Too much dog???

emmhipAugust 21, 2009


My dog passed away on 4/20 of this year, after also losing my other dog a year earlier. I also lost a cat within this time frame (all to old age and a brain tumor). I have been waiting to get a new dog for awhile now, and adopted one yesterday.

I adopted a 3 year old German shorthaired pointer mix. She is spayed and was living in a small apartment with her old owners.

The good: She is sweet, excellent with kids, and good with cats. She's not a food hound and she's housetrained. She stays in a crate when someone isn't home. She likes other dogs.

The bad: She has way more energy than I was expecting. When I visited her at her old owners apartment she seemed much more calm than when we got her home! Maybe it's because she's never had a yard to run in before, but she ran for quite awhile. This morning I took her on an hour long walk and her leash skills are pretty bad (major puller!) although she seems smart enough to learn how to walk better. I'm at work now, although the kids and my husband are at home, so we'll see if this expended some of her energy.

I'm hoping that she will adapt to her new house and surroundings, and I realize it's only been one day, but I'm a little nervous. Maybe this is too much dog to handle?! I think maybe I should enroll her in obedience training or something. I'm just worried about her energy level and meeting her needs. Thoughts???

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I think you're describing normal dog behavior, and the leash pulling can be corrected with a little training.
I'm against crates. I think if someone put me in a prison for hours at a time, it would make me crazy.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 9:52AM
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I think its early and she needs time to get her accustomed to the routine of her new home. You will need to let her know what your expectations are and she will figure it out. But she is a hunting dog and will have lots of energy.

I bet she is excited because she now has kids in her pack, which is fun.

If you can take her to obedience calls, go for it. They are great.

Crates are great too.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 10:37AM
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I never used crates---until I acquired the two dogs I have now. I have learned there are reasons for using them. The older dog no longer needs/uses his crate. The younger one can---the door is always open and she does occasionally rest there.

The younger dog has the same kind of energy and I am dealing with the same situation. I cannot walk them daily. The older dog has a much lower energy factor, so that part is more simple.

The younger one is a whippet(mix?)---a sight hound type with TONS of energy and HAS to have exercise. Otherwise, she chews/digs/is miserable. I have successfully(so far) been able to exercise her by kicking soccer balls in our yard. The yard is long enouigh for her to get to full speed chasing before having to slow down. She 'catches' the balls---rounding them to a stop. The smaller ones can be picked up and she 'tosses' them for herself.

I can do this several times a day, and she is now coming to me for a play session when she wants one. In fact, she interrupted this computer session with such a request and is now happily resting at my feet after the fun.

The new routine does take a bit of adjustment as well.

I am finding several short(5-10 minutes) exercise sessions can be as productive as two long walks daily. When play is combined with obedience training(sit/stay/etc.) that creates more time for both.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 10:57AM
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I haven't had to put her in the crate yet. Someone is usually home most of the time, so the only time I would be using it is when we are not home. Eventually, maybe I can trust her, but I don't know her well enough yet.

I think after having an older dog and a dog with health problems, I'm just more used to the coach potatoes than a dog with some zip!!! I'm actually excited about walking her in the mornings, because that will be good excersize for me too.

I think I'm going to give it a few days and see how she adapts. She's had a lot of change in the last 24 hours, so I can't expect her to be perfect right away.

On our walk this morning if she started pulling too much, I had her sit and stay, and then I would give her the signal to walk again. This seemed to help a lot. Like I said, she's smart, but no one in her previous household did anything with her.

Still interested in hearing everyone's opinion. Thanks!!!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 11:23AM
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Do you have her on a harness? If so take her off. Find a dog park and let heer socialize and get rid of all her energy by playing with another dog, or take the dog for a game of fetch or a swim. THEN go for your leash walk. Try a positive reinforcement basic training class. Be firm. Sit stay etc....

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 4:39PM
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Emmhip, I agree with others, give her some time to settle in before you decide you got an energizer bunny dog. She also has not had enough time to recognize you as her new pack leader, so now is the time to get her straight on that. Pointers are usually very smart dogs, she should pick up things quickly for you.

I agree with Mazer about not using a harness and using some play time to wear her out a bit before walking.

Another tip, if you have dog friends, I would also suggest asking if any of them use a Gentle Leader, which is a head collar that allows for much more control of the dog. Not sure if this would help in your situation, but one of your friends might be able to tell you if it would help your dog.

Finally, I do what I call a training walk. Periodically on our walk, I stop the dog and run him through a series of command (sit/stay/down, etc.). I take a bait bag with me (nothing fancy, just a ziplock bag with training treats in it). I think that this makes the walk more challenging for the dog, because he doesn't know what's going to happen when, so he pays attention to me. It's similar to your concept of sit/stay when your dog pulls, except I also do it when he is being "good".

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 7:08PM
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Have you ever owned a pointer..English or German? These dogs have energy with a capital E and until you've actually owned one...or just can't comprehend what "high energy" means. Border collies from field lines come close and bench-bred pointers can be fairly laid-back, but nothing approaches the energy level of a field-bred sporting dog!

I have an EXTREMELY active 3 yr old pointer. We walk 5 miles twice, spend 2 hours doing field work, 2 20 min obedience sessions and play Frisbee/fetch for 3-4 30 minutes sessions DAILY plus swim 3-4 times a week in order to keep his energy to a manageable level. He broke his toe in late June, developed bronchitis and we've just now started conditioning again. Luckily, it's still warm enough for lots of swimming because he is going to be one unhappy dog (and i will be one unhappy hunter) if he has to stay behind during pheasant season.

I've owned many, many dogs (Springers, setters, other pointers, GSD's and border collies) and none have come close to this dog's activity level.

Your pointer will need to blow off steam daily. How big is your yard? I've never met a sporting dog who didn't like to fetch....and fetch...and fetch. 15 minutes of throwing a ball or frisbee before a walk should take the edge off so that you can enjoy the walk. I'm not a fan of dog parks, but if you can find a good one with people who actually watch their own dogs, then a dog park would be a good option

Obedience class is an EXCELLENT idea. It will help the two of you bond while showing you how to teach your dog loose-lead walking and other skills. Pointers catch on very quickly - they are very smart, love to learn and are eager to please. While you are walking, if she starts pulling ahead, immediately change directions. A few days of this and she will learn that it is important to keep an eye on you rather than forging ahead on her own. Did she hunt? It takes a little while longer for a dog that actually hunted (meaning that the dog was encouraged to forge out ahead independently) to catch on that now she's expected to remain by your side. BUT, they most certainly can catch on - the best hunting GSP I ever owned was also on the last leg of her UDX when I lost her due to a sudden illness.

Give it some time! One day is nothing. One month is nothing. Heck, one year isn't very long. Around age 5, these guys really start to settle down and from 6 - 14 years of age, they are one of the best dogs you'll ever have the pleasure of owning. I just had a man stop me 2 days ago while we were on one of our walks yesterday so he could tell me about his recently deceased pointer, who in his words was "was the craziest puppy in the world and the best dog in the world. I wanted to kill that dog every day until he was 6 and then I spent the next 12 years worrying he was going to up and die on me and he finally did. I miss him every day and I wish I could go back and see him running around that field like his tail was on fire." We shared a chuckle and some tears because i know in a few more years, I'm going to feel the same way.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 4:37PM
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Nice story, Jamas.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 5:04PM
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Jamas thanks for the insight. I knew this was going to be a high energy dog, but I don't think I was prepared for HOW high energy... :) And you're right, I need to give it more time. I'm actually amazed at what she has been able to learn in the short time we've had her. She is soaking up training like a sponge. I like having a high energy dog because it is getting me to commit to walking and running twice a day like I've been wanting and planning to do for awhile. Plus, my last dog was an Austrailian Shepherd mix, who didn't really calm down until age 11, so I am sort of used to the constant excersize needs.

Luckily, my husband and I work sort of opposite hours, so he has been taking her out for fetch sessions while I am at work. He even had her doing some Frizbee yesterday. She is very good in the house, which is nice. She sleeps on the floor, or follows me around. She's very pleasant to have around while cooking, cleaning, or hanging out which is nice.

Her main issues are she doesn't have a name (which we need to decide on NOW, okay, that's OUR issue...) and she doesn't come when we tell her come. She thinks it's kind of a joke. She also wants to sleep in the bed, and I don't know how to teach her to sleep on her dog bed. She's also terrified of water because her previous owners used a spray bottle of water on her as discipline, which in my mind is NUTS. We are going to have to work on her fear of water, as we want her to enjoy swimming, and hopefully eventually take her out on our boat.

Her previous owners clearly didn't teach her much or know how to deal with her. I don't think they ever walked her, I was told she was out on a chain or in the house. I'm surprised that she is as well behaved as she is, and not totally crazy. She seems really happy to have a large fenced in yard though, I can tell she's enjoying it. I also think she likes going for walks and burning off some of that energy.

I can tell she's going to be a great dog, she just needs a little time and attention.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 10:20AM
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In my experience bird dogs are wonderful inside the house (usually quiet and tidy) but a real handful outside. Many of them can never be allowed off lead unless you have time to wait for them to come back (and some never do).

I think your situation sounds ideal for this dog and I hope you decide to keep her. Having someone home most of the time is a big plus for a new dog. Having someone home that will play fetch is even better.

Most dogs won't equate a spritz of water with water for swimming. Some dogs just don't like to swim or splash in water. Some think that you standing over there and saying the same word over and over (louder and louder) is just your way of re-enforcing where you are - they don't comprehend that you are trying to call them closer. It doesn't really matter what their name is, they just don't get it. But thats a communication problem and not a dog problem. A name will help you bond with the dog but dogs don't care what their name is, lord knows my dog answers to all sorts of names (some of them unprintable).

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 1:52PM
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It sounds like she's going to be a great dog with a little work and what dog doesn't need some work? Smiles. It also sounds like you're already starting to get a handle on her energy. Obedience is sure one of the best ways to work on energy. Mental stimulation works off energy as well as physical does. I like to work on simple obedience exercises inside too to help them work off energy. I make them do what I call doggie calisthenics. Up, down, up, sit, down, wait, up, down, etc. It also helps enforce your bond while training.

I have a few suggestions for you. I think working on some agility would be right up her alley and you can make a few things in your yard really easily and refine them if she likes doing it. Set up a jump for her. Start with a broom handle on crates. Even set up a few in a row once she gets what they're for. Don't underestimate the power of a few treats for teaching. When you're trying to work on her recall [come] use a long line that is attached to her. You can use a piece of clothesline. Start with her about ten feet away. Say the word, come, show the treat, give a gently tug if she doesn't come right away, praise like crazy when she does. Do it alot.. lol. Then increase distance. Eventually you can do it without the line, but until she has it down, just use the line. Also you can try it without the line and if she doesn't listen right away, say come and run in the opposite direction. They generally do like to go where you're going so that often works too. You can check out online setting up other agility things in your yard.

Last, a few good toys that are very helpful for high energy dogs. Have you seen the Egge? It's a giant plastic egg that is so large that most can't get their mouths on it and slippery and odd shaped enough the it keeps them going trying to get ahold of it. Really works great. They even use it and variations of it in Zoos for the big animals. Leergurg, the famous trainers, have a video of a couple of their dogs playing with one and I've seen other videos. Pretty funny. Here's the Leerburg one.
Leerburg video

Raw meaty bones are great for occupying and wearing out a dog. Talk to the butcher even in your regular grocery and see about getting a decent sized marrow and meaty bones. Added benefit is it is a natural dental floss and cleans their teeth so good. The largest black Kong called the Extreme Kong is good filled with yogurt or peanut butter then frozen give a good workout and occupy. Btw, the meaty bones can be given frozen too. Good luck and I do hope you have a good life together and hope some of this helped.

One more great toy that is almost indestructible is the Goughnut. You can google it. It even has a guarantee and they will replace it for postage if your dog eats through it. The black is for big strong chewers.

Almost forgot, I know a number of people whose dogs use the 5 gallon water bottles as toys outside or in a large space [basement or garage]. It's another hard to get a hold of toy that keeps them going for quite a while.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Egge

    Bookmark   August 25, 2009 at 10:07AM
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