4 Reasons Why German Shorthaired Pointers Dig (and How To Stop Them)

German Shorthaired Pointers are extremely versatile dogs. They are great all-rounder hunters and forge deep bonds with their families. One of their unique characteristics is their frequent digging, which, although often undesirable for owners, is an innate trait with a purpose. 

Here are four reasons why German Shorthaired Pointers frequently dig: 

  1. German Shorthaired Pointers are looking for something. 
  2. German Shorthaired Pointers are trying to cool off. 
  3. German Shorthaired Pointers are bored or have anxiety. 
  4. German Shorthaired Pointers are seeking nutrition. 

Keep reading to learn more about why German Shorthaired Pointers dig and how owners can take precautions to stop them. With the right knowledge and skill, you can make your GSP stop digging.

1. German Shorthaired Pointers Are Looking for Something 

If you own a GSP, you may be the first one to know that your pup loves to hunt and has an impeccable sense of smell. Because of this, the smallest distractions in your yard or in your home can cause wild behavior in them.

Although German Shorthaired Pointers have settled over time, they still are hunters at their core. They have a powerful nose and will hyperfocus on their prey once they spot them out. If your dog is outside and they scent something, they will dig to find the smell and search out their prey.  

Unfortunately, this can be a hard trait for owners to deal with, as German Shorthaired Pointers may rebel and focus on their own desires rather than the training they have been taught. Sometimes, dogs will continue to dig for a long while in search of their prey. 

With regular training and positive reinforcement, owners can help their dogs learn that digging is not allowed. This may be challenging to accomplish in German Shorthaired Pointers, especially if they are still in their puppy phase. 

Owners must practice patience and find the right training for dogs and owners alike. If needed, hiring or consulting with a dog trainer can help. If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend picking up this online based training program that will walk you through the steps to train your dog. At just $47, you get a structured and detailed training program from a professional trainer for just a fraction of the cost of a local trainer.

2. German Shorthaired Pointers Are Trying to Cool Off

Although hunting and digging for something is the first thing most owners think of when their pets are digging in the yard, it’s not the only reason. Dogs, in general, can overheat rather quickly and love cooling off. 

Digging in the ground may seem like an unlikely solution for cooling down, but it’s very normal for German Shorthaired Pointers. Because of their innate desire to dig and hunt, they know that the ground underneath the earth is cooler. 

Sometimes, drinking water and cooling off inside is not enough for this breed of dog. Additionally, German Shorthaired Pointers are very independent and don’t usually ask their owners to solve issues for them. 

Hot weather will increase the likelihood that your dog digs, but it’s not a constant. Sometimes, GSPs will dig to find cool ground even if it’s not especially warm outside. 

Individuals can provide their dogs with water and shade and can even water down the cement or the ground so it is cool for their dogs. Owners can also resolve this digging issue through regular training, but you should still provide your dog some way to cool off. Amazon.com provides a variety of dog swimming pools. Yes, pools designed for your dog and kids can swim in them too. My friend just got his GSP this pool KAMINOR Anti-Collapse Dog Pet Bath Pool for Large Dogs and cant keep Oliver out of it.

3. German Shorthaired Pointers Are Bored or Have Anxiety 

Dogs can experience anxiety, panic, and boredom. German Shorthaired Pointers, however, experience anxiety and boredom much more than other breeds because of how they are wired. 

GSPs have a ton of excess energy and need constant physical activity. They can get bored very easily if their owners don’t give them something to do. For this reason, it’s not recommended to leave GSPs alone at home. 

Dogs will usually resort to what’s comfortable when they are bored—and for GSPs, that may mean digging. Digging will become even more common if your pet has anxiety, as it distracts them and helps them feel safe. 

GSPs also cope when boredom and anxiety in other ways:

  • Getting into the trash 
  • Chewing shoes 
  • Chewing unlikely items in the house 
  • Trying to escape the yard 

German Shorthaired Pointers do great when they are close to their owners. Companionship is usually the right solution to mend digging from boredom and anxiety. If you can’t help leaving your dog alone from time to time, try to regularly give them physical activity. This can be as simple as a bone for chewing and a daily exercise routine. You can play fetch using this ChuckIt! Ball Launcher (available on Amazon.com). This will get your GSP running fast and far, which can help control their energy levels and tire them out.

4. German Shorthaired Pointers Are Seeking Nutrition 

Nutrition is one of the most valuable components of a dog’s health. Without the correct nutrients, your dog may begin to act oddly. German Shorthaired Pointers, specifically, are very sensitive, and having the right nutrition is very important for this breed. 

If you spot that your pup is acting oddly after you changed their diet, it may be because they have a mineral deficiency

Owners will know if their pups are digging due to a nutrition deficiency because German Shorthaired Pointers will eat the dirt. Their mouth and face will most likely be covered up, and they will look messy. 

Local veterinarians can help owners modify their pup’s nutrition in a healthy way to prevent digging. Sometimes, the smallest switch in a dog’s diet can make a huge difference in their well-being. 

Is There a Guaranteed Solution to Stop Your GSP From Digging?

There are a lot of reasons why your dog may dig in the yard, and creating a solution is usually challenging.

There is not a guaranteed solution to stop your GSP from digging, but there are many methods that owners can try to help prevent it, such as positive reinforcement training. Once owners discover why their pet is digging, they can create a solution. 

Regardless of why your pup is digging, there are many solutions that can effectively help with the issue. German Shorthaired Pointers can dig for fun, but it is highly unlikely. They usually dig for a reason. Here are a few recommended solutions you could try:

  • Create an area where your dog can dig while keeping the rest of your yard off-limits. 
  • Take them outside for physical activity at least twice a day so they can release energy. 
  • Give them activities while at home. 
  • Create barriers in your yard. 

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