German shorthaired pointers (GSPs) are high-energy and strong prey animals that can be hyper and destructive if they lack exercise. Regular exercise can keep your GSP busy and keep their destructive behaviors at bay.
Here are 6 easy ways to keep your GSP busy:
- Engage your GSP in running activities.
- Build puzzles or do scavenger hunts with your GSP.
- Train your GSP on basic commands.
- Give your GSP attention and affection.
- Take your GSP for swimming.
- Hike and explore with your GSP.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these ways and how they can keep your GSP busy. By keeping your GSP busy, you’re also keeping it happy!
1. Engage Your GSP in Running Activities
High-energy dogs like the German Shorthaired Pointers need about an hour of vigorous exercise every day. These physical exercises will keep them occupied, and they’ll use the energy in their bodies.
Luckily, there are many physical exercises you can do with your dog.
Here’s a list of must-do exercises that can suit any dog, but specifically a GSP:
Play Fetch and Retrieve Games With Your GSP
Teaching your GSP how to play fetch is one way to engage it. Besides, you can buy toys such as fetch sticks that are explicitly designed for this activity. GSPs are also considered extreme chewers. That’s why you should include chewing toys, especially the ones that are indestructible.
When looking for these fetch sticks, I recommend the Petstages Dog Chew Toy (available at Amazon.com). They’re safe, durable, and encourage positive chew behavior. These fetching sticks also help build the GSP’s strength and endurance.
Let Your GSP Run Around the Yard
Your pointer is bred to hunt and run all day with minimal rest. Running around the yard can help keep your GSP busy.
Make sure to incorporate activities that can keep your dog running and playing in the yard. Some activities include chasing bubbles. Although the game may look simple, your pointer will find it interesting to chase bubbles around. Generally, physical stimulation can help strengthen your dog’s muscles while tiring it up. Check out these peanut butter flavor-infused bubbles for dogs (available on Amazon.com). Your dog will love them and so will the kids.
Given that there are many physical exercises avoid working on the same one for two days in a row. If running is the exercise, try changing your dog’s running route. Otherwise, you’ll have a bored marathon runner instead of having a busy and happy GSP.
2. Build Puzzles or Do Scavenger Hunts With Your GSP
Managing a GSP energy level requires exercising both mind and body. Puzzles and hunting are great mental stimulation for your GSP dog. It’s so fun to watch a GSP solve puzzles and hunt in the yard.
Building puzzles will keep your dog occupied and keep its mind going. You can hide treats in the puzzles to motivate your dog to keep solving them. On the other hand, given that a GSP is a hunting dog, plan a scavenger hunt with several treats around the yard.
When setting up these scavenger hunts and puzzles, consider incorporating small-sized treats. That way, you can plan long hunting games without the fear of overfeeding your dog. My dogs love this Interactive Treat Puzzle by Outward Hound. This is my best seller from my recommended products page.
Ideal dog treats for scavenger hunts are the Nudges Natural Dog Treats (available at Amazon.com). These are natural dog treats with no artificial flavors and are inspired by the taste and aroma of grilled food.
3. Train Your GSP on Basic Commands
Generally, a GSP is easy to train, and they are more eager to please and obey than most dog breeds. Therefore, you can keep your GSP busy by training it on basic commands.
If you’re not conversant with teaching your dog commands, you could hire a dog trainer. The GSP is a quick learner, and training this dog should be fun.
Additionally, the GSP has a heightened sense of smell besides it being a great hunter. You can teach your dog to take part in chores around the house, such as sorting stuff by sniffing.
Here’s a YouTube video of a dog that helps its owner with household chores:
4. Give Your GSP Attention and Affection
Along with its need for a lot of exercises, the GSP needs company, attention, and bonding. Therefore, make a point to spend quality one-on-one time with your dog by snuggling up, speaking to it, and grooming it.
Besides cuddling, a GSP is likely to like watching TV due to its curious and intelligent nature.
Although GSPs may not see the things on the TV as humans do, they’re attracted to the visuals, motion, and sounds. Therefore, go ahead and cuddle on the couch while watching TV with your dog.
Besides, German Shorthaired Pointers may showcase signs of separation anxiety when left alone. Therefore, you might also want to consider using a treat cam when you’ve stepped out of the house. The treat cam allows you to talk to your dog and keep an eye on them.
I recommend the Furbo Dog Camera (available at Amazon.com). It has two-way audio, and it’s easy to set up.
5. Take Your GSP for Swimming
In addition to having a muscular and water-resistant body, GSPs have webbed paws that make them great swimmers. Therefore, swimming can be a great exercise that will tire your GSP.
However, if your GSP is having trouble getting in the water, you can join in, splash water around, and bond with it. You can also make your dog comfortable in the water by incorporating playing ball and fetch games.
If you want to learn more about German Shorthaired Pointers being great swimmers and how you can teach them to swim, check my article Can German Shorthaired Pointers Swim?
6. Hike and Explore With Your GSP
What better way to keep your GSP busy than hike and explore the fields with it?
Remember, a GSP is a hunting dog, meaning your GSP will likely enjoy accompanying you on your hikes. Take your dog outdoors with you, and you might see it enjoy playing rabbit and bird hunts while in the field.
Other ways to make sure you regulate your dog’s energy levels are to exercise with it, visit the park, and take a walk.
Being a pet parent to a GSP should be fun and interesting. However, you should be prepared to manage your GSP’s high energy levels and personality. You can incorporate these practices at an earlier age and build a relationship with your dog.
However, be patient with your GSP as you try to incorporate several activities to keep it busy.