How to Train German Shorthaired Pointer Puppies

By Donna Earnest-Pravel

German shorthaired pointers are very intelligent dogs and are very easily trained. There are certain basic training commands all puppies should learn, even before "kindergarten" obedience classes can start. Pointer puppies need to be potty trained, crate trained and leash trained. German shorthaired pointers learn best with positive behavior rewards and need no force or coercion based on fear or intimidation. One issue you will want to get right as a trainer is how to leash train your puppy. German shorthaired pointers grow up to be big, strong dogs, and they can be hard to handle on a leash if they have not been properly trained when they are puppies.

Crate Training

Purchase a large crate for your German shorthaired pointer puppy. She will grow into it. Put the crate in an area where the two of you spend time together. Keep the door to the crate open.

Watch your puppy. When she looks interested in the crate or sniffs it, praise her highly and give her a doggie treat. Repeat this many times.

Make it harder for the puppy to earn a treat once she figures out she will get one every time she gets near the crate. Start by just rewarding her if she walks into the crate. Repeat and reinforce this step many times. Then do the same thing, but only when she goes into the crate and sits down.

Have your puppy walk into the crate and sit down, and then close the crate door. Say, "Go to your room," and feed her a treat through the crate door while highly praising her. Immediately let her out. Start saying, "Go to your room," every time the puppy walks into her crate. She will soon do it on command.

Potty Training

Keep the puppy confined to his crate, room or other area you have designated to be his "den" during the potty training period. This can be several weeks long.

Choose a spot where you would like your puppy to "go to the bathroom" outside. Take the puppy outside to his potty spot. According to the Dog Obedience Training Review, this should be done once an hour. Other trainers suggest taking him out at scheduled times, like when you first get up, after he eats, when you get home from work and before you go to bed. Either carry him out or walk him out on a leash. Walk back and forth and circle around a few times with puppy in hand or on the leash. As you do this, say the command, "Hurry up!" This begins an association with the command and the puppy eliminating in this spot.

Put the puppy on the ground. Continue to say, "Hurry up!" If the puppy does "go to the bathroom," keep saying, "Hurry up!" until he is finished. Praise the puppy highly and reward him with a small doggie treat. Tell him he is the best puppy in the world. If he does not "go" after 5 minutes, return him to his "den" or crate and try again in a half hour.

Play with the puppy in the house for about 10 minutes after any successful "bathroom" trip. This makes the puppy think potty training is fun. Then put him back in his crate or "den," and repeat the above steps in another hour. Be sure to take the puppy outdoors after meals, as well.

Leash Training

Get your puppy used to wearing a collar. Place it on your puppy while you are playing with her. She may try to bite or scratch it off at first, but soon she will forget about it.

Introduce the leash. Clip it onto the puppy's collar. Let her play with it and drag it around the house under your careful eye. She will forget about it after a while.

Start leash training by picking up the leash and walking around the house. Your puppy will trot around with you. Praise and pet her often. When she strains on the leash, stop. Do not jerk her back. Call her to you, and praise her when she comes. Give her a treat. Never continue walking when the puppy pulls on the leash. This reinforces bad behavior. She has to learn that if she wants to walk, she has to stay beside you with a loose leash.

Be patient and persistent with your pointer puppy. You want a loose leash and the puppy walking by your side. When you begin outdoor leash training, you will have to retrain the puppy somewhat, because there are many new distractions for her to want to explore. Again, do not jerk the puppy back to you. Just stop walking, call the puppy back to you, praise her highly when she does, give her a treat and then continue on your walk.