with GSPs but then those same concerns are valid for other sporting breeds too. I do believe I've seen quite a few posts saying they're great dogs but beware of this or that.

All in all it comes down to what the owner makes of the dog. If you give the dog proper training and treat it well your dog will be a great part of your family. If you fail on that part your dog will suffer as will your family life.

I understand that its easy to get emotional and defensive about a particular breed of dogs especially if you own one or more of such dogs but this particular breed isn't under attack here. As I've continued to assert its all about the training.

June 12, 2012, 06:32 PM
This is gold, thanks. So this is going to be a good dog for me. No way am I getting two of them, and he's trying for me to get two also. I have to go to work sometime, and I like my house :)

June 12, 2012, 07:05 PM
I'm actually really glad I got two of them personally. They love to play together and tire each other out. Also they keep each other company when we can't pay full attention to them.

Also we kenneled ours for the first 3 years we had them until they got out of the puppy stage. Now they both roam the house when we aren't home and have never destroyed or gotten into anything. I have actually set up a camera just to see what they do during the day and they just lay on the couch and watch whats going on outside, occasionally chasing each other through the house.

Just my opinion but the two females I have work well together and they are attached at the hip. We are actually looking into adopting a third because we love the breed so much.

Ours love tennis balls but their favorite toy is a large Kong and a soft frisbee, keep them playing early and they will get attached to their toys. Everyday when we get home from work they are at the door with toys in their mouths ready to play.

I can't brag enough on my two and I hope you have the same luck with yours. Feel free to shoot me a message if you ever have any questions.

June 12, 2012, 11:41 PM
When a dog of mine exhibits any dog or human aggression, with a quickness, I deal out sudden and extreme discipline in the pack style/mentality...

They get few chances to fully correct or they are culled from the gene pool.

I also agree that sporting breeds of good stock are only a good choice if they have a job and the excercise...

There are lots of watered down "sporting breed" dogs out there with AKC in their pedigree. These can behave more docile and less motivated etc. but they also have the "cheapened" genetics that are not the healthy specimen of the original dog bred for performance.


June 13, 2012, 12:21 AM
That's good info. I might think about two if I didn't already have a dinosaur lol. My Mastiff was easy to obedience train. He did not like taking a time out and wanted to come out and see everyone. He was good after that. It sounds like the GSPs are a good and intelligent breed too, so I think he'll respond well also.

I'm stoked, time to haggle :) He's chompin at the bit to get rid of some puppy mouths! :)

KKirchmer, thanks! I'll do that :)

June 13, 2012, 03:40 AM
I had forgotten about another friend who had a pair of GSPs back on Whidbey Island in the 90's. Very nice dogs, and he hunted with them. A bunch of us (all in the same squadron) also had dogs, and mountain bikes, and we'd take our assorted pack with us camping, hiking, and cycling.

One day, during a hike, my friend ended up having to learn how to rappell in fairly short order. One of his GSPs saw a bird, and jumped for it, and disappeared as it cleared the shrub the bird had been in.

Neither dog nor owner had realized a bluff backed onto the trail just past that bush...

Luckily, no injury to the dog - except perhaps for its pride. It came to rest about 15-20' below the trail, on a small ledge. My friend, and a couple other guys, managed to rig a harness which my friend took down to the dog (via the aforementioned rappelling), then the other guys helped haul dog and owner back up to the trail.

I don't believe that dog ever made another blind leap after that one.

Edit: My friend and his wife used a book called Gun Dog to learn training techniques for their GSPs. Both swore by the book.

June 13, 2012, 12:51 PM
I actually don't believe I've seen ANYONE badmouth GSPs here. They've all cautioned about some of the things one can encounter with GSPs but then those same concerns are valid for other sporting breeds too. I do believe I've seen quite a few posts saying they're great dogs but beware of this or that.

All in all it comes down to what the owner makes of the dog. If you give the dog proper training and treat it well your dog will be a great part of your family. If you fail on that part your dog will suffer as will your family life.

I understand that its easy to get emotional and defensive about a particular breed of dogs especially if you own one or more of such dogs but this particular breed isn't under attack here. As I've continued to assert its all about the training.

As Hansam has said, the bad behaviors posted here could be about ANY breed of dog, not just GSPs. Rarely, and it is truly a rarity, a dog, just like a person, may have a mental defect/health problem/bad genetics that produce aggression or destructive behavior.....the exception being the fighting breeds that specifically bred for aggression. The majority of the time bad behavior is a by product of bad training and or lack of training or imposed limits. Sometimes the bad habits are learned in the kennel before the pup goes home. Many times it's because the rest of the family has not been trained properly and allows the dog to do things the primary owner does not even know about. If one is upset because they think the breed is being trashed, they have every right. GSPs like all Continental breeds, are fine animals, one reason they are so popular. But being popular means they get breed indiscriminately and that many end up in homes where they should not be. This is the real cause of negative experiences, not the breed itself.

June 13, 2012, 01:35 PM
Hansam has pretty much nailed it. Nothing to add, except my personal experience with the breed.

I had a GSP for about 16 years until he had to be put down due to old age. It was a male, and I had him neutered as soon as the veterinarian indicated he could do it.

He was never agressive to people or other dogs, but would growl at another dog if they tried to mount him. I only saw this happen once or twice. He was friendly, smart, but a little stubborn. He was easy to train, pointed naturally, and I did bird hunt with him although he was mainly the family pet. He got daily exercise, and was usually fine. He did chew a few things, but nothing really valuable or badly. The DO NOT like to be left alone for long periods of time. They will, like many dogs injest something after chewing on it so watch the dish towels, etc that you have hanging around or laundry hampers.

When mine got bored, I could tell because he would end up bringing be something, basically retrieving, and saying OK I am ready to work. It could be any foreign object lie a sock, shoe, underwear, that he knew he wasn't supposed to have.

June 13, 2012, 07:33 PM
Coupla things that I tell every person that asks me about gettin' a dog. Hansam touched on some of this, indirectly, so I'd like to give my two cents. Again, this is regardless of the breed.

1.)Get a dog from a reputable breeder. It doesn't have to be a fancy dancy big name kennel, but it needs to be someone that knows dogs and has selected parents for their qualities and minimal shortcomings. Indiscriminate breeding has hurt several popular breeds here in the US in the last few years, Irish Setters, and English Springers are some of the worst case scenarios. Just cause Joe has a female and a guy he works with has a male, don't make for good puppies if the parents are full of bad traits. Do this for several generations and you have a clusterpuck of traits and it's a hit or miss if a pup will be any good or not. This is not only true of behavior and instincts, but of health and genetic disorders. The cost of a puppy, even at hundreds of dollars is minimal when compared to the overall cost of a dog over it's lifetime. Saving a hundred bucks on a pup and then spending hundreds or thousands of dollars for health or behavior problems due to bad breeding is not good economics.

2.) If you spend more than two digits to the left of the decimal point for a dog, get a written warranty that within a year you can either get a different pup or get your money back if there is a problem with the pup. Reputable breeders have no problem with this. They want you to be happy, are proud of their pups and the bloodlines they use. They know odds are you are gonna be happy with the pup and because of their selective breeding it will be healthy and perform well. If someone is asking more than $100 for a pup, it means they are selling the pups to make money. This includes the guy at work or your brother in law. You should not have to eat a huge amount of money cause you got stuck with a bad/sick pup and doing so is pure foolishness. This goes for started or trained adult dogs also. If the breeder or owner won't do this, turn and walk away. Odds are he's afraid of gettin' the dog back. If someone sells you a pup for minimal monies, i.e. to pay for shots, worming, dew claw removal and tail docking, then it's a different story. Those costs should be under or around that $100 figure.

3.) Stay away from taking on someone else's adult dog unless your name is Cesar Millan. Very seldom is there a reason someone gets rid of a grown dog unless it's a problem. Sure there are those exceptions where the owner dies, is incapacitated or moves somewhere where they cannot have a dog. But odds are it's up for sale/adoption because the owner cannot handle/control it. If they say he just needs a bigger yard to run....don't believe it. This goes doubly for the professionally trained dogs like Hansam described. Many times folks will send a problem off to a trainer with hopes they will come back a different dog. They generally come back trained to hunt, but also come back with the same behavior problems, many times more aggressive than ever because of the harsh training methods that had to be used. These dogs are many times a accident waiting to happen, especially when brought into contact with children or others that fall below them in their pecking order. The average dog owner does not have the time, experience or the knowledge to rehabilitate a problem dog.

4.) If you need to put down a dog, don't tell the world in graphic verbs about it. 40 years ago it was common for nuisance or unwanted dogs to be taken out to the woods, tied to a tree next to a pre-dug hole and shot. Now you do that and brag about it and odds are you will get a visit from the local Humane/Animal Control Officer. Remember 40 years ago it also was acceptable to spank your own child when they misbehaved. Now you are considered a felon for committing domestic abuse. A close friend of mine works at the local vet clinic, and says they HAVE to report all abuse they see or hear of. This includes the shooting of dogs, even if it's for what the owner believes is a legitimate reason. If you need to put down a dog, make sure you have a legitimate reason and you SSS. Biting or nipping is NOT necessarily a legitimate reason to Animal Control, even tho to most of us here it is.

Owning a dog is a big responsibility and it takes time and patience. Some dogs mature early and are a breeze to train. Others want to stay a pup for years and are stinkers. Like kids, the difference between them is what makes each one special. Edward429451, it seems you have thought this out and have a firm grasp of the situation. I wish you and your new pup the best and many years of happy hunting. Make sure you post some pics!

June 13, 2012, 08:05 PM
typically a one owner dog- will attach to the one who cares for him.
not really a family dog. needs something to do in life to be happy.

June 13, 2012, 10:27 PM

Well said.

You obviously seem to know a lot about dogs. Either you're an experienced dog owner (in the right way) or you're a trainer of some sort yourself. In any case I appreciate you putting into words I'd touched on and only hinted at but never really posted.

I second what you have to say - definitely ONLY buy from reputable breeders and look for the best qualities in your dogs regarding health, temperament, ability (physical capabilities). Sadly a lot of people purchase only based on looks and frankly that's a horrible idea. You could get a cute or great looking dog but that dog could also be carrying some horrible genetics that could lead to bad hips, bad elbows, blindness, deafness, heart disease etc. I also agree that the cost of the puppy is only a minor cost compared to what the dog will cost you over the course of its life.

I paid $1000 for my newest puppy. He came from a great bloodline on both sides of his lineage though - champions and master national champions on both sides. As such I believe he's worth it and he's proving he's worth it on a daily basis. I have a 2 year health guarantee though on him and that's easily worth the $1000. People need to be aware of the fact that not all puppies that are cute and cuddly at first glance are going to become great dogs. In choosing a puppy you need to look at it as if it were a business deal. You have to decide what traits you want in the puppy and what you want it to be like when its mature. Then look for those traits in the puppy and get the one that best fits your desires. Don't just go look at the litter and pick the one that comes to you first or catches your eye first... that is a horrible mistake many people make every time they buy a puppy. Personally I look for an outgoing temperament, energy levels, eagerness to investigate something new and a willingness to do what is asked of it.

People also make the mistake of getting a puppy just because its a puppy. Some puppies just shouldn't exist. Don't buy an obviously flawed puppy unless you want to be a wet nurse for the dog for the next 10 or more years. Again look for the positive traits in the puppies AND the parents regarding good health, good temperament etc. If its a sickly puppy and the breeder/seller is telling you that if you don't buy him/her the pup is going to die don't buy it. Its a tactic to get rid of a puppy they can't sell. If its really sick let it die... a reputable breeder would have put the puppy out of its misery already anyway rather than trying to sell a sick puppy to someone else.

Most of all if you ARE dealing with a good reputable breeder trust the breeder's assessment of the puppies. If you let them know what you're looking for they'll do their best to accommodate you. They know their future business depends on their customers' happiness. There are some that will lie to you about their puppies but they shouldn't be in the dog business anyway then. Always make sure there is a health guarantee AND don't sign any ridiculous contracts (some breeders think having ridiculous contracts regarding needing to see photos of the dog every few months, needing to have your contact info where ever you may be, demanding that you feed the dog certain foods etc.). There are plenty of great breeders out there that don't require this junk and still sell great puppies.

DO NOT skimp out on training. If you're not an experienced dog trainer I can guarantee you your results will not be on par with those of a professional trainer. You can read all the books you want but you just won't be able to replicate what a trainer can do because you don't have the experience and knowledge to do so properly. Training can cost anywhere from $1500 on up to $10,000. Choose your trainer wisely and invest your money into your dog. Remember that this training will determine how your dog will behave for the rest of its life. The other thing is once your dog is trained you have to maintain that training - in other words get out there and remind the dog what its training is. If you allow the dog to stray from its training your dog will start going downhill quickly.

If I can help you out in any way - giving advice on what to look for in trainers, advice on what to look for in a puppy etc. feel free to pm me. If you let me know where you're at I might be able to recommend some trainers for you that are in your area too.

Good luck!

June 14, 2012, 01:13 PM
If this is not going to be a hunting dog, go to the pound or humane society. \

No reason to shell out big bucks for a specialized animal when a mutt can do the job just as well.

The average dog owner does not have the time, experience or the knowledge to rehabilitate a problem dog.

I'd add that often problems don't show up to the people at the pound. Our latest dog was "cat tested" by the humane society, meaning he got along ok when exposed to cats at their kennel. When we brought the dog home he immediately tried to attacked our cats. It took a lot of time to get him over that.

My wife and I are not experts with dogs. What we do have is lots of time.

June 14, 2012, 02:42 PM
gyvel and hansam you guys are right on. If properly cared for they are one of the greats breeds. I see a lot of city dwellers getting Vizlas and it makes me sad. Most will end up at the pound after thier owner ban not keep up with them.
As one trainer told me,"If you don't come up for idea to keep him busy, he will come up with them on his own and I qarentee you will not like his ideas."

My GSP has been a better family member than most of my human family memebers.

June 14, 2012, 03:25 PM
typically a one owner dog- will attach to the one who cares for him.
not really a family dog. needs something to do in life to be happy.

That wasn't my experience. My GSP was a good family dog and seemed to go along with anyone who would play with him or take him outside. However, I only had one, so maybe others are different.

I do agree that they need a job to be happy.

June 14, 2012, 04:01 PM
typically a one owner dog- will attach to the one who cares for him.
not really a family dog. needs something to do in life to be happy.

Not true at all. They do tend to favor the Alpha of the house but adjust well to all family members. None of mine have ever been a one person dog.

They want to be included in everything the family does.

June 14, 2012, 05:40 PM
typically a one owner dog- will attach to the one who cares for him.
not really a family dog. needs something to do in life to be happy.

Absolutely not true at all. Its all about how you handle your dog. People will say this breed is a one person dog/not a family dog or that breed is etc. Frankly that's just ignorance talking. If you allow the dog to be that way he/she will be that way. The same goes for certain dogs not liking men/women etc. Again if you allow them to get that way they'll be that way. Don't let them get that way and you won't have a problem. Again it's all a matter of training and not the dog itself.

Dogs ARE people animals. That's what was bred into them. Some breeds are inherently more independent than others but in the end they NEED people and interaction with people. Over hundreds of years they have been bred to instinctively consider humans part of their pack. Can they survive without people? Yes - well some breeds could, some breeds would just die out. They won't be what we'd consider well mannered examples of dogs though.

If this is not going to be a hunting dog, go to the pound or humane society. \

No reason to shell out big bucks for a specialized animal when a mutt can do the job just as well.

I used to support the Humane Society and I do applaud their efforts however I just cannot support them now. Some of their practices are questionable and they're caving into the more idiotic rescues out there that are trying to save EVERY animal from euthanization. Most dogs that end up in the pound or Humane Society have problems - sometimes these problems cannot be found through normal testing methods. Some of these problems are quite severe yet they (Humane Societies and other rescue organizations) are still trying to place them out to new homes. I just can't support this.

I was going to volunteer at a nearby Humane Society location - walking dogs, cleaning kennels etc. and when I saw all the dogs with "Do Not Walk" or "No Children" signs on their kennels I had to ask about them. Apparently those dogs are so vicious that they cannot be walked or are dangerous to children because they are aggressive toward children. Many of them had already bitten people. When I asked why they were not euthanized and why they're still trying to place them out to homes the answer simply was, "Every dog deserves a good home!" I walked out of there and haven't looked back since.

I personally advise against getting a dog from the Humane Society. The money you save getting a dog from there or other such rescues (which by the way isn't really that much less compared to getting them from a reputable breeder) won't be worth the headaches you'll have when the dog shows its true colors. Oh and about the cost of dogs from rescues and such - they can go for as much as $600+ dollars! For that amount or even for $300 I'd go with a reputable breeder and get a puppy that I know came from good bloodlines with a good health guarantee.

Oh and a lot of rescues will try to rationalize their high fees by saying that they're a non profit organization and that they are running at max capacity already in fact they have a surplus of pets that need homes. Well frankly that means they're doing something wrong. I once heard a member of one rescue's board state proudly that they deny at least 90% of people who apply for adoption of a pet from their organization. How is that a good thing? Oh and just out of curiosity I applied for an adoption from them and was denied. The reasons: 1. I had young children. 2. One or more adult in the home works outside of the home for more than 8 hours at a time. 3. I had one or more un-altered (not spayed/neutered) dog in the house.

The sad part is that I'm a dog trainer and am more qualified to handle/adopt dogs than most people who apply... just how do they think they're going to get rid of their excess animals since they don't believe in euthanization?

June 15, 2012, 08:04 AM
LOL, I was beginning to think that my male GSP was prejudice and racist. Didn't know if one day I was coming home to find he'd joined a hate group or something. Turns out, he just doesn't like anyone or anything dressed in brown or brown the color. UPS can't make a delivery to the house without calling to arrange for someone to get him. And the AA kid in the brown sweatsuit, dang you've never seen a kid pedal that fast in his life.

Oh and he doesn't particularly care for camoflage, he bristles at me when I come home from deer hunting if I'm full camo'd.

June 15, 2012, 12:04 PM
LOL, I was beginning to think that my male GSP was prejudice and racist. Didn't know if one day I was coming home to find he'd joined a hate group or something. Turns out, he just doesn't like anyone or anything dressed in brown or brown the color. UPS can't make a delivery to the house without calling to arrange for someone to get him. And the AA kid in the brown sweatsuit, dang you've never seen a kid pedal that fast in his life.

Oh and he doesn't particularly care for camoflage, he bristles at me when I come home from deer hunting if I'm full camo'd.

Makes one wonder, what experience he had as a pup to turn him against brown? Wonder if he would feel the same way about an all liver female GSP in heat?:D

Coupla dogs ago I had a GWP that did not like my best friend at all. The hair would go up on his back whenever Dave came around. He never really attacked him, was just always aloof around him and wouldn't come near him. If Dave tried to be friendly, Rufus would just go the opposite direction. One day Dave came over and Rufus acted like they were old friends. This went on for about a year until one day, Dave came over and Rufus would have nuttin' to do with him. I jokingly ask Dave what the hell he was doing different. He said nuttin', but I have taken up smoking again after quitting for a year. From then on it was easy to identify folks that smoked and those than didn't whenever Rufus was around. Somewhere in the dogs past he came to identify the smell of cigarette smoke with something bad. To this day I have no clue.

June 15, 2012, 03:14 PM
Nothing has ever happened to that dog as far as the color brown goes, I've had him since he was born. I just don't think he registers the color brown well and doesn't like it. He's a big baby in most instances. He intimidates people though, carries a brick around the yard or a turtle if one's available. Heck he piled off into a pond by the house one day after a 4' alligator.

Heck his momma didn't like my Ex-wife from day one. She sat on the couch between us and growled at her. I should have listened to the dog, she was much smarter than I was.

June 15, 2012, 03:41 PM
A dog that suddenly decides he/she doesn't like a certain person, color or object doesn't just decide for no reason at all. It could have happened without you knowing. The thing is it could be something very simple and subtle that you as a human wouldn't have registered as anything worthwhile but the dog would have.

For example I had a neighbor whose dog HATED the UPS man too. Actually he hated the UPS truck and if he saw the truck he'd go on the attack. My neighbor didn't know why. After some discussion of what happened he just casually mentioned one incident he considered funny but inconsequential - as a puppy the dog was playing in the front yard when the UPS truck came and stopped abruptly in front of their house - brakes screeched a bit as air brakes do. The puppy was freaked out by that and came running back to his master who proceeded to cuddle and comfort the puppy, sheltering him from the truck.

That incident there was what taught the puppy to hate UPS trucks. Since then the puppy saw the truck as a threat because he was allowed to do that since that first incident. We corrected the dog of the issue (4 years later) and as far as I know the dog is fine since.

I also had a dog that came into my care for training that hated black dogs. I'd wondered why so I called the owner and asked why this was the case and he said that as a young dog he was nipped by a larger black dog and since then he'd hated black dogs. Again the owner allowed the dog to make the association that black dogs were a threat and the dog kept that in its head since. I charged extra to correct the problem and the dog has been fine since.

My sister-in-law and her husband has 2 german shepherds that they got as puppies. First that in itself was a mistake but they made a larger mistake - allowing the dogs to consider the dogs on the other side of the fence (the neighbor's dogs) to be threats. They kept taking their dogs away from the fence and bringing them inside whenever the other dogs came out. As such their dogs came to fear and hate those dogs (and other dogs). These dogs are now not able to come in contact with other dogs without the danger of a dog fight. To this day they don't believe that this is inappropriate behavior and will not allow me to correct the issue.

I had a dog that for some reason HATED (and I mean hated so much she would attempt to attack and kill) all black people. My wife joked that she was a racist dog but I knew there was a reason - we just didn't know what it was yet. One day I decided to put up security cameras in my home (the crime rate in that neighborhood was rising) and instead of catching criminals breaking into my home I caught the reason for my dog's hatred of black people. When we're gone the black kids (teens) in the neighborhood would come onto our back deck and tease our dog relentlessly knowing she couldn't get at them. This must have been happening for months because she'd hated black people for months! I tried to reason with the neighbors but they wouldn't listen. A month later someone attempted to break into my home and according to my camera system looked as though they got attacked by my dog as they tried to get into the house. They never came back and we moved a couple months later. Sadly that dog got into a fight with a couple of stray dogs at our new home and was too seriously injured by the time I came out with a rifle. I shot the strays dead and then after a house call from our vet we put her down too.

Dogs don't just decide to hate a color or a person without something happening to make them decide that first. People who believe that are anthropomorphizing their dogs way too much... giving them characteristics that humans have but dogs do not.

June 15, 2012, 03:47 PM
We had a dog who didn't like men in particular, and really disliked either black men (though not black women), or men in brown uniforms. My family most definitely did not teach the dog such dislikes.

In that area, the power company meter readers wore brown, as did UPS. UPS guys didn't tend to go into back yards, though, while meter readers tended to take shortcuts through adjacent properties. So, I suspect a meter reader may have kicked or sprayed our dog at some point.

June 15, 2012, 11:55 PM
Hansam and buck460XVR have given you some very sound advise. The only thing I can add is to look at the pedigree, if it is stacked with lots of field champions you are going to have a very high energy dog, if the pedigree is stacked with AKC show titles you are more likely to get a mellow dog, not certain, but more likely. As a general rule I have noticed this trend with dogs that we breed and have begun to use it to our advantage.

Likes buck460XVR said a quality breeder is of the utmost importance. Nothing is worse than getting attached to a dog only to find out is has a liver disorder and watching your dog have seizures for the rest of its life or wind up having bad hips or some other problem. I have talked with a lot of people who have had this problem and it is hart breaking for them.

You can probably guess from my user name that I breed labs, and we put a lot of effort into insuring that the pup we supply has the best chance of being a happy healthy dog that will fit with you and your life style. If I don't think I can supply what you need and want in a dog I tell you right up front. A dog is a very long term commitment and it needs to be right for both of you.

This last winter I started looking for a upland dog and was seriously considering a GSP until I did some investigating. The first red flag came up when I started talking with the breeders here in Idaho and Utah and all but one had no idea what I was talking about when I started asking about health clearances.
The second and final came up when I consulted my vet and she informed me that the breed is known for having some temperament issues. While not every dog is going to have issues, she has seen enough of it that she felt concerned enough to say something to me. She said the ones that have problems either start out with them or they develop them as they age. I can't help but believe that this is yet another issue resulting from the incredibly poor standards set by the AKC, the only minimum standard is that both parents have papers.
It appears that some of the posters have experienced this range in temperaments from first class dog all the way to having to put one down.

I would not take getting a high end hunting dog lightly. If they are true hunters you will have more issues than you know what to do with.

By the way I settled on getting a Deutsch Drahthaar, they are the German registered version of a GWP. The breeding standards are very strict.

I do not mean any disrespect to your friend but if he is not a regular breeder then you really need to get a copy of the pedigree and go visit with a reputable breeder before taking a pup. You should also spend some time around the parents and make sure that they acceptable. If you have any questions or concerns please contact one of use and ask away. Its way better to find out know before its to late.

June 16, 2012, 07:00 AM
Grubbylabs is correct regarding pedigree.

When I'm looking for a puppy to purchase I ask a lot of questions regarding pedigree and health clearances. I also expect that I'll be furnished with these answers in writing - proof basically that what I was told is correct. If these prove to be false later on I have something I can fall back on to correct the issue.

The problem with AKC and other kennel club certs is that for the most part dogs were never really bred to very strict standards. Basically if your dog LOOKS like the breed you claim it to be a you can have "experts" claim your dog is that breed you can get at least a provisional registration for the dog as being purebred. A couple generations later you can start breeding the progeny of that dog so long as you'd bred it with other purebreds of that breed... there is no scrutiny regarding genetic defects, diseases etc. I know that each club has standards that one must adhere to if one is to compete with the dog but there is nothing within those rules and standards regarding the breeding of dogs that are genetically defective. The other thing is that those standards regarding the breeds tend to be nothing more than cosmetic and does not truly address the issue of genetic problems.

That being said I won't purchase a puppy UNLESS its AKC registered or registerable. At least then there's one more layer of assurance that at least the dog is considered a purebred.

As grubbylabs said if you're getting a high end hunting dog there are a whole host of issues you as an average dog owner may not be able to handle. High energy levels is one of them. There's also the very high prey drive. Add a high level of intelligence to the mix and well that's a good recipe for trouble. Be aware of that and know the fact that you will be getting that - and if there are any genetic problems or diseases with your puppy then you can add that to the mix too.

June 16, 2012, 08:25 AM
That is good info, and confirms what I heard from other people also. I had him give me a few references and I talked to two of them, who both say their dogs are doing well and they have had no problems with them @ 2 & 3 yrs old. Of course I have no way of knowing if the references were legit or not, but for the moment I'll take it as truth and get to see more when I visit him tonight and pick my dog and talk with him.

I will get to meet both parents today too. I should be able to tell how serious he is by his facilities and the look of all the dogs. He isn't my friend, he was referred to me by a colleague of my son whom he works with and has one of his dogs also.

I'm getting the dog with all papers & everything. I wouldn't think of breeding it myself, but it's nice to know that I could and that the papers help to legitimize the transaction.

It's nice to hear the same exact things from you guys that I heard elsewhere about the breeds temperament. I am going to work with this dog a lot. I live about 3 blocks from a park so he'll get plenty of exercise. My goal at first is to get him interested in his job (training) and get him to where I can walk him without a leash (like my Mastiff will). My Mastiff may give me slight problem, he's a big baby and will want to be included in whatever we're doing.

I'll have some pics up pretty quick of him. Thinking of naming him Riggs.:D

June 16, 2012, 09:48 AM
Here's a bit of advice about training - keep the dogs separate while you're working with them.

If you're working with the GSP keep your mastiff inside/locked in a different room etc. Don't let them interact while you're training or else your training will not be very fruitful. Likewise when you work with your mastiff.

Having multiple dogs and training them at once can be a handful and even for experienced trainers can be a big obstacle. That's when you have dogs of the same temperament and energy levels. Dogs of such different temperaments and energy levels can be even more difficult.

Don't buy a puppy unless you can see a verified pedigree (3 generations or more) and medical proof that the parents aren't carrying any genetic defects and/or diseases that will come up in the puppy as he/she grows. I'm not an expert on what afflicts GSP but in labs you want proof that they're clear of things like EIC, CNM and PRA and hip/elbow displasia. Also definitely get a health guarantee - 2 years is typically acceptable. This is always a must too when you're paying anything more than a couple hundred dollars for a puppy.

In regards to the pedigree make sure that the pedigree shows plenty of documentable and trackable hunting titles (such as MH, AFC, FC etc) and the like... or whatever titles are used in pointing breeds (as they are somewhat different from flushing retrievers). If you're paying more than a couple hundred dollars for a puppy you'll want at least some titles within the grandparents and at least a SH title in both parents. If you're paying more than $500 you'll want some champion titles (AFC, FC) in grandparents and/or parents and definitely look for MH titles in one or both parents. Anything close to $1000 or more and you'll definitely want lots of championship titles and MH titles throughout the pedigree. Basically you'll want lots of MH titles in parents, grandparents and great grandparents on both sides. Also a bunch of AFC and FC and perhaps Master National Champion in the parents and grandparents. In the hunting field this is quantifiable proof that the puppy has good genetics and is capable of accomplishing what you ask of him/her. Even with all of this you're taking a gamble... just less of a gamble than if you bought a puppy with no pedigree or just a plain jane pedigree.

June 16, 2012, 10:34 AM
Find out how old both parents are and interact with them. Make sure that both parents have good temperaments, if either one is cranky then you have a high probability that the pup will have problems also. If the dogs pedigree is jammed packed full of field titles and hunting titles then generally speaking, not always but generally they make bad house pets because they have so much drive. We cater to the family guy that wants to hunt the family dog so we have found some good combinations that produce dogs with good hunting drive, but behave well and work great as house pets. Of course they also require lots of training. As Hansam suggested no matter what the health and pedigree say it does not guarantee any thing, it just gives the dog the best chance possible.

If you plan on spaying or neutering your dog don't let your vet talk you into doing it as soon as possible. For males do it around a year and for females do it shortly after her first heat cycle.
We have been doing some research on this and we are finding that pups have fewer health issues if you let then develop into adult dogs fully intact. Plus if your dog does have a great pedigree and proves to be one that has more good to pass on than bad it will give you the opportunity to work with a good breeder.

All in all it sound like you have been doing some good homework and on your way to getting a good pup.

Good luck and if you have any questions before you commit to a pup let us know.

June 16, 2012, 02:50 PM
That being said I won't purchase a puppy UNLESS its AKC registered or registerable.

My last 5 GWPs were FDSB registered. Never bothered with AKC, altho the last 3 could have been registered thru them also. Thirty five years ago, AKC would not allow continental breed pups that were 1st or 2nd generation in this country to be registered with them. But these dogs(I had a couple) could be registered FDSB. This is the route that breeders that imported their sires or dams from German stock had to take. Kinda why I have a sour taste in my mouth for AKC. I believe this rule has now been changed. FDSB is still preferred by many bird dog breeders the same way UKC is preferred by many houndsmen. Many breeders of hunting dogs feel that AKC dogs are breed more for show than for the hunt. It is also the registry used most by casual breeders as it is the best known, thus being AKC registered does not always ensure selective breeding(but then, none of the registries do). Altho it does ensure being purebred and there are many great dogs and breeders that are AKC. All 3 registries now require DNA samples to ensure pedigree before posting of titles. Years ago it was dependent on breeders word.

June 17, 2012, 10:57 AM
Hansam, If you could see the goin's on in the hog dog trading you would see how little providence a piece of paper makes...

We want to know the performance of the dam and sire and their ancestors... Papers be danged...

If there was "crossing" in or out going on we want to know what was the traits sought after and how that turned out...

We have so many varying terrains and styles that no one dog breed can excel in all...

For instance we have a style of dog we call a "runnin' catch dog"... Often used 100% solo this dog must find and stop his own hog and stay caught like a bulldog...

One style of cross is "Bird Dog" X Pit... The BD of choice is often a GSP or mostly GSP for the bird dog side...

Many hog doggers have bought bird dogs of proven stock just to use in breeding programs...

But if AKC is mentioned... most hog doggers will have nothing to do with that dog as the AKC is all about watering down performance dogs to look like a real dog but behave like a house mutt...

Also, any TRUE hog dogger does not breed to sell pups... we breed to replace our own yard and if any are left over they may be offered up...

Your previous performance with dam and sire usually sets the price range but many part with dogs for $50 to a real hunter while turning down $1,500 from suspected dog peddler types...


June 17, 2012, 11:39 AM
I brought him home last night. He's a little stressed because his family of 20 or more is not here anymore. He smells my dinosaur all over and is afraid and keeps looking for him. I had my son take him for a day or two and then bring them together for the first time in the park and then bring them home together.

He's much better this morning and pretty much sticks to me. He's going to be fine I think. I met the dam and sire and they both look good but the sire is the biggest pointer I've ever seen. He's all stocky and tall and looks like a champion. The breeder has nice facilities and it's real clean and organized. His paperwork was complete. I got a real good impression of it overall. He's had all his shots but rabies and even came microchipped.

I'll put up some pics in a few days after he settles in some more.

June 17, 2012, 11:51 AM
I think you misunderstood my post Brent. Let me explain.

I won't purchase a dog that isn't AKC papered because I have no guarantee of the dog's pedigree otherwise. That being the case its actually the pedigree (and certification of the pedigree and the accomplishments of the parents - which is tracked, maintained and verified by the AKC) that I'm really interested in.

See I won't purchase a puppy from someone who claims they have a purebred lab/golden/springer etc. and claims they came from great hunting stock but has no proof thereof. I want proof and I want it in paper so if the dog turns out to be worthless I have something I can fall back on to take up with the seller of the dog.

To me AKC registration doesn't mean that its worthwhile just because its AKC registered. The AKC registration means to me that I can actually follow up on the dog's pedigree which is kept and verified BY the AKC and NOT by the breeders. In that pedigree the titles and accomplishments of the parents and other ancestors are kept and recorded. These are not something that can be falsified since these titles and accomplishments must be achieved in AKC sponsored hunt trials and tests. These then are recorded with the AKC and as such a breeder cannot falsify them because the records to not reside with the breeder.

I am also only interested in what a dog can do and what its parents, grand parents and other ancestors did. I really don't care if a dog is AKC registered in itself but that registration brings with it what I REALLY want - verification of a quantifiable history of success within its pedigree.

Now in regards to hog dogging - I fully admit I know nothing at all about it. I don't know how to train a dog for it and wouldn't even dare try. I also don't train dogs for pointing - something I've already pointed out in previous posts. I train specifically flushing retrievers which is a different test and trial than pointing retrievers. As such I only know the basics of pointers and wouldn't consider myself a very proficient trainer of pointers. I could be wrong but I would suspect the same to be true of you and flushing retrievers and their training. Unfortunately though in comparing what you do to what I do we're not really talking about the same thing - more like we're just talking about different types of fruit - say apples and grapefuits. They're both fruits and they both grow on trees but that's about it where the similarities lie. Same with what we each do. Honestly the only things that are similar in what we do (which again I could be wrong but I'd wager I wasn't) are that we use dogs to find our quarry and in looking for a future hunting dog we look for performance based breeding programs rather than show and conformation based breeding programs. Aside from that what we do with our dogs seems quite different. Of course I could say, "Brent, if you could see what goes on in the world of flushing retrievers... etc." Basically what I'm trying to say is that we both are trying to find the best performing dogs however your quickness to throw away the importance of registration with the AKC is considered foolish in the flushing retriever world.

I do wonder how it is then that you quantify the ability of a dog you're purchasing... do you just go by the breeder's word and take a gamble (not saying that the breeder is falsifying the dog's capabilities but really what each person considers to be a good hunting dog is different from someone else) or do you look for something that is verified, quantifiable AND could not easily be falsified? I mean think about it; if I went down the road to Farmer Joe's farm because he has a litter of say purebred labs for sale in search of a hunting dog I'd want a puppy that had the genetics to be a good hunter.

Of course in my mind a good hunter needs to have a really good nose, a keen intelligence so he/she can learn all the commands I want to teach him/her (sit on command despite the proximity of the handler, hand signals to go left, right, back to the left, back to the right, straight back or come in) being steady on the flush and on the shot (which means sitting still after the bird is flushed and shot till ordered to give chase or retrieve) and being able to be called off a mark if the dog is on its way there but there is a different bird we want the dog to get first. Most average hunters don't require this of their dogs and if they can get their dog to find, flush and retrieve a bird (no hand signals, no control of the dog once its off on a search etc.) and do so on a fairly frequent basis for a couple months out of the year then that's a great hunting dog for them. For me if a dog could only do that the dog is worthless. My dogs work every day all year long. They must be trainable to the degree that I need them to get to because I do run trials and tests with them. The other important thing about AKC registration is that a dog without that registration can't earn titles and accomplishments that are trackable and quantifiable. That being the case these dogs and their progeny will be worthless to other trainers and hunters who require the same of their dogs as I do of mine. As a dog trainer I have to be able to show in my dogs what I am capable of training a dog to do. In order to do that I have to have a dog that can do what I require of it.

Without that little piece of paper that you consider worthless I'd be taking a huge gamble that I could make my work pay off. As for doing it for money - absolutely I'm doing it for the money. Yes I genuinely love working with dogs and training them. I love seeing a well trained dog do its work and for me that's a fulfilling experience but I also use this hobby as an income source to supplement my lifestyle and other hobbies. That being the case I can't afford to just take someone else's word on how good a hunter a puppy's parent(s) is/are but I NEED to make sure that this is truly the case. I learned this the hard way in the past doing exactly what you had outlined - purchasing a dog without registration. After working the best I could with the dog I had to sell him off for $50 or $100 as a well trained house pet and nothing else. All the money, time and effort I'd invested had been lost. Make enough losses and you can't stay in business for long.

So in my world that little piece of paper ISN'T worthless and if anyone said to me they couldn't provide registration papers with their dog I would walk away from the deal no matter how good they said the parents were as hunters... even if they were giving me the dog for free I wouldn't take it because I wouldn't have any way of knowing what I could do with it. Its not so much the piece of paper but what it brings with it that is of the utmost importance to me and that is the case with other trainers in this sport - this I can say with assuredness because that is what I've learned from talking with other trainers while I was still learning the trade.

June 18, 2012, 03:20 PM
While I agree with Hansam about having a dog registered so that you can have proof that said dog is indeed from a quality lineage, I have to say that the AKC has probably done the largest disservice to registered dogs since man started keeping records of them.

If you look at the German version of the German wire hair pointer for example. It is called a Deutsch Drathaar it was breed for a variety of tasks, a specific coat quality to help it do its jobs, and a certain temperament. They (the registering agency) keep careful records of breeding and accomplishments of these dogs. In fact the pups are even tattooed and inspected before they leave the breeders kennel. If any of the pups do not meet the breed standards as a pup then they are registered as a non breed-able dog. For example the breeder I am buying my pup from and one from a past litter that is missing a tooth, that dog cannot be breed. Once the pup is old enough the current owner may then start entering the pup into hunt tests and conformation shows. In order for the owner to be able to breed the dog their dog has to pass several hunt tests where it not only has to point and retrieve, but they have to track a fur bearing animal as well as a few other tasks. If the dog fails to pass these hunt tests they are not allowed to breed. They even have rules on how the two available colors can be breed. Plus the dog has to pass several health tests. Hips eyes elbows and some genetic disorders. All these tests are sent to Germany and can only be cleared by the breeding agency in Germany.

In short they put quite a bit of effort into insuring that the dogs they produce meet the breed standards and are able to do what the breed was intended to do.

The AKC on the other hand seems to be only interested in making money. Their hunt tests for dogs are about as unrealistic as they get, and as far as breeding goes, they could care less what you breed so long as both dogs are registered. They don't check or require any documentation other than their registration.

I do not know about some of the other breed registration agencies but I would not count them out just because they are not AKC. In fact the GSP also has a German registered cousin who's breeding is just as stricktly controlled as the DD.

June 18, 2012, 03:50 PM
I do agree that the hunt tests sponsored by the AKC, UKC and other registries are VERY unrealistic (portraying basically the worst case scenario a hunter and his dog could encounter and then some worse ones yet) but at the same time if you want to play the game you have to play in someone's arena. I choose to play in the AKC's arena.

I do despise the AKC's breeding policies - which really are non-existent. Basically if your dog is registered as a purebred and the other dog is also registered as a purebred of the same breed you can breed them. There are no required health clearances, no requirements for performance based qualifications etc. As long as they look like the breed they're registered as and can be bred the AKC will accept them and allow them to be bred for registered puppies. Frankly I think its BS and I do agree its a huge disservice to the dog world. Of course its not just the AKC. Look at "The Kennel Club" operating out of Great Britain - they endorse similar breeding policies however they strive for conformity in only looks - and look what that has done to many of the breeds they register.

I'm not of the mind that a dog HAS to be a purebred to do its job well however if I were purchasing a mutt I'd have to have assurances of the capabilities of its parents, grandparents and great grandparents... and these accomplishments MUST be documented and proven - verifiable. That said its extremely difficult to document and verify such accomplishments unless the dogs are registered with a kennel club of some sort - which means they have to be purebred. I HAVE trained mutts in the past and they HAVE turned out to be very good hunters. I've also owned mutts in the past that have turned out to be very good hunters. That said though my business is based almost entirely on purebred dogs that have a verifiable pedigree of success and excellence.

I do wish that the AKC's breeding policies would be similar to other clubs from say Germany and other countries however I believe that in adopting such policies they'd loose a lot of registries and as such loose a lot of revenue. That of course is not in the AKC's business plan and they won't allow it. If in this country there were a club or registration organization that also sponsored events in the area of my expertise and also tracked and verified accomplishments of individual registered dogs while also adopting more restrictive breeding practices so that the breed/species is actually helped more than it is hampered I would gladly hop aboard.

At the moment though there isn't any such body so I choose to play in the AKC's arena. Some choose the UKC others choose other smaller and less well known clubs but in the end everyone has to play in someone's arena.

June 18, 2012, 06:40 PM
Well since I breed, sell and train Labs I also am stuck with the AKC. I wish that they would seriously look at their standards and what they can do to improve them rather than what they can do to increase their bottom line. I especially wish they would re evaluate how they run their hunt tests. many times the way I have to train my dog for a hunt test is counter productive to real life hunting. Never in my life time or any one else that I have talked to have they had a hunting situation similar to what the AKC sets up for water foul dogs.

But my point is that I hope people don't pass up something just because its not AKC. There are other registration clubs out there that really are trying to improve what ever breed/s they are involved with.

June 18, 2012, 07:17 PM
Huh. Interesting. My breeder gave me AKC papers and showed me the momma & poppas papers and some of the poppas trophys and stuff. It's a good dog and has a good attitude.

He seems like he's already housebroken, he peed one time the first night and not since. He goes sniffing at the back door and its clear he wants out to go potty. He wont bark yet though. He chewed up my sunglasses but it was my fault for leaving them in reach of him. :(

He's still skittish but is a lot more comfortable today. He responds well and seems to know the word no. He does not like the leash though. He's never had one on. He wont even walk with it, he lays down and I'd have to drag him to go anywhere. How do I get him to walk on a leash?

June 18, 2012, 09:25 PM
When you get into higher end sporting dogs, breeders have to justify why they are charging so much for a pup or started dog. That's likely why the guy you bought from has an organized set up. I deal with it quite a bit. People see adds for $50.00-$300.00 labs in local want adds all the time and want to know why mine are at least twice as much. Most people understand the price difference once I explain to them What all we put into our breeding.

Plus like Hansam looks for,(as do many others) we provide a written guarantee. The thing about that though, is that even with all the precautions we take it does not guarantee that every puppy we sell will be the next field champion or be 100% healthy. It just means that they have better odds of doing really well and being healthier than the less expensive pup who was bred by Elmer and his cousin brother in their back yard.

Their are some good breeders breeding AKC dogs, I would like to think I am one since I put so much effort into what I breed. But Their are way more people breeding dogs who have no idea of what they are doing than there are of good breeders who breed for a reason. My reason for breeding the dogs we do may not be the best reason, but we do have a reason beyond money. We want to be able to supply the average family guy with a family pet that is truly a good retriever. You cant do that if you just shoot from the hip and skip the research. If the breeder cares about what he/she puts out, it will show in their facility and breeding practice as well as the pups and started dogs they sell.

June 18, 2012, 09:38 PM
How do I get him to walk on a leash?

Forgot to address this.

I personally do not take a new pup off a leash when I first get them. They are either on the leash or in their crate. The leash gives me a way of always having control over the dog and being able to give an instant correction. I give a sharp tug and a strong "NO" and pull the dog to me. As soon as it gets to me I give them lots of praise. Soon they learn that if they stay with me life is good. However for an upland game dog this may not be the best way to go.

One of the best training aids I have found is the bag of carry out treats at Wal-mart or about a $1.00 a bag. They are soft, easy to eat, and easy to break up into small pieces so that they last a long time. Small pups are easily bribed by such stuff.

I would put the leash on it and have some one give it a taste of the treat. Then back up a few inches and coax it forward with another small morsel of treat. Pretty soon ( a day to three) the pup should be happily going across the room with a leash on to get a bite.

June 18, 2012, 11:39 PM
How to get the pup to walk on a leash?

As grubbylabs said, keep the leash on the pup any time he's outside of his crate. Always keep the other end of the leash in your hand. Do this till he's fully house broken and also has the here/come and sit commands down pat. By then he'll have also learned to live with the leash and walk on it. If he starts to pull away while on the leash give a good sharp tug back and issue a stern, "No!". When I want to walk with him I snap my fingers, clap or make noise so he looks at me then issue the "here" command and wait for him to start coming to me. Then I start walking with him following. In time he learns that the leash is there but its not something he has to fight against. I know there are harsher techniques for leash training and older dogs that have never been leash trained may require them but a new puppy shouldn't need more than what I described.

Oh and some people use edible treats as a reward - I don't. Not saying its a bad thing to use food/treats as a reward but I don't do it myself. I find that physical petting and verbal praise is good enough to get the idea across. The problem that I find with treats is that dogs tend to want to do things to get the treats and even when you're done training they'll go pick up that leash so they can get a treat or start to beg for activity to get that treat. This leads to a whole other problem with dogs that most people believe is ok but really isn't... Anyway for me this sort of behavior isn't acceptable so I don't even give it a chance to start. I know that many trainers use treats though and there are those trainers that have great success with treats but there are many who don't use treats and still have great success without them too.

June 19, 2012, 12:30 AM
He sacked out now so I'll put the leash on him in the morning and leave it on him. That's a good idea since we're together all day anyway. He conquered the back steps today and now goes up and down them with ease. He's not ready for that long flight of basement steps yet though, perhaps tomorrow. I noticed when he goes on alert he lifts up his nose and his front paw. It's not a full point but I can tell he's got it in him and would train real easy.

He did say that if I have a problem with him that he would help or that I could bring him back for another one, I'm not sure if its in writing but (I know where he lives lol!)

I was impressed with his setup and as far as I could tell he had everything to indicate he is a professional and not just some bubba making money selling pups. He had many kennels and fenced areas and even a pigeon coop, he raises pigeons to train the dogs with. He seems totally legit. Even his pricing, base price for the dog was 800 bucks!

He will be exposed to gunfire at some point. Is there a prescribed way to do this other than just open up with the dog at ground zero? :D

June 19, 2012, 07:34 AM
My friend trained his horses for cowboy action shooting using a starter pistol at a distance, and a grain bag. Horses associated the noise with food or treats. Seemed to work pretty well.

Haven't tried it, yet, myself.

Of my three dogs, two of them are curious about gunfire, and one hides.

I'm not sure how much would ultimately be a matter of training, and how much would be a matter of personality, if I were to try to train them for hunting.

June 19, 2012, 12:36 PM
I generally introduce gun fire at a distance. Generally the dog will be inside a vehicle or tied a distance away. In both instances generally the dog naturally will want to be there beside you anyway. After a few shots the dog is allowed to come to where you were shooting. I will then throw a toy the dog is used to fetching(ball, frisbie, dummy). I get them fired up first so they are excited and shoot with the object in the air and the dog a ways away. First with a .22 and then later on with a shotgun. Most times if they are focused on the toy, they never even react to the gunshot. Shooting with them close by the first time without having them focused on something else is a good way to spook 'em. Once they are gunshy, it's a hard road back. Expose them to guns before hunting with them. Sometimes a dogs first experience with guns is their first experience with hunting. They've been hollered at to go find, they get bellered at to get back here, then this loud boom goes off and then they get bellered at to go find something they have no clue about. Then after all the scolding, they relate the gun shot to the negative experience. Get the dog into a pattern he knows and enjoys to introduce gunfire. That way he relates it to a positive experience.

June 19, 2012, 02:20 PM
A cap gun is a good introduction. I will get them retrieving then I will hand the dog off to some one else to handle. I will throw a few bumpers from a few feet away from the dog. After the dog warms up to this I will start shooting the cap gun and throwing the bumper. Most pups are more concerned about the bumper than the cap gun noise. Its very similar to what bucks does but a little different. I know people who also use a cap gun to signal feeding time. They will shoot a cap then present the pups food. Both easily transition into .22 gun fire and eventually shot gun. Most high end hunting dogs could be shot around without any intro but its just not worth the risk as it has already been said, its pretty tough to reverse gun shy. Heck the first time my last lab was shot around was I was shooting a bow and arrow and he went nuts, he was convinced there was something to go get.

I only use treats for about the first two weeks I have the dog. I have never used a 1/2 a bag let a lone a full bag of treats. I don't always give the treat either. Once the pup starts responding I quickly wean then off the treats so that my praise is all they get. I find it gets things going quickly in a positive way for the pups and really shortens the learning curve.

June 19, 2012, 02:33 PM
$800 for a puppy... you should have a health guarantee in writing and that pedigree should be pretty packed with Master Hunter titles as well as a bunch of field champions. If not he's charging way too much for his dogs.

As for gunfire the first few months of his life with you should be pretty easy going. Don't worry about gunfire for a bit yet. Get him to LOVE retrieving by throwing soft things, squeaky things, colorful things etc. in front of him and get him to love it. Pointing is instinctive for these dogs and that can be honed later but retrieving isn't instinctive so you need to instill a love of it early on. Don't worry too much about details like bringing the toy to hand or sitting while you throw etc. Just get him to love retrieving - make it furn and the second he seems to start getting bored with it stop. You can always do it again later or tomorrow to keep it fresh for him.

When he's about 7 months or so old you can start exposing him to gunfire. Prior to that don't be shy about loud noises. If he grows up accustomed to being in an environment where loud noises occur he won't worry too much about gunfire. When you start exposing him to gunfire go get a .22 blank gun and a bunch of blanks. The blanks will be available in various power (and sound) levels. Start with the lowest level and have someone shoot it from a distance - this person should be the same person that throws the dummy/bumper etc. for the dog to retrieve. Shoot then throw and the dog is sent to retrieve. Keep that up and slowly move the shooter closer and closer to the dog. Take your time, don't do it all in one day. After a while you can go to having someone throw the mark and you shoot the blank gun in your other hand behind your back. Then move toward the gun beside you then when he's comfortable with that you can go get blanks for your shotgun. They DO make 12ga. blanks and you should use those next. Again, shoot, have someone throw the mark and send the dog to go get it. Eventually your dog will equate a gun shot to being able to go retrieve (which he should love to do by now) and he'll look forward to the shot rather than cower away from it.

All this takes time though - sometimes as long as 2 months. Gauge your dog's temperament and how well they handle the gunfire then go according to your dog's comfort level. Its easier to take your time exposing your new dog to gunfire than to break a dog of being gun shy after he's been scared out of his wits with gunfire.

Oh and fireworks of any kind are a huge no-no while you're training for gunfire... also a big no-no is taking your dog to the shooting range to expose him to gunfire. There should be no gratuitous gunfire in his early life. For him every shot must mean he's got something to retrieve or else you'll set your training back badly.

June 19, 2012, 06:04 PM
Great ideas! I'm not in a hurry to take him shooting, just thinking ahead. I'm glad I asked too, very good points were made and I'm saving time by asking :)

I've always just taken them shooting and started with 22s. Most were not gunshy and one was. My Mastiff Thor flinched at the first shot and now he is very interested in sniffing the barrel and when he sees rounds kicking up dirt or grass he wants to go investigate.

Good advice all! Thanks,
He's coming along fine with the leash. He didn't like it but then became bored and started walking around and sniffing things so it should be fine within a couple weeks max.

He orally gave me aguarentee but I don't know if its in writing. Perhaps I will read it through tonight and see what all is stated.

June 19, 2012, 06:16 PM
When he's about 7 months or so old you can start exposing him to gunfire.

I've shot birds over a staunch point when my dogs were as young as 4 months. The GWP I have now is not quite a year old. She hunted her first live Chukar and Pheasants at 5 months. The chukars she could retrieve, the pheasants she had problems with. She was introduced to gun fire @ 3 1/2 months. Again, she was a hundred yards away in her crate in the back of the jeep while my sons and I shot magnum revolvers getting ready for deer season. My wife was with her, talking to her, making sure she wasn't stressed or fearful. When it was apparent she wasn't, my wife put her on her leash and walked towards us slowly as we continued to shoot. When they were about 40 yards away we switched to .22s. When they got close we quit shooting and threw a stick(she a stick dog LOL). After she had fetched the stick a few times we took the next step. Next time my son the threw the stick, I shot the .22, and she never flinched as she went after it. We did that about a dozen times. Next time she heard a gun it was a month and a half later, behind her as the first Chukar broke. From that day on it was hard to leave the house with a gun in my hand if she wasn't coming with. My wife said Turkey huntin' season this spring was the worst. The dog would see me leave @4:30 in the morning in my hunting clothes with my gun and she would drive the wife nuts till she went to work @ 8.:D

From my limited experience, I've found, if you pay attention, the dog will tell you when its time. A birdy pup can never start to hunt too early. If it loves to hunt, you need to hunt it. Just as pushing a dog before it understands what is wanted of it, makes for a upset owner and a confused dog. Altho one must be patient and be sure the dog is ready for the next step, waiting till a such and such pre-determined time can do more harm than good if the dog is already there. Like kids, every dog will mature differently. Not all kids learn to walk @ 9 months of age, but most of them lean to walk at some point. If a kid tries to [email protected] seven months you don't force him to continue to crawl. Don't judge this dog by what your last dog or your brothers dog did.

BTW, Many gun shy dogs were made gun shy by loud noises other than those made by a gun.

June 19, 2012, 07:40 PM
From my limited experience, I've found, if you pay attention, the dog will tell you when its time.

This is true. As a trainer I've exposed my some of my personal dogs and some clients' dogs to gunfire as early as 4 months too. I've also seen dogs as young as 6 months old hunting pheasant too. The fact is dogs AREN'T human children. Instead they are dogs. Dogs don't have the capacity to think and reason even as much as a human toddler can. That being the case it is more the norm that a dog that is exposed to gunfire very early can become gun shy - especially when the exposure is done improperly or rushed.

Its also true dogs have become gun shy from sounds other than gunfire but more often than not its due to either gunfire or fireworks/firecrackers. As I said before if you give the dog a reason to look forward to gunfire and give them the chance to make the connection that a shot means they get to go retrieve they will learn to love gunfire.

Not all dogs behave the same way and some dogs progress more quickly than others while some progress more slowly. My advice is based on an average of the two extremes (found in various studies and through experience) and covers the majority of dogs you'll encounter in the sporting theater. Of course you could push a dog early and still get it to retrieve under gunfire but are you sure you're not complicating things later on by rushing? As a trainer what I do is steady and methodical. Its a very scientific and consistent method of training and as such my results are consistent. Sure there are dogs that I can move on early and dogs that I have to hold back on a bit more but overall the majority of dogs fall under the 7 months rule if you're training by yourself at home or in the field. With dogs its easier to take it slowly than to rush and have to try and correct behaviors that were learned unexpectedly while you were rushing your dog.

Of course as I also tell my clients; its your dog and your money. I can give you all the advice in the world but if you choose to ignore it that's your right. Just make sure that you remember you went about it your own way if something doesn't turn out right.

He orally gave me aguarentee but I don't know if its in writing. Perhaps I will read it through tonight and see what all is stated.

I don't mean to tell you what to do or tell you that you got a bad deal (truth is without seeing the dog myself I wouldn't be able to really tell) but were it me I'd have gotten a health guarantee in writing. At the price he's selling them at I have never purchased a puppy without a health guarantee. I would also want a copy of the pedigree - not just be shown them. That's something you want on hand just in case something doesn't seem right and you can pursue verification of that resume through the AKC - and compare what they have on file with what you have in hand. If they don't match you've been had...

Personally if you're talking $600+ dollars in a sporting dog puppy you're talking big money and higher end dogs. I know a breeder whose puppies go for a $750 per puppy flat. His dogs all come with full AKC registration, a certified 3 generation pedigree and a 24 month health guarantee - all in writing. His dogs are senior and master hunters and they also do quite well in the trials arena - winning AFC (Amateur Field Champion) and FC (Field Champion) titles regularly.

As the money goes up so should the quality of the pedigree. As for a health guarantee I would actually walk away from a puppy if I didn't get a health guarantee for at least 18 months with a price of more than $500 no matter how good a pedigree the dog might have.

June 19, 2012, 08:32 PM
Hansam, Hog dogs are traded in a very small circle of dedicated hog doggin' dogmen... We see what the productivity is of the individual dog in hunting reports and, often, the scars of battle...

We wait until a dog of a particular style gets bred for a certain style of pups and beg to be on the list... Some sell for 5k and up but generally a couple hundred bucks is average with many being given away or sold for a few bucks... Some will not part with a pup for less than 500 or such...

For "started" or "finished" adults, we will prefer to see the dog hunt before buying as the finished dogs will never be cheap as the owner has been thru many "culls" and tons of feed and vet bills before he settled on a "keeper" sure enough "hogdog"...

Training is far easier, I suspect, than training bird dogs... if the dog has the natural disposition to be a game chaser and the heart to stick with it than starting them on pigs will show if we need to invest more time in the young dog or cut our losses...

As for the "catch dog" there is no such thing as trained... they either have the heart to stay caught until the end no matter what or they don't... The man cannot make the dog stay caught...

Ya'll that train other sporting dogs impress me for YOUR training ability...


June 20, 2012, 06:42 AM

I've always been intrigued by hog dogs and wondered if with a little more training they'd be more successful at their hunting. In bird dogs we have to hone the dog's scenting - basically teaching the dogs to actually trust their nose to pinpoint a bird from a distance and to ignore other scents when they've been ordered to hunt.

Granted bird hunting is obviously less stressful to the dog than hog hunting (and of course less dangerous) but I always thought that with adding some of that bird hunting training into a hog dog's life you might end up with an excellent dog for hog hunting. This of course goes with the fact that I know next to nothing about hog dogging since we don't exactly get a chance to do that up here in WI.

When it comes to hog dogs though you mentioned big money when you're buying a finished dog - how much are we talking? In my area of expertise a finished dog can fetch as much as $20,000 (if its already a MH and a FC). I've even heard of dogs being sold for $30k+.... which to me is absolutely outrageous but well the prices some people are willing to pay right?

Personally when it comes to hogs I've always fancied myself a "sit in a tree stand and shoot the dang things when they run across my shooting lane" kind of hog hunter. Frankly from what I've heard of them and what I've seen of domesticated pigs (I witnessed a domesticated pig bite the muzzle off a pit bull that stuck his head into a pig pen) I'm not prepared to get very close to a live feral hog - even with dogs holding it. Those of you who do that on a regular basis to hog tie or stick them when caught by a dog - your cahones are much larger than mine!

June 20, 2012, 12:09 PM
Hansam, think nothing of it! This is part of the reason for the thread, so you guys can fill in the holes for me. I should have have received a copy of the pedigree and not just been allowed to look at it. I'm on that, thanks. Considering the base price of the dog, to get 3 generations of pedigree sounds very reasonable. I don't have that much in the dog, he needed some plumbing work done so after the trade I probably have on the low side of 500 in him. But still...!

The health guarantee is in there too, albeit for one year. That's ok. I think perhaps I will get pics of the parents too. I intended to but walked out without my camera.

His daddy looked like a freak almost, so big and bursting at the seams with muscle instead of the normal trimmer GSP look. He looks like a champion. My puppy has such big paws that he's showing the potential to be pretty big himself.

This poor little guy is so scared of the the basement steps. He runs up and down the 5 back steps, and wont even try the 13 basement steps. He whines to come down where its cool but wants a ride. Who's training who here, lol.

Little progress on the leash. He will not walk with me. He wont retrieve either! He'll chase it fine but then keeps it. He hasn't brought it back once. It could be that he's not quite ready, he's still very puppyfied. It's been very hot too so maybe that is slowing him down a little. I'll continue to work with him but he's not getting any treats until he brings it back! I think hes mad at me right now because he seen the treats but didn't get any. :D

June 20, 2012, 02:55 PM
I'll continue to work with him but he's not getting any treats until he brings it back! I think hes mad at me right now because he seen the treats but didn't get any.

That's one of the drawbacks to treats. The dog thinks if it does something it'll get a treat but when the treats stop they get confused. One of the reasons why I don't use treats when training.

Anyway with stairs - it'll take a bit. My puppy who is now 16 wks old still won't take stairs that are any taller than 10 steps. He gets 10 steps up and comes rushing back down too. He was originally reluctant to even take the first step on a staircase when I first got him at 7 wks.

As for leash training you just have to keep working at it although at this young age I'd work on basic obedience first as in "sit/stay and come/here." Once you get that in place (to the point he'll obey the command 99% of the time) then you can work on leash training. Like I said in my earlier post I then put a leash on the puppy and issue the "here" command then as he starts coming to me I start walking away. He'll follow while on the leash, keep it loose - don't let the leash get tight and don't pull him. He'll get the idea after a while and just walk on the leash.

Retrieving is another matter. I deal with flushing breeds and most flushing breeds are natural retrievers. As such my puppy was retrieving pigeon wings for me at 8 wks. He didn't always know to come back to me and he didn't always bring it to hand but he gave chase, picked it up and ran with it. Now he's 16 wks and he retrieves to hand 95% of the time. I've come across some dogs that don't retrieve and that's when force fetching comes into play. Force fetching though is a tough method of training - both for the dog and for the trainer. This is when you basically force the dog to learn to fetch on command and return to hand. All retrievers that go through hunt tests and trials will be trained with force fetch at some point before they're ready for tests and trials - although to different degrees depending on the dog. Force fetching also teaches the dog never to let go of the mark till the handler gives the "give" command and takes it.

At this point I'd suggesting working in tiny sessions - a few minutes each max and do it 3 times a day - one session each. Throw something the dog finds interesting - things with feathers are great as they get the puppy's attention. Brightly colored balls work too. Roll them in front of the puppy (really close to you as in arm's reach) and when the puppy goes after it praise him for it. Whether he brings it back or not isn't too terribly important as long as he enjoys the chase. Bringing it back will come later after you've firmly instilled the "come/here" command in the puppy's head.

Whatever you do don't force the puppy at this point, he's too young. I wouldn't push a puppy till he's at least 6 months old. Again there are those who have done so much earlier and gotten positive results but those are the exception and not the norm. For now just work on getting him to enjoy giving chase to balls, dummies and toys. Aside from that work on teaching him a solid "sit" and a solid "here/come". Those two commands will be more important than anything else in your dog's life when it comes time to hunt. If you can't get the dog to sit (even if he's hundreds of yards from you) you won't have time to assess the situation. If you can't get your dog to return to you every time (even if he's hundreds of yards from you) you risk losing your dog and ruining your hunt. Don't let the puppy get bored or feel threatened while you're training him. That will be very counterproductive in your training. Overall it takes a lot of time and patience...

If you have any questions feel free to pm me. Good luck and have fun with it.

June 21, 2012, 08:35 AM
The bird dogs are finding their way into the hog dog peds as we speak... many are adding GSP to their breeding programs... Many are bred to straight pits for a real "gritty" runnin' catch dog... or solo finder catcher style... So much easier to deal with just one dog when alone than a pack... and a pig on the ground...

As for levels of training... I am far from the consummate "dogman"... I am cheap with my limited funds...

I have no "vet on retainer" as many do... And I won't even buy a shock collar training system to "trash break" off deer etc...

One thing that makes it tuffer to train these mutts is we want them "out yonder" workin' so we do not know for sure if they are on a hog track or deer track for the most part... To start young dogs we want them to see a pig "clandestine wooded hog pens" are often the method for this initial start up... Then the first several times in openb woods, you better be putting them on some pretty fresh sign ti insure they take a pig track and not learn to be deer runners...

What I am sayin' is we don't see the dog for long until he bays a pig or comes back... The Garmin GPS trackers are the bees knees for us hoggers if they will just up the durability a bit more...

As for BIG DOLLAR dogs... 5k is up there but I seen some 10k numbers tossed around some too... This is insane to me 'cuz their next hunt is possibly their last in the hog doggin' world... Only a few true-blue HOG DOGS die of old age...


June 29, 2012, 12:07 PM
He's coming along fine. Brought the ball back a couple times. He's doing stairs now, I carried him to the mid point and set him. It only took a couple times before he realized it was ok and runs up and down now.

The leash we are working on still. Where he comes from is one house and a lot of land, and here its a lot of houses and little land. He is skittish outside his own yard. Overall he's coming along fine. Here's a pic of him as promised.


June 29, 2012, 01:41 PM
He's a fine looking dog.

Your puppy needs to be exposed to more positive experiences outside of your property. Before you can do that though you need to work on obedience. When I train dogs for people the first thing I work on is obedience. I work on ONLY obedience till its at a level which I find acceptable.

First the puppy MUST come to you whenever called to you. Same goes for sit and heel. Basically there must be NO wavering at all when the command is issued. When the "No!" command is issued the puppy must know he's done something wrong and stop immediately. Absolute obedience is required. This will be necessary when out in the field.

Once that is established you can start with the leash training. Put him in sit, put the leash on him, walk to the end of the leash and call him to you. Once he's by you give him the heel command and praise him. Then eventually you can put him in sit, walk away with the leash in hand, call him to you and start walking after you issue the heel command. He'll follow trying to heel and praise him for it. After a while he'll get the idea and continue to do so upon the leash being put on him OR the heel command.

Good luck. I applaud your efforts however it seems to me like you might benefit with the help of a professional. I suggest looking up some good hunt trainers in your area.

June 29, 2012, 02:53 PM
I will start a new thread with a picture of my new puppy I just got.

June 29, 2012, 07:56 PM
He comes pretty good but he don't stay. I haven't been working with him very much. A few times a day for 15 minutes or so. He's still skittish even though he's settling down a lot and I don't want to pressure him yet. Plus, it's been very hot and he wears down fast. At least he's housebroken now. He's got a great personality :D

June 29, 2012, 08:46 PM
15 minutes is a long time for a young pup, shorten the time to about 5-10 depending on what your working on and how long he stays interested. Again a few times of offering treats randomly goes a long way at jump starting basic commands like here, and site for a young pup.

June 29, 2012, 10:25 PM
Thats good advice, I wont push him too hard. I wish I could afford to have him trained but thats almost as much as the dog was. In a few months I'll take him to Obediance school because that's not much, and it did wonders for my Mastiff. I can walk Thor without a leash and he heel great. I can even tell him to turn left or right and he will. He's a big baby and listens to everything I say. :)

I haven't let them meet yet because I think Riggs would be terrified of the dinosaur. One more week and then take them to the park to meet before letting the big dog come home. Wish me luck on that.

June 30, 2012, 10:18 AM
I honestly do not think it is going to matter much. If you are nervous about them meeting then they will feel that and also be nervous. Your big dog will either tolerate him or he won't. I bet the pup wants to play with him and he will either play back or teach the pup to leave him alone. Its how he teaches the pup that you have to be worried about.

The other thing to worry about is how they play together. You will have to watch them and make sure that the larger dog does not play to hard with him. If he swats hard enough with them big paws he can cause some hip and elbow problems for your pup, so just make sure that they don't get to rough while the pup is small.

July 2, 2012, 04:56 PM
Perfection kennels have a great DVD training set up, not to costly either. Some say they are the best trainers around.