Advice on owning a Pointer
Color: Pointers can be either Black, Liver, Orange or Lemon either solid or in
combination with white. The dog at the background on the top right of this
page is Liver, the foreground, is orange. The dog on the left top is Black
and white. The bottom of the picture to the left is a lemon, notice the
pink nose and eye margins. All colors can include "ticking" (little
speckles), either light or heavy, on the white areas of the coat. There are
also tri-colored Pointers, but are very rare.
Size: Pointers can range from 40 pounds to 80 pounds. Generally, boys are 60-75 pounds and girls are 40-60 pounds. Height is usually in the neighborhood of 21"-28" at the shoulders.
Temperament: Pointers in general are very sociable, both with people and other dogs. Pointers are bred to work alongside their human companions. It is of the utmost importance that a Pointer be given contact with his/her family, and that s/he be socialized outside the home so that s/he will readily accept new people and new situations. Pointers are usually good with children and other animals, particularly if they are raised with them. Care should be taken that both dog and child are taught the proper behavior toward one another, and no dog should ever be left unsupervised with a child. Pointers can be addictive and you may find you’d like more than one. Sometimes, the second dog in a household relates to children, especially toddlers, as littermates rather than small adults. Often this is a result of the dog spending lots of time with the first dog in the house and mirroring that behavior, rather than, as your first dog, spending lots of time with the family and learning how to be a well behaved dog that is submissive to humans. One rule of thumb is to spend 1/3 of your time with the current dog, 1/3 of your time with the new dog and 1/3 of you time with them together. In order to have a well adjusted, easy going Pointer you should resist the urge to let the older dog do all the care and training of the younger. I will not sell littermates to the same family. If you already know you would like two Pointers, get one home, housetrained and trained as a great Pet and then come talk to me about a second. Even the best intentioned and informed people find it hard to do the kind of work to have a pair of littermate not be pathologically attached to each other, and not your family.
Exercise Requirements: While Pointers do need, and love, regular exercise they are quite settled in the house. In fact, if you don't allow pets on your furniture, you might need to consider another breed -- Pointers are couch potatoes!!! They are quite content with you sitting on the floor while they are spread out across the couch or bed! Even some people who have said "Oh that won't be a problem we don't allow animals on our furniture" have chosen to soften their stance after their fist glimpse of a content sleeping Pointer curled up on the couch.
Pointers love to run. Pointers can be great jogging companions and although an hour’s walk may be plenty of exercise for you, Pointers generally prefer to run. The perfect situation is a place where it is safe to let your dog off leash and you can walk for an hour and they can run. We recommend obedience work, especially recall training. Remember Pointers are bred to hunt wild birds and range over a large amount of ground so the hunter doesn't have to do all that work. Until they are trained to stay on point when they initially stop to point, they will more likely try to catch the bird and chase it further away from you. All dogs benefit from formal obedience training, and this will be particularly helpful with your Pointer. You and the dog can work through some puppy bad habits, and you can make clear to him what is now expected in his new home. Most Pointers take surprisingly well to obedience training because they are eager to please.
Many, if not all, behavioral issues, such as excessive barking, digging, etc, can be either resolved or made significantly better with at least 20 minutes of sustained aerobic exercise such as a run at the state park, throwing a ball in your back yard or jogging with the dog.
Pointers have a short, dense coat which does not often need to be brushed -- however, a hard rubber curry comb brushing once a week often helps with shedding.
A few Words about Fencing: Having a fenced yard makes owning any dog much safer and easier, but is nearly essential with a Pointer. Pointers enjoy being outdoors and exercising their considerable stamina and speed, and as they are bred to cover more ground than their human companion (to save effort when hunting with your Pointer), your Pointer might be inclined to follow his nose and stretch his legs more than might be good for you and him. A Pointer will not be familiar with your home and boundaries and rarely understands traffic or roads, and must be safeguarded from his own instinct to hunt when not in a suitable place to do so. Keeping your Pointer inside a fence or kennel or on a leash will protect him from becoming lost or injured when outdoors enjoying the open
Many adoptive homes have opted for invisible fencing which has been known to work very well for many breeds of dogs as long as training is not rushed. Invisible fencing is also a cost-effective alternative to conventional fencing and disallows digging and jumping.
A few words about Obedience Training: Pointers generally love to work for their owners. All dogs need to establish a relationship with their new owners, and a positive group obedience class is a great way to do it. Pointers need fair, consistent, positive training. They will shut down if you are too harsh with them. We recommend that you watch a few classes before signing up and don't be hesitant to travel a little farther to a great class, than save a few minutes and not get help or support. A six- or eight-week class can be beneficial after initially taking your puppy home, as it gives you a regular forum for questions you may be having. You and your Pointer should feel comfortable in the class and feel that the instructor is available to answer questions if necessary. Don't be afraid to change classes if you are displeased with the instruction, but remember that what you learn in class must be reinforced by every member of the household.
A few words about Crate Training: We have several VERY STRONG suggestions for prospective homes -- and crate training is one of our strongest recommendations. We start crate training our puppies at 5 weeks so they are very comfortable in a crate by the time you bring them home at 8 weeks. Crates give your dog a safe, quiet, private place to be when you are not home, too busy to supervise, or simply when the dogs decide they need their own time out. Many dogs will voluntarily go to their crates and love to sleep and rest and store their toys in them. Until your puppy knows the rules at your house, it is a good spot for him to rest while you cannot supervise his investigation of his new home.
- What All Good Dogs Should Know by Jack Volhard
- Good Owners, Great Dogs by Brian Kilcommons
- Childproofing Your Dog by Brian Kilcommons
- Dog Training for Dummies Jack and Wendy Volhard