German Shorthaired Pointers (GSP) are known for being versatile hunting dogs. They’re high-energy canines known for being very affectionate towards their owners, but are they clingy?
German Shorthaired Pointers’ affectionate nature can sometimes be described as clingy, as they were bred to be companionable hunting dogs. They can also be described as a “velcro dog breed,” always wanting to be close to their owners.
This article will describe various facts about GSPs that can contribute to their clingy nature. Further on, we share other points that you should know when you’re considering a GSP as your next family addition.
Things To Know About Your German Shorthaired Pointer
Your German Shorthaired Pointer can seem rather clingy, but in reality, it is only doing what it was bred to do in the 1800s. They were bred to be great hunting dogs, so their characteristics only heighten their instincts and abilities. They are high-energy dogs that can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for too long.
Let’s take a look at some of the facts about your German Shorthaired Pointer.
1. They Are an All-Around Hunting Dog Breed
In the 1800s in Germany, breeders had the goal of creating a companionable dog breed that was also an all-around hunting dog. The result was the German Shorthaired Pointer.
They’re known as all-around hunting dogs because they can hunt, point, and retrieve, which means that their hunting instincts are powerful. That’s why it’s important to note that those instincts may make your dog aggressive towards small animals.
They do well with other dogs if you plan to have other pets. However, cats and other small furry animals may become targets unless your dog is raised with them. I have an article that goes into more detail about this subject – What To Do if a German Shorthaired Pointer Has a High Prey Drive.
2. Your German Shorthaired Pointer Has a Lot Of Energy
This dog breed’s high energy levels can be attributed to being bred to hunt. German Shorthaired Pointers need the energy to run, swim, track down, and retrieve game like rabbits, raccoons, birds, and even deer.
They are a breed that needs vigorous exercise at least twice a day, as recommended by the American Kennel Club (AKC). So if you only have time to give your dog a short walk after work each day, a GSP may not be for you.
This high-energy trait is a huge factor that makes people consider this breed “clingy.” Check out my article How To Keep Your German Shorthaired Pointer Busy (6 Easy Ways) to learn more way to keep your GSP busy.
To provide the physical and mental stimulation that this active breed needs, you need to have the time and be willing to expend the energy and effort to keep up with this canine.
An expansive, fenced-in yard can help, so your dog can run free when you can’t play fetch or take them to the dog park. However, all dogs, not just GSPs, are social creatures that need interaction with other people and dogs.
If you’re an outdoorsy type who would love to go on runs and hikes with your dog, a GSP may be perfect. Your dog gets the exercise and bonding time it needs while you get a furry hiking companion.
3. They Need To Be Trained Throughout Their Early Years
German Shorthaired Pointers are born quite rambunctious, hyperactive, and with a strong prey drive. If not kept in check with good training, they can develop destructive behaviors.
Basic obedience training should start while your GSP is still a puppy. Though they may look fully grown by the age of six months, puppy behavior can continue until they are two or three years old. So untrained puppy behaviors and playfulness may not be ideal when you put those in an adult-sized dog body. Check out Brain Training for Dogs to help training your German Shorthaired Pointer. This is an at-home training program and is very affordable and effective. Last time I checked it was less than $50.
Training can go smoothly because GSPs are a very intelligent dog breed that can learn quickly, and they are very eager to please. They respond well to positive reinforcement and clicker training.
HoAoOo Pet Training Clickers (available at Amazon.com) produce loud and clear clicks, ideal for training your canine. They’re durable and come with a wrist strap, so you can hang the clicker on your wrist for easy access any time during a training session.
4. GSPs Can Be Great Family Dogs
GSPs are very friendly, loyal, and can form a solid bond with their owners. They get along well with children and other dogs as well.
However, some experts say that the high energy levels of GSPs might be a little too much for small children. Some suggest that if you plan to get yourself or your family a GSP, children should be at least seven years old or older.
They are very affectionate and love to please, so they like interacting with and just being part of whatever you have. To help them not get underfoot during your activities, do your best to give them ample exercise. If you want to learn more about German Shorthaired Pointers being affectionate, check my article Why Are German Shorthaired Pointers So Affectionate?
This can help calm their hyperactive nature, and your dog will be alright observing you work in the same room instead of sticking closely to your side.
5. They Can Suffer From Separation Anxiety
GSPs have a very affectionate nature and make very loyal companions. Some people sometimes say that GSPs can be a “velcro dog breed” because they love to stick close to their owners.
These dogs are eager to please and are very energetic and social. Knowing this, potential GSP owners should give their dogs ample exercise and bonding time. These traits make separation anxiety a problem for this dog breed.
Separation anxiety is when a dog becomes stressed or anxious because of its owners’ absence or those they’re attached to.
Some symptoms of separation anxiety include:
- Barking and howling.
- Attempts to escape.
- Destructive behavior such as digging, and clawing or chewing objects.
- Pacing in circles or other fixed paths.
- Urinating and defecating.
These symptoms can also have other medical causes.
However, if they occur only when the owner isn’t present, that’s when you can be more confident that they’re caused by separation anxiety. They can start happening just minutes after the owner leaves the dog alone.
Some tips to prevent separation anxiety are:
- Give your dog a special treat before leaving the house. Make sure to give this treat only when you leave them alone. If it’s a toy or something similar, take it away when you get back home.
- You can get a KONG Classic Dog Toy (available at Amazon.com) to help with the anxiety. This toy is made of durable rubber, ideal for chewing. They’re hollow, perfect for filling with treats or even peanut butter as a special treat for your dog when you have to leave the house.
- Choose an article of your clothing you’ve recently worn and leave it out.
- Don’t bring any particular attention to when you leave and get back to your home.
- Some over-the-counter supplements are available for your dogs to help calm them. NaturVet Quiet Moments Calming Aid Dog Supplement is a product my vet recommended for my dog’s anxiety. I would see what your dog’s vet has to say before purchasing.
- Find ways to slowly get them used to the idea of you leaving.
German shorthaired pointers are an amiable and affectionate dog breed.
Their high energy and need for physical and mental stimulation contribute to them being “clingy” toward their owners. Their clinginess, high energy, and a tendency for separation anxiety are things that any potential GSP owners should consider before getting one as a new family member.