More often than not, when you come across a description of the German Shorthaired Pointer, it includes the word ‘versatile’. These dogs are very smart and with proper training their capabilities are limitless.
Several months ago the German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue New England chapter received an adoption application from potential adopter, Scott. Scott had done his research about the breed and was looking for young dogs that could be trained to serve a very specific purpose. As well as being family pets, Scott wanted to train the dogs to locate box turtles.
Scott currently uses a German Shepherd, Jett, who belongs to a close friend and has been trained to find the turtles. But Jett is getting older and he wanted to begin training new dogs for the future.
Box turtles spend most of their time totally buried in the leaves and that is why it is so hard to find them – hence the need for dogs.
The pups are now 10 months old and Scott has started training them both to track turtles.
In a recent email Scott writes:
Just wanted to give you an update on the Dexter and Jadis. They are doing great! We have been going out in the field about two days a week for the last five weeks chasing turtles and working with the dog trainer (Jessica Hendelman, Mukota Kennel Swanzey, NH) one night per week on their search training. It’s going really well. They are a little more challenging in some ways than Jett was to train, primarily because of their independence and distractibility. But they are starting to get the “game” and work for me. In our yard, where there are little distractions, they work real hard for me (or for the treats, play, and praise I should say)… but out in the woods it’s a little harder to keep their attention. But in just these few short weeks they have improved immensely and will do re-finds on the turtles for me several times in a row before catching some other scent that is more interesting than what I have to offer.
Just today working in the yard, I couldn’t hide the turtle good enough to keep them from finding it. It’s so amazing to watch them use their nose and work the scent in the wind. As long as I can keep them interested in the game, I have no doubt they are going to be fantastic turtle dogs. Tomorrow I am going to start making things a little more challenging for them. Give them new problems to work out under natural conditions.
I did take you advise on the E-collars too, thank goodness I did because I probably would have lost one or both of them already. Man they are fast! Dexter still has a larger working zone, I have to reel him in more frequently, but Jadis has learned that if she stays within a certain distance of me she is free to do whatever she wants. Doing the runaways and hiding on her in the woods this past week is helping too. It forces her to keep an eye out for me at all times. As independent as she is, when I am hiding on her in the woods and she can’t find me, she starts to whimper a little and you can see the panic kick in. I am going to start on the runaways with Dexter this week.