A reader who has just taken on an HPR is more used to Labradors

Q: I have taken on an eight-month-old German shorthaired pointer bitch from a couple who could no longer keep her. She has a good working pedigree but has been brought up as a pet. As a rough shooter 
I have always had Labradors and have been wondering if I have done a wise thing taking on a HPR breed. I would be interested in your thoughts on training an HPR breed.

Great admirer of German shorthaired pointers

A: If the bitch has a good 
working pedigree and has been well brought up, even though she has been in a pet home so far, she should still be a relatively clean slate for you to start working with. She has the breeding to become a good working dog for you but she will be very different compared with a Labrador, for example.

training an HPR breed

I am a great admirer of German shorthaired pointers (GSP) and only recently saw a mature bitch working at a peg and doing a great job. It was that owner’s first GSP 
but he said he would certainly 
have another. You should forget a lot of what you have based your Labrador training on and take some specialist advice from experienced GSP people. They do say that GSPs have an independent streak and can take time to mature, so you will have to be patient.

training an HPR breed

A faithful companion out stalking

I would recommend you contact the German Shorthaired Pointer Club, which has a network of regional branches and should be able to give you all the help and advice you need to get your training off to a good start.

German shorthaired pointer

The German shorthaired pointer

The very first time I saw a German shorthaired pointer (GSP) working was about 25 years ago. I had been invited to photograph…

As with all young gundogs of any breed, it’s how you deal with them in the early stages of training that influences what you achieve later, so take advice as soon as you can rather than muddle through and make mistakes that may be difficult to put right. As an HPR, a GSP has 
a brain that’s very different from 
a purely retrieving breed.