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German wirehaired pointer – a friend for life

Updated on November 18, 2015
Elba Venator Virtus. Photo by Maria Andreitsuk
Elba Venator Virtus. Photo by Maria Andreitsuk

Meet Elba Venator Virtus – age 21 months, strong and lean, intelligent but still somewhat puppyish. When Elba first came to our home, peace and quiet went right out of the window. It was almost like a storm, repeating itself over and over again. Every day there was a new target. Elba liked books – getting wiser was certainly her plan from the young age. So she read them, one by one, tearing them into pieces to better memorize the words. Done with the bottom shelve she found herself new targets and surprises kept on coming. At some point we were getting desperate and clueless how to handle such behaviour.

Elba Venator Virtus. Age 3 months. Photo by Maria Andreitsuk
Elba Venator Virtus. Age 3 months. Photo by Maria Andreitsuk
Elba Venator Virtus. Age 3 months Photo by Maria Andreitsuk
Elba Venator Virtus. Age 3 months Photo by Maria Andreitsuk
Elba Venator Virtus. Age 3 months. Photo by Maria Andreitsuk
Elba Venator Virtus. Age 3 months. Photo by Maria Andreitsuk

Raising the dog

The training starts at a very young age – usually when the puppy is brought home at the age of eight weeks or so. Letting the puppy know who the boss is would be a single most important step in that period. Pointers are highly intelligent and like the affection. You need to make them feel they are part of the family. Raising them hard will only make matters worse. Making them part of the family helps them to become mentally and emotionally stable when they grow up. Eventually, they will be your strong and devoted partners for life.

Elba Venator Virtus. Age 3 months Photo by Maria Andreitsuk
Elba Venator Virtus. Age 3 months Photo by Maria Andreitsuk
Elba Venator Virtus. Age 14 months. Photo by Maria Andreitsuk
Elba Venator Virtus. Age 14 months. Photo by Maria Andreitsuk

GWP qualities

Can be:

  • slow to housetrain
  • suspicious of strangers
  • aggressive to other dogs
  • independent
  • develop separation anxiety

Communication is important in all stages of training. Trainer must remain calm at all times. That is the only way to teach obedience to a young dog. Showing them what’s bad by correcting them is a way to go. However, one must never lose their temper. The balance between good and bad times should be clearly shown and defined – your puppy should see both sides of you. This means playing around and having fun at one point whereas being strict and defining the rules at the other.

Elba Venator Virtus. Age 10 months. Photo by Maria Andreitsuk
Elba Venator Virtus. Age 10 months. Photo by Maria Andreitsuk
Elba Venator Virtus. Age 10 months. Photo by Maria Andreitsuk
Elba Venator Virtus. Age 10 months. Photo by Maria Andreitsuk

GWP is:

  • loyal to his family
  • friendly
  • loves companionship
  • energetic and tireless
  • Eager to learn
  • good watchdog
  • possessive of his things
  • desires to please

Teaching the most basic things at the very young age is a must. Being quiet and staying calm is the first thing to learn. It is an important skill and needs to be taught straight away. Another rule is - whenever called, he should come right away. Choosing commands carefully is the key to success. Sometimes the puppy will ignore the command – that’s when you can gently show him there is no other way but to obey. Creating a sense of inevitability is the most important thing at the early stage. Release command needs to be practiced, leaving the puppy no option to act on its own initiative. Remember – you are the boss.

Elba Venator Virtus. Age 11 months. Photo by Maria Andreitsuk
Elba Venator Virtus. Age 11 months. Photo by Maria Andreitsuk

GWP facts

 
Male
Female
Height
24 to 26 inches
smaller, but at least 22 inches
Weight
60 - 70 pounds (27 - 32 kg)
60 - 70 pounds (27 - 32 kg)
Daily food
2.5 to 3 cups
2 to 2.5 cups
Life Span
12-14 years
12-14 years

GWP is not an indoor dog. To stay mentally and physically fit it needs to get exercise every day. If you can’t take him to the field, a long walk or jog will be enough. Dogs who are kept in apartments tend to get bored and become destructive. Ideally, it should be raised in a farm or at least in a house with large back yard. As long as GWP are well exercised, they will be calm at home and won’t bother you with too much attention. A long day of running will make them look for a comfortable place to relax – like a sofa or a bed.

Elba Venator Virtus. Age 15 months. Photo by Maria Andreitsuk
Elba Venator Virtus. Age 15 months. Photo by Maria Andreitsuk

Elba and her training

Our puppy Elba went through training with her master and was ready to explore the world outside home. She was already proficient at few commands, including “down”, “sit” and “fetch”. At field training she showed great sniffing skills and seemed to have no problem with finding the prey. It was time to take her out for a real challenge – full day hunt in the woods. Safe to say, she did great and fetched few geese from the cold sea. This dog really loves to swim!

Elba Venator Virtus. Age 15 months. Photo by Maria Andreitsuk
Elba Venator Virtus. Age 15 months. Photo by Maria Andreitsuk
Elba Venator Virtus. Age 10 months. Photo by Maria Andreitsuk
Elba Venator Virtus. Age 10 months. Photo by Maria Andreitsuk

Taking the time

Training a good gun dog is no easy task. You need to make the time and train him properly. If your dog is running around and not doing the job, it is by no means the dog’s fault. Doing it right starts from the young age and continues throughout the dog’s life. You need to create a bond and keep it strong. Beating the dog or using any other hard punishment will never be a solution for anything. It only increases the gap between you two and distracts from what’s important for both of you.

Elba Venator Virtus. Age 16 months. Photo by Maria Andreitsuk
Elba Venator Virtus. Age 16 months. Photo by Maria Andreitsuk

German wirehaired pointers are probably the most devoted hunting dogs – they will do their thing but they will always keep an eye on you too. We used to have a hound who was a good hunting dog, but kept on running away for hours. You won’t see this in a pointer – they will stick to you and listen to your commands.

Elba Venator Virtus. Age 16 months. Photo by Maria Andreitsuk
Elba Venator Virtus. Age 16 months. Photo by Maria Andreitsuk

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