As a breed known for its intelligence, athleticism, and loving nature, German Shorthaired Pointers (GSPs) have become increasingly popular among dog enthusiasts. However, the same traits that make them such excellent companions can also make them more susceptible to separation anxiety.
In this article, we’ll dive into the topic of separation anxiety in GSPs, discuss its causes, symptoms, and potential pitfalls, and provide you with actionable advice on how to help your furry friend overcome this common issue.
Separation Anxiety in German Shorthair
German Shorthairs are human-focused dogs that often end up having separation anxiety if left alone for too long. This breed is quite social and loves to be around people, and might end up becoming destructive if not trained properly.
So if you are working a nine-to-five job, or are someone who cannot give enough time to a pet, then you might wanna reconsider your decision of getting a German Shorthair. However, if you do have one, and are looking for ways to keep separation anxiety at bay, keep on reading this article!
Leaving Your German Shorthair Alone: How Long is Too Long?
If you have welcomed a new puppy into your house, then try not to leave them alone for more than two hours. All German Shorthairs who lie between 8 weeks to 2 years of age, should always be put in a crate or a safe enclosed area when you leave the house. This is because smaller dogs might end up hurting themselves or getting destructive upon seeing that no one is around.
Once your dog has grown beyond the age of two, you can assume that your naughty little pup has now become mature :P All German Shorthairs aged 2-8 years can be left alone at home for extended periods of time without any trouble. A good period would be 7-8 hours, but only if you have gradually trained your dog to be accustomed with this.
This breed is highly trainable, so teaching them some good habits related to controlling separation anxiety and behaving well when you are away should not be tough, more on this later.
Lastly, for dogs aged 8 years and up, we would recommend you to tend to your dog every 5-6 hours. This is because older dogs often struggle with incontinence and are also not able to hold their urine for longer periods of time compared to a young dog.
Causes of Separation Anxiety in Dogs
To begin with, it’s essential to recognize that a dog’s early life experiences can play a significant role in the development of separation anxiety. For instance, inadequate socialization during their formative weeks, specifically between 3 to 14 weeks of age, can leave a lasting impact. This means that if a puppy doesn’t get ample exposure to diverse people, animals, and environments during this critical period, they might be more prone to anxiety and fear later in life.
Additionally, the history of the dog’s upbringing can influence their propensity for separation anxiety. Dogs that have been through traumatic experiences, such as being abandoned, rehomed multiple times, or living in shelters, might be more susceptible to anxiety-related issues. In these cases, their past experiences could have led them to develop an intense fear of being left alone.
Another factor to consider is the dog’s relationship with its owner. A dog that is overly attached to its owner may exhibit signs of separation anxiety when left alone. This can be exacerbated if the owner inadvertently reinforces the dog’s anxiety by providing excessive attention or affection when they are about to leave or upon returning home.
Symptoms Your German Shorthair has Separation Anxiety
- Excessive barking or whining when left alone
- Destructive behavior, such as chewing or scratching at doors and furniture
- Escaping or attempting to escape when left alone
- Pacing or restlessness when the owner is preparing to leave
- House soiling, even in previously house trained dogs
- Increased salivation or drooling when left alone
- Depression or lethargy when the owner is absent
Prepping your German Shorthair for some solo time might seem daunting, but don’t fret! Just follow these simple tips and tricks, and you’ll both be A-OK in no time:
- Baby Steps: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your dog won’t get used to being alone overnight either. Start with just a few minutes and slowly work your way up. No need to stress your furry friend out more than necessary!
- Routine is Key: Dogs are creatures of habit, so establish a daily routine that includes walkies, playtime, and meals. Consistency will make your pup feel secure and help soothe their nerves when you’re away.
- Brain Games: Keep your dog’s noggin busy with mentally stimulating toys, like puzzles or treat-dispensing gizmos. A bored dog is an unhappy dog, so keep their mind occupied while you’re out and about.
- Tired Paws, Happy Heart: Tire out your energetic German Shorthair before you leave with a mix of fun activities like jogging, fetch, or even agility training. A sleepy/tired pup is less likely to miss you (too much) when you’re gone.
Given below are some more FAQs that might help you better understand your German Shorthair dog:
Are GSPs a high-energy breed?
Yes, German Shorthaired Pointers are known for their high energy levels and need for regular exercise. They are ideally suited for active families who can provide them with plenty of opportunities to burn off their energy through walks, runs, or play sessions.
Do GSPs make good family pets?
Absolutely! GSPs are known for their friendly, affectionate nature and can be wonderful family pets. They are good with children and typically get along well with other pets in the household, although they may have a strong prey drive that can be a challenge with smaller animals.
How do GSPs fare in different climates?
German Shorthaired Pointers are a versatile breed that can adapt to various climates. However, they have a short coat, which makes them less suited to extreme cold. They may require extra protection, such as a dog coat or sweater, in colder temperatures to keep them warm and comfortable.
While German Shorthaired Pointers are more prone to separation anxiety due to their social nature and intelligence. That said, it’s important to remember that each dog is unique and influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
By understanding the potential causes and symptoms of separation anxiety and implementing effective training strategies, you can help your GSP learn to cope with being alone. With patience, consistency, and proper care, you’ll be able to enjoy a happy, healthy relationship with your German Shorthair, without having to worry about coming home to a sad dog or an impromptu excavation site in your backyard :D