What To Do if a German Shorthaired Pointer Has a High Prey Drive

It’s no secret that German shorthaired pointers (GSP) love to hunt and have impeccable instincts. However, their innate senses can create unfortunate hazards for families and owners everywhere. Luckily, the proper training can benefit you and your GSP. 

Here’s what you can do if your GSP has a high prey drive: 

  1. Train your dog to focus on commands. 
  2. Use positive reinforcement. 
  3. Play games with them to release high energy. 
  4. Train your pup in a distraction-free area. 
  5. Utilize outside resources for additional help. 

In this article, I will discuss how dog owners can use the tips suggested above to help train and tame their German shorthaired pointer’s high prey drive. 

1. Train Your Dog To Focus on Commands

German shorthaired pointers were originally bred as hunting dogs, which means they have an innate ability and drive to sense out their prey. Although owners can help tame their GSP’s prey drive, they will never be able to eliminate it completely. 

This breed of dog is highly energetic, loves to be in charge, and their senses and attention can easily become hyper-focused on certain things in their surroundings. 

Due to this, owners can help focus their pup’s attention on certain commands and training techniques rather than taming their energy. This is best accomplished through a daily routine.

You must have patience with your pup because this may take some time to accomplish successfully. Training with basic commands 2 – 3 times a day is highly recommended for German shorthaired pointers. 

To begin with, you can focus on the following commands: 

  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Come
  • Down 
  • Drop it 

Once these are mastered, individuals can move to more advanced commands. 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. Use Positive Reinforcement 

There are many incredible training methods out there that can help your pup thrive. However, certain training mechanisms work better than others for German shorthaired pointers, especially if they have a high prey drive. 

One of the best solutions for calming your German shorthaired pointer’s high prey drive is by using positive reinforcement training. Positive reinforcement training can help teach your dog that you are in charge and you define the rules. 

Unfortunately, training can be difficult for this breed. They may not listen, and the smallest distraction can create major issues. 

Luckily, with a daily routine and patience, GSPs will eventually give you their attention. From there, you can use positive reinforcement to help train them and teach them good behavior. Treats, affection, and other familiar rewards that your pup is fond of are beneficial. 

3. Play Games With Them To Release High Energy

As we now know, German shorthaired pointers are highly energetic and don’t have the greatest focus. However, their focus and energy can be channeled properly if they are given the right tools to help on a daily basis. 

Incorporating daily games and activities in your pup’s life can help with releasing high energy. GSPs tend to need constant physical activity and attention, or they might start to disobey. 

If you are interested in adding games into your pup’s life, try the following: 

  • Engage in games like fetch. Owners can teach and show their dogs that their high prey drive can be used in simple games like fetch or running around the yard. 
  • Play Tug-O-War with your pup. Games that help with focusing your dog’s attention are important, especially for GSPs. They may begin to direct their focus on healthy activities rather than digging or disobeying. 
  • Let them play with another pup. If playing fetch or running around the yard with you is not enough, your dog may benefit from having a playdate with another pup. They can also learn proper socialization through this process. 

4. Train Your Pup in a Distraction-Free Area

One of the best ways to properly train your pup is in an environment that is healthy and distraction-free. German shorthaired pointers will especially thrive in this type of environment because the smallest scents and sounds can distract them.  

When training your pup, it is best to conduct your training at home where your pup is comfortable and to create a routine, as mentioned prior. Additionally, noises, smells, other pets, people, and other distractions should be limited during training. 

If this is not possible, you may want to add other training methods and tools into your pup’s routine for additional help.

5. Utilize Outside Sources for Additional Help 

Training on your own can be a complicated process, especially if you are unprepared or inexperienced with dog training in general. Luckily, there are tools that can help you when training your pup’s high prey drive. 

The main reason individuals should utilize training tools is that GSPs may not listen at first. Even if given positive reinforcements like treats or daily games to focus on, it can be challenging to break your pet’s focus when they innately desire to chase after what they sense. 

If you’re interested in adding outside resources to your dog’s training, give these a try: 

  • Try incorporating a vibrating training collar. Training collars can help dogs refocus their attention, especially when they are heading in the wrong direction. This is helpful for barking and teaching commands. Always use a vibrating collar rather than a shock collar, since shock collars will hurt your dog. 
  • Hire a dog trainer. Although this isn’t always necessary, it can be a helpful tip to utilize. Dog trainers can help teach you how to train your dog correctly while also helping establish boundaries. 
  • Use a spray. There are certain training sprays on the market that are beneficial for helping your dog focus. These sprays will usually let out a large sound to pull their attention back to you. 

Final Thoughts 

All in all, German Shorthaired Pointers are terrific. They can be incredible family dogs and great listeners with the right guidance. 

If your dog’s high prey drive is causing issues in your home, try incorporating training methods and tools. It will make a huge impact, creating a positive dynamic between you and your pup.

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