You’re so happy and excited to be bringing home your German Shorthair Pointer puppy – your new baby! You want to do your best to settle him in and ensure that he is happy and content right?
You’ve made the big commitment, and now you need to know how best to accommodate him in your home. So, here we have the Ultimate Guide to Owning a German Shorthair Pointer Puppy!
German Shorthair Pointer puppies need feeding three times a day and access to fresh water at all times. Puppies respond well to positive reinforcement and need a stable, involved owner to potty train, teach and exercise them. Setting house rules and sticking to them leads to a happy, well-adjusted dog.
If you have children or other adults living with you, you need to set some house rules. They also need to understand how the puppy should be treated, handled, and cared for.
German Shorthair Pointers (GSPs) are highly intelligent and sensitive dogs that need a firm but gentle hand right from day one to ensure that they fit into your household and lifestyle.
Preparations For Your New GSP Puppy
Find out from the breeder what he has been eating and give him the same food so that he has something familiar from his previous life.
A new puppy that is very stressed could have a bit of tummy upset, so keeping his food consistent is important for the first few weeks. If you plan to change his diet, introduce the new food gradually, mixed with the old, so that he has time to adjust to it.
Buy a crate that will fit him as an adult. Some crates come with a divider to provide a smaller, more secure space for a small puppy that can be removed as he grows bigger. Make sure you put a bed and some soft blankets in the crate that he can snuggle into when he is cold.
Buy a couple of stainless steel water bowls and a food bowl that he cannot chew on, and decide where you will put them. You should always keep his water bowl in the same place so that he can quickly learn where it is and find it on his own. You should also feed him in the same place so that he knows what to expect when it’s food time.
You will need to puppy proof your home much as you would when you have a toddler. Make sure that pool and household chemicals, pesticides, and rodenticides are inaccessible.
These can be deadly to a young dog, and you want to avoid tragedy. Make sure he can’t get into the food bowls of other pets and eat their food or get into fights with them while they are eating.
If you have a swimming pool, make sure that he cannot fall into it and drown, and don’t leave him in the garden unsupervised. If you want to put him outside to play without supervision, it is best to use a playpen that he cannot climb out of or get through when he is very young, but you will have to make sure that it has both sun and shade.
If you have pot plants scattered around the house that he could get to or plants in the garden that may be poisonous, lift them out of his reach or screen them off. Clear the floor of books, children’s toys, papers, TV remotes, items of clothing, and electronics that he might chew on.
If you want to housetrain him using puppy pads, these should also be located in a set spot in your home so that he can learn it is his place to go potty. If you have stairs that he could fall off, you will have to put up some gates to block them.
Similarly, if you have an open plan home and there are sections to which you don’t want him to have access, you will have to use playpens or gates to keep him out.
As he grows older and learns the house rules, and you can trust him not to chew the furniture or poop on your best Persian rug, these barriers can be removed.
Ensure that there are no multi-plugs, electric cables, or other sources of live current lying on the floor where he can reach them. Puppies explore their environment by chewing on things, and you don’t want those sharp little teeth getting him into trouble.
Get a few chew toys and soft toys for him to play with and distract him from gnawing on things he shouldn’t. Buy a soft puppy collar and a leash and if you don’t have any other pets, identify a reputable vet in your area where you will take him for vaccinations and routine health care.
You may also want to buy some stain and odor removers and carpet cleaners for the minor accidents that a new puppy will have while being housetrained.
What Are The House Rules For Your GSP Puppy?
It’s best to get these settled with other family members before you bring him home so that everyone treats the puppy consistently and he doesn’t get confused. Decide which room he will sleep in and install a crate and a bed there for him.
If he is going to sleep in the same room as one of you, that person should be aware that they may be kept awake for the first night or two if he cries or needs comforting.
Which family member will be his primary caregiver? This means ensuring he is fed and has clean water at all times and attending to him when he wakes up in the night. It is best to designate one person right from the start so that everyone knows what their duties are.
If your pup cries in the night, he may need to go to the bathroom, or he may be wanting comfort and attention. As he becomes familiar with his new place and feels more secure, the crying at night will usually stop within a few days. One person should be primarily responsible for training him, although everyone else can participate if they want.
You may wish to consider putting his bed alongside yours for the first week or two so that you can reach out a calm hand to comfort him in your sleep-dazed state. You should try to alleviate his distress without putting him in the bed with you – unless it is your plan all along that he sleeps with you. The main thing is to be consistent with whatever you have decided for your pup.
Which family member will be responsible for house training him, taking him outside for toilet breaks, and cleaning up after him when he makes a mistake?
If you have young children, they will not assume all these duties, and a responsible adult should always be in charge. Young puppies pee often as their bladders are still small, and they have not yet learned to hold it.
You should be disciplined and diligent about cleaning up immediately after he pees or poos on the floor because if you leave the odors there, he will think that is the place to potty. Everyone should be clear as to whether he is allowed on the furniture, and when he tries to climb up, he should be told “No” clearly and firmly and put back on the floor – unless you are happy for him to be on the furniture.
After being fed, he should be taken outside to do his business or brought to the puppy pad corner if you don’t have a garden. Don’t allow him to sleep with the other dogs for the first few weeks because they need time to get used to him. They could hurt him or squash him and suffocate him if they are big dogs.
When You First Bring Your GSP Puppy Home
It is stressful for a new puppy to be in new surroundings away from his mom and siblings. Everything is different from all that he has known up to now. The smells, the sounds, the people, other pets, where to find his food and water are all new to him.
If you’ve ever moved house, you will have some idea of how he feels. It is completely disorienting to wake up in a new space where you are no longer familiar with the layout, so be patient with your new baby.
You should do your best to bond with him immediately by sitting down, talking to him gently, and introducing him to other pets and family members slowly and carefully. Hold him on your lap when introducing him to other dogs so that you can shield him from too much attention from them.
There is generally an air of great excitement when you first bring your puppy home, but you should be careful not to overwhelm him with screaming children, barking dogs, and hissing cats. Ideally, you should put him into one room where he can slowly explore and sniff around as you watch him. Then introduce him to the other family members one by one, including other pets.
Don’t put the collar on your puppy for the first week or so while he is still getting used to his surroundings. A pup needs to get used to wearing a collar and may initially be stressed out by it. Also, don’t try to walk him on a leash in the first week, as this is yet another thing that he will have to get used to.
Children should be instructed that it is never acceptable to put his leash on and drag him around the house with it. He needs to associate the leash and collar with good things, so when you first put his collar on, give him a treat and then take it off again. Do this repeatedly, and he will soon be pleased to wear his collar. The same applies to the leash.
Establish A Routine For You GSP Puppy
Very young puppies need to be fed three times a day for the first few months. Try to keep feeding times regular and consistent so that he knows when it’s food time. Don’t feed him close to bedtime.
His last meal should be around six o’clock in the evening or a bit earlier to minimize the chances of his pooping in the night.
Check his water bowl at least twice a day and give him fresh water. Never lock him in his crate and leave him to cry and get all worked up. He must learn that his crate is his happy place, and you can facilitate this by putting a small treat or a toy in there and praising him when he goes into it.
Try to keep him awake in the hours before bedtime so that you can both get a good night’s sleep. Be aware, however, that you may have to undergo a few nights of sleep deprivation before he settles in.
Before bedtime, play with your puppy for ten or fifteen minutes to get him tired out, and then take him outside for potty just before you put him to bed.
When he wakes up from a daytime nap, take him outside as he will need to go to the bathroom.
First thing in the morning, when you wake up, take him outside again and remember to praise him when he does his business there. Praise him whenever he does something you ask him to do and reward him with positive attention. Try to teach him one-word commands rather than speaking to him in sentences.
He should learn his name and what “No,” “Come”, “Sit”, “Lie down”, and “Good dog” means early on. Don’t shake him by the scruff of the neck or smack him when he does something wrong. You can use sharp, quick sounds like “Shhh” to get his attention or tell him to be quiet.
You should always be consistent with your tone of voice and whatever words or sounds you use so that he learns to associate them with what you want. It will take him a while to learn his name, so you should always say it when calling him, and when he comes, reward him with a treat.
When training your puppy, remember that his attention span is short, and you should keep a training session down to five minutes. If he starts chewing on a forbidden object, distract him with a toy or chew bone. Start leash training early on but be sensitive to your pup’s needs and don’t push him when he is tired.
Say his name when talking to him and do short lessons with him throughout the day. Never be harsh, impatient, or angry as he needs positive, not negative, reinforcement. If you take him out to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, don’t make it into a play session.
German Shorthair Pointers are generally eager to please their owners and aren’t stubborn and willful dogs. If you start on the right foot from the beginning and your pup learns to love and trust you, you’ll have a friend for life. GSPs are very receptive to training and can quickly pick up obedience commands.
You should socialize your GSP puppy after the first few weeks by inviting visitors to your home or taking them to meet your friends. Some vets and dog trainers offer puppy training classes that you may wish to investigate. Socializing with other dogs is usually a big part of these early training sessions.
When they are a bit older and are comfortable with a collar and leash, you can take them for walks at the dog park or around your neighborhood.
If you are so inclined, you can enroll him in a puppy agility class that is not too strenuous on his growing bones. Remember that if a puppy falls off a piece of furniture or down the stairs or jumps from too high a place, he can seriously injure himself.
Make plenty of time to play with your puppy and give him the exercise he needs. GSPs are active, high-energy dogs that will enjoy playing fetch with a ball or stick. Establish a daily walk routine at least once a day but ideally once in the morning and afternoon.
Your pup is less likely to get up to mischief if he gets regular daily exercise.
German Shorthair Pointer puppies take readily to training and will respond well to firm, consistent obedience commands.
They need daily care and exercise, and it is best to adopt a consistent routine in which everyone in the household knows what is required of them concerning the pup. GSP puppies thrive on regular playtime and attention and need the company of their owners.