Life With a GSP: It's a Lifestyle
Today has been both cold and rainy as well as windy and snowy. It's one of those miserable days where most people spend the evening curled up on the couch, enjoying their favorite Netflix series. Yet here I am, bundled from head to toe, sloshing through a soggy field as my German Shorthaired Pointer blasts around in front of me, seemingly oblivious to the dismal conditions. This wouldn’t be my first choice in how to spend a night like this, but it’s what I signed up for.
I have wanted a GSP long before I got one, but I knew I didn’t have the time for one. When I switched careers and started training dogs, it offered me the time, energy, flexibility and know-how to finally own one. My best friend Ann (who wrote this article about owning a GSP) had warned me, “There are no days off.” I don’t think I quite grasped that concept until I started living with it. Blitz has no concept of me being tired or sick, the weather being bad, or the fact that I just want to be lazy for once. All she knows is that she has a full tank of gas and is about to bust at the seams. Always.
Non-stop would be the best way I can describe her. If you let our pitbull outside, there is about a 99% chance she is going to go lay on her side and sunbathe on the driveway until she nearly roasts to death, then back inside she goes. Blitz will. Not. Stop. Moving when she is outside. When the weather is nice, she can be on the go outside for 5-6 hours a day. She outgrew our 6.5 acres by the time she was about 3-months-old. The good part about this is that she is exactly what I was looking for in a GSP: she’s ALWAYS ready to go do something. Anything. She loves doing farm chores, hunting, hiking, swimming, playing fetch, training, learning, and so on. Just about the only thing she doesn’t like is going slow. Heel walks in the park are NOT her idea of a good time. Why walk when you can run full speed?
This level of energy has been totally new to me and has completely altered my lifestyle. Long-gone are the days of short walks around the block during the week and slightly longer walks through the neighborhood on the weekend. She needs a lot of activity, every single day. This means that a good part of my day is scheduled around exercising her. I spend a lot of time driving her to different parks to keep things interesting and engaging. Not only is there the physical aspect of it, but the mental aspect, too. Blitz works for all of her meals, which means at least two training sessions a day.
I regularly see posts on social media where someone is trying to rehome their GSP because they don’t have the time and energy for it. Believe me, I totally understand. It is a lifestyle. But be aware of what you’re signing up for. Granted, all GSPs aren’t like Blitz. She is bred for a lot of power, speed and endurance in the field and that’s what she is. It’s also what I have cultivated by giving her so much physical and mental exercise throughout her life; now it’s expected. But regardless, GSPs are a high-energy breed and they deserve plenty of mental and physical exercise. They are not something to be worked when convenient; they need consistency. Everyday consistency. If not, you’re going to end up with a whole array of naughty behavior that is totally understandable because their basic needs are not being met. If you are looking for a weekend-warrior or just a dog to run with on occasion, this is not the breed for you. GSPs are gorgeous, fun, high-energy dogs who deserve to be a lifestyle.