German Shorthaired Pointers are one of few breeds that remain young at heart; even at old age, they still enjoy a run at the park. Originally bred to be hunters, these clumsy fur babies must be constantly busy to stay healthy and happy. That said, they make the ideal jogging (or more sprinting) partners—but is it okay to let them off-leash?
German Shorthaired Pointers (GSPs) are reasonably well-off leashes as long as they’re properly trained. These dogs are highly obedient toward their owners. Like every other breed, you must provide early training to ensure you’ll get a disciplined German shorthaired pointer.
This article will explore some common questions regarding letting German Shorthaired Pointers off-leash. You’ll also learn to train and discipline your German Shorthaired Pointer to ensure it doesn’t run off during a running session. Keep reading.
Are German Shorthaired Pointers Ideal Running Partners?
German Shorthaired Pointers are not your average mid-sized dogs. These hyper fur balls are packed with plenty of energy and have loads to spare. It is essential to keep your German Shorthaired Pointer busy always. Being bored or inactive for long periods can lead your dog to depressed moods and decrease its overall health.
With the stamina of a cheetah, a German Shorthaired Pointer can run a mile without a problem. Initially bred for hunting, German Shorthaired Pointers have compact and sturdy bodies, allowing them to endure long-distance traveling.
These dogs can run as fast as 25 miles per hour (40.8 kilometers per hour) and adore social interaction with other dogs and kids. Their love for interaction, loyalty, and great obedience makes them the ideal running partners. If you’re a fitness fanatic or enjoy long walks in the park, then a German Shorthaired Pointer is the right pet for you.
Provided that your dog is well-trained, your dog may run safely without a leash. Avoid letting your dog off-leash if it lacks training, especially if it’s very young.
Do German Shorthaired Pointers Need Regular Exercise?
The ideal home for a pointer should have a spacious fenced-off area, which can motivate them to run around and keep busy during the day.
Generally, German Shorthaired Pointers need around 1 to 2 hours of exercise every day. Consider taking your dog for a run or walk at the park for at least 30 minutes every day. You may dedicate another 30 minutes to an hour for playtime at home.
If you live in a smaller home, you can take your German Shorthaired Pointer for a brisk walk or even a jog in the morning and the evening. It’s vital to get your German Shorthaired Pointer out of the house as often as possible, especially if you live in a small apartment. Check out my article How To Keep Your German Shorthaired Pointer Busy (6 Easy Ways) to learn more keeping your GSP busy.
Are German Shorthaired Pointers Trainable?
It’s essential to train your German Shorthaired Pointer from a young age—this also applies to any other breed. Training early will make it much easier to discipline and teach your dog to behave while it’s off-leash.
German Shorthaired Pointers are highly trainable. These intelligent dogs are naturally inquisitive and tend to investigate a lot. Exercising your dog can help it get rid of excess energy and help entertain it, which can also prevent it from misbehaving.
By keeping your dog’s attention directed to you, you can easily teach your running buddy the dos and don’t of running off-leash.
How To Train Your GSPs To Go Off-Leash
Unfortunately, training your German Shorthaired Pointer to go off-leash doesn’t happen in one day, or should I say, running session. Luckily, there are some guidelines you can follow to help make your training run more smoothly and also prevent any accidental mishaps.
Take a look at these tried-and-true tips and tricks to help ease training your GSP to go off-leash.
Familiarize Your German Shorthaired Pointer With the Route on a Leash
Your dog won’t be ready to go off-leash on the get-go. The first step in the training process is getting your GSP familiar with the route you plan to take. Although it might seem restrictive, you can always incorporate new routes into the routine.
This exercise aims to help set boundaries and let your dog explore the area while still being safe.
Start by taking the route every day for a week while your German Shorthaired Pointer is still on the leash. If your dog wants to sniff and investigate a few places along the way, don’t stop it from doing so. Let your dog explore its curiosity, and things will run more smoothly.
Use a Dog Harness and a Longer Leash
It is important to note that you should refrain from using a regular dog collar while running. The tugging and pull resistance can put a lot of strain on your GSP’s neck and back.
Harnesses prove to be the ideal running equipment since it distributes the force of pulling evenly over the torso. Using a longer leash also gives your GSP a little more gap to run ahead and will prevent any frustration caused by feeling restricted. I use the Rabbitgoo Dog Harness (Available on Amazon.com) to run with my dog and have never had an issue with it. It fits well, it is reflective and has extra padding for comfort. Also, here is the long leash (Available on Amazon.com) I recommend using when first starting to run with your GSP. I got the 10ft and would get that length again.
Teach Your German Shorthaired Pointer Signals
German Shorthaired Pointers are, as mentioned before, highly curious! That is why signals are so important. By teaching your German Shorthaired Pointer to recognize your voice or whistle, you can easily direct its attention back to you and prevent it from running too far.
In the beginning, you can whistle to your GSP when it dwells off on the leash; eventually, your dog will learn to associate your voice with coming back to you. After laying down this foundation, you start moving into leash-free walks and jogs.
Let Your GSP Go Off-Leash in a Dog Park
When the time comes to finally grant your German Shorthaired Pointer the freedom to roam about, you might want to consider doing it in a pet-friendly area such as a dog park.
I can guarantee that your dog will run off the moment it gets the chance, but that is where the signals come into play. Your dog will naturally want to explore the area and maybe even visit some canine friends, but this isn’t necessarily a cause of concern.
Start walking a route and keep signaling your GSP. Eventually, your dog should notice that you’re moving on, and it will tag along. Every time your German Shorthaired Pointer dwells off, repeat the signals. After a few trips, your dog will tag along without the need to signal it.
Be Consistent With Your Exercise Routine
Once you feel comfortable with your dog being off-leash, you can start taking running routes. You’d be surprised to see that your German Shorthaired Pointer will have no problem keeping up with you.
Stick to an exercise schedule and be consistent with it; your GSP will best learn discipline by repeating and teaching discipline as you go.
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.
Be Prepared for the Unexpected
No matter how trained your GSP is, it may be helpful to expect the unexpected. The following discusses this in more detail.
Carry a Leash With You
Sometimes external factors can intervene with your regular jog schedule. You can carry a leash with you to put on your dog if required.
Loud sounds, rain, or even unexpected thunderstorms can scare off your dog and cause it to run away. So as soon as you notice any potential problems, you can leash your dog and lead it to safety.
Bring Along Extra Water
Always carry an extra bottle of water with you. This tip can be a lifesaver on a hot day. Keep in mind that dogs also get thirsty during exercise sessions. Once you notice that your dog’s pace slows down or starts panting heavily, stop, and give it some water to drink. Everyone should have the MalsiPree Dog Water Bottle (Available on Amazon.com). Its a portable water bottle for your dog and allows them to drink out of it. Seriously, you should click the link and check it out.
Training your German Shorthaired Pointer is not as hard as it may sound. You can quickly help your GSP adjust to the freedom of being leash-free by disciplining and training it from a young age. By following the guidelines and tips in this article, rest assured that your GSP can be fantastic off-leash.