How To Tell If a German Shorthair Is Happy

German Shorthaired Pointers are naturally happy dogs with boundless energy and love to go on long walks. Skipping around and chasing everything in sight is in their element – they’re always ready for an adventure. So what could make this sanguine puppy sad? Also, how can you tell?

Follow us through this article to find out!

German Shorthaired Pointers are unhappy when:

1. They Are Bored

A bred German Shorthaired Pointer is a dog of high intelligence. They’re always in need of mental and physical stimulation. A claustrophobic environment is not ideal for them, so they will not do well living in apartments. 

Your GSP will become unhappy if they rarely get the chance to socialize and release some steam. You’ll notice their dark eyes are dull and droopy instead of being bright and alert – they are bored. Let them play with your children and other pets. They are quite the social butterfly!

2. They Lack Attention and Affection

German Shorthaired Pointers are wonderful family dogs. They are loyal and loving and will get along very well with your children and their friends because of their friendly nature. Of course, they would first have to establish trust. Once this obstacle has been thrown out of the way, they become very affectionate and clingy.

They want hugs, pecks, pats, attention, and love to be appreciated. Basic obedience training can help increase this bond. Do not be surprised when yours gets sulky and distant if you have been too busy to spend time with them. 

Also, your puppy may develop separation anxiety if they’re isolated. It may also happen when they’re left unattended for a prolonged time. This mental state causes them to be unhappy, and you may notice more pronounced eyelid rolls from your dog.

3. They Are Abused

They may sometimes cause an accident, like breaking a valuable item while playing around. Displaying aggression towards your pet is not the best punishment. Over time, they could be pushed into anxiety due to this. 

A dog in constant fear of getting punished for doing something bad is an unhappy one.

4. They Are in Need of Proper Exercise

As hunting dogs, GSPs have a high energy level and require plenty of physical and mental stimulation. This breed is best suited for active families who enjoy spending time outdoors, providing their pets with plenty of opportunities to explore and hunt. 

German Shorthaired Pointers will spend most of their lifetime running (mostly on their front feet) and jumping around. They need sufficient exercise to remain a functional part of the family.

Females are known to be just as energetic as males which is evident in water as they excel at swimming with their webbed feet!

If you go on a run in the morning, evening, or both, your puppy will be the perfect partner. 

How Do I Tell If My GSP Is Unhappy?

If your dog does any of the following, they may be saying they’re not happy.

1. Becomes Destructive

If your German Shorthaired Pointer has not gone on a walk with you in a while and has been indoors for most of the week, it’ll be no surprise if they start chewing and digging into the couch. This is what an under-stimulated GSP does! 

They channel the pent-up energy into anything that seems like an opportunity to play, trying to get their way because they are unhappy with their present physical state. 

At least an hour of vigorous exercise per day is recommended for this breed by the American Kennel Club, as well as crate training to help prevent destructive behavior when left to their own devices.

2. Refuses To Please

A German Shorthaired Pointer is a friendly dog and is eager to please the people they’re loyal to. So when your pup starts acting aloof, it is an indicator that they are unhappy in some way.

They may be stubborn and have an independent streak. However, they’re cuddly and very sweet to their family. When they withdraw, they’re unhappy. If they refuse to be approached or go to others, they’re reinforcing it.

How Do I Know If They Are Happy?

When your dog is happy or pleased with you, they are generally affectionate. Your GSP could express this by making some of these gestures.

1. Dances and Skips

Your GSP is a happy-go-lucky pup, albeit a multipurpose hunting dog. They will be even more dramatic about their display of affection. 

When your pup does a little dance from side to side, skips around you, and rubs their nose on you, it means they’re comfortable with you. They’r happy, so they feel encouraged to put this emotion on display.

2. Enjoys Recreation

As an affectionate companion, German Shorthaired Pointers are great for families with young children, and those looking for a dog happy to go on adventures. Your GSP easily getting into play mode when you engage them is a sign that they are well.

So, if your pup is acting unusually dull and unresponsive to physical activities, they may be unhappy. Always check in with your vet to rule out health issues. 

3. Socializes

These dogs enjoy good company. They love spending time with their owners and other dogs and may even be friendly toward your other house pets. 

You can tell they are happy if they are not particularly aggressive to strangers. If they go up to other dogs and initiate a game with them, they are in good spirits. When they come around your frequent visitors and do not put up a guard around them, they’re relaxed. 

4. Good Appetite and Sleep

If your dog is under stress, there may be changes in their appetite and sleep pattern. A fit German Shorthaired Pointer feeds well on high-quality dog food, with some breeders recommending a solid liver-based diet, and sleeps for a good amount of hours like a normal dog. 

Your dog staying awake at periods when they would usually be sleeping may indicate they’re unhappy. 

An active and happy hunting dog like a GSP will eat enough to fill up for lost energy. They will also get good rest when they’re content and happy.

5. Behaves Well

A bored and unsatisfied German Shorthaired Pointer will be hyperactive. A happy dog will not go about destroying your house items and chewing on couches and shoes. 

A happy GSP will be more than happy to please you. They are loyal and a hard worker. When you have created an ideal and cozy environment for them through constant positive reinforcement, they respond with good behavior.

Final Thoughts

As GSP owners, to ensure that your pet is happy, it is important to provide them with proper training sessions, early socialization, and vigorous exercise (dog sports) regularly.

While some German Shorthaired Pointers can be prone to health problems such as mast cell tumors, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, von Willebrand disease, and blood clotting disorder (which can be a life-threatening condition if left untreated), a responsible breeder will have health clearances for their breeding dogs.

The Orthopedic Foundation recommends having your dog checked regularly by a veterinarian to ensure there are no health concerns.

Charles Thornton, a well-known GSP breeder, suggests that a happy German Shorthaired Pointer is also a healthy one. Providing them with a haven, plenty of mental stimulation, and regular opportunities to act like the bird dog they were bred to be will ensure they remain your best friend and loyal companion for life!

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