Want to get active but don’t fancy running alone? Would you rather take your furry companion with you?
If so, then you might be wondering whether GSPs are good companions to take along with you on your early morning run.
On the face of it, they ought to be – they’re active dogs, they love being outdoors, and they’re so incredibly loyal that extra time with you is basically a treat of its own.
But I also know that GSPs are hunting companions, meaning they have a tendency to head off in another direction if something catches their attention.
Below I’ll examine it all and answer once and for all: are German Shorthaired Pointers good for running?
GSP Activity Levels
If, like me, you’ve had a GSP for a while now, then you already know that they won’t have problems keeping up with you on your run.
They’re active dogs who love to be on the move, and they don’t care if you’re Usain Bolt, they’ll be able to match your speed and stay by your side while you’re out running.
They’re fast, agile, and strong, so they’re basically born to run.
There’s nothing about a GSP’s physical makeup or activity levels that makes them unsuitable for running, so why are we even wondering if GSPs are good as running companions?
Well, because they can be a little overexcited outdoors. Let me explain…
The second I let Hank off his leash, he’s off like a bat out of hell. And I’m pretty certain that goes for all GSP owners.
Hank’s well trained now and will come back when called, so this isn’t such a problem, but if your GSP is more stubborn, then taking them for a run might be a little more complicated, especially if you have to keep checking every few seconds to make sure they’re by your side.
Of course, you can solve this by keeping your GSP on a leash – and you might have to do this anyway depending on the route you want to take, both because it might be the law in that particular area, and for safety if you’ll be passing well-trafficked roads, etc.
But how is a GSP running alongside you on your leash?
Well, depending on what they’re like on a leash generally, they should be OK.
I know when I first got Hank, pulling on leash was a problem, and I think that’s true of most GSPs because they’re so excited to be outdoors and exploring that they can’t help but drag us along with them for the ride.
But after a few weeks’ training on the leash, GSPs can be great walkers and know exactly how to behave. But does running affect that?
I’d say it definitely does.
If you’ve never taken your GSP outside running before, then there’s a good chance that the sudden increase in speed will make them more excited, and might make them forget most of what they’ve learned about how to behave on a leash.
To solve this, you’ll have to start from square one again, and retrain them about how to behave on a leash while you’re running.
The good news? GSPs are highly intelligent, highly trainable dogs, so teaching them how to behave on leash while you run together won’t take too long.
Here are some of the key things to think about:
- Keeping them by your side and out from under your feet to avoid accidents
- Keeping their attention on running – not other distracting things en route
- Keeping them under your control, so they don’t pull you along
- Praise, praise, praise – keep telling them what a good job they’re doing and they’ll love running with you
So, Are They Good For Running?
With all the above being considered, yes, GSPs are great running companions.
You’ll need to train them how to behave on a leash while running, but they’ll love the extra activity and it’ll keep them fit and healthy as well as you!
GSPs love time with their owners, exploring new places, and lots and LOTS of activity – and running provides them with all 3.
But remember, with as much energy as GSPs have, they don’t have an endless supply, so caring for them and looking out for signs of tiredness is key too.
But I’ll cover all that and more in the section below!
How Far Can I Run With My GSP?
Knowing how far you can run with them is important, because the last thing you want to do is exhaust them and potentially cause health issues by overdoing it with them.
So, I’ll concentrate on how far you can run with your GSP from a safety perspective and then give you an idea of the things to look out for so you know when to stop running and head back home to keep your GSP comfortable and healthy.
Well, the good news is, you’re far more likely to tire of your run before your GSP does.
An adult GSP can easily run 20-30 miles at a time, because they’re so active and have such high levels of stamina as hunting dogs.
But just because they can, doesn’t mean they should. It’s a good idea to remember that you’ve never been running with your GSP before and, like you, they’ll need a little time to get used to it.
So, when starting out running with your GSP, stick to a slow pace at first, and only run a mile or two at a time.
This is good advice for both you and your dog. Overdo it too soon, and neither of you will want to run again because you can easily get injured.
Slowly build up to the number of miles you’d ideally like to run, increasing the speed to a comfortable one as you go.
Remember, you’re running here, not sprinting, so keep a nice steady pace for both you and your GSP.
And if you notice any of the following signs of being overworked, stop running immediately and give them a break:
- Wear and tear on their pads: they may be running on poor terrain for them, or running too fast or too far
- Sore muscles: usually an indication they’re running too often and need a break
- Joint injuries: they need a few weeks’ rest
- Heat exhaustion – getting too hot can be life-threatening, so make sure you only run with your GSP when temperatures are cooler
- Stopping: if they stop mid-run, then clearly they’ve had enough for the day and it’s time to head home at an easy pace
GSPs are great running companions. Remember, just make sure they know how to behave on a leash so you guys can run well together.
Always keep an eye out for signs that they’ve had enough, have overdone it, or need to take a few days off. But so long as you put their wellbeing first, they can be the perfect running buddies!